"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops." - A. Bartlett Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind"

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." - Rogers Hornsby

In 2021, the wait for the complete return of Our National Pastime has never felt longer but, mercifully for us "seamheads", today is the day (April 1) that the Great American Game finally begins again! Baseball is back and I couldn't be happier.

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My wife and I refer to Opening Day as "New Year's Day" as it is the calendar with which my world revolves around. Someone (Wes Westrum?) once said, "Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand." With that in mind, you must understand one thing about me.

People who think baseball is boring, bore me.

Thanks to the pandemic, things will be much different at the ballpark -- at least for the foreseeable future. First, only 9,000 fans, all socially distanced in seating "pods" of 6 or less, will be allowed into T-Mobile Park. We are lucky to have been able to score tickets (all electronic, by the way!) No matter. I haven't been to an MLB game in person since Opening Day 2019 (March 29th, to be precise - some 734 days - but, hey... who's counting, right?!?!)
If you are planning on attending a Mariners home game in the first few weeks, you will want to be apprised of the other protocols that are now in place so you don't head all the way over to Seattle and get surprised.

Baseball is like an heirloom. It is passed down from generation to the next generation. What with my beloved Seattle Mariners campaign beginning later tonight, I'd like to take you through my life with the game of baseball being part of the very fabric of it.

Someone once said, "You don't grip a baseball. A baseball grips you." I agree.


KEEP READING: See how sports around the world have been impacted by the coronavirus

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