NORMAN — Josh Hamilton jumped into a cab, headed to Great American Ball Park and got all nostalgic.
The Los Angeles Angels newcomer saw Cincinnati fans packed downtown and remembered making his big league debut in the same spot a while ago.
“People are lined up in the streets, there’s the parade,” he said. “It’s just an awesome feeling. It never gets old — opening day — especially when you’re where you started.”
All across the majors, baseball was in full swing Monday.
Bryce Harper put on quite a show in Washington. The 20-year-old star hit home runs his first two times up and earned a few “M-V-P!” chants during a 2-0 win over Miami.
At Target Field in Minnesota, players and fans bundled up. It was 35 degrees with 17 mph winds as the Twins took on ace Justin Verlander and the AL champion Detroit Tigers.
“It’s whoever whines about it the least, I think, who’ll have the best chance of winning today,” Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said.
The slugger’s remedy for the cold?
“Put hot sauce all over and throw some long sleeves on and some long johns and go out there and run around and enjoy it,” he joked.
The hot chocolate line was 12 to 15 people deep at the ballpark while the beer vendors were generally talking among themselves.
“It’s opening Day. You can’t not come,” said fan Ripley Peterson, dressed in six layers for the chill. “I love baseball, I love the Twins. Opening day is a special thing. Unless it’s like a blizzard I’m going to be here.”
The 2013 season officially opened Sunday night when the Houston Astros beat Texas.
Most every other team was in action Monday. From old rivalries on the coasts — Red Sox-Yankees in New York, Giants-Dodgers in Los Angeles — there was plenty to celebrate with a dozen games.