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Opening Day 2013 stands out for Justin Upton

Left fielder remembers first home opener, first home run with Braves

Atlanta Braves

There was a different feel when I experienced Opening Day with the Braves last year. For the first time in my career, I was not experiencing this with the D-backs. When you have a few Opening Days with a team, it just becomes another Opening Day.

But the first one with the Braves, you kind of get chills again. I definitely had chills coming out the first time and being in front of the Turner Field fans. Being able to hit a home run that day and introduce myself to the Atlanta fans was kind of a cool experience.

Cole Hamels had gotten me out my first couple of at-bats. So I was still searching for the first hit of the season and my first hit as a Brave. It was nice that my first hit was a home run, which I hit off Hamels in the fifth inning. I had played at Turner Field before, but I didn't know if it was going to go out. I knew I hit it pretty well

I remember sprinting around the bases and feeling a lot of adrenaline. It was a cool experience, and something I will remember.

Adding to the memories was the fact that this was the first game I played with my brother, B.J. Being able to share it with my brother and for my parents to be there to see it, I don't think that is something they will forget. It's a cool experience to basically have my entire family there to see my first hit as a Brave and my first home run.

I remember all of the anxiety and energy I felt leading up to that game. It's special. I like playing on Opening Day because you know the energy of that crowd is going to be great.

Last year was my first Opening Day in a new uniform and in a new home stadium, and I think those are kind of milestone Opening Days. The goal is to be ready to step on the field for the first time when it counts, so you want to be ready to be full-go the first game of the season.

Justin Upton is the starting left fielder for the Atlanta Braves. He is entering his second season with the team.

Atlanta Braves, Justin Upton