With apologies to Brett for his experiences yesterday, Opening Day 2018 is one I’ll probably never forget. Aside from all the Lake Michigan stuff, it was a pretty excellent Cubs game all around. There were loads of homers and extra base hits, plus a ton of great defensive plays too.
And Opening Day wasn’t just great for the Cubs. At Baseball is Fun, we covered Stanton’s two-homer debut for the Yankees, Eduardo Nunez’s sub-16 second inside-the-park home run, Matt Davidson’s three-homer game for the White Sox, Craig Gentry’s (sorta) game-saving home run robbery, and even more.
It was just a wild day all around. Very cool.
- Speaking of all that craziness, a record THIRTY-THREE (33! (XXXIII!)) home runs were hit yesterday, which constitutes a new Opening Day record. The White Sox and Cubs, by the way, were responsible for 9 of those 33 homers. #Chicagooooooooo
- Shohei Ohtani made his Major League debut yesterday, but it wasn’t from the mound, it was as the team’s DH. And, hey! He got himself a hit in his first at-bat!
“Welcome to the Sho!”
— Angels (@Angels) March 29, 2018
- Unfortunately, he followed that up by going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his other plate appearances. But at least he got the first one out of the way, right? And remember, as Tim Brown points out at Yahoo Sports, he’s a 23-year-old rookie playing in a new country. ANYONE can have a bad start at the plate (without sounding the alarms), but he has an even longer leash beyond that.
- Speaking of bad starts at the plate, Mike Trout went 0-for-6 in a game yesterday … for the first time in his career:
Mike Trout went ground out, fly out, ground out, fly out, fly out, strike out in 6 plate appearance today. For the first time in his career, he failed to reach on base in a game in which he had 6 or more PA.
— Kazuto Yamazaki (@Kazuto_Yamazaki) March 30, 2018
- Which leads to some funny and rare early-season statistical fun:
It happened, folks. pic.twitter.com/bTxB7u0fF9
— Kazuto Yamazaki (@Kazuto_Yamazaki) March 30, 2018
- Former Cub prospect Billy McKinney is getting his shot in the show today, after Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks hit the 10-day disabled list with a right intercostal muscle strain. In case you forgot, the Cubs sent McKinney to the Yankees, as part of the deal that brought back Aroldis Chapman in 2016. At Triple-A last season, McKinney broke out, slashing .306/.336/.541 (140 wRC+) with 10 homers in just 224 plate appearances. He’ll likely be nothing more than bench player during his debut with the Yankees, but after that he has an outside shot at being a quality fourth outfielder/borderline starter.
- Back to Davidson’s three-homer day for the White Sox … According to MLB.com, that was just the fourth time in the history of baseball that someone accomplished the feat on Opening Day. Dmitri Young was the last player to do it, smacking three dingers on April 4, 2005 and he was preceded by the Cubs’ own Tuffy Rhodes in 1994 (Rhodes went on to hit just 8 homers that year (Luis: And I saw three of them!)). And the first player to hit three dingers on Opening Day was George Bell, who knocked three dingers off Royals ace Bret Saberhagen — a two-time Cy Young Award winner. And because it all ties together, Bell was traded by the White Sox to the Cubs for Sammy Sosa, who was teammates with Rhodes in 1994. Boom.
- It’s just one day (and only 13 games), but the average time per game yesterday was three hours and 15 minutes, which is an increase of about seven minutes over Opening Day last season. Shrug, I’m not ready to call it yet. Also, I don’t think Commissioner Rob Manfred cares, because if pace-of-play isn’t improved this season, he’ll have an easier path forward on the rest of his initiatives (namely, a pitch clock).
- The Braves were back in action yesterday, which means so was “The Freeze.” Naturally, he smoked the competition in his first race, and got some serious praise from one of the fastest people on Earth.
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 30, 2018
- When the Diamondbacks announced the return of the “bullpen carts,” we got all excited thinking about how the trend could spread to other teams. But Arizona used five relievers yesterday, and not a single one of them used the cart. At first, my reaction was all Oh, you fun-haters, you! But when you hear Archie Bradley explain why he skipped it, you might understand why:
— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) March 30, 2018
- “There’s something special about when I come out of those gates and the crowd really gets into it. And I feel it man. It’s a special feeling to run out and feel the crowd get behind you like that. It really gets the heart pumping and the adrenaline rolling.” Blergh. It’s pretty hard to argue with that.
- And finally, as we explored in a recent set of MLBits, the famous “Marlins Man” is possibly searching for a new home team, now that the Marlins shot-down his request for a three-year ticket package, and plenty of quality organizations are throwing their hats into the ring. Like, for example …
– we’re both in Florida
– we’re both underwater creatures
– we both have rosters made up of Minor Leaguers
— Daytona Tortugas (@daytonatortugas) March 29, 2018