Little boy, in a baseball hat, stands in a field, with his ball and bat. Says “I am the greatest, player of them all.” Puts his bat on his shoulder, and tosses up his ball. -Kenny Rogers
Public Service Announcement: Ok, here we go! Another opening day has come and gone. Cool Papa Bell once said, “I remember one game I got five hits and stole five bases, but none of it was written down because they didn’t bring the scorebook to the game that day.” Well, Cool Papa doesn’t have to worry about that today. I brought my scorebook. I’m writing it down.
Twenty-year-old Jason Heyward is the most ballyhooed rookie in the majors this season. The Roy Munson of the bowling alleyhooed rookie in the majors this season. He’s got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. You wouldn’t know it. Yesterday, he belted a three-run bomb on his first swing in his first plate appearance in Atlanta’s 16-5 win over the Cubs. Hooray Jason Heyward! That makes him the youngest player to hit a bomb in his first big-league at-bat since 1950. Since the imitiable Ted Tappe of the Cincinnati Reds, then 19, connected as a pinch-hitter at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field.
There’s a first time for everything. Placido Polanco, playing in his first game for the Phillies since 2005, done did two things on Monday that neither he nor anyone else who had ever played for the Fightins had ever done did before. Placido Polanco produced a grand-slam home run in the season opener…but wait! There’s more! He also collected six RBIs in a season opener. (The previous-best RBI total by a Phillies player in a lid-lifter was five by Don Money in 1969.) Sweey sassy molassy!
Tony LaRussa said Albert Pujols is “the perfect player.” Flavor Flav said, “I know it sounds crazy but it fits perfect. Peter perfect pimped a perfect Peter.” Albert Pujols a pimped a perfect Peter yesterday. Albert Pujols drove out four hits, including two bombs and scored four times in the Cardinals’ 11-6 victory at Cincinnati. Only two other players in major-league history have pimped quite like that on opening day. Only two other players in major-league history have had a multiple-homer season opener with at least four hits and at least four runs. Only Dmitri Young for the Tigers in 2005 (he had three home runs in that game vs. Kansas City) and only Xavier Nady for the Pirates in a 12-inning game at Atlanta in 2008.
Freakishly good. Tim Lincecum threw seven scoreless innings and the Giants started the season with a 5-2 victory in Houston. How about that? How about this? Since he entered the majors in 2007, Lincecum has now had 16 starts in which he has not allowed a run while throwing at least seven innings. Aaahh Freak out! Freaking out with the highest such total for any pitcher in the majors over that time. Just so you know, Jake Peavy and CC Sabathia each have had 14 such starts, the second-highest total since 2007. But you know what Nelly says. Nelly says, Two is not a winner and three nobody remembers. Hey hey hey, hey.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. Stephen Drews inside-the-park homer was the big blow in the Diamondbacks’ season-opening win over the Padres. It was the first in-park homer of Drew’s major-league career. That equals the total of his brother J.D., who raced around the bases for a score as a Cardinals rookie in 1999. The Drews are now the first pair of major-league brothers each to have hit an inside-the-park homer since it was done by the Bells – George (1984 Blue Jays) and Juan (1992 Phillies). Quick trivia question: Which pair of brothers hold the combined record for homeruns in the majors? Quick Answer: Hank (755) and Tommie Aaron (13).
They say it’s your birthday. We’re gonna have a good time. I’m glad it’s your birthday. Happy birthday to you. Ian Stewart sure did have good time. Ian Stewart, on his 25th birthday, homered in his first plate appearance of the season and the Rockies took a 5-3 decision at Milwaukee. Stewart became the first player in major-league history to produce a home run in his first at-bat in his team’s season opener, on his birthday. For those of you keeping score at home, only one other player had ever homered in a season-opener on his birthday. Scott Rolen, then with the Phillies, did that against Randy Johnson in 2000, but in his third at-bat of that game. Ahhh, Rany Johnson. Uh-memba him?
This is the voyage of the Garret Jones. His mission: to smash titanic home runs and boldly go where no Pirate has gone before. Yesterday, Garret Jones fulfilled his misssion. Yesterday Garret Jones smashed two titancic homneruns and went where Kiner, Clemenete and Pops had never gone before. The Pirates have been around for a long time. A very long time. They joined the National League in 1887. But Jones became the first player in all that time to belt a pair of homers in his first two at-bats of a season opener.
Peace out homies. Six two and Even!
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