How many years has it been since a pitcher threw the last pitch of a World Series and the first pitch of the following season's Opening Day? Whatever that number is, reset it back to 1, because tonight marks the return of the man last seen in Game 7 of the World Series, swagging out of the bullpen in the 5th inning with the swaggiest swagger ever swagged, smiting the dreams of small-market teams everywhere.

Tonight, the Mad Bum returns. IT'S OPENING DAY, PEOPLE!!!

Right now, as you're reading this, baseball games are being played. Meaningful ones that count! By the end of the day, we'll have teams that are winless and teams with perfect records! Players will be on pace for 1.000 batting averages and 200 HRs! It's Opening Day and the grass is freshly cut and the chalk lines are perfectly straight and people are pissing in cups at Wrigley and every single thing is possible. At the start of the season, all of our dreams seem doable. Even a repeat.

For the past five seasons, the Giants have been trolling baseball. They've now famously won three World Series, every other year, with two non-playoff seasons in-between. Win it all, win nothing, win it all, win nothing, win it all. The win-it-all Giants were not the best team in baseball in any of those three seasons. No one thought those Giants would win it all at the beginning of those seasons, or at the beginning of those post-seasons, or at the beginning of those World Series. And yet, won it all they did. Three times. The San Francisco Giants know that they just need to sneak in to the post-season--just get in the tournament--and they can run the table can keep on trollin'.

Just sneak into the tournament. That's the humble goal for this year. Can the Giants win the West? Of course. Is it likely? Hmmm. The Bums in L.A. are the richest team in baseball--they tell the Yankees to eat cake--and have won the West the last two seasons. Meanwhile, in San Diego, the Fathers have re-upped big time. San Francisco wears the rings and Southern California is looking mighty gollumly. But then again, never underestimate the uncanny ability of the Bums to blow it, and the Giants have already played with the Padres' shiny new toy, James Shields, last October. And just like Justin Verlander and Cliff Lee before him, we've wondered, "what's the big deal?"

You know who that's never said about? Madison. He's a big deal and you know it and your mama knows it. By the very nature of baseball, it's impossible for any single player to win a World Series by themselves, but Madison sure did try, didn't he? He damn near did. Hell, let's just give it to him and say yes, Madison won the 2014 World Series all by himself. And tonight, at the bottom of the 1st, Madison will pitch his first official pitch since his last official pitch was popped up into foul territory by third base and was caught for the final out of the World Series by our very own Kung Fu Panda...

Oh, Pablo. We loved you. Grown men and women and growing boys and girls wore pandas on their heads for you. Mission District restaurants stayed up late waiting for you. You once hit on my girlfriend-at-the-time at Infusion Lounge, you cheeky devil you. San Francisco loved you, Pablo. Sure, you weren't in the Joe Montana/Jerry Rice realm of adoration, or the Barry Bonds/Steve Young level of love, but you were ranked right next to Mitch Richmond and Kirk Reuter and Merton Hanks. What I'm saying is, we loved you more than we loved Shinjo, and so long as you were in San Francisco, your beers (and beer-battered onion rings) were on us. And now this is how you do us? Oh Pablo. Have fun in Boston.

Today, the Giants play game 1 of 162(+). Now is the time to dream big. You're not allowed to laugh at dreams on Opening Day, so cash them in today. We're gonna win the Cy Young and the MVP and the Rookie of the Year awards? Sure, why not? We're gonna win the NL West and sweep the playoffs and repeat in the World Series? I like what I'm hearing. Two dollar Tuesdays at the ballpark? Wahahaha, you're stupid. Everything else though, doable. Now let's go do it!

This Week
Mon: @ Arizona, 7:10 PM
Tue: @ Arizona, 6:40 PM
Wed: @ Arizona, 6:40 PM
Thu: @ San Diego, 3:40 PM
Fri: @ San Diego, 7:10 PM
Sat: @ San Diego, 5:40 PM
Sun: @ San Diego, 1:10 PM

P.S. Anyone growing up watching and listening to Bay Area sports knows his voice. Lon Simmons, announcer for the Giants, the 49ers, and the A's, passed away yesterday. Whenever a homerun was hit, Lon would famously tell us to "tell it goodbye." Sadly, now we say goodbye to him. Thank you, Lon.