Sports Column: Get ready to buy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, opening day is upon us

Published 9:00 am Monday, February 13, 2023

By LAUREN SEXTON | Sports Reporter

One of the things I miss most about my hometown is the excitement as opening day inches closer as the Detroit Tigers prepare for often a chilly (or extremely snowy) day at Comerica Park. However, I am super excited for my first season of America’s favorite pastime in the Magic City.

While at the University of Alabama, one of my favorite things about spring was being able to go up to the Joe and catch a game with my friends after brunch at Rama Jamas on a sunny spring day. But even those colder night games when you needed a sweatshirt were still some of my most fond memories as an undergrad.

It’s no mystery that I am eagerly awaiting the upcoming season as it marks my first season covering spring sports in Shelby County. While there will be the occasional rain storms and tornadoes that will cause delays or rescheduling, there will be no worry about a blanket of snow interfering with the field or sitting in the bitter cold while watching the batter set up to the plate.

The more I write this column, I realize that this might not be the typical sports column I write, but it’s more along the lines of the culture that sports create, and in this case baseball. One thing that is actually consistent about history is sports. In college, I took a class on American pop culture and the one thing my professor noted that I truly remember is the impact that baseball has had on American history throughout the century.

Baseball is an American institution. It is a sport that bridges and unites the generation gap that we experience when attending a baseball game. It’s the kind of game in which we don’t have to invest all of our attention into every single detail. It is a completely different social experience than basketball and football. Let’s be real here, an ice-cold Coca-Cola and hot dog with mustard and onions have never tasted better than when enjoyed at a baseball game. The season is so close I can taste the ballpark franks and the giant pretzels.

A hot topic of conversation is the lack of professional teams in Alabama, which at times is a bummer since I grew up with late-night games at Comerica Park with the summer fireworks. But there is something special about the lack of a major-league team in the state, it makes the sport feel intimate and authentic. It sends it back to the basics and everyone that plays it plays because they love the sport.

With basketball season coming to end, I mourn the Friday night matchups with a diet coke and popcorn. However, with the idea of a good ballpark frank with onions and mustard on my mind, I think the mourning process will be a lot easier.