The opening of baseball season is not just another day around our house; it is a national holiday. To say I may be obsessed with baseball would be the understatement of the year. I think my favorite T-shirt put it most accurately, “Baseball is not a sport; it’s life.”
This year as last the Major League Baseball season did not start on a traditional Monday but rather started mid-week for some. Truthfully I am not exactly sure what day was Opening Day since the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners started in Japan with a regular season game in March while other teams were still playing Spring Training Baseball.
Then there was the Florida Marlins who had their home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 4th but then flew to Cincinnati to play the Reds on April 5th for Opening Day. For the Arizona Diamondbacks today is the first game of the regular season and they open at home against the rival San Francisco Giants.
With a 4:10 PM start time I wanted to be there early to take in all of the festivities that come with the beginning of a new season. Teams always go all out for Opening Day bringing back fan favorites, introducing new players, handing out awards for last season, and unveiling divisional winner tributes.
For me this year I had an added reason for celebrating. Since the last out was recorded in the 2011 playoffs against the Milwaukee Brewers I was coming back to the ballpark a much thinner fan. My weight loss journey started with the goal being to be thin and trim by the time baseball season started and now here I am having accomplished that milestone.
Part of the reason why I wanted to have the weight loss portion completed by today was the fact that my life completely changes once baseball season starts. For 81 days and nights I will be at Chase Field watching and covering the team. I will leave for the ballpark usually by 4:15 PM for a 6:40 PM game and will not return until nearly 11 PM.
Having to manage around special eating times and dietary constraints was simply too much for me to deal with so I wanted to return to a somewhat normal routine for meals. Plus, I admit there are a few things that I just love to eat at the ballpark and I didn’t want to miss out.
I had already sacrificed Spring Training giving up having some of the food items that are only available at Salt River Fields; I didn’t want to have to do the same for the regular season. A funny thing happened along the way though; my food selection and dietary needs changed and I was no longer craving the foods I once didn’t think I could live without.
Stepping into the stadium you are immediately tempted with the aromas of hot dogs grilling and peanuts roasting. There are the colorful snow cones and bags of cotton candy being sold every few feet around the concourse. These are the things I had grown to love in seasons past but now I looked at them with disappointment. Sadly I didn’t really want any of them.
Sure the smells were amazing and brought back memories of sharing baseball with my family and watching history unfold on the diamond. But now I found myself questioning the nutritional value of each ballpark food item wondering what the fat content or number of sugars or how many carbohydrates were contained in each processed morsel.
At this moment I realized that the weight loss journey I had begun had now morphed into a lifestyle change that permeated into areas I did not think possible. Three months ago if you would have suggested that by Opening Day I would walk by the Hungry Hill sausage vendor and not stop to get one of their amazing Italian Sausage sandwiches with grilled onions and peppers I would have thought you were crazy. It’s hard to believe the choices I’m making have changed so dramatically.