Marlins Park looks phenomenal, Ali sighting dampened mood: Everything was set for a magical first night in baseball. Baseball in South Beach never looked so right as it did in the Miami Marlins new stadium on Wednesday night. The only hitch was the unfortunate vision of Muhammad Ali, clearly no longer able to hold back the devastating conditions of Parkinson’s disease, as he was carted onto the field. I think I can relate to everyone when I say that seeing the “Greatest” like that hurt.
Cardinals look poised to do big things: Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina are looking like they aren’t ready to relinquish anything in this division. Matt Holliday is swinging the bat well, and David Freese might be the MVP of the league if he doesn’t come down to Earth soon. I don’t think opening day could have gone any better for the red birds. Kyle Lohse spoiled everything baseball related about the Marlins home debut, and that is good news considering I am talking this highly about the Cardinals on a night when Wainwright, Carpenter and Garcia didn’t pitch.
Johan returns: Johan Santana sightings are always good for Mets fans. he pitched a great opening day against the Braves pitching five shutout innings and striking out five.
Fredi Gonzalez needs to change his ways: Don’t consider me foolish or in the “Doom and Gloom” crowd for noticing some of the same ugly decisions reared their ugly heads yesterday from the Braves dugout. As I stated before, I think the Braves are one of the top-four teams in ALL of baseball. I think it is time someone treated them as such. One of the things I came away with was the handling of yesterday’s pitching. I think its time we take the shackles off Tommy Hanson and his innings/pitch count. I’m not saying go Livan Hernandez on him, but for Hanson to only go five yesterday while Stephen Strasburg (fresh back from Tommy John surgery) went seven is a little confusing. Meanwhile Kris Medlen (I feel) pitched just because he was there, and Jonny Venters already has an appearance for no apparent reason. Very concerning moves from day one.
Speaking of Strasburg: The Nationals won 2-1 on strong pitching. Strasburg fanned five, and looked good doing so. If Clippard and Lidge hold up their bullpen might be a little better than first realized.
Marathon men of Cleveland: Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians players are already thankful for that built-in rain day after playing the longest opening day game in history. Jose Bautista went yard for the first (of many) times.
Red Sox finding things to be difficult without closer: Day one in the books for Bobby Valentine and he already needs an antacid. The Tigers, behind a solid Justin Verlander won it after Jose Valverde blew a save for the first time in what feels like a decade. Both teams look great, Sox will need patience to overcome deficient closer situation and avoid thoughts of last seasons start and finish.