VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The otherwise-smart folks at the Associated Press continue to get it wrong.
It ought to be "Opening Day" -- uppercase O, uppercase D. The same as Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day.
They're not national holidays, either. Schools aren't closed. We're still supposed to go to work. But they get capital-letter treatment.
"Opening Day" should, too.
Despite the growing cynicism wrought by the greed and sense of entitlement embodied by too many of today's professional athletes, baseball's Opening Day remains a nostalgic slice of Americana, as widely anticipated and warmly embraced as any sports happening in the land.
The Super Bowl might be bigger and more celebrated, but it's not better. It doesn't connect with us -- doesn't touch our hearts, stir our souls, tickle our memories -- in nearly the same way.
In the wonderful baseball classic, "Field of Dreams," we were told, "Baseball marks the time."
Certainly, Opening Day does.
It arrives at the same time each year, bringing with it all the optimism and hope of a new spring, and tells us winter is over, summer is approaching, that a new baseball season beckons. The ballpark again will open its arms and welcome us back, offering the all-too-rare opportunity to believe, if only for one magical day, that anything is possible.
"It's still special to me," former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent was saying Tuesday from his John's Island home. "I'll make sure to be around Thursday afternoon to watch the games on television.
"To me, Opening Day is like the return of a family that's been away on vacation. It feels like an old family friend has come home. It brings back something I've been missing."
Not since the New York Mets invited him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in 1993 -- one year after he resigned as baseball's eighth commissioner -- has Vincent attended an Opening Day game.
The 72-year-old former Columbia Pictures and Coca-Cola executive hasn't attended any baseball game in more than three years.
"I'm in a wheelchair now and can't get around easily, so someone would have to take me," Vincent said. "But I haven't been invited anywhere, either."
Vincent said he has, at times, publicly criticized current Commissioner Bud Selig. And the owners, who've made wads of cash during Selig's reign, see no reason to have him around.
"Bud is mad at me," Vincent said. "I have second-guessed him and have been critical when I thought it was appropriate. I've also praised him when I thought it was appropriate. But it's obvious the owners have no need for me, and I'm fine with it."
He's still a fan.
He still loves baseball.
And though he's a self-described "traditionalist" who believes baseball was severely damaged by the steroid scandal, he refuses to allow the cheats to dampen his affection for the game.
In fact, he's encouraged by the fact that most baseball fans have chosen not to recognize the records stolen by Barry Bonds and the other frauds whose feats were the product of some wrongheaded science project.
"That's a good thing," Vincent said, "but as much as that era hurt baseball, the health of the game is quite good, financially. It hasn't really affected baseball, and it's not going to affect me."
Especially on Opening Day.
Even on a Thursday -- the first time baseball, wanting to avoid the World Series spilling into November, has opened its season on anything but a Sunday or Monday.
"As I said, I'm a traditionalist, but I realize some things need to change," Vincent said. "The season starts too early and ends too late. It's way too early to be playing baseball in many parts of the country, and November is too late. It's not a cold-weather game.
"But, as we all know, it's all about the money."
Yes, it is.
Too often, it's about multimillion-dollar contracts and ticket prices and TV deals.
But not on Opening Day.
"I'm an optimist," Vincent said. "I think it's going to be a good season. But if the Red Sox and Phillies play each other in the World Series, I'll be astounded. I know they're everyone's favorites, but it never happens.
"Who'd have predicted on Opening Day last year that the Giants and Rangers would get there?"
Only their fans.
That's all part of it. That's part of the magic of Opening Day.