Tradition and technology

I love technology. At least on Opening Day.

I type this on my laptop as the Phillies and Braves play on the MLB.TV app on my Kindle Fire beside me. Earlier today, this High Holy Day of sports and spring, y husband and I were watching one game on the HD TV while each watching another on our iPhones. Oh, glorious, glorious day, when baseball returns to the earth.

Of course, at 4 p.m., my attention focused solidly on my Dodgers, who heightened my joy to indescribable degrees by not just winning on Opening Day; not just shutting out their opponent on Opening Day; and not just doing all that while their starting pitcher, clubhouse-leading Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw, became the first hurler to itch a complete-game shutout while hitting a home run (the first of his career) on Opening Day since 1953 (Bob Lemon, Indians, Hall of Famer).

No, all these things happened against the Giants, the traveling Island of Misfit Toys, the team whose fake-beard-wearing, orange-and-black (a color combo that really doesn't work outside of Halloween) fans have to be told when to cheer at their designer ballpark-by-the-sea.

I. Hate. The. Giants. I must, as the New York version stole pennant after pennant from Brooklyn's Boys of Summer, including with a little hit by some bastard named Bobby Thomson in a game that happened 22 years before I was born but that I still can't talk about. I must, because present-day history is no less damning. Are you a goofy, gangly outfielder who looks like he's having a seizure in the on-deck circle? Come play for the Giants! Do you use shoe polish in the beard you grew to manufacture some sort of identity? Come play for the Giants! Are you a rail-thin, greasy-haired freak of nature whose mechanic- and gravity-defying delivery was bound to anger the Baseball Gods before long? Come play for the Giants! Are you a hulking, no-necked walking steroid whose own fans cheer for your *records* only grudgingly? Come play for the Giants!

Yes, they're the defending world champions, a title they also held in 2010, so call me jealous if you want. I'd hate them just as much if our teams were playing out the string in a meaningless three-game series in October. Their presence in the World Series drives me to root for the Junior League and its Sin-Against-Nature Designated Hitter. . Hate. The. Giants. And watching my boys in blue mow them down on Opening Day made me jumping-jack jubilant.

As did watching the game on MLB.TV. Yes, it was on ESPN, but MLB.TV is superior for many reasons, beginning with Vin Scully. On the MLB.TV broadcast, I got to hear Scully's venerated voice call every inning. I got to hear him say, as Kershaw tried in vain to field a grounder off the mound, "Clayton was all arms and legs and knees, and went down like a folding chair." 

I got to hear him call every inning because I didn't have to wait for the Red Sox/Yankees game to finish on their home network (even on Opening Day, ESPN led with the series it will show approximately 80 more times this season). I didn't have to sit through commercials. I didn't have to listen to Magic Johnson (much as I appreciate what his presence and purse strings have done for the Dodgers) try to speak coherently during an in-game interview. I just waited for Vin to come back.

It was a perfect moment on a gossamer-dream day, a day that also included a Web Gem-worthy MLB debut for former Gamecock Jackie Bradley Jr. in Boston's beat-down of the Yankees.

And even though it looks like my husband's Phillies - whom I have respected for years for being dirt-baggers - are going to lose to the Braves, there is magic to be had here, too - namely, in the form of Chase Utley, who needs a double to hit for the cycle despite having no cartilage in his knees. Watching Utley leg - to the extent that he can leg - out a triple is motivation enough to wake up and apply for more jobs tomorrow. If he can make it to third, I can damn well send out Yet Another resume.

March Madness was, fittingly, about basketball, and the boys of the hardwood aren't done holding court just yet. But today is the start of baseball, the official beginning of spring, and the day when everyone's team is either in first or no more than one game out.

It is a fantastic day. And it's one that the bells and whistles I so often bob and weave to avoid have made all the more wonderful.