By Bob Stewart, Industry Vice President – INTERPHEX
A couple weeks ago, Pete Zezima, INTERPHEX Group Sales Director, wrote his “Spring is in the Air” blog post about his sons, baseball, and the hope of Opening Day and this industry. As this year’s INTERPHEX overlapped with Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, it made me realize that Pete’s sense of optimism played out at INTERPHEX 2011.
For baseball fans of any age Opening Day offers eternal hope for the season to come. For some it’s a quasi National Holiday or at least a reason to call in sick to work or skip school. With the INTERPHEX team in Connecticut it’s an opportunity to kick off the season long bantering between the Red Sox and Yankees fans. The Mets fans take sides depending upon which team they despise more.
I’m a Red Sox fan and I’d like to claim that I always have been but I wouldn’t be telling the truth. The first game I ever attended I sat in the Fenway Park bleachers with the Red Sox playing the Yankees. I remember rooting for the Yankees and vaguely recall Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle patrolling the outfield below me. But my Yankee fandom was short-lived as it was driven by sibling rivalry as my two older brothers were Sox fans. By about my sixth year even though I still battled with my brothers I came to my senses elevating the Red Sox and players like Carl Yastrzemski to god-like status.
But to prove I have no deep-seated, rivalry-driven hard feelings I’ll turn to Yankee Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio’s description of Opening Day, “You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”
Pete had it right. INTERPHEX 2011 was Opening Day for the industry that has gone through several difficult seasons in a row with the equivalent of high ERAs, low batting averages, and terrible won/loss records. But applying Joltin’ Joe’s sentiment, this year at INTERPHEX was very different. It felt positive and even if everyone didn’t feel that “something wonderful is going to happen”, there was an emerging sense of Opening Day hope and renewal.
What will the rest of the “season” bring for this industry? Going back to my first Red Sox/Yankees game, I don’t remember all the players but there’s a good chance that Yogi Berra caught for the Yankees. Perhaps Yogi would answer with something like, “I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.”
Having just come back from INTERPHEX 2011, my answer is that we have a solid season ahead of us.
Bob Stewart is the Industry Vice President for INTERPHEX. You can follow Bob on Twitter @INTERPHEX or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.