Well, it’s here; the Opening Day of major league baseball. And to quote the immortal Ernie Harwell, who called Tiger baseball for 42 years and as he began his first spring training broadcast quoting from the Song of Solomon 2:11-12:
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
The Tigers will open the year tonight at Rogers Centre, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays, with Justin Verlander taking the mound.
Every year I hope for the best for my favorite team. I know that there are statistics out there that show the Tigers may need more in the bullpen, that some of their veterans are getting up there in years (Brandon Inge, pictured above, is over thirty), but as the words of Solomon imply, the winter is past and hope springs eternal. It goes back to those years of listening to the Tigers on the radio in the twilight on the back porch or fishing out at Zachman’s quarry, or in the car as we drove with the windows open and the breeze came in, bringing with it the sounds of the evening and the distant aroma of alfala drying at the grain elevator across town. And of course there were the times we went to the games themselves at the legendary Tiger Stadium on the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit (or, as Ernie called it, simply “the Corner”). Yes, we always liked it when they won, but I loved to listen to the sound of the crowd and the quiet narration of Ernie; he knew when to keep quiet, too. It was as much a part of my childhood summers as mosquito bites, sunburn, and remedial math class.
Good luck, boys; win or lose, I’ll be there in spirit.