Meant to be watched, that is…In a bar with the sound down. An engineer, a high school basketball coach, a Radio Shack manager, a executive car deliver-er, and a state employee walk into a bar, just like they have for the past 25 years. The bar is Brown’s Diner, and the occasion is annual: The opening of baseball season the way God intended: Baseball in the daytime and in the country of origin*.
Our ritual pre-dates the dawning of the sports bar (at least in Nashville). We all love the cheeseburgers at Brown’s and they have always had these cheesy 19-inch TV sets mounted on the wall (well, they once had a so-called large screen for a short time, but the thing broke and nobody ever fixed it, and then one day it disappeared and the cheesy 19-inch TV that was there BeFore the large-screen reappeared, and all was right with the world). Since Terry the bar-tender (and owner) was always a big baseball fan, we knew that the opening day baseball game would be on the tube.
Some years we finagled the afternoon off and nursed Bud from the bottle(s) as long as any game was on. Some years, like this one, some of us have to hie on back to the workplace. Every year, the conversation overtakes the game until something dramatic happens. The Yankees usually appear at some point and the rest of the crew makes fun of me and the pin-strippers. It’s all as comfortable as a worn-in pair of sweatpants you look forward to putting on when you get home from a rough-ass day at the orifice.
It’s not trendy or remotely the best place to watch a game. What it is for a few hours is the best place in the universe. Baseball opening, spring welcomed and friends laughing. Today was our 25th anniversary. Not all of us have made it every year, but at least two of us have been there each appointed time (I’ve been there 23 out of 25 years). We are grayer, paunchier and some of us have lost a step or two, but for those few hours it really doesn’t matter one iota.
*nothing really wrong with Major League baseball played in different countries, but it should be played in the USA for opening day.