Shea Stadium
Shea Stadium (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

by Daniel Witke

With the arrival of baseball, an element of magic is returned to one of our nation’s favorite pastimes.

When baseball comes back, the smells feel richer, our attitudes improve, and the giddy passions of our childhood memories return.

The return of the sport can be an overwhelming experience. Opening day acts as a time machine and a feeling of nostalgia brings you back to a special kind of place.

Opening day represents more than just a new season, it represents a seven month long journey where every fan dreams their team will play in the World Series.

In an interview from the Washington Post, former baseball owner, Bill Veeck, said, “There are only two seasons–winter and baseball.”

When you re-enter that stadium for the first time in what feels like decades, anything is possible and a false sense of optimism is created until the possibility of winning a 120 games becomes a reality.

When I was 12, my father took me and my brother to Shea Stadium, the home of the New York Mets.

When we walked through the gates and I saw the perfect dimensions of the field, I was intoxicated by the pitcher warming up on the mound, the smell of the freshly roasted peanuts, and the sound of the bat striking the ball.

In September 2007, the Mets were seven games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and in prime position to make the playoffs. The Phillies unfortunately caught up to the Mets and won the division title in what went on to be the worst collapse in major league baseball history.

Initially, I was crushed. How could 25 professional ball players blow a lead that large? It felt like some deliberate, cruel joke.

However, I began to realize wins and losses do not make baseball worthwhile, each game is unique as fans get to watch pitchers use different strategies to outsmart their opponents.

To true fans, baseball is more than just a sport—to the fans it is a symbolic lifestyle involving elements of success, heartbreak, patience, and beauty.