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Baseball in April

It will be the same in that there will nine men on the field at a time.

It will be different in that every five days or so, the man in the middle will be Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese pitcher for whom the Red Sox have spent or committed one hundred three million dollars.

The wisdom of that investment in baseball terms will be hard to measure in the short run.

Mr. Matsuzaka struck out ten in his Major League debut, but lots of Red Sox pitchers have struck out ten guys in a game, and the feeble hitters in this case were Kansas City Royals.

But on Opening Day the point is not wisdom or math. The idea is to begin again. Following a season which has seen you finish behind the Yankees and the Blue Jays, beginning again is an especially welcome prospect.

But the patrons at Fenway Park won't be thinking that way, either. Or many of them many of them won't. Because some, at least, will be thinking less about the Boston Red Sox than they are thinking about baseball, which is a healthy way to approach Opening Day.

This is because although it is impossible to predict with certainty that the Red Sox will win this afternoon, it is an absolute certainty that beginning today, baseball will once again be an active presence in Boston's metabolism for a long time, even in terms of the way pro sports seasons are measured. This is not only because the baseball season is long, but because for six months, the games are nearly
What that means depends on your point of view.

If you live anywhere near Kenmore Square, this is the beginning of your long season of annoyance.

If you are a college student, whether or not you need one more reason to put off that paper, the reason has arrived.

If you are an otherwise perceptive and thoughtful adult, it may be time for you to start saying feckless things, like "baseball isn't a matter of life and death, but the Red Sox are."

Wherever you fall on this spectrum, if you have lived in this vicinity for any length of time, can you deny that everything changes today? Of course you can't. And why would you want to? It's Opening Day.

This program aired on April 11, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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