justin verlander of the houston astros pitches in the third inning picture

Welcome Back Baseball: MLB Opening Day 2018

Take me out to the ballgame...finally.

It's that time of year again. When those two heart-warming little words echo across the baseball universe: Opening Day. While it may not be an official holiday, many baseball fans consider it the start of spring, as sunny blue skies show cold gray winter the door. And with the promise of a new season, comes a whole new chance to capture the unconditional beauty of baseball.

Playing Hooky Jamie Squire/Getty Images Playing Hooky A father and daughter arrive early for Opening Day at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. #MSDStrong Mark Brown/Getty Images #MSDStrong Florida native Anthony Rizzo and his Cubs teammates sported special T-shirts during warmups to honor the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Hello...Goodbye Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images Hello...Goodbye Ian Happ led 2018 off with a bang, crushing a home run on the very first pitch of the MLB season — the first player to do so since Dwight Evans in 1986. Sliding into 2018 Like... Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images Sliding into 2018 Like... The Red Sox dropped a thriller to Tampa Bay 6-4, but it was Eduardo Nunez who set the tone with a second inning inside-the-park home run. Red, White and Beard Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images Red, White and Beard Everything's bigger in Texas, including the facial hair. By the Hammer of Thor! Mike Stobe/Getty Images By the Hammer of Thor! Noah Syndergaard lived up to his superhero nickname in the Mets' 9-4 win over the Cardinals, finishing with 10 strikeouts and no walks to earn his first win in more than a year. Warp Speed, Mr. Machado Patrick Smith/Getty Images Warp Speed, Mr. Machado Baltimore's Manny Machado made a fast start to the season, stealing second base in a blur. Dog Days of March Mike Stobe/Getty Images Dog Days of March "Coffee" the dog didn't let the wet weather spoil his trip to Citi Field for the Mets' home opener against the Cardinals. Double Whammy Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Double Whammy Newest Yankee Giancarlo Stanton made a powerful debut, clubbing two home runs to lead New York to a 6-1 Opening Day win over the Blue Jays. Game Shaver Patrick Smith/Getty Images Game Shaver Adam Jones got a shaving cream pie in the face after a walk-off homer to beat the Twins 3-2 in 11 innings. Poetry in Motion Harry How/Getty Images Poetry in Motion Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw delivered a quality Opening Day outing, allowing just one ER. It wouldn't be enough, as L.A. lost to the rival Giants 1-0. Welcome Home Stephen Brashear/Getty Images Welcome Home Ichiro Suzuki's emotional return to Seattle was capped by a 2-1 win over the Indians. Winning Streak Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images Winning Streak The 2017 World Series champion Astros continued where they left off, winning their season opener against the Rangers 4-1 behind six shutout innings from Justin Verlander. Moon Over the Majors Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Moon Over the Majors A stellar sky blanketed Chavez Ravine during Dodger vs. Giants. Farewell 'Doc' Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Farewell 'Doc' Toronto honored the late Roy Halladay before their season opener against the Yankees, retiring his No. 32 in a touching ceremony with family and former teammates. Welcome to the Sho Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Welcome to the Sho He'll make his mound debut on Sunday, but Shohei Ohtani kicked off his much-anticipated MLB career with a single on the first pitch he saw. The Angels ultimately fell to the A's 6-5 in 11 innings. 'And Look Who's Coming Up…' Harry How/Getty Images 'And Look Who's Coming Up…' 1988 World Series hero Kirk Gibson, now 60, gave Dodgers fans another unforgettable moment in an emotional pregame ceremony.