We've made it through only one weekend of a long baseball season. But once again, this fabulous sport has reminded us that it sure isn't last year anymore. How? In all these ways
• Who was the first National Leaguer to hit two home runs in a game in 2011? It was a guy, naturally, who never hit two homers in any game over the previous four seasons -- Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan.
• And who hit the first walk-off homer of 2011? That, of course, was a man who hit no walk-offs last year and, in fact, hadn't hit a walk-off in his previous 552 games over the past five years -- the Reds' other catcher, Ramon Hernandez.
• The Indians gave up 15 runs to the White Sox on Opening Day. So how many times did they give up 15 in any game last year? That would be none. Obviously.
• Then again, no Indians pitcher allowed 10 runs in a start all last season. And how many did Fausto Carmona allow Opening Day? Yep, 10.
• Who became the first player in recorded history to ground into three double plays on Opening Day -- and is still the only man this season to hit into three DPs in a game? It was, incredibly, the great Albert Pujols, a fellow who made it through his first decade in the big leagues without grounding into three DPs in any game.
• Giants starters never lost two games in a row at any point in the 2010 postseason. So how'd they open the regular season here in 2011? With back-to-back losses by Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez, of course.
• Ubaldo Jimenez didn't allow a single home run at Coors Field after the All-Star break last year. So was there any doubt he'd serve up bombs in back-to-back innings at Coors on Opening Day?
• Clay Buchholz never allowed four home runs in any month last year. Naturally, he gave up four in his first start this year.
• Then again, there was a lot of that going on this weekend. The Red Sox went through the entire 2010 season without ever giving up three home runs or more in back-to-back games. So how'd they start this season? By giving up at least three bombs in three games in a row. How else?
• One more on the Red Sox weekend, just for perspective, before we resume our regularly scheduled programming: The Red Sox gave up 11 home runs in Texas over the weekend. The Cardinals didn't give up 11 during the entire month of April last season. (They allowed 10). Holy schmoly.
• Now on to the Mets. They didn't win one stinking road series against a team from their own league until Aug. 12 last season. So it was pretty much inevitable that they'd win their first road series this season. Don't ya think?
• That Special K Phillies lineup never made it through a single game all last season without striking out at least once. Well, guess how many times the Phillies whiffed on Opening Day this season? That would be zero, of course.
• Speaking of that game, there wasn't one game all last season in which a closer stomped in there in the ninth inning, with a save opportunity on the line, and gave up six hits in an inning. But Astros closer Brandon Lyon marched in from the 'pen on Opening Day this year and allowed six hits to the Phillies in a third of an inning.
• Jose Bautista launched a 456-foot home run on Opening Day, according to our friends from HitTracker. He cranked 54 home runs last year, but guess how many of them went that far? Right you are. None of them.
• In five seasons, and 265 games in the leadoff hole, before this one, Ian Kinsler had never, ever led off the first inning with a home run on back-to-back days. Then, naturally, he did something Rickey Henderson (or anyone else) had never done -- led off the first two games of the season with home runs.
• No Cubs pitcher had unfurled one of those rarified 12-hit, 12-strikeout box-score lines since Ferguson Jenkins in 1968. So what did Matt Garza do Sunday in his first game as a Cub? Pile up 12 whiffs and 12 hits, of course.
• Meanwhile, not once in their last 154 games last year did the Cubs win a game in which they trailed by three runs or more in the eighth inning or later. But how did they win their first game of 2011? By coming from three runs back in the eighth Saturday. How else?
• On the way to finishing third in the major leagues in runs scored, the Rays never had a streak all last year in which they scored one run or none in three games in a row. So what happened in their first three games of 2011? They scored one, one and one -- against an Orioles staff that finished 27th in the big leagues in ERA last season.
• Over the last 50 games he appeared in last year, Padres setup whiz Mike Adams faced 194 hitters and allowed zero home runs. So what did he do on Opening Day this year? Gave up a home run to the second hitter he faced (Matt Holliday). Of course.
• And, finally, it took Chone Figgins 435 trips to home plate to hit his first homer last season. So who among us doubted he'd go deep on Opening Day this season, in his fourth trip to home plate?
Hey, not me. If you watch this sport long enough, you know it never stops finding ways to remind us it's the greatest, most unpredictable game ever invented. Which, of course, is why we love it.
So Happy 2011. There's a lot more just like this to come.