What a fabulous day for baseball. I can’t think of one game that had poor weather. Bright, Sunny and Clear from Coast to Coast. The Star Spangled Banner was waving proudly and there were plenty of Bombs in the air. Little, White, round ones landing with a thud among the happy masses that gathered for baseball’s greeting of Spring. A lovely day. And speaking of Lovely and The Star Spangled Banner… did you happen to catch that little beauty that sang the National Anthem in the Twins vs. Angels game? Wow. Just one more wonderful thing on our favorite day.
There were familiar names that had worthy games for Yesterday’s Hitter honors, including an old face in a new place – Hideki Matsui. Godzilla mashed a Home Run and added an RBI single in his 2 for 4 day with 2 RBIs.
Another old face in a new place, Hideki’s former Yankee teammate Johnny Damon had a
similar day (sans the HR) with the Tigers. His 2 RBIs helped sink the Royals when Detroit put up a Big 6 in the 7th after being fooled by Greinke for 6 innings.
Pittsburgh’s Ryan Doumit rocked into 2010 with a vengeance. He also put up a 2×4 to start the season. His two hits included a double and 3 run bomb. He also walked once as the Pirates pounded Padilla and the punchless Dodgers 11-5. Ouch.
The defending NL Champ Phillies had no problems providing a little punch to the Opening Day party. Not wanting Obama to be the only one to “dis” the Nats, the Phils ripped Washington pitching for 11 runs. Ryan Howard got his first long ball of the year, but Placido Polanco one-upped the big guy when he belted out a Grand Slam and got himself 6 massive RBIs to kick off his season. Nice job Placido…
In Arlington there was a Texas size cheer for the Rangers as they walked off against the Blue Jays. What a roller coaster for the Jays, Shawn Marcum no-hit Texas into the 7th before they circled the wagons and then circled the bases to come up with a 5-4 thriller. Nelson Cruz saved the day when he smacked a 3 Run jack in the 7th inning to tie the game at 3. Then, just to be sure there was no doubt about who the hero was, he tied the game again in the 9th with an RBI single. Saltalamacchia finished off the Jays with the Game Winner. But, it was Nelson Cruz that tasted the sweetness of victory.
Did I mention the Pirates? Yea, kinda left this guy out for a reason. We’re getting down to the best of the best and it’s hard not to add in a fellow who has really never been given the chance to shine. A career Minor Leaguer, Garret Jones could never seem to crack the lineup for either the Braves or the Twins in 12 years, yet he raked 21 HRs last year after being called up in July. He’s only the second MLB player to hold that distinction. Just to prove he really, really belongs… Garret blasted a Home Run in each of his first two at bats in 2010. I think it’s safe to say he’ll easily eclipse that 20 HR mark in 2010. I’m just guessin’ he’ll be around for awhile. Nice start Jonesy.
Hmm.. well, if a 28yr old Rookie can make a splash… how about the NL MVP? Duh. King Albert looked as magnificent as ever. The polished swing. The slugger’s swagger. Pujols is the real deal and if you doubt it, just look back in history and start comparing his numbers to the greats of the past. He added to those impeccable stats with a tremendous 4 hit performance that included 2 Long Balls, 4 Runs and 3 RBIs. Simply stated, he is King.
And while we expect such fabulous results from the reigning MVP, we are sometimes
provided a glimpse of greatness to come. Opening Day was one of those days. Highly touted and fabulously gifted, Jason Heyward made his Major League debut something to remember. The Atlanta hometown prodigy not only caught the opening pitch from Braves Hall of Famer Henry Aaron, but basked in the chants and cheers from an exuberant Atlanta crowd as he rounded the bases in his very first Major League at bat. What a day for Jason Heyward. He added an RBI single to his 3 Run 1st inning smash and walked off the field into the gratifying hug of another Atlanta icon, Chipper Jones. If Jason fulfills his lofty expectations in this game, he’ll do more than keeping up with the Jones’.