Well, it was the unofficial Opening Day, anyway, for those who don’t count the 1–game showstopper on Sunday, incomprehensibly staged in Boston after the Yanks won the World Series last year. Yes, yes, we know. The schedule is arranged beforehand. Still, Yankee fans will remember that the Opening Day 2005 rematch between the Yankees and Red Sox was also held in Boston, following Boston’s first championship in 86 years on the heels of the Yankees’ collapse in the 2004 ALCS after a highly-charged season marked by on-field hostilities between these 100+-year rivals. But at least, that year, the whole country — that is, Baseball Nation — wasn’t held hostage to a single game in the allegedly “liberal elite” northeast, paradoxically home to these 2 mega-corporations (by baseball standards) which are so often accused of monopolizing not just the national broadcast agenda but the game itself, while handing out millions to front offices across “the real America,” where the fruits of revenue sharing are too often treated like entitlements and frittered on anything except the very players that would draw the kind of crowds that support winning teams while creating profits. On the political ambiguities of baseball, enough said, for the moment.
Opening Day April 5, 2010: Some Highlights
Garrett Jones put the Allegheny River on the baseball map yesterday! The Pirates picked up right where I saw them leave the Dodgers flailing near the end of last season: Bucco Paradise: PNC Park. (Dodgers 5 @ Pirates 11) Nice that David Wright could reclaim CitiField after a tough year, with a HR on a new opening day. (Marlins 1 (@ Mets 7) Tigers batted .308, largely off Greinke’s relievers, and Detroit’s bullpen shut down the Royals for 4 innings after Verlander’s brief outing at Kauffman Stadium, where I have not been, yet. (Tigers 8 @ Royals 4)
Buehrle! I just listened to yesterday’s Right Sox host the Indians. 7 shutout innings for the win. That was some play in the 5th, running into foul territory for a ball that had struck his ankle/shin, then flipping between his legs to Konerko, who caught it barehanded. I am glad he started strong after struggling following the perfect game last year. (I attended the disappointing match-up with Sabathia at The Cell shortly after that.) It was also refreshing to see the team score in early innings with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Alex Rios seemed sharp after last year’s talk of “lackadaisicality” in his approach. (Indians 0 @ Right Sox 7)
April 5, 2010 (Monday)
(Following the 1-game official MLB Opening Day April 4 (Yankees 7 @ Red Sox 9)
Tiger Johnny Damon scored twice against Kansas City but Phil Coke allowed 2 hits to 3 batters faced in 2/3 of a 4-pitcher 7th inning, in which he also allowed one inheirited runner to score. Farnsworth pitched a 1-2-3 9th. (Royals 4 @Tigers 8). Angel Hit-The-Dek-i Matsui, batting clean-up, christened his arrival in LA with a go-ahead single in the 5th followed by an 8th inning HR, pale only next to his Yankee Stadium debut –hitting a Grand Slam– and his parting shot –leaving as World Series MVP. Juan Rivera hit an RBI single in the 2nd. (Twins 3 @Angels 6) Brave Melky Cabrera, batting lead-off, walked and scored in the first and advanced a runner to 3rd (Nate McClouth) on an 8-pitch fly-out in the 6th. Eric Hinske hit an RBI triple (Jason Heyward) and then scored in his one at-bat, in the 8th. (Cubs 5 @Braves 16)
Yankees: off, after losing MLB official season opener Sunday.
Looks like we made it!. (a nod to Barry Manilow).
Atlanta @ Washington
Opening day is still playing in Washington DC at brand new Nationals Park, where Nick Johnson first doubled-in the very first run, then scored the second himself, “with a back door slide” home in the first inning, without a pause to think about IT — IT being the reason the rest of us were cringing as we listened, the femur we heard him snap last year.
First hit: Christian Guzman
First run: Nick Johnson doubled-in Christian Guzman
First HR Chipper Jones (Atlanta)
First Walkoff HR Ryan Zimmerman, bottom of the 9th!
Notable Tim Hudson (Atlanta) retired 19 batters in a row (after a wobbly 1st inning)
UPDATE: 1st CURLY W in Nationals Park
Nationals 3 Braves 2
Charley Sloes called ’em:
“Bang Zoom He’s done it again! The Zman on opening night at Nationals Park in the bottom of the !”
“We said it at the start folks. Remember where you are folks, so you remember where you were, when the Zman.ended opening night in Nationals Park history with his 4 walk off home run…in as dramatic a fashion as you could ask for….”