MINNEAPOLIS — There really is nothing quite like baseball's Opening Day.
It's arguable it should be a national holiday. Every year, plenty of kids come down with a, well, sickness, and just so happen to not be available for school that day.
That feeling never really leaves, even if you've been around the game at the highest level for most of your life. In the case of Indians manager Terry Francona, it still holds a special place for him.
Francona said he woke up at 4:30 a.m. Thursday and couldn't get back to sleep. At 7 a.m., he finally got up and went swimming and was up for the rest of the day.
"Yeah, we're not going to get rewarded more than one win or one loss, but it's really a special day," Francona said before the Indians' season opener Thursday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. "It's part excitement, part nervousness, a little bit of terror: 'Did I remember how to do this?' But then you get into the game, and it's back to baseball."
On the other side of that timeline is Eric Stamets, who toed the line for the Opening Day introductions on Thursday for the first time. He had some family in town. He had some nerves.
Even the phone call to family that he would make the team to break camp was emotional.
"Once you say it out loud — obviously, I’ve been in big league spring training for a couple years — [but] to be on this end of it is a little different," Stamets said. "It’s a dream come true. It’s a lot of emotions, a lot of different emotions. It’s just exciting."
Everybody remembers their first.
"Those are things you try not to lose sight of because you get so consumed with winning the game," Francona said. "You only get one first Opening Day. I'm sure his feet probably won't feel like they're touching the ground."
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.