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The most jarring part of the new baseball season landed on us four innings into the opener between the Los Angeles Ohtanii and the San Diego Campusanos, when commissioner Rob Manfred was hauled into the ESPN broadcast booth and emitted a word that has never been associated with him: "joyous." The word hung in the air for a moment, like an undertaker saying "hilarious" to the grieving survivors.

To his credit, ESPN's lead larynx Karl Ravech soldiered on, seemingly unfazed by this oxiest of oxymorons and lobbed a few more requisite softballs before the mercifully brief inning ended, Manfred returned to his mobile Cave Of Shadows and the temperature inside the Gocheok Sky Dome rose back to habitable levels.

That's why the best day of any new baseball season is always the day after Opening Day, when the novelty (like Manfred at a baseball game) and the one-timers return to whatever the sports version of the next supermarket opening is and the season settles into its familiar patterns. This may seem vaguely elitist, but the choice is yours: do you prefer staged vignettes like Eduardo Perez wearing traditional Korean garb and bantering with random Dodgers outside the ballpark, or stock shots of kids eating fried exotic things on a stick every 40 seconds?

The selling point for this year's opener wasn't necessarily baseball in South Korea, though the Seoul Series was in part a well-earned reward for the KBO for getting baseball junkies around the world through the COVID season. It was the spectacle of the Dodgers, and not just the Ohtaniness of it all but the full weight of a team that has dismissed all concerns of economy in these uncertain times. They have gone more all-in than any other team in the sport's history while still having just enough holes to make their quest for conquest an uncertain one.

That is the beauty of baseball: There are so many ways for the best-laid plans to crap out, as last year's Padres can attest. The Dodgers have put together an everyday lineup that seems fully capable of being the first team to score 1,000 runs since the 1950 Red Sox—and you remember the 1950 Red Sox well because they finished third to the Yankees. That's what one-dimensional greatness can get you.

Indeed, the Dodgers could end up being Manchester City, the universally held best soccer team in the world, or they could be Chelsea, the 40th best team. A year ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks spent one-third as much as the New York Mets and finished with a deservedly negative run differential yet got to the World Series, so poop sometimes happens.

Then again, Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick celebrated this feat by making noises about wanting a new stadium, while the Dodgers are still in the same joint they've been in for 60 years and seemingly mum on a new one. They are for the moment spending their money rather than raiding the tax base, which counts for something.

In any event, they are likely to win more of their games through the sheer power of erosion than anything else. All those high-leverage at-bats early in a game will take their toll on lesser teams as the game wears on, as they did the Padres this morning in their 5-2 victory, and most games will not be punctuated by Ohtani forgetting to retouch second base trying to reclaim first on a flyout. Indeed, that and Jake Cronenworth's broken glove on a routine Gavin Lux grounder (who knew Fanatics was making equipment too?) were the kinda-sorta mundane high points of the Dodgers' four-run eighth.

Other than that, though, the Dodgers delivered as people expect them to—by simply throwing good players at you until you concede out of sheer exhaustion. And there's no reason to think that tomorrow's game will be a lot different, except for one thing: Rob Manfred is probably already on a plane home.

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