Apr 8, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Atlanta Braves players run out of the gate in the outfield wall to open the season at home against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Phillies 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

'Tis The Season

There are very few things that baseball fans can agree on when it comes to their teams. Be it a close call late in the game or a risky move by a manager when the game is on the line, there will always be an argument waiting to happen and that, in and of itself, is the beauty of the game.

But today is a little bit different. Today is the holiday of all holidays. A day when fans can celebrate together the return of something so dearly missed. Today is Opening Day and for that we must all be thankful.

Mar 31, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; General view of the Opening Day logo on bases before a game between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Originally reserved as an honor for the sport’s first professional team in Cincinnati, Opening Day has forever been regarded as a day to set everything aside in favor of a day at the ballpark. It’s the only regular season game in which entire rosters are announced on the field. It’s the only day in which day games are welcomed by fans, who have longed to feel the sun on their face. It’s the only day in which every team can say they are battling for first place.

Opening Day always represents a new chapter for Major League Baseball and the changes that the future will hold. Among this year’s alterations are the new-look Astros who have jumped into the American League West and the introduction of inter-league play during every day of the season. Further headlines will undoubtedly include the follow up campaigns of both Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, as well as the three-headed monster in the Atlanta Braves outfield and the free-spending Dodgers.

But for all teams looking to make its mark during the 2013 season, no game holds more importance than game one of 162. Well, not exactly, but it certainly feels that way. Realistically, game one means as much as number 40, and number 80, and every other game in between. Take, for instance, the New York Mets, who hold the league’s best Opening Day winning percentage at just over .600. While the Mets have historically played well on the first day of the season, including a 1-0 win over the Braves in 2012, their luck generally runs out before the summer heat moves in. For the Red’s, however, Opening Day has often been a sign of things to come. In all five of its championship seasons, Cincinnati has won its season opener. So, take it for what you want, but there’s no denying that this day is something special.

There’s always reason to hope, and for all 30 teams on Opening Day, not one shred of doubt can be found. In front of packed stadiums and hungry fans, baseball returns to bring us the first taste of spring. It’s pageantry and celebration for both fans and players on this much-anticipated holiday, as for the first time since October baseball once again matters.

So wherever you are and whichever team has your heart, enjoy today for what it means and what it is. Happy Opening Day.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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