Mondays with Mike: Time begins on opening day

March 31, 2014 • Posted in baseball, blindness, guest blog, Hanni, Mike Knezovich, Seeing Eye dogs, Uncategorized by

Right now, on a Sunday morning outside my window on Harrison Street, thousands of hearty runners are streaming east toward the finish line for the annual Shamrock Shuffle. Not sure why it’s called the Shamrock Shuffle two weeks after St. Patrick’s day, but … whatever.

Mr. Bones, comin' at ya.

Chris Sale, a.k.a. Mr. Bones, comin’ at ya.

It’s sunny, and the forecast says we’ll get to 58 degrees today. We just about have turned the corner on winter…and Monday we will. Here in Chicago, on March 31, the White Sox will open their season against the Minnesota Twins. And whatever the weather, things will be right again. Baseball will be back. (For the record, the season officially began with a goofy game played in Australia between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, and Sunday Night baseball had the Dodgers and Padres—none of which counts for me.)

Chris Sale will be the White Sox starting pitcher, all 6’ 7” and 180 lbs. of him. We’ll have a Cuban import, Jose Abreu, at first base. And a new centerfielder named Adam Eaton we filched from the Diamondbacks in a trade. And Avisail Garcia, a 6’4” 240 lb outfielder who runs like a track star.

I don’t know how it will go, but as always at this time, I’m inclined to think the White Sox will reach the World Series, as they did the only time in my lifetime, in 2005. And win it, for the second time in my lifetime. And if the planets align, they will best the St. Louis Cardinals, forcing Cub fans to root for a real baseball team against their hated enemy.

Others have waxed poetic about baseball. There’s Roger Angell, of course. And the lesser known but totally worthwhile Tom Boswell whose books include “Why Time Begins on Opening Day” and “How Life Imitates the World Series.” I’m just here to say, Hallelujah!

Baseball is better than football. Than basketball. Than that ridiculous European football. About this, no arguments.

OK, well, to me it is.

And, as trite as it sounds, baseball has been a constant part of the fabric of my life. As a patrol boy in grade school, I got to go on school trips to the old Comiskey Park. When I lived in Washington, D.C., I adopted the Orioles but tracked the White Sox best I could via box scores and roundups in the pre-Internet days. Back in 1983, I introduced Beth to my parents at a game at Comiskey Park, and the Sox made the playoffs that year. The day after our wedding in 1984, Beth and I and some dear friends who had traveled from Washington, D.C. for our nuptials went to a game.

In July of 1985, three days before our first wedding anniversary, Beth and I visited her eye doctor for a follow-up visit after a last-gasp surgery to save her eyesight. We learned that she would not see again. Before heading back to Urbana to face our new reality, we drove to Comiskey to have a Polish sausage with onions (“wit” onions is the correct pronunciation), and take in a ball game. Twenty years later, in 2005, Beth and I and her Seeing Eye dog Hanni got seats in the handicapped section for the playoffs against Boston. Later, I sprung for game 1 of the World Series.

And so, here we are, after the longest slog of a winter in my memory. Not much is expected from the White Sox. Detroit’s the prohibitive favorite in the White Sox division—and in the American league. They’ve got 8-1 odds of winning the World Series. The White Sox are 40-1.

Who cares?

Play ball!




Robert Ringwald On March 31, 2014 at 12:59 am

Yippee, baseball is back. Go Dodgers!

-Bob Ringwald

Don Horvath On March 31, 2014 at 7:43 am

Let’s hope Chris Sale brings the A game. I too start every season hopeful. This one is no different, and a chance for 66 degrees is just what the doctor ordered.

Play Ball indeed!

Mike On March 31, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Bring home a winner, Don!

Benita Black On March 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm

A great big smooch on your face, Mike. You taught me to love your team during my 5 year tenure in Chicago. And we shared that thrilling 2005 Series with you and Beth at our place on Rush Street. Four game sweep and zero relief pitchers!!
And though I love having a rooting interest in March Madness, it’s great to live to see another season at the Stadium.
Thanks for a great piece.

Mike On March 31, 2014 at 4:34 pm

It was great being with you and HB for that game. And yeah, living to see another season ain’t bad.

Bev On March 31, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Happy Opening Day, Mike!

Bryan McMurray On April 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

Great article, I too love opening day, but alas, was raised a Cubs fan, and still am, much to my chagrin! Great writing, as always Mike! Bryan

Seven favorite Mondays with Mike posts for 2014 | Safe & Sound blog On December 25, 2014 at 10:35 am

[…] draws to a close (thank God) all of us in Chicago look forward to the 2015 baseball season. Take a look back at Mike’s 2014 Time begins on opening day post, and I dare you to claim Mike’s cup is ever half-empty. When it comes to spring and baseball, the […]

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