Source: FanGraphs

As far as Opening Days go, the third such iteration for the 2012 season just might take. Sure, it isn’t the traditional wall-to-wall orgy of good vibes and first pitches but what yesterday lacked in comprehensiveness it made up for it with greatness.

If you like pitching, yesterday was your day. If you like drama, you were in the right place indeed.

Turns out most of these guys getting Opening Day nods for reason, don’t they? Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay vied for the non-binding Best Pitcher in Baseball title, each man tossing eight electric, shutout innings before giving way to expensive closers. At that point, their fates diverged.

Young contender to the BPiBB throne Clayton Kershaw only lasted three innings due to sickness, though it is something of a miracle he lasted that long.

Tommy Hanson and Johan Santana looked great/good enough in their season debuts after long injury layoffs, while the Marlins lost again. Cameron Maybin and Matt Kemp showed center field in the NL West is home to a lot of talent, just as the ballparks of that division are pretty cool places to hang out, I think.

It was even Strasmas! A great day, really.

All of this went down in the “shadow” of the longest Opening Day game in baseball history. It wasn’t the prettiest game in history — thanks to the near-frigid temperatures — but Justin Masterson put on a show while Jose Bautista proved that he is indeed quite good. Edwin Encarnacion briefly returned to “E5″ form and the freshly rebuilt Blue Jays bullpen shut the door and kept it firmly shut for eleven innings. There was nearly a brawl! Something for everyone.

It all happens again today, with more great pitchers and more pomp and more circumstance. It isn’t really Opening Day in the macro sense but after a great day of drama, we can’t ask for much more than more great baseball.

It is back – baseball is here and it is a glorious thing. Drink it in, the dog days are just around the corner.