This is a weird post to have to write, but there's a certain feeling around this time of year that I can't quite put my finger on. Smugness, maybe? That's probably closest.
It was an exciting weekend for every baseball fan, of course. There were 3 games that officially count yesterday, meaning that the Reds start their day today out of first in the NL Central. Then again, they aren't last, so maybe their wire-to-wire this year could be that. There was a palpable feeling all around the baseball social media landscape that baseball is officially back, and as Reds fans, I think most of us felt a little of that, too.
While the whole baseball landscape was celebrating yesterday, Reds fans feel like they're in an alternate reality. Baseball isn't "back" here, yet, like it feels like it is everywhere else. It feels weird when everyone else you know is opening their presents on Christmas Eve.
There's a certain feeling here, even when the team isn't expected to do much. I've made jokes about the movie Major League recently, and the Reds' roster almost reads like that. Most casual fans who go to the game today won't have heard of half of the guys on the team. It doesn't matter. You could bring 25 guys off the street and stick wishbone C caps on them and the feeling here would be exactly the same. It's not about the results, which is refreshing given the Cincinnati sports landscape lately. There's not that disappointment you're opening yourself up to. There's no risk. It's all positivity today.
Walking around downtown last night, it was all anticipation. I saw streets being closed off, and signs up at local bars about everywhere being the "home" of something vaguely Reds-related. Other people walking around had their Reds stuff on already. Friends you run into don't ask how your weekend's been, they ask what your plans are for tomorrow. Barely anyone I know is working a full day.
Today's going to be a great day, from start to finish, no matter what happens. Possible rain? Doesn't matter. The parade kicks off late? We'll roll with it, it's still a parade. What about if the team loses? Heck, we're expecting them to lose today. We're still walking out of that stadium with a smile on our faces.
If you're debating spending some time downtown today, do yourself a favor and participate. Cincinnati is the only city that does Opening Day as well as we do it, and that's something nobody is taking away from us today. Today is the day to be an example for baseball fans everywhere. Make your Yankees fan friend say to himself, "dang, I need to get to an Opening Day in Cincinnati".
This is the one day of the year that Reds fans get to embrace that smug feeling I talked about earlier. Enjoy yourself today, and screw anyone who tries to tell you baseball kicked off yesterday. They don't know what you know.