By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Apr 03, 2012 at 8:00 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

Friday is Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers, though the 2012 Major League Baseball season officially began ... last week? (Remember - Oakland and Seattle officially opened the year in Japan at the end of March).

I've never understood the appeal of Opening Day, even as a youngster who loved baseball with a passion. I was all set to be the next Rickey Henderson – at least until they started throwing off-speed stuff.

Perhaps it's something that has to be ingrained in you by others, like being taken to consecutive opening days by your parents or your dad lets you skip school to watch it on TV. I don't know. I never got into the pomp and circumstance.

I've covered a few Opening Days, my favorite being a Mark Buehrle-Jake Westbrook masterpiece in 2005 that lasted one hour and 51 minutes. Fans were ticked because they cut off beer sales in the seventh inning, which was only about an hour after first pitch on a sunny afternoon.

Why did I like that one so much? One, it was perfectly pitched. I'll take 1-0 any day over 10-8. And, I was out of there before rush hour.

Trust me, I'm not a cynical, jaded sports writer. I still love sports and participate in them when I can (and when my knees allow). But I don't "get" Opening Day. It's 1/162 of a season. It means no more, no less, than the game on July 20 or Aug. 20.

Why does it matter who throws out the first pitch? Why break out new decorations and paint?

I'm not saying the vibe isn't fun. I've attended a couple of Brewers opening days as a spectator, actually, and it's a great scene. You can't beat tailgating at a baseball game, perhaps because the weather is generally better than football season.

I guess I just don't know why it's like that on this one day, as opposed to every day. I'm sure the Brewers – and other teams – wonder the same thing. It's the same team, the same players, the same game.

Maybe someone should celebrate the Opening Day of June, too. Or Opening Day of Summer Solstice. To me, it seems that arbitrary.

Friday will be fun, because baseball starts ... about a week after it officially started.

I'll tell you this, though – I'm really looking forward to the 17, the Opening Day of Tuesdays, when the Brewers return home from a seven-game road trip. That should be fun.

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.