The Transformation. It’s not one that I’m proud of, but it’s one that happens this at time every year. The Transformation, for those of you in the dark, is the process by which I turn from a well-adjusted human being – a grown man in control of my emotions – to the exact opposite of that. You might be asking yourself what that looks like. It’s not this.
And it’s not this.
It’s a little closer to this.
During the offseason, it’s easy to remain circumspect about the Orioles. I find myself able to calmly articulate my feelings about the team’s moves. Sometimes I feel that they are misguided – but convince myself that it’s OK, as the Orioles have plenty of time to improve the roster. Other times (admittedly, less frequently), I feel an acquisition greatly improves the team - but am able to remind myself that not all those attractive paper moves work out on the field.
In Spring Training, it’s just as easy to keep perspective. Grapefruit League statistics are useless (in O’s blogging circles, I think I get extra credit for using the phrase "Jake Fox Award," here), so I find myself not getting too swept up in the Joey Rickard frenzies, or on the Hyun-Soo-Kim-hasn’t-hit-yet hunger strikes. These are games that don’t matter, played in part by players who aren’t giving 100% effort, against players who will never sniff a major league roster.
Then Opening Day arrives. *click* Welcome to The Transformation.
I take Opening Day off every season – whether I’m going to the game, or not. What? Don’t judge me, they give me the leave for a reason, and I take it. Besides, I’d be no good at work that day, anyway. The excitement starts the moment I open my eyes. Usually, the morning and I are sworn enemies, working to avoid each other at all costs. On Opening Day, I spring out of bed, find my orangest of outfits, and rush through the necessities.
My kids get fed... mostly. They’re clothed… sorta. They get dropped off to the correct schools… I hope. I don’t know, to be honest, it’s all kind of a blur, and my mind is on the construction of the lineup, or Buck Showalter’s recent comments, or the image of Jim Palmer’s Jockey ads. Look, it doesn’t matter, the point is I’m in Orioles mode. I arrive in Baltimore sometime in the 9:00 hour, and from that point forward, the day is a celebration of all things Orioles. It doesn’t end until my wife has run out of patience either at the game, or at some local watering hole, re-living the experience.
Now. It’s important to realize that the remaining 161 games are basically a subdued version of that experience. Again, I’m not proud of it, I’m simply stating fact. Baseball season can be a bad look for me. I’m the guy who paces holes in my living room beginning in the seventh inning. I’m the kind of guy who more often than I care to admit, gets cranky after a loss. I wake up still irritated or elated after a late game. And at about 6:30 most nights, I start to get that itch… that far-away look.
So, sorry, family. This is the start of a six-month period where I will descend into exuberant celebrations at times that don’t seem appropriate for those of you in the room reading a book, playing with Legos, or desperately planning your next Girls’ Weekend. I will also be dark and moody for completely unacceptable reasons (at some point, you will forbid me from uttering the phrase "freaking BABIP!"). I will shout and try not to swear. The laundry will contain an absurd amount of orange. You’ll be asked to play a lot of catch.
Just know that I can’t help it. I’ve experienced The Transformation.
And I’ll be back in late October. Hopefully very late October.
Enjoy the season, everyone!
Jake English is slightly more stable than he makes himself appear in this blog... but only slightly. You can find Jake and his partner-in-crime Scott Magness on the Bird's Eye View podcast. Follow them on Twitter @birdseyeviewbal, and catch the show every Monday.
The stories presented as part of the 2016 Camden Chat Opening Day Marathon are written by members of our community. To add your voice to the site please consider writing a FanPost.