The Best MLB Opening Day Games of the 21st Century

March 27, 2019 - 11:17 am

MLB Opening Day 2019 is scheduled for Thursday, March 28, with all 30 teams in action: the New York Mets' Jacob deGrom and the Washington Nationals' Max Scherzer match up in the nation's capital, Bryce Harper makes his Philadelphia Phillies debut at home against the Atlanta Braves, and the Boston Red Sox begin their World Series title defense versus the Seattle Mariners (who already opened their season with two victories in Tokyo). 

The start of baseball season is full of promise -- every team takes the field with an undefeated record and at least a sliver of playoff hope. While some openers are forgettable, others become instant classics.

Here are five of the most memorable Opening Day games in modern Major League Baseball history:

Colorado Rockies 12, San Diego Padres 10 (April 4, 2005): A seesaw slugfest at Coors Field ended when Clint Barmes hit a walkoff home run against legendary Padres closer Trevor Hoffman.

Los Angeles Dodgers 2, San Francisco Giants 1 (March 31, 2011): Clayton Kershaw (seven innings, zero runs, nine strikeouts) got the better of Tim Lincecum (seven innings, one unearned run, five strikeouts) as the Dodgers clipped their traditional rivals, who were coming off a World Series triumph the previous fall.

Tampa Bay Rays 7, New York Yankees 6 (April 6, 2012): In this thriller, the Rays got to CC Sabathia for a first-inning grand slam and Mariano Rivera for an extremely rare blown save

Arizona Diamondbacks 6, San Francisco Giants 5 (April 2, 2017): Giants ace Madison Bumgarner had 11 strikeouts in seven strong innings and slugged two home runs ... but the Diamondbacks still found a way to rally for the walkoff win.

Chicago Cubs 5, New York Mets 3 (March 30, 2000): The game at Tokyo Dome started at 7 p.m. local time in Japan -- 5 a.m. on the East Coast. Shane Andrews became the first MLB player to hit a regular-season home run in Japan and Mark Grace later added a homer as the Cubs pulled away. The Mets finished the season by making an improbable run to the Subway Series.