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Happy Opening Day, FishStripers!

Ah, sweet Opening Day. The moment we've been dreaming about through the long, cold warm winter has arrived at last, and tonight at 7:10 PM, a brand new season of Marlins baseball will be officially underway.

I'll spare you the "we're all in first place" blather, because, well, Opening Day was yesterday for quite a few MLB teams, so aside from being cliche, the statement is also just really not true. And besides, today we're more focused on some of the "lasts" for the Marlins this season.

Today is our very last Opening Day experience at the home of Dolphins football. Love that cavernous, awful-sight-lined orange beast or hate it, JRS has been the Marlins home for 18 seasons, and it is where our love affair with the teal and black began. Today is the last Opening Day where it may be necessary to use the giant white tarp that for Fish fans has become almost as synonymous with baseball as the diamond itself. And of course, today is the last Opening Day when our favorite team will be referred to as the "Florida" Marlins, and the last Opening Day when our current jerseys, Ts and caps will be in fashion. (Though we're emotionally prepared for that, since Fish fans are used to jerseys becoming obsolete about a week after they're purchased.)

But let's dry our eyes and back up a bit. We have a full season to play before we can jump ahead to all of the bittersweet changes 2012 will usher in. For now, it's time to meet our 2011 Florida Marlins.

It's time to stop speculating as to how many millions of baseballs Mike Stanton will jack into the parking lot of Sun Life Stadium this season, and simply root for him to crush number one.

It's time to stop analyzing the rotation on paper, and just cheer as JJ throws that inevitable first-pitch strike. 

It's time to stop biting our nails over the Marlins' decision to park Cogz in center, and simply hold our breath as he breaks for the first fly ball that comes his way.

It's time for a new season of Marlins baseball. So finish painting yourself teal, meditate in preparation of restraining your fists when faced with the unbearable Mets fans surrounding you at the game tonight, grab some cash for parking, peanuts and frozen lemonade, and head to the park (you know, once it's open and stuff).

Baseball is back!