Last year was my first ever Opening Day in the big leagues, and it was awesome. For it to be at home, that was really cool. The fact that we had King Felix going for the Mariners with a packed house always makes it fun. We got to do the introductions on the line, and that's always great, something you never get tired of doing.
It was cool to be able to do it as the defending division champions. That was special, and to have them call your name and be able to come out of the dugout to so many cheers, it's an indescribable feeling. Everyone was yelling 'Dooo,' and it sounded like they were booing at first. That gave me goose bumps. That was really cool. Unfortunately we lost and I didn't get to pitch, but it's one of those days that's still memorable. Opening Day is just different, and it's always awesome.
The night before is very similar to the first game of the playoffs. You have trouble going to sleep, but the next day you bounce out of bed. It's like being a kid on Christmas Eve. All of the stuff that you've worked for all offseason and all through Spring Training has finally culminated in Opening Day. Just like the playoffs, all the work that you did all season long culminates in a postseason berth. There's just so much adrenaline, plus a ton of electricity in the Coliseum. It's a great atmosphere.
Everything I do in this uniform is a little bit more special, or maybe I look at it a little bit differently, having grown up going to games there. I know I see the Coliseum differently than a lot of guys, because I can still see Mount Davis. I remember going when I was a kid, and it used to be one of the most beautiful parks in baseball, with a great view of the Oakland hills in the background.
Every game I go out there, I can look up and see the section we used to sit in. That becomes even more special on games like Opening Day. We never made it to an Opening Day, because I was usually in school, but I might've caught Game 2 or 3 of the season.
When you're walking out on the field wearing the same uniform that was your first introduction to baseball -- that's what got you into baseball, going to A's games -- that's something special for me. And that team I watched growing up, they were good. They were awesome. One of the best teams in baseball. To be on a team that could possibly be as good as that team was 25 years ago, that's pretty cool when you think about it. That'll probably be on my mind during the national anthem. That, thrown in with the route I took to get there, that's something I think about every day. When you realize how cool of an opportunity it is to play this game and be on a team that's this much fun, it's still sometimes weird to me.
It sounds cliché and corny, but there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of how strange the road I took to get here was, and I almost didn't get here at all. I almost went out on the training tables in the Minor League somewhere. So I'm very grateful for every opportunity that I have here, and it's hard not to think about. It keeps things in perspective, and in a way I'm glad I had those experiences. It keeps me in a good place, not ever being too high or too low.
Sean Doolittle is a reliever for the Oakland Athletics.