Aramis Ramirez pulled his Milwaukee Brewers warmup over his head, three minutes before he was to take to the field for stretch and batting practice a little after 10 a.m. He took a sip from a coffee cup, moving at a veteranâ€™s pace.
Now 35-years-old, Ramirez broke into the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a teenager 16 years ago. He made his debut in May 1998, and he was a September call-up in 1999. His first Opening Day came at the turn of the century, on April 4, 2000 against the Houston Astros.
Today marks his 15th Opening Day, but after 1,924 games and over 2,000 hits, itâ€™s a day that never gets old.
"No â€“ Opening Day, man," Ramirez said, "itâ€™s a great feeling. Itâ€™s a special, special thing. I think every baseball player should be able to accomplish it. Iâ€™ve been blessed to do it for many years."
His younger teammates were already out on the field, taped, sporting their eye black, excited for a new start and everything that could happen over 162 games.
"Coming into a new season, Opening Day is always different," Manager Ron Roenicke said. "Itâ€™s exciting but thereâ€™s also a lot of anxiety there."
"Weâ€™re not sure whatâ€™s going to happen and how the seasonâ€™s going to go. Some of them are wondering if Iâ€™m going to play or am I not going to play and whatâ€™s going to happen there. Itâ€™s a fresh start. We donâ€™t control, we canâ€™t control what happens."