There’s something funny, something illogical, about the promise of Opening Day.

We know the odds are against the team we follow. We know the odds are against the key players staying healthy, the young players thriving, the bullpen lasting. We know that even if the 2011 Twins win a division featuring three talented, $100-million-payroll teams, their season could - almost certainly will - end in some manner of disappointment, whether at the hands of the Yankees or some lesser rival.

We still hope, though, because those of us who love the game want nothing more than a summer filled with compelling, relevant games.

Friday afternoon, after their workout at Roger Centre, Justin Morneau and Tsuyoshi Nishioka spoke, and both sounded nervous.

There are good reasons for this. Morneau is playing in his first big-league game since he suffered a concussion at Rogers Centre on July 7. Nishioka is playing in his first Major League game.

Still, it's instructive to see these two players - a former MVP signed to a lucrative long-term contract and an All-Star and Gold Glove winner from Japan - sounded worried about playing in a regular-season baseball game.

Morneau admitted this will be a new test for him after a slate of spring training games. He admitted that breaking up a doubleplay in front of ``63,000’’ fans, knowing the game matters, will tell him more about his condition, perhaps more than he cares to know.

Nishioka kept his answers to one or two words, then ducked into the clubhouse.

Mathmatically, logically, logistically, this is one of 162. As Andy MacPhail used to tell me, ``You can never remove the human element from baseball,’’ and on Friday afternoon, Morneau and Nishioka looked very vulnerable. Very human.





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A strange place for Opening Day

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Late Night with Justin Morneau