Always love opening day. It’s one of the most fun times of the year – I believe it should be a National Holiday! When I was a kid, the season didn’t start until the Cincinnati Reds played that day game. I’m kind of disappointed we lost that tradition in baseball, where the Reds played a day game and then the rest of baseball starts. It was the tradition that always got it going.
My personal memories of opening day always have to do with the 25-man roster. For instance, 1985 – I had a good spring, it was the first year I broke camp with the big club. It was the Sunday before the season and there were 26 men on the roster. Darnell Coles and I were roommates. We roomed together starting in 1981, all the way through the minors. 1985 was the first year I really had a chance to make the club out of spring training. We broke camp and went to Seattle, played all the exhibition games there and it was Sunday night – Monday is opening day, the rosters have to be set. We’re in our room and the phone rings – we know one of us is going down. I still think to this day whoever answered the phone they were gonna say “you made the club” and whoever didn’t was going down. So he’s on his side of the room, I’m on mine, and we’re diving across the beds to get to the phone in the middle – we fight, roll on the ground, I get the phone…
“Who is this?”
“Congratulations, you made the team.”
It was bittersweet because I knew Darnell was going down. But, lo and behold, the way things were working back then in Seattle, we’re playing in Boston a couple months later and all of a sudden Darnell is walking into the clubhouse. He comes in and I say, “Alright, DC!, What’s up?”. This guy was the best man at my wedding, my good friend my whole career, and he walks in and says:
“You’re going to triple A.”
I get sent down, he gets called up. We were on that roller coaster with each other for quite some time.