It's always a harbinger of hope, sure. But in this year's mixed-up, locked-out sports world, baseball's Opening Day is something else, too. It's shelter from the storm.
The undercurrent leading into 2011 is clear: If you care about sports, you might want to learn about economic and labor issues as much as you study the mysteries of the Cover 2 shell.
San Francisco will always have the 2010 World Series championship to celebrate. But the rest of us should remember baseball the way it was in 2010, because it might never be the same.