I'll tell you why: because going to the second game of the Seattle Mariners season, when they were playing the Twins at the Metrodome here in Minnesota, provoked an existential crisis.
Look, I hate baseball because I love baseball. I hate that I care about the games because I'm putting my happiness in the hands of strangers. Sometimes those are the strong confident hands of Ichiro Suzuki, other times they're the pudgy useless hands of Carlos Silva. I'm older now so I don't get too wrapped up in but still, a little. I guess it's better to feel angst than nothing but I'm not so sure. Where's Proust?
Also, with the Mariners this year, we have the return of Ken Griffey, Jr. For those who don't know, Griffey was the #1 overall draft pick in the 1987 baseball draft. He joined the big league club two years later and became the Mariners first real star. Young, exuberant, brilliant in center field, could hit the ball a mile, he emerged at the same time I really fell for the team (it was a college summer in Walla Walla with little else to do but get obsessed). As the nineties moved along, Griffey was the star of playoff teams, brooded a little with jealousy when Alex Rodriguez emerged, and emerged as one of the best players in the game. Then he had a sort of mid-career crisis and engineered a trade to Cincinnati where he grew up. Several years of injury and mediocrity followed and this off season he signed on for one more year with the Mariners. So he's back but he's fat and he's slow and he's old. But he's back! I took my kids to see the game so they could say they've seen Griffey play for the Mariners but there at the plate stood this guy who looked like he had eaten Ken Griffey, Jr. I thought it was a little gratuitous that every time he stepped up bat, the Jumbotron read "EVERYTHING DECAYS!" Okay, that didn't really happen but I imagined it really clearly.
Of course, seeing the opening of a season also means other players with whom you are now in an arranged marriage. I was never aware of the existence of Endy Chavez or Franklin Guttierez or Ronnie Cedeno before this week but now my family must cheer their efforts. And as we do, I wonder if 2029 will feature my kids cheering on the return of old fat depressing Endy Chavez whom they still completely love unconditionally.