Baseball is Back!
Warm weather in April as spectators clammer to their seats. The sound of laughter echoing off the brick walls of Coors Field. Thousands of fans singing in unison as Charlie Blackmon strolls to the plate. Cold beer. Hot dogs. And losing three-out-of-four to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Baseball is back! And here are some of the highlights of the opening weekend.
- Nolan Arenado was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and subsequently replaced at third base on Opening Day by his cousin, Josh Fuentes. In other news, the Albuquerque Isotopes, a Colorado Rockies minor league affiliate, signed Mike Trout’s cousin Bobby, Juan Soto’s cousin Pedro, and a distant relative of Mookie Betts.
- In Arlington, Texas, the Rangers are allowing spectators to fill all 49,000 seats at Globe Life Park with no restrictions whatsoever. Fortunately, the product on the field has them at less than the suggested 25% capacity put forth by the CDC.
- Coors Field has reduced the number of spectators to 21,000 fans per game and requires all fans to wear their masks unless they are drinking beer or eating food. So basically, there is no mask mandate.
- The Rockies won their opener thanks to the Dodgers’ Justin Turner running the wrong direction after a Cody Bellinger 2-run homer, which popped out of the glove of outfielder Raimel Tapia and landed over the left field wall. The ruling cost the Dodgers an out, a run, and Bellinger’s home run was officially scored just a single. The last time a play like this occurred was back in 1976 when Ogilvie, Tanner Boyle, and coach Buttermaker played for the Bears.
- The Rockies opening series was apparently a tribute to former great Larry Walker. Opening day starter German Marquez walked six, Austin Garber walked seven, and the entire pitching staff totaled 23 base-on-balls over the four-game series.
- The pitching matchups were not exactly fair as the Dodgers started with three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, followed by last year’s Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, and used a third Cy Young winner, David Price, out of the bullpen. The Rockies countered with 33-year-old Jhoulys Chacin and his career 78-87 won-loss record, who was signed to the ball club just days before the opener.
- Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera got a laugh when he slid into second base after hitting a home run that was difficult to track thanks to the falling snow at Comerica Park. Cabrera got up and rounded the bases after the umpires informed him that the ball had indeed landed over the fence. Although at almost 38 years of age, and looking like 275 pounds, Cabrera may have just been taking a break during his home run trot.
- Early season projections are so absurd. After just four games, Gary Sanchez (NY) is on pace this season for 81 HRs, Nate Lowe (TEX) looks to finish with 364 RBIs, and Cedric Mullins (BAL) will maintain a batting average of .692. Furthermore, after the first series between the Rockies and Dodgers, the Dodgers win victory projects out to 121 wins for the season, and the Rockies with just 40. Wait, those last two projections seem kind of reasonable.
- Major League Baseball decided to pull the All-Star Game from the city of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s recently passed voting laws bursting with a voter suppression agenda. And when an organization that was segregated until 1945, has employed less than a dozen black managers in its history, and has had almost zero minority owners calls your laws racist. That is saying something.
- The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani made news after throwing 101-mph while pitching in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox, and then followed that up with a 451-foot home run blast at the plate moments later. I recall a Colorado player that once threw 93 mph and homered in the same game. But it was outfielder Ian Desmond, and he was only pitching because the Rockies were down 16-7. Maybe Ohtani has a cousin?
If it feels like Spring again with fans at Coors Field and crowd noise on Blake Street. But keep in mind that after shutting down the Nationals and the Mets, the pitcher with the lowest ERA in the league is still COVID-19.
Stay safe, stay responsible. We are almost there.
Images via dodgerblue.com, mlb.com, pinterest.com, upi.com, msnbc.news.com, orangecountyregister.com