For Valentine, it marked his first game in a Major League dugout since 2002, the year his Mets' tenure ended.
"To tell you the truth, I had the same feeling that I think most of the guys have," Valentine said. "I talked to a lot of them at the hotel early and saw some of them here now. It's Opening Day. There's only one Opening Day. It's a very special day. Start of something new."
Did being away from it for a while make Thursday more special than other Opening Days?
"I guess, yeah. I don't know how to do more or less," Valentine said. "It's what it is right now. I'm excited to be part of it."
The nerves are something Valentine enjoys.
"I hope so," Valentine said. "You know, I knew it was time to stop playing when I got into the batter's box and I couldn't create a little adrenaline, you know? A little feel. I hope I have that today."