If it’s Thursday, March 29, it’s the earliest Opening Day in MLB history.
It just feels …. Different.
Maybe we figured it out a little bit when we got a note this week from one our favorite guys, Lou Schiff — the Honorable Louis H. Schiff, to be proper, a Broward County Court judge in Florida. We first connected when we received a 1,000-plus page book he co-authored, “Baseball and the Law: Cases and Materials” that we included in our 2016 30 baseball book review list, including an extensive Q&A with Lou on how this project came together. The book even mentioned a story we did on one of the cases cited — no doubt why it won the 2017 Baseball Research Award by the Society for American Baseball Research.
Judge Schiff just sent us an email. We thought it was worth passing along as Opening Day is here:
Today is Opening Day, so it’s time for my annual Opening Day letter. (Opening Day is a proper noun, like Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Mother’s Day, so it gets capitalized. Opening Day is my favorite day of the year, even better than my birthday, because some years there is no home game on June 3.)
Opening Day ’18 doesn’t seem to have the same magic or excitement as in past years. Usually I write about how much I feel like a kid again, waking up at 4 am to go to the game. The excitement of going to the game knowing that baseball is back, and, if only for a day, the Marlins are tied for first place. Baseball has always brought me a certain joy and comfort. Each year I write about the family memories of going to Opening Day with my wife, children, Dad, or brother.
Opening Day is the beginning of a new chapter of life. This year, Opening Day brings an end to a wonderful chapter. This year I will again write about family memories, but this year, it will be all about Mom. Mom passed away on the 15th of March, peacefully, at home, as she slept. Eighty-nine wonderful years, 65 of those years with Dad.
So, this is a different Opening Day. This is a day of reflection, of giving thanks and remembering, and of feeling and being loved.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Opening Day I attended, thanks to Mom. I was 2 months shy of my 13th birthday and I wanted to go to Opening Day at Shea with a friend. Dad was against it. Mom, on the other hand, was willing to listen.
After I showed her the plan, getting to and from the game on the Long Island Rail Road, she convinced my dad that I was responsible for the 50 mile round-trip adventure. She packed me a lunch and told me to take a few extra dimes to call her if there were any problems. I ate the lunch, used only 1 dime to call her to pick us up when we got back to the Bellmore railroad station after the game.
Mom always gave me opportunities to experience life, even when she may not have wanted me to do something. She trusted me like no other person. She always gave me the opportunity to do something new. She encouraged me to try different things.
So today is about a celebration. Today it is not about baseball, today is all about my Mom. She always allowed me to do things that she may not have wanted me to do. She gave me confidence to succeed and the love and warmth needed to go on a journey. Today, I will take her to Opening Day with me in my heart, and an extra dime in my pocket to call her if there are any problems.
Hug your family, especially your mom.