It’s opening Day in Detroit, and our Tigers are all set to kick off their 122nd season in this city, facing the Minnesota Twins today at 1:08 p.m.
Baseball returns, as it does every year, and just for a day, every team has the same chance at distinction, perfection, or a title.
But opening day in Detroit is as much a cultural marker as a sports holiday, I think.
For starters, it’s the official end of winter – when the isolation and pain of punishing snow and cold give way to a common joy and camraderie that spring, and its bolder cousin, summer, always promise.
I spend opening day each year with a group of friends I’ve had since high school. Our journey takes us from the bars in Corktown down Michigan Avenue toward downtown and Comerica Park. Sometimes we make it to the game; other years, we linger and stall over our exuberance at just being together.
Time and responsibilities confound our instincts to stay close, but opening day is an annual restoration of our bonds. A brief trip back to
what we used to know, but a moment that’s bathed in a sense of opportunity and hopefulness – about the weather, about the new season – that overwhelms, and renews.
That sense of starting over, of renewal, is common to so many of our stories in this city, and woven throughout southeast Michigan’s sense of itself.
And baseball, on opening day, captures all of it in one, grand exercise.
The metaphors assigned to baseball and American life seem doubly true for baseball and Detroit.
The triumph of individuality at the plate. The necessity of cooperative effort in the field. The conceits of a perfectly timed pinch hitter, or a stolen base.
These are themes that echo throughout our lives around here. A city born of a combination of hard work and hard luck, made great by ingenuity and struggle, but fallen low from strife and hubris, greed and recrimination But always, always looking for that second chance, that spark of renewal and hope.
That’s opening day, more than any other 24-hours I can think of.
I’ll make the most of it this year, as I do every year. And I hope you do too.