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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Season Opener

Season Opener

After the winter break, watching the opening game of a new baseball season always feels like meeting an old love. The seclusion erases all the silly tiffs from your memory and time irons out the little wrinkles. Yet, despite being out of sight for so long, she never loses the special place in your heart. You open the door to the closed chamber and smell a delicate perfume. You spot the box of matches still lying by a candleholder. As if the mere sight of the green outfield brought instantaneously back all the precious moments, the familiar faces, the tension of pivotal plays, the exuberance of victories.

This season's opener was extra special because the St Louis Cardinals starred in it as the reigning champions. And as luck would have it, they were pitted against their NLCS rivals, the New York Mets. The new Busch Stadium could hardly wish for a better way to kick off this season. In fact, with the extra perspective, last year's NLCS looks more and more like the true World Series, while the little tiger hunt that ensued keeps slipping in the ratings...

There were several new names in the line up, but the heart of the team remained intact. Carpenter took the mound, flanked by Pujols at first and Rolen at third as his knights of honor. Unfortunately, the Mets defense behind Tom Glavine was flawless and the red sea in the bleachers soon parted with their hopes for a victorious opener. Down 1-5, the Cards could have equalized - Molina in the 6th and Rolen in the 8th had bases loaded for them - but Lady Luck was still hibernating somewhere in northern Iowa.

Playing cards (or "greasing cards" as a local idiom would have it) is one of favorite national pastimes in the Czech Republic, right next to picking mushrooms in the woods and second guessing the Czech National Soccer Team coach. On any given day you can see people in local inns and pubs absorbed in a bridge-like game known as "mariash". And the old card players - who always play for money - have a time-tested adage: "prvni vyhrani z kapsy vyhani" (the first victory drives the money out of the pocket). So maybe this loss wasn't all that bad after all. We'll see.

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