That Opening Day Feeling

It might be a little cold, rainy, or windy. The field may be wet, muddy, or choppy. Early April can definitely bring out the elements.

As if any Little Leaguer cares. All they care about is starting the baseball season.

Yes, on every team at every level through Little League, there are some dancers, some daydreamers, and some dandelion pickers. But that doesn’t mean those kids aren’t as pumped to be out on the field as anyone else.

The kickoff off of baseball season is the unofficial sign of spring. It is also the beginning of the strive to the ultimate goal for any baseball player, young or old: a championship.

But, there is one thing that makes Little League different, and perhaps better, than other levels of baseball. Fun is all that matters. Obviously winning is more enjoyable than losing, however, as long as the young players are showing off full grins, nothing else really matters.

Here in Westport, the preseason is underway. But don’t think the fact that it having no effect on the standings matters, as each and every player is just as happy to be back in the batter’s box, out in the field, or chanting “rally, rally, hit it up the ally” from the bench. (And as a former little leaguer myself, I always loved grabbing food from the snack bar in between innings, along with playing in the actual games.)

A pitcher for the AA (3rd Grade) Blue Jays squad aggressively warms up to pitch in his team's preseason game.

But baseball is never easy; it always takes some getting used to during each season’s launch. Hence, the pre-season. And the players in the majors, which is almost entirely 6th and 7th grade now, and the minors, are in the second year of using wood bats. So that’s going to take some time for the newcomers to the those leagues to get used to as well.

Yet all will come in time. Every kid will certainly not get a hit every at bat, but it’s a near guarantee that every kid, kindergarten through high school, and in particular the Little Leaguers, is incredibly ready for another baseball season.

Aaron Hendel