Opening Day #12
Wow, its hard to believe that another opening day has come and gone again and the season is under way.
Opening day is always very exciting for players no matter where you are or what level you are playing at. For me personally opening day is always really special. For one, it means that you’ve been blessed for one more year to have a number, and still have the opportunity to do what millions of other people would love to get the chance to do. I understand that, and I do my very best not to take for granted, a single day that I wear the uniform.
I was interviewed by a local reporter in New Orleans that remembers me from when I played there back in 02 and 03. He asked me if opening day was still exciting for me since I’ve been playing for so long. I told him there no doubt about it, I’ve been playing this game since I was 6 years old, and I still get the same butterflys in my stomach that I had a a rookie or when I took my first AB in the Big Leagues. I personally believe that if you as a player don’t get excited for opening day, you should probably be at home doing some thing else.
Well, we opened up in Nashville this year, and what a beautiful day it was for baseball. Clear and about 75 degrees. I’ve opened up here in the past when it was 30 degrees and snow in the area. You’ve got these big kerosen heaters in the dugout to attempt to thaw you out so you can get through another inning. Not fun at all. Along with that the Nashville Sounds were purcahsed by new owners and they did some very nice renovations to the stadium that were well overdue.
In the past when I would come to Nashville I would dread the trip. For me, the stadium ranked up there as one of the worst I’ve ever played in. The old field in Little Rock Arkansas takes the cake with that one. In the past, the clubhouse in Nashville was full of mold, every year at least 2 or 3 players would come up sick. It was small, dirty and cramped and a health hazard in every way imaginable. The stadium lights were very low, and yellow and you had a hard time even seeing what was going on during the game. The playing surface was subpar at best and as a hitter you just hoped to squeak out a few hits and get out of there. I couldn’t imagine playing there as the home team.
Well, apparantly MLB officials took a tour of the stadium and gave them a huge list of things that needed to be attended to or the opperation was going to be in jeapordy of being shut down. This year, they put in a new clubhouse for both teams out in center field. The visiting side is still a bit small and cramped, but at least its clean and you actually look forward to taking a nice shower after the game. They put in new light towers with new white lights so you can actually see the game now, or see that fastball coming at your head! The playing surface is 10 times better than its been in the past, the infield dirt has a nice clay base and the grass is new and well taken care of. They basically turned the stadium from one I dreaded going to, to one I’ll now look forward to.
We’ve opened the season on a positive note, taking 3 out 4 from the Sounds with a nice victory in 10 innings during the series finally. We’re on to play 4 in Memphis, probably the best over all ball park in all of the minor leagues, and then we head back home to New Orleans for our season opener.
Thanks for tuning in!