This is the day, of course, that Major League Baseball goes from grapefruits to the one, true opening game anywhere, here in the 150-year-old home of its most venerable franchise: Through the morning and afternoon, the schools and offices are closed, there's a parade through town and into historic Findlay Market.
"It's a holiday! A baseball holiday!" the legendary red-leg Sparky Anderson once famously exclaimed. "Ain't no other place in America got that!"
Nope. And at 4:10 p.m., the Reds' Luis Castillo will fire the first pitch to Adam Frazier, and it'll all get really real.
As Clint Hurdle put it to me the other day in Houston, "Every season has that mystery. You don’t know what’s going to happen, do you?” And when I responded that, in fact, I don’t, he proceeded, "Neither do we. So that’s where we are: We’re just looking forward to the ride. Your best plan for your future is to create it. It should be a lot of fun.”
We'll certainly find out. Probably before long.
See, the problem with peering into the Pirates' future of a full summer is that they never enter a season equipped with the strongest roster they could have and, thus, they wait half the season before determining if it's worthwhile to add and, if it isn't, they're capable of going kablooey on the entire process. So what this morning looks like, oh, another 82-win roster, could just as violently swing toward 90 or 70 depending on which way the front office pendulum swings.
I know, I know. It's the opener. Hopes and dreams and rainbows and sugarplums and all that. I hear you.
OK, so, in the footsteps of John Perrotto'spredictions yesterday, here are 10 of my own in no particular order: