Monday, April 6, 2009


Opening Day - the best two words to a baseball fan. The sense of newness and optimism as sport’s longest and oldest season begins and every baseball fan thinks this will be that year. The first crack of the bat, pop of the mitt and handful of popcorn and Cracker Jacks give way to the first base hit, first strikeout, first home run and hopefully the first victory.
I've been in a baseball mood for a while now after reading two outstanding books by the late great David Halberstam. His classic "Summer of '49" and its follow-up "October 1964"

But enough about the background, let’s get down to business.

The Dodgers got off to a great start today by beating San Diego 4-1 down at Petco. More importantly, they beat Jake Peavy for only the 2nd time in his career, which lets you know how bad it could get for the Padres this year.

Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson combined for 3 hits as the new 1-2 leadoff punch and they already showed how deadly they can be. They both got on base in the 1st inning and James Loney brought them home. If they can both do that consistently, we’ll be in great shape.

Loney was the game’s MVP with three hits but for sheer flash, you have to be happy at Matt Kemp. He made a huge diving catch in the sixth to help stop the rally and then hit a bomb in the seventh to ice it. He did strike out in the second but I’m hoping that’s not the restart of that trend.

Hiroki Kuroda only got through 5.2 innings but Cory Wade got out of the jam and along with Hong Chi-Kuo helped set it up for Jonathan Broxton to get the save. Not a bad way to start it off.

And all that was done without Manny Ramirez picking up a hit – although he did walk and score thanks to spooking Peavy on first base into an error. That’s probably the most encouraging thing. If we can produce without him being on point – and him just being a factor that pitchers have to fear – that bodes even better.

Some other notes from Opening Day
- Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 8th Opening Day homer, tying him with Frank Robinson for the record. Welcome home, Junior. Still my favorite player.
- CC Sabathia bombed in his opening start for the Yankees (4.1 IP, 8 R, 6 H, 5 BB, 0 K). It doesn’t matter because he’s typically a better pitcher after June but not a good start for a team panicking at the first sign of trouble – a bigger problem was that Mark Teixiera was 0-4.
- The Dodgers are going to miss Derek Lowe (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R). Just watch tomorrow if Randy Wolf bombs
- Boston got rained out. Ah yes, the beauty of Opening Day killed by Mother Nature. But I can’t laugh because rain is coming my way this week.

Game 1 down out of 162, here’s hoping the Dodgers end this SD trip as well as my vacation was two weeks ago.
Speaking of baseball, I just bought Jeff Perlman's book about the 1986 Mets and expect it in the mail this week. Since he gave the Cowboys' 90's dynasty a great treatment

*I'm working on some music myths to debunk for y'all. So far I've done Eminem, Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent and Kanye and I got a few more before I decide whether or not to make it one post or several.*

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