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Game 1: Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds - Opening Day

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Milwaukee Brewers
@ Cincinnati Reds

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011, 2:10 PM EDT
Great American Ball Park

Yovani Gallardo vs Edinson Volquez

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Now begins the 2011 season of Cincinnati Reds baseball. This Opening Day feels different from those of recent past. For years, the offseason felt impossibly long. When the previous season is effectively over by August, the winter months are that much colder. Opening Day has meant a new beginning, a fresh start, the chance to finally rinse the stale, festering taste of defeat from our mouths.

Not this year. This year, we have remained fat and vibrant through the lean months, sustained by the images of a pennant still projected on the backs of our eyelids. This has been the most comfortable offseason I've ever experienced as a Reds fan, so to be perfectly honest, it feels a bit early for Opening Day. That doesn't mean I'm any less excited, though.

These first three weeks of the season could be huge for our Reds. After the Brewers leave town, we get the Astros, Diamondbacks, Padres, Pirates, and Diamondbacks again. That looks to me like the perfect opportunity to build an early five-game NL Central lead. But first thing's first, and we have to deal with this formidable Brewers team. Fortunately, we will miss their new ace Zack Greinke as he will begin the year on the DL. Yovanni Gallardo is a legitimate ace though, so it won't be any easier.

Baseball is back, Reds fans. Now let's go win ourselves a World Series.