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FanPost Friday: Opening Day Edition

Baseball is back!

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FanPost Friday Prompt: Tell us about your favorite Opening Day memory.

After one of the more bizarre off-seasons in recent memory, baseball is finally here again! The warm, familiar glow of spring returns, and with that we have another opportunity to experience all of the ups-and-downs associated with America’s Favorite Pastime. Joe DiMaggio said it best back in the day, “You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”

I was lucky enough to experience some Opening Day magic myself back in 2013. My cousin and I always try to see at least one game together each season, and since we both lived in the Atlanta-area back then we made our way down to Turner Field. We approached the stadium beside 51,454 others for the game against the Philadelphia Phillies. We didn’t have tickets, but if you had the chance to go to Turner Field when it was still a baseball stadium then you know they weren’t exactly hard to find. The best we could do were some $15 nosebleed seats that had you basically in an uninhabitable zone of the Earth’s atmosphere.

As we approached the turnstiles, a mysterious man approached us. Originally, I didn’t want to use that phrase because it is just unnecessarily onomatopoeic and it sounds like I’m talking about someone from an episode of Scooby-Doo. The problem is that this guy absolutely looked like an unmasked villain complaining about some meddling kids. He approached us and asked if we wanted a free ticket to the Bobby Cox Suite. Being the bright, innocent lads that we were, we accepted the ticket. This was definitely more out of curiosity than thinking it would actually work. I mean, would you say no to an offer like this? (Disclaimer: you almost absolutely should say no to any offer of free stuff from a man wearing a coat, sunglasses, and flat cap in April in Atlanta) As soon as my cousin grabbed the ticket, our incognito friend jogged away never to be seen again. Seemed fine!

Believe it or not, I’m not exceptionally well-versed in the hierarchy of the Turner Field suites, but we were excited to give this a shot. I mean, the ticket was valued at several hundred dollars, which for us circa-2013 might as well have been a minority stake in the Braves themselves. The ticket turned out to be real, but there was a glaring issue. Who gets to use it? We devised a strategy that had my cousin going into the suite for a few minutes (which had actually been rented out by a very polite accounting firm), and then very loudly mentioning to the security guard/ticket-scanner that he would be back in just a second.

My cousin walked out and handed me the ticket. We turned around and headed back towards the glass separating us from what seemed like a glimpse into the life of the bourgeoisie. We didn’t want to end up back with the sweating masses where we belonged, and we definitely didn’t want to get kicked out of Opening Day. It felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest. For all the build up, the guard just gave us a nod and held open the door for both of us.

(cue one million high-fives)

We were ecstatic, but as we were now hanging out with accountants we had to keep it pretty composed for the rest of the game. Along with the delightful dinner buffet and unlimited drinks, the box was situated along the right field line. We got the best possible views that night of a cavalcade of home runs courtesy of Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla, Justin Upton, and Chase Utley. The Braves won 5-7 with Craig Kimbrel getting the save off a Ryan Howard fly ball. To be honest, I barely remember the game itself, but I’ll never forget my pure awe at how great of a day it was. My cousin and I still talk about it more than we should as we’re now coming up on the five year anniversary. It definitely ranks high on the list of my favorite baseball moments.

Opening Day is obviously one of the best days of the year. It sets the tone for beginning of the baseball season and just seems to be the perfect cap to the end of winter. Have you had a particular experience on Opening Day that you want to tell us about? Whip us up a FanPost and let us hear your story!