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Scandals, schmandals: We still can't wait for Opening Day!

Is there a baseball fan in this town who isn't ready to puke right about now? The disappointing Mark McGwire testimony and, to a much larger extent, the whole steroids controversy; the loss of Edgar Renteria; the drawn-out Ankiel Saga's latest twist; the still-bitter aftertaste of the October Implosion. This winter has been more than a season of discontent -- it's been a slow-motion roller coaster of nausea that dropped and dropped but never hit bottom.

But as an ex-Cardinal recently noted, let's not talk about the past -- let's focus on the positives. And the largest positive is that the 2005 Major League Baseball season began anew on Sunday, April 3. And as large a role as history plays in the game, these nascent days of the season are when none of what has come before matters. All the teams are equal in the standings. No one is leading the league in anything. All the players are fresh, healthy (mostly) and as eager to take the field as the fans are to watch them do it. A wise man once noted that baseball is the most democratic of games because the rule of "fair ups" is always in effect, so each team has an equal number of opportunities to win.

So enjoy the democracy in action; let it soothe your upset tummy or at least replace the sickly rumble with the flutter of butterflies as Rolen stabs a hard-hit grounder just this side of fair. St. Louis celebrates the National League Champions with a full day of pep rallies, concerts and general hoopla throughout downtown. The last-ever Opening Day festivities at Busch Stadium (Walnut Street and Broadway) take place on Friday, April 8, on the Walnut Street side of the stadium (near the Stan Musial statue). The free Official KMOX Pep Rally begins at noon, and the first home game (against the Philadelphia Phillies) begins at 3:15 p.m. The game is sold out, so visit a nearby TV or, better yet, listen to it on the radio at work and picture yourself soaking up the glory of America at its finest, instead of working for The Man.

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