While the Cherry Blossom Festival may signal spring in Washington, we Baltimoreans know when spring really begins–opening day at Camden Yards! That’s right, today at 3:05 pm, the Orioles open their home season versus the Minnesota Twins. This is the time of year when every team still has a shot at the World Series and every batter has a chance to win the Triple Crown. As Pete Rose once said, “It’s like Christmas, except it’s warmer.”
After a long winter indoors, fans can’t wait to get back to the bleachers again. Even traditional basement dwellers can feel the excitement. As Hall of Famer Early Wynn described it, “You know that when you win the first one, you can’t lose ’em all.” Being the oldest Major League Baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds traditionally have the honor of playing Opening Day at home. The importance of Opening Day has led their city council to declare Opening Day an official Cincinnati holiday. The Orioles played the first home opener in the current team’s history on April 15, 1954 before a packed house of 46,354 fans in Memorial Stadium. According to the The Sun, over 350,000 people cheered them at a parade before the game. Vice President Richard M. Nixon threw out the first pitch.
Speaking of first pitches, William Howard Taft began the tradition of the sitting U.S. President throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the season in 1910. A president can come off as a pro or an amateur with this one action. President Obama calls it “completely stressful.” And you don’t have to be a president to blow it.
This is spring, so don’t be surprised if the game gets rained out. If so, we’ve got you covered–check out a baseball movie from the library. We have everything from Take Me Out to the Ball Game to The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg. But if it is nice, take a break from academia and join thousands of Baltimoreans in this annual event.