I made my Major League debut in June 2008, but I missed Opening Day in '09 with an elbow injury. It was hard not to be there and be part of it and get your name announced. You don't like to be on the outside. It's definitely a better feeling being involved. The way I look at it, it's fun to be included and to be part of something really special. To be left on the outside is definitely tough.
But at the same time, you're watching your teammates. You want to be there with them, but you're giving them their due. You're supporting them, excited for them, happy for them.
The next year, when we opened the season in Houston, I got to pitch that day. In fact, I got to pitch the first couple of days of that season. Though we were on the road, I was announced as part of an Opening Day roster. "No. 54, Sergio Romo," got announced alongside my teammates.
It was kind of funny, because on that Opening Day, I think I got an out and it was the second out of the inning, and I started to run off the field. I was really excited. So what I remember most about that day has to be that -- a little-kid experience, a little bonehead mistake, thinking there were three outs when there were only two.
I even loved Opening Day when I was growing up in Brawley, Calif. It was always exciting just to start it off. I remember when I was 11, playing Little League. I was on the Cardinals, and on Opening Day we played the Yankees. There were two or three games that day, so they were abbreviated -- it wasn't six-inning games, it was four-inning ballgames, so that everybody could play a game on Opening Day.
I remember pitching a four-inning no-hitter. I don't know if it counts, but I know I threw a four-inning no-hitter on Opening Day when I was 11. I got the Yankees back then. A little chubby guy throwing changeups. It was pretty cool.
What am I thinking about when I stand on the foul line with my teammates after Opening Day introductions and the national anthem is played and maybe some jets treat us to a flyover? It's hard not to smile. It's hard not to be like, "Oh, my gosh, there's a flyover!" There's things that you look at -- it could be at home or on the road, there's always something you can pick out -- the way the fans treat you, the way they receive their own team.
Opening Day ... yeah. It's only one of 162, but it stands out. It really does.