Tag Archives: Opening Day

Beyond Opening Day

Sizemore was good, but he didn't quite match Evans' Opening Day record.

Sizemore was good, but he didn’t quite match Evans’ Opening Day record.

At this point in the season, it may finally be safe to assume that all Opening Days, save for the home openers of individual teams that may not have happened yet, are finally in the books. Overseas, Sunday nights, the real thing Monday, the Yankees and Astros finally playing a game on Tuesday, and then teams even getting in a second and sometimes third or fourth game as of yesterday. Baseball is back, officially back, standings count, statistics are being accumulated, and so on.

Focusing squarely on the Monday Opening Day, when most teams played their first game and played most of them in the day, there was no shortage of highlights amid the excitement. Neil Walker hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Pirates a win over the Cubs. Old friend Alex Gonzalez gave his new team, the Tigers, a game-winning hit against the Royals. The Mets game was delayed when they didn’t have a first baseman on the field, so they’re already in mid-season form.

And here, Grady Sizemore, playing in his first Major League game since 2011, hit a home run in what became a 2-1 loss in Baltimore against the Orioles. Where Opening Day is a time to quickly survey the rest of the league, most of Spring Training was focused on the Red Sox, and Sizemore’s phoenix-like comeback had been the focus. Seeing him already playing well in his first real action seemed like a good harbinger for the upcoming season. Continue reading

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Looking forward and back on Opening Day

Need something to look forward to on Opening Day? There's always Yaz...

Opening Day is a lot of things.

It’s a celebration of baseball, and with that comes the bizarre optimism that, typically, only kids get the chance to feel.

It’s a chance to see new faces. Prince Fielder makes his debut with the Detroit Tigers today opposite the Red Sox. Noted Philadelphia Phillies killer Cody Ross will be in the outfield for Boston. Hope springs eternal in Pittsburgh when Erik Bedard takes the mound. Theo Epstein’s Cubs begin their long climb to the World Series today when they host the Nationals.

It’s the first look at the rest of the league, from Miami’s new ballpark that borders on aesthetic abomination to the great rotations that San Francisco, Philadelphia and Anaheim hope to unleash on their opponents. Continue reading

And here’s the pitch…

As will often be the case, Jacoby Ellsbury leads off for the 2011 Red Sox.

Shortly, Jacoby Ellsbury will step into the batter’s box and face the first pitch of the season, from Texas lefty C.J. Wilson. The Texas ballclub (nicknamed the Rangers, I’m told — it never says so on their jerseys) won the American League pennant last year, and with all due respect, the hope remains that the Red Sox will rip that from their sun-beaten hands this season.

Whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen. But it all begins today, the 2011 season and, hopefully, the slow march to the World Series in October. Until then, here are today’s lineups for Game 1 of 162:

Boston Red Sox:

CF — Jacoby Ellsbury 2
2B — Dustin Pedroia 15
LF — Carl Crawford 13
3B — Kevin Youkilis 20
1B — Adrian Gonzalez 28
DH — David Ortiz 34
RF — Mike Cameron 23
C — Jarrod Saltalamacchia 39
SS — Marco Scutaro 10

P — Jon Lester 31

Texas Rangers:

2B — Ian Kinsler 5
SS — Elvis Andrus 1
LF — Josh Hamilton 32
3B — Adrian Beltre 29
DH — Michael Young 10
RF — Nelson Cruz 17
1B — Mike Napoli 25
C — Yorvit Torrealba 8
CF — Julio Borbon 20

P — C.J. Wilson 36

First pitch: 4:05 p.m. EST. TV: NESN/ESPN. Radio: WEEI 850 AM.

Opening Day is here. Thank God, Allah, Buddah, Hari, Lemmy, Clapton, or whomever your deity of choice may be.

Another Opening Day for the Captain and Wake

Jason Varitek Leaf 05

No longer the starter, Jason Varitek has settled into a mentor's role.

There’s plenty to love about Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. The celebration of baseball’s return being obvious, there are rituals like player introductions, early start times and extended anthems that all come on a day that, after more than 140 years, should really just be a national holiday.

I have my own rituals. I park myself in front of the TV with a notebook to record the festivities, primarily the Opening Day roster of the Red Sox and whoever their opponent might be (this year, the Texas Rangers). I’ll jot out the lineup and starting pitcher, the rest of the rotation, bullpen and bench, manager, coaches, and anything else of note.

I also keep a binder of my Red Sox baseball cards close by, which would include this 2005 card of their captain and current backup catcher, Jason Varitek.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been given the keys to the Red Sox’ battery. He is the heir apparent, the next hope behind the plate. And behind him is his past, Varitek, no longer looming, his days as a prime-time starter left in the wake of a body battered by 1,478 games, all but a small handful spent behind the plate. Varitek, a member of the team since earning a call-up from Pawtucket late in 1997, will be watching the 25-year-old from the bench, ready to offer guidance or enter the game if needed. Continue reading

2011 Red Sox by the numbers

It didn’t take Lester long to become the best to ever wear no. 31.

Opening Day is tomorrow — well, today if you’re a fan of about 12 teams — and before the season begins, there has to be a formal look at the 25 men who have made the roster for the Boston Red Sox.

But since I’m obsessed with uniform numbers, I also wanted to track who would be wearing what, and document a little bit of history — and in some cases, the lack thereof — that goes along with each number.

The Red Sox began wearing numbers on the backs of their jerseys in 1931, and it wasn’t long before certain numbers — Bobby Doerr’s 1, Ted Williams’ 9 — became iconic. Other numbers became less so, but still earned a certain reputation. 2 typically belongs to infielders, 7 to outfielders, 51 to relief pitchers, and so on. Some numbers have quite a legacy of talent behind them, and some, well, not many players have worn 59.

So, momentarily, we’ll look at every number in use by the 25 players on the roster, the best player to wear that number, and some other characters to don the number, each memorable in their own way. It’s just a way to connect the present with the past, and another excuse for me to our over the Red Sox.

And, as always, please take the word “best” with a grain of salt. Sometimes, the best will really be the best. But sometimes, it will just be a reflection of my glorious bias. It should be clear which is which. Continue reading