There are numerous cliches riddled with hope and renewal to describe Opening Day, but few can deny the invigorating anticipation of a winning season.

Chris Hoiles, a 49-year-old Spring Grove resident and former catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, said the first day of baseball season is as exciting for the players as it is the fans.

"Opening Day is always special. It's the start of a new year, and you feel like you have the team to beat," he said.

Hoiles will be signing autographs during the Orioles' home opener at 3:05 p.m. Monday in Camden Yards and attends more than half of the home games throughout the year.

"It will be pretty crazy. A lot of people will be excited, especially after a long winter. Everyone will be ready to get outside," he said.

First game: The Birds will start their 60th season by taking on the Boston Red Sox in one of several tough American League East match-ups.

In a division where the Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees and Red Sox are all vying for playoff spots, each team is tough to beat, Hoiles said.

"The Orioles play in the hardest division in the game," he said.

Playing into October won't be easy, "but if the guys stay healthy, they have a legitimate shot of making it," Hoiles said.

Several baseball analysts predict the team will improve on last year's 85-77 record, but most are favoring the Rays or Red Sox to win the division.

Fans' hopes: York fans have greater hopes.


"I'd like to think they'll win the World Series, but I think they can go far. It's a very, very tough division and all the teams have potential to be on top," said Julie Purcell, a 43-year-old Red Lion resident.

Purcell is attending the home opener with her 76-year-old father.

"I've loved the Orioles for as long as I can remember, and it's a really, really fun atmosphere to be around other Orioles fans," she said.

Purcell is hoping for a win on Opening Day and predicts her beloved Birds will rack up 80 to 90 wins this season.

Season-ticket holder Carrie Reich is also predicting 90 wins.

"Things look pretty good if they stay healthy and the pitching holds up. I think the defense and hitting will be pretty good," said the 37-year-old Springettsbury Township resident.

Reich is attending Opening Day with her 78-year-old father and said if the Orioles beat the Red Sox — the team that won the AL East last year — it would be something special.

"If the Orioles can take the lead, it will be doubly exciting to beat them," she said.

And Reich carries that optimism through her predictions for the whole season.

"This is three years in a row that we have a good chance of making the playoffs," she said. "Opening Day starts all of that. Everybody starts with the same record. We're not ahead, we're not behind."

—Reach Candy Woodall at