Column: Line Drives — Spring sports are on the way

[This is my column in the March 27 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Opening Day is Monday.

It marks the beginning of my favorite sport.

The first day of baseball season excites me more than the first day of any other sport.

More than football, basketball and hockey combined — so much so that I signed an online petition to make Major League Baseball’s Opening Day a national holiday.

“MLB Opening Day is more than just the beginning of the season,” the petition reads. “It’s a symbol of rebirth. The coming of spring. The return of America’s national pastime. It’s a state of mind where anything is possible. You can feel the electricity in the air … Opening Day brings with it the promise of a new beginning. Every fan is in good spirits … Join us in our quest to make sure every American can exercise their inalienable right to celebrate the day those two magical words are uttered for the first time: ‘PLAY BALL!’”

The petition — started late last month by Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and Budweiser — received more than the 100,000 votes it needed to be considered by the White House and President Barack Obama.

Now, the White House has 60 days to respond, and hopefully this time next year Opening Day will be a true holiday.

In the past, I’ve spent the day watching an absurd amount of baseball with friends. When I was in college, I’d skip classes that day to perch myself in front of the television with a beer or two and take in the excitement that is a new baseball season. Sometimes I would even have an iPad nearby to watch more than one game at a time.

One thing I have never had the opportunity to do, however, is experience the ‘holiday’ by watching a game in person.

Maybe one day.

In addition to Monday marking the beginning of a long summer watching baseball, it means playing softball and spending time outdoors with friends is just around the corner too.

It is also the official start of the spring sports season in Ohio, as the Fort Recovery High School baseball team plays its first game on the road at Celina. The Tribe softball and track teams open their seasons Tuesday. The runners will be on the road at Parkway while the softball team hosts Russia.

And a week later, Jay County kicks off its sports season with a gamut of home events.
Girls tennis, boys and girls track and softball all start the year at home April 8, and baseball will be at Wayne.

It looks like it will be an exciting season for Jay County, as the tennis and track teams look to build off sectional championships in 2013.

The softball team has a lot of potential, returning nearly every starter from a year ago, and the baseball team has a group of seven seniors who wish to eclipse the 20-win mark for the first time since it went 25-3 in 2008.

All of that can be read about in the spring sports preview section that will come out Wednesday.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the start of spring sports, though, is something that, for me, has gone hand-in-hand with games played on a diamond — sunflower seeds.

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