Opening Day is special for everyone who jogs out between the lines. For some, though, it’s extra special with special sauce on the side. 

We’re talking about the teams and players who rise to the occasion and truly leave their mark, who channel all those months of downtime, offseason machinations and spring preparation into one long-awaited burst of success. Or, alternately, failure—that matters too.

Yes, it’s only one game out of 162; there’s ample time for heroes to rise and fall. But it’s a big deal, at least symbolically.

And while it’s folly to draw any sweeping conclusions from a single slate of games, there are takeaways worth highlighting. 

Without further ado, onto the specialness.

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