Opening Day, they say, is a blank slate.
For players, teams, and fans disillusioned by the frustrating results of a season gone by, there is no promise like that of Opening Day, wherein, amid the pomp and circumstance, there lies a very real chance to be born anew.
On Monday, however, as the baseball world bid adieu to winter's seemingly impregnable stranglehold, a handful of time-tested truisms - undeniable realities sturdier than time itself - endured.
Here are three of them:
Baltimore hates Jose Bautista. Throughout his tenure in Toronto, the six-time All-Star has done such a good job pissing off the Orioles and their fans that Dan Duquette, the president of baseball operations in Baltimore, admitted he didn't pursue the 36-year-old in free agency this winter because he's "a villain" and "our fans just don't like (him)." So, naturally, when the Orioles were rallying in the bottom of the ninth Monday against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards, Bautista did this:
I know what you're thinking. "Didn't Bautista go 0-for-5 and leave eight runners on base in a Blue Jays loss?" Well, yes, he did. But, honestly, Bautista hitting vindictive home runs against the Orioles is kind of played. See, nobody expected Bautista - the 12th-worst outfielder in the game last year, per Ultimate Zone Rating (min. 750 innings) - to burn Baltimore with his defense, and that's why it was such an exceptional troll job. And, frankly, after last year's American League wild-card game, the Blue Jays owning the Orioles is kinda tired, too.
Imagine, for a moment, that you work the Padres' Twitter account. It's Opening Day. You want to get your fans excited. But, like, there's only so much you can do, right? You can't draw blood from a stone, after all, and you can't contrive positive content from a horrifyingly emblematic 14-3 shellacking against a division rival without some serious effort. It's not hard to envision this scene unfolding in the Petco Park offices during Monday's loss to the Dodgers:
Social team coordinator: We need a cool highlight GIF, man.
Intrepid social team member: Uh...well..in the bottom of the sixth, when we were down by 11 runs, Miguel Diaz threw a really nice two-seamer.
Social team coordinator: (Visibly despondent) Fine.
You want to believe he's back, don't you? How could you not after watching that home run? Look at the launch angle. Look at the exit velocity. This is 2015 Bryce Harper. It has to be, no? Well, the thing is, Harper does this to us every year, pretty much, going deep on the first day of the season - he now has five homers in five career Opening Days - and getting us all to believe he's the best player on the planet (non-Mike Trout division). Such a tease, that 24-year-old who's one season removed from a 1.109 OPS (198 OPS+).
(Videos courtesy: MLB.com)