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Opening Day

Logic is good. When I realized that Joe Carter was an overrated out-making machine, I felt so evolved, like some Galapagos finch that learned out to use its beak to crack open a coconut, or maneuver a laptop to run Nigerian 419 scams. I felt superior, like a good elitist should.

Logic can be so freaking lame, though. When a 54-year-old Joe Carter came over in a desperation trade in 1998, logic told us that a player who wasn't that great in his prime wouldn't be much help in an older, decrepit form. Except Carter hit .292/.322/.562 in the last 115 at-bats of his career, helping the Giants play past their 162nd game.

So on Opening Day, it's helpful to remember how freaking lame logic can be sometimes. Logic says that Aubrey Huff, coming off the worst season of his career, isn't likely to be better than Travis Ishikawa was last year. Logic says that Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria might not even be at rock bottom yet. Logic says that Bengie Molina will get 600 at-bats because some sort of celestial force hates us all. Logic says that young pitchers don't just arrive fully formed, dipped in the River Styx, and ready to win Cy Youngs in their first two full seasons.

Wait, but that last one happened despite the logic. Which is my point. Sometimes logic needs a big ol' wedgie. Sometimes it's best to grow a freaky, bunker-in-Wyoming beard of irrational hope and give Occam's Razor a rest. Maybe Renteria really was bad last year only because he was injured. Maybe Rowand is astrologically bound to a bizarre triennial surge in production. Maybe Huff is really the player from 2008, not 2009.

Maybe. Probably not. But damned if Opening Day isn't the time to believe everything in that last paragraph. Last year on Opening Day, Travis Ishikawa broke the game open with a long, bases-clearing triple. And I thought, dang, maybe his Fresno numbers were for real. The Giants won, and all was right with the world. Well, except for Tim Lincecum, who was erratic and ineffective, which were problems he was sure to struggle with for the rest of the season. At no point did I think about Ryan Spilborghs. It was Opening Day.

So today's a day for all of us amateur Waldorfs and Statlers to come down from the balcony and enjoy some baseball, free from logic, pessimism, and griping. Sweet, sweet baseball. It's been too long.