You feel like a kid again. I don't care how old you are, how many you've been to, whether it's your first one or if it's your last or if it's your 13th, it doesn't matter.
You're excited to put your uniform on and get to the ballpark. I would say most of the guys get there an hour earlier than they would at any other point and time throughout the season. It's just a fun, fun day for a lot of people, and Lord willing, I'll have a few more.
Opening Day is just the start of something great for everyone in America. Our game is called America's Pastime. Everyone for the most part generally loves our sport and loves to see it back. It means spring is in full-fledge effect and the summer is on its way. Who doesn't get excited about that?
It's just an exciting time for us no matter if you're playing in it, starting in it or even on the bench. Obviously getting to start it like I've been fortunate enough to do in the past is fun as well. There's a little extra adrenaline. It's just one game, but it's an awfully fun game.
Even the little things are different on Opening Day. Just walking in the dugout and walking around for the first time, you have your official team together for the first time and you're wishing your teammates good luck and telling them to have a healthy year. Everything about that day just seems a little more special than most of the other ones that you're going to have throughout the next six months.
I remember my first Opening Day start in 2006 for the Padres. I pitched against the Giants in San Diego and Jason Schmidt was on the mound for the Giants. Mike Piazza hit an opposite-field home run and we won. In 2007, I pitched against Barry Zito in San Francisco, and we won that, too.
It's really fun when you're at home and you get to do it in front of your home crowd and you go out and win. It's just one game of many to come, but it's so different. The only thing that you can really compare it to is when the postseason starts.
This is my first Opening Day with the Red Sox, and I just love our situation, coming off what we did last year.
And just four days after our first opener in Baltimore, we get to do it all over again at Fenway.
I would imagine that's going to be a special day for a lot of guys in this room and a lot of people throughout the city of Boston.
Before that game starts, everyone gets to celebrate what happened last year. And we have the ring ceremony.
Everybody talks about you being after that ring. You're after the championship. The ring just symbolizes the piece of memorabilia you'll always have that commemorates how special winning a championship is.
For that day to finally come, and you put your hands on that piece of memorabilia and it's yours, you can even imagine what that will feel like. You fought your whole professional career for it.
I think the city will look back and reflect on the year it had, the ups and downs of that year. I think there will be a lot of joy in Boston that day and hopefully we can find a way to beat the Brewers and give them more joy.