Paul Holden: Opening Day reminds us why we love baseball so much

Mar 28, 2024, 6:25 AM | Updated: 6:45 am

opening day baseball...

Dominic Leone #54, Cal Raleigh #29, Ty France #23, Eugenio Suarez #28, Josh Rojas #4 and Jose Caballero #76 of the Seattle Mariners celebrate their 8-0 win against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park on September 29, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo: Steph Chambers, Getty Images)

(Photo: Steph Chambers, Getty Images)

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer and the unofficial start of summer is tomorrow: Opening Day.

As the Mariners begin yet another quest for a World Series title, I spoke with baseball writer and author of “Why We Love Baseball,” Joe Posnanski.

I started with the simple question, why do we love baseball?

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“I think it comes down to these moments that we all have with the game that stay with us,” Posnanski said. “For me, that was playing catch with my dad. It was watching Cleveland play at the old municipal stadium and seeing my heroes like Dwayne, Kiper, Buddy Bell and Rick Manning just living and dying with everything that they did. It was playing Little League. I mean, it’s all of these individual moments that I think make you fall in love with the game.”

And with Seattle over the last little bit since Julio Rodriguez got there, it just reminds you why you love the game and sort of reinvigorate that love for baseball,” Posnanski added.

I can remember exactly where I was when the Colorado Rockies made the World Series, the eruption of the crowd and the vibes of the region during the 2007 postseason run. A moment where the entire state was joined together, glued to the screen hoping for the best for the Rockies. It’s a moment that cemented my fandom for life.

Opening Day holds a special place in my heart, as it does with baseball fans and I wanted to know what makes it so special.

“It’s one of the sports that I think you just renew your love every year,” Posnanski said. “It’s this time of the year and you’re like ‘oh yeah, baseball is here again’ and you fall in love with it all over again.”

In his book, Posnanski breaks down the history of baseball in 50 moments, specific instances that demonstrate why people love the game of baseball. To only pick 50 seems like a pretty tough task, so I was curious what the criteria was for Posnanski.

“All I wanted from these moments, every single one of them, is ‘Is this why we love baseball?’ That was it,” Posnanski said. “It wasn’t how important or how dramatic or how surprising the moment was. So when you think about Edgar Martinez’s double, is that why we love baseball? Absolutely. And particularly in Seattle.”

Edgar Martinez’s double wasn’t the only Mariners moment that made the book either.

“We love baseball because it’s dramatic. We love baseball because it’s poetic. We love baseball because it’s funny. We love baseball because it’s sweet,” Posnanski said. “To me, that moment was Ken Griffey Jr. stepping in front of his dad as they’re playing together and stealing the fly ball, and just the great smile on his face after he did it. And his dad looking at him the way that all of our dads probably have looked at us at one point or another. Just amazing.”

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Baseball started building momentum last year with the rule changes and names breaking out into the mainstream, but we can’t let it get lost in the excitement of the new season that Major League Baseball is facing a convoluted scandal that will continue to dominate the narrative of the early part of the season. So I asked Posnanski if this will ruin baseball’s momentum.

“I mean, it’s a bummer, there’s no way around it. The Shohei Ohtani news is a real bummer and it doesn’t look like it’s going to go away anytime soon. But I think baseball did have a lot of super positive momentum going. I thought the changes last year were largely successful and largely embraced. The attendance was way up and things were really exciting,” he said.

As for the Mariners, a new season begins tomorrow. A new season full of promise, expectations and 162 games of opportunities to remind ourselves why we love baseball.

Contributing: Frank Sumrall, MyNorthwest

Paul Holden produces the Seattle weekend events calendar for KIRO Newsradio.

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