Opening Day

There are lots of events that can signal the start of
Spring:

Astronomical Spring, or the Vernal Equinox,when the Sun is
overhead at noon on the Equator. The news media tells you about
this, but the actual lengthening of the day has been evident for
some time when it happens. This happened a couple of weeks ago.

Local astronomical, when the sun gets high enough while it’s
still in the east to peep
through my northeast bedroom windows. By the calendar, this has
probably happened, but it’s been cloudy enough, and I’ve been
waking up late enough, that it hasn’t actually bothered me yet.
(This is an unwelcome sign of Spring — I love having sunny rooms
once I’m up and about, but I prefer the bedroom to stay dark until
I’m ready for sunshine.)

Local bureaucratic Spring, when the Cambridge Department of
Public Works starts picking up yard waste in specially marked
bins. This starts this week; tomorrow in my neighborhood.

Religious Spring, Easter in my case. Next Sunday. Less useful
than some of the others for complaining about the weather being
cold this year, since it’s a movable feast.

Athletic Spring, here in Boston Opening Day for the Red Sox, or
in particularly bad years, the Boston Marathon a couple of weeks
later. Yesterday was Opening Day, and it was a good one.

The game was a particularly good one, with the right team
winning, but the other team playing well. All the things you were
hoping for from the Red Sox players happened:

  • Josh Beckett, the ace pitcher, was the dominant force of two
    years ago instead of the experienced but struggling pitcher of
    most of last year.
  • Mike Lowell, whose injured hip made him painful to watch the
    end of last season, hit a standup double and didn’t look
    uncomfortable at all.
  • Jason Varitek, one of the games great pitcher-handling
    catchers, hit a home run. He was struggling offensively all
    last year, and was batting ninth.
  • David Ortiz hit a single and drew a walk, and looked like he
    was having fun hitting again. Most of last year, he was
    struggling with an injury, and didn’t.
  • Dustin Pedroia hit a home run. After being rookie of the
    year two years ago and MVP last year, he still looks like he
    can’t quite believe he’s in the big leagues.
  • Jed Lowrie, the new shortstop, made several good plays.
  • Jonathan Papelbon did his usual thing, getting three outs
    quickly in the ninth inning.

The winning margin would have been even bigger if Tampa Bay
hadn’t made some good plays — I particularly remember one by the
the first baseman, Carlos Pena, stabbing a hard-hit ground ball on
the way by him for an unassisted play at first base.

The ceremonies are always fun — the planes fly by in formation
just at the end of the National Anthem; this year they had Senator
Kennedy throw out the first pitch. He also looked like he
couldn’t quite believe he was in the big leagues.

The Boston classical music establishment hit what seemed to me
a sour note — Keith Lockhart, in a Red Sox t-shirt, directed
members of the Boston Pops and Tanglewood Festival Chorus in
concert attire. They would have looked more like a team (and like
their audience) if they’d
all been wearing the t-shirts. What I like about Keith Lockhart
is that he does always look like he has the job he always wanted
when he was growing up.

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