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Brian McGrory

Opening Day blues

By Brian McGrory
Globe Columnist / April 2, 2010

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I regret that it’s come to this, but after weeks of careful consideration, I’m going to seek a court order barring the Red Sox from ever again having Opening Day on a Sunday night.

I know what you’re saying: Go, brother. Power to the people. Where’s the address for the legal fund? You’re saying that Opening Day has never been and never should be at night. It should never be on a weekend, and it certainly shouldn’t be on Easter.

It shouldn’t even be against the New York Yankees, but that contrivance is a different issue altogether.

You’re thinking that Opening Day — emphasis on the day part — is a paean to hope, a clean slate, new beginnings.

It marks the long-awaited transition from the harshness of winter to the glory of a New England summer.

This, you know, is meant to unfold in the afternoon, on a workday, preferably in the sunlight, all of it carrying the unmistakable message that where we’re heading is better than where we’ve just been.

And you’re quite certain that exactly none of this should require lights.

Good enough, all of it, but it misses the most critical point. The real reason to stop this game from happening is that the Boston Red Sox are messing with my life.

You see, I get exactly one day — all right, one afternoon — when someone, anyone, might have even the tiniest desire to be me.

That afternoon comes in April when I’m grasping a ticket to Opening Day and they’re not.

But envy requires knowledge, and on a Sunday night, for all anyone knows, I’m home watching “Desperate Housewives’’ on a portable Motorola.

Now all of my subtle Opening Day rituals are completely moot.

Typically, I get into work at a gaudily early hour, often by 10 a.m.

I spend the next five minutes leaving voicemails for everyone I know (odd that they never pick up). “I may not be able to hear my phone ring between 1 p.m. and 4,’’ I warn them.

For the next hour, I make a big deal about the — wink, wink — crucial meeting I have that afternoon, mixing that with worry about the weather.

“That breeze is going to help coffee sales at Fenway,’’ I’ll say.

Even bosses respect the sanctity of the event and are jealous of those who partake in it, so I’ll walk by my editor’s office a few times, ticket prominently protruding from my shirt pocket.

I’ll do this until he looks up and says, “You can come in and empty the trash anytime.’’

As the clock nears noon, I’ll ask if anyone in the newsroom just happens to be heading toward Kenmore Square for lunch, because — as things would have it — so am I.

After there aren’t any offers, I’ll call a cab, loudly asking the nice dispatcher, “What’s the early word on traffic around Fenway?’’

The exit I have down to an art — big, prominent steps, Red Sox cap perched slyly on my head, shouts to no one in particular that I’m going to be tough to reach for the rest of the day.

And get this clever little maneuver: I leave something behind so I have to come right back, calling out on my second exit, “Wouldn’t want to be without a coat where I’m going.’’

They’re dying by this point — dying.

Once at the game, if anyone returns one of my early morning calls, I holler into the phone, “I can’t hear you above all this applause.’’

I say “if’’ because no one’s ever actually returned one of those calls. That being the case, I usually make a few more calls during “Sweet Caroline.’’

People I haven’t talked to in many years are often surprised to hear from me.

But this Sunday, I get none of the joy that comes from any of the envy.

No one will know, no one will care.

It’s April, it’s Opening Day, and I’m already muttering, “Wait until next year.’’

Brian McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached (including Sunday night) at mcgrory@globe.com.

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