Major League Baseball’s Opening Weekend

Opening weekend in baseball may be the greatest weekend in sports.  The smell of fresh cut grass, the sound of leather snapping through out the field, the crack of the bat, and all other mesmerizing sounds of the game are what makes baseball great. Opening Day gives hope to the fans of all 30 teams that their team can win the World Series this season.  Just like every year, new faces are in the crowd and new names are on the backs of most team’s uniforms.
The addition of a new playoff system adding a second wild card team to each division will bring October to cities that have been waiting to make an impact in the playoffs.  Don’t forget about all of those sexy blockbuster trades and signings that were made in the off-season to improve a team’s chances of being great.

Albert Pujols made a new home in Anaheim, Stephen Strasburgh comes back from Tommy John surgery, the Marlins are opening their new home in South Beach with new a new manager and shortstop, and possibly the biggest move made this off-season, the Tigers acquiring Prince Fielder.  There is a lot to be excited about this year and the 2012 season should not be anything less than electric.

Runs were not at a premium this year for opening day, with low scoring games across the board. Pitching was dominant in both leagues.  Roy Halladay went eight innings, not allowing a run, setting up Phillies new closer Jonathan Paplebon with his first save in a new uniform.  Justin Verlander of Detroit picked up where he left off last season with seven strike outs and allowing only three runners to reach first base.  Washington Nationals ace, Stephan Strasburgh returned to his dominant form coming back from Tommy John surgery pitching seven innings with five strikeouts and allowing just one run to score.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians started off the 2012 season in the history books, playing the longest opening day game in MLB history.  Jose Bautista and J.P. Arencibia both homered.  For the second straight Opening Day, Arencibia established himself as the hero in a Blue Jays’ victory. In 2011, it was a two-homer performance and the year before that, he wasn’t with the club at the start of the season, but did go deep twice in his first game at the big league level.

The 16-inning game marks the longest in MLB history on Opening Day, passing two 15-inning games between Philadelphia and Washington in 1926 and Cleveland and Detroit in 1960.

The defending champion St. Louis Cardinals started out the gate sprinting, opening their season in the Marlins new home in Miami with a win.  2011’s World Series MVP, David Freese still carried his hot bat going, 3-5 with two runs batted in. On Friday the red birds lit up Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers, with four different players hitting home runs off him.  One of which was hit by newly acquired right fielder Carlos Beltran.  Mike Metheny former catcher and now manager for the club seems to have no concerns with missing their former first base slugger Albert Pujols.

“That’s where we’re going to have to be able to overcome the loss of Albert, is finding ways to score runs, tack on runs,” Holliday said. “You get the big four-spot, but we kept scoring.”

The Milwaukee Brewers fans also gave last year’s MVP Ryan Braun a standing ovation at the start of the game and his first couple at bats.  Braun will be doing his best to regain his MVP form in hopes that his off-season controversy and his pedestrian start in spring training will not effect his play in 2012.  Remember, Braun had a 50-game suspension overturned for the use of performance enhancing drugs and you can count that all eyes will be on the left fielder throughout the season to see if he recovers.  The decision arbitrator Shyam Das made overturning the appeal will also be talked about as he continues to play.

The Anaheim Angels opened their season at home getting a more than dominant start from their ace Jered Weaver as they shut out the Kansas City Royals 5-0 Friday night.  Weaver went eight strong fanning 10 batters and giving up only four hits.  On the offensive side, newly acquired Albert Pujols went 0-3 in his debut in his new home.  But there should be nothing the fans have to worry about with the marathon schedule of Major League Baseball, there will be plenty of excitement in Anaheim as the season continues.

“You want to do something special, but that’s the way it goes,” Pujols said. “We got a win, and I think that’s the most important thing.”

On Saturday Josh Beckett had a rough outing in Detroit giving up seven runs in seven innings.  The Tigers new line up will haunt any opposing pitcher that toes the rubber.  But the new line up brought a new confidence to their fans when Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder both hit two home runs off Beckett.  Prince Fielder, who was acquired in the off-season with a nine-year, $214 million contract, started off the 2012 season on the right foot.  Sources from ESPN say this is Miguel Cabrera’s 21st multi-home run game and Fielder’s 23rd.

Opening weekend was nothing but amazing.  Everything about the 2012 season strikes nothing but excitement with action packed games every week.  Every team now has an equal opportunity to make a splash in the postseason and for the more successful teams it makes it that much more important for them to win their division.  But as we all know in baseball, it doesn’t matter what position you’re in the start of October.  It’s how hot your team gets and takes advantage of every opportunity to win.  Grab your rally towels, cow bells, noise makers, and whatever you use to support your team, baseball is here and more exciting than ever.

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  • Mchanow

    Great article – written by a great author