I got a text message this morning from a friend who is also a former Ragin' Cajun baseball player.  It read:

I'm having a tough time thinking about this weekend.  I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel.

I told him this:  "You aren't supposed to feel anything except how you feel.  Because how you feel is okay.  They are YOUR feelings.  I'm not sure there are many people who know exactly how they are going to react on Friday.  There will be plenty of tears on Friday.  Then we are going to play a baseball game."

Personally, I'm excited about the start of baseball season.  I always am.  I love the game and I love to broadcast it.  I've always believed baseball was meant to be a "radio" sport.  And, I feel blessed to be able to bring the descriptions to the listeners.

But we all know this particular opening day is going to be unlike none other we've ever experienced.

I went to the inaugural meeting of the Diamond Club today.  Craig Melancon, who helps to coordinate the club, said it was as big a crowd as they've ever had.  I don't think that was a coincidence.

Coach Matt Deggs talked about honoring Tony Robichaux Friday night.  He said it will be an emotional night.  But he's told his players to embrace the emotion.  It's okay to hurt.  It's okay if someone cut a bushel of onions next to the players.  It's okay if the fans feel the same way.

As he put it, "at some time we'll run into a baseball game."

During the question and answer period, one man asked what the starting rotation would be this weekend.  Coach declined to divulge the information, saying he didn't want to give the opponents that much lead time.  Someone else asked him about the starting nine.  He mentioned just about everyone on the team.  We were able to figure out Hayden Cantrelle would play shortstop and Brennan Breaux would be in center field...if he wasn't on the mound.

But I think everyone already knew that.

Another man mentioned how Coach Deggs was settled in Huntsville and was making more money than any coach at that school and yet was willing to walk away from it, uproot his family and take on the task of Ragin' Cajun baseball.  The crowd gave Deggs a standing ovation.

"If it was the University of Siberia I still would have done it," Deggs said.  "It's where I'm supposed to be and I'm going to honor Coach."

Associate Head Coach Anthony Babineaux spoke for a few minutes, but he was overcome with emotion and had trouble getting out the words.  He wasn't the only one who got choked up.

There will be a ceremony before Friday night's game.  Tony Robichaux's family will be there.  So will nearly 100 former players.  Fans are urged to be in their seats by 5:45 for the scheduled 6:00 game.

It will be beautiful.  There will be a lot of tears shed.

And, that's okay.

Fans will be bonded closer than ever.  Mr. Vic's peanut roaster will be doing it's thing.  The smell of food from the Cajun Cooking Club will permeate the ball park.  We'll raise the flag, we'll sing a song with a hand over our hearts.  We'll sing "Put me in, Coach" at the top of our lungs.

And, it'll be good.

So, grab the hand of someone close to you and we will see you Friday at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park.

It's time for Ragin' Cajuns Baseball.

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