It's time for Ryan Braun and the Brewers to hit the road, and time for the Red Sox to come home and receive their rings.
The 103rd season at Fenway Park will begin in style on this afternoon, when the World Series champion Red Sox will be presented their World Series hardware ahead of a home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I'm excited that I'm getting one, and who knows when we can get another one?" said David Ortiz, who is collecting his third World Series ring. "It's just appreciation and thanks to God for the way things went down last year. I'm excited that our work paid off."
"Friday is going to be another reminder of a tremendous year and a tremendous experience for a number of people," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We'll all take away from it our own special memories. It will be a fun day."
Once the game starts, it's Marco Estrada of the Brewers against Jake Peavy of the Red Sox. It's time to restart the party on Yawkey Way.
"If you can't have an Opening Day start [of the season], what's better than the home opener coming off a World Series win and ring ceremony?" Peavy said. "I'm excited, and like I said, I'm doing everything I can to get prepared for that start and I'll leave it all out there."
The last time Peavy pitched a meaningful game, it was Game 3 of the World Series in St. Louis, a Sox loss in which he allowed two runs in four innings. He came to Boston from the Chicago White Sox as part of a three-way trade in July that cost the Red Sox an excellent young shortstop in Jose Iglesias. Peavy paid off by going 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 starts down the stretch.
Peavy aims to soak in the atmosphere at Fenway today.
"Life's crazy. You never know what the future holds. You never know what tomorrow will bring. I try to be in every moment," said Peavy. "You just realize how special last year was. To become part of a family and win a World Series, and now starting 2014 trying to find a way to defend that title is special, something like I said I feel very blessed to be a part of."
For the Brewers, it's Opening Day No. 2 of 3. They already opened Miller Park with a win over the Braves, and after a weekend in Boston, they will head to Philadelphia to serve as the Phillies' opponent in their home opener on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
Estrada will treat today's festivities as regular business.
"It's big for them, but for us, it's just another game," Estrada said. "I pitched last year against the Cubs for their Opening Day, and I realize this is different, because they're getting their rings, but it's only special for them. I'm not getting a ring. If I was, it would be the happiest day of my life, probably.
"For me, it's just another game. I'm just going to try to keep them from scoring."
Brewers right fielder Braun will also treat today as just another game, but it is his first road game since admitting to wrongdoing and accepting a season-ending suspension from Major League Baseball related to the Biogenesis investigation last year.
Earlier this year, Braun said he was looking forward to the jeers he is sure to hear on the road this season.
"[I] dealt with it in 2012, dealt with it for the majority of 2013, so I think I have an idea of what I'm getting myself into," Braun said. "As a competitor, in a really odd way, I enjoy it. I think it's fun. I think the more hostile an environment is, the more enjoyable it is. I just enjoy that pressure. In a really unique way, I actually enjoy and look forward to it."
Brewers: DH comes at ideal time
• The earliest Interleague series in Brewers history will come in quite handy for manager Ron Roenicke, who has a couple of players he would like to rest. Roenicke intends to use three different designated hitters in the three games: shortstop Jean Segura, who was bothered by a sore throwing shoulder at the end of Spring Training, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who had offseason surgery to remove a polyp from his colon, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, whose break would allow Roenicke to start backup Martin Maldonado behind the plate.
"Because we're coming off an off-day, it doesn't work out well, so I'm trying to figure it out," Roenicke said. "The first day is the problem, because [Segura, who was also off Wednesday] doesn't want three days off from throwing, and Aramis probably doesn't need it, because we have [Thursday] off. So I'll have to talk one of them into it."
Red Sox: Home sweet home for new Sox
• This will be the Fenway home debut for the following Red Sox players: Grady Sizemore, Burke Badenhop, Chris Capuano, Edward Mujica, A.J. Pierzynski and Jonathan Herrera. Sizemore should get one of the biggest ovations during pregame introductions, given the compelling story of his comeback. For former Brewers starter Capuano, a native of Springfield, Mass., this will be his first chance to pitch at Fenway Park. Pierzynski has played 32 games at Fenway with 121 at-bats, but he has never hit a home run there.
• Sixteen of the Brewers' first 19 games are against 2013 playoff teams, including their opening series against Atlanta and this series in Boston. All of those playoff teams won at least 94 games last season.
• The Red Sox lead the all-time series between these old American League East rivals, 218-185, including 7-2 in the era of Interleague Play. The teams last met in 2011 at Fenway, with the Red Sox taking two of the three games.
• Ortiz is third among active qualifying Major Leaguers with a .972 OPS in Interleague games. Braun ranks ninth at .929, and Jonny Gomes and Sizemore are tied for 10th at .925.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.