Opening Day really means a lot to me. It means that your dreams have come true. Being in the Major Leagues as a baseball player is what every little kid who plays baseball dreams about, and it's awesome. The fanfare and the baseball and the feelings are really good on Opening Day.
My first Opening Day in the Major Leagues was with the Royals in 2007 at Kauffman Stadium. It was amazing. I was 22, and it was an amazing day. It was really good for me. My family was there, my wife Karla was there (she was my fiancée at the time, but we got married during the All-Star Game on a beach in Mexico). It was an amazing feeling. I was hoping to pitch. I didn't, but we won the game, and I threw the second day to pitch in my first Major League game. All the dreams came true for me.
The next year, I had my first save on Opening Day. It was in Detroit; it was just one of the dreams you have as a kid to save a game on Opening Day. I gave up a double to start the inning in the 11th, but I struck out a batter with a runner on third and one out and then got the following batter to ground out to get the save.
In addition to five Opening Days with the Royals, I also experienced Opening Day in Mexico while playing for Mexico City. Opening Day is a lot different in Mexico. They have so many different things going on. They bring important people to the stadium and do a lot of dancing and music and different things like that. In the United States, it's quieter; it's like time for baseball, let's go.
I have not been able to pitch on Opening Day the past two years because of Tommy John surgery. It was sad because the injury took me down for two years. Now I'm expecting to have one in Arlington, and it will be great, especially with Greg Maddux throwing out the first pitch and Yu Darvish on the mound. Now I am healthy and pitching good again.
I have been waiting for this for a long time. I was in Opening Day at Arlington last year, but I wasn't able to pitch because I was still on the disabled list. But now that I'm able to pitch, it's going to be amazing.
A lot of emotions will be going through me on Opening Day. I will be proud of myself and thankful to God for giving me another chance to be at Opening Day. A lot of things will be going through my mind, so much happiness, because I haven't been able to do it the last two years. I can't wait for Opening Day.
Joakim Soria is a pitcher for the Texas Rangers. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.