51 days until Opening Day

February 14, 2009

200_zambranoThere are 51 days left until that best day of the year, Opening Day.

Friday was an important milestone in our journey to the start of another baseball season — it was the first day pitchers and catchers reported to a lot of teams. There’s visual proof, Carlos Zambrano is already perfecting his hitting skills.

There are still 11 days until the first spring training games. For now, hopefully this old video with Zambrano throwing heaters at kids keeps you entertained.

56 days until Opening Day

February 9, 2009

There are 56 days left until that best day of the year, Opening Day.

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56, as you know, is famous in baseball, as Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hitting streak. It’s an amazing streak that will likely never be done again.

On an unrelated, self-promotional note, I have a new post up at Bugs & Cranks. Check it out to see Ichiro pitching (I’m not making that up).

83 days until Opening Day

January 13, 2009

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There are still 83 days left until Opening Day, the best day of the year.

This offseason has seemingly gone on forever, and there’s still way too much time left.

Or maybe I’m just obsessed with baseball.

Photo from maniacmiler18’s photostream.

99 days until Opening Day

December 29, 2008

There’s only 99 days left until that greatest day of the year, Opening Day.

Wow, it’s been a long offseason, and there’s still over three months left of it. But we’re now in double-digit days left, past the 100-day milestone.

Happy Holidays everyone, and be sure to read my latest post at Bugs & Cranks.

Opening Day sonnet

March 31, 2008

Baseball Opening Day finally here
Wait since Fall Classic an eternity
Finally fans at parks can have a beer
Watching Barry Zito face Brad Penny

Opening Day means hope for every team
Pirates, Royals, Rays all tied for first place
Last year’s Rockies show everyone can dream
Of getting hot, winning close playoff race

Do Red Sox repeat and make dynasty?
Not when Angels beat them in October
Cubs wait for Fall Classic for century
But Mets beat them with bats and best pitcher

Baseball back in our daily life is good
Happiest time of year since childhood

***

Opening Day lends itself to poetry. Since Babes Love Baseball beat me to haikus, I wrote a sonnet.

What a way to start the season (post-Japan edition). Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off homer in a pitching duel, shortly after the Braves had tied it up by scoring on a passed ball.

It’s good to see baseball back again. Though what will likely be remembered more than Zimmerman’s walkoff or the game being the first at the new Nationals Park was the reception President Bush got when he went out on the field for the ceremonial first pitch.

We’re only hours away from the real Opening Day — 12 hours away until that first full day of baseball, and I can’t wait.

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The one Sunday Night Baseball game a year I look forward to the most is always the first one. It’s always the day before the rest of the league opens up, which means that fans like me who are obsessed with baseball have this one Sunday night game to wet our appetites before we gorge on a full Opening Day. (Even when there are games in Japan like this year, they’re at 3 a.m., so few were able to see them).

Tonight’s game features the Washington Nationals against the Atlanta Braves. That might not look too thrilling to some of you, but since it’s been 145 days since the last real baseball game, it may as well be the biggest game ever.

The Nationals have had quite a bit going on lately. They played their first game ever in the new Nationals Park yesterday (an exhibition against Baltimore). Nats320 has a bunch of pictures of the new stadium here with reaction from players and management. (I got the photo above from Nats320 as well – one of the excellent Nationals blogs.)

So in their first regular season game at the new park, who the Nats throw out as their Opening Day starter? Odalis Perez — yes, he’s still in the league. He hasn’t had a good season since 2004, but he has reportedly had a good spring. As Federal Baseball found, even Perez is surprised he’s the Opening Day starter.

Read the rest of this entry »

patterson.jpgThere are 13 days left until that best day of the year, MLB’s Opening Day.

13 is the number of sacrifice hits that Corey Patterson had last season, which led the American League. As much as fans love to see a player sacrifice himself for the team, the sacrifice can be overrated because it usually results in an out as well, negating the gain of moving a runner over.

Patterson, the league leader in sacrificing himself for the team, isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot this year. The Reds signed him to a minor-league contract. All those sacrifices haven’t helped him stay in the majors — of course, his .264/.306/.386 line is the main reason why. It’s no coincidence the team that’s signed him is the Cincinnati Reds, led by Dusty “don’t clog up the bases” Baker.

erniebanks.jpgThere are 14 days left until that best day of the year, MLB’s Opening Day.

14 is also the number worn by Ernie Banks, since retired by the Chicago Cubs. Banks was an amazing player and among the game’s all-time greats, hitting 512 career home runs as a shortstop.

He played on the Cubs for his whole career (1953-71) and never got to play in the postseason. 13 of his 19 years as a Cub were spent on teams with losing records, and five of the other six were barely over .500. Typing those last two sentences just made me realize again why it must be painful to be a Cubs fan.

Banks is famous for saying “Let’s play two!”, and I’ll settle for teams playing one a day two weeks from now. Baseball season is almost here.

matsuzaka.jpgThere are 18 days left until that best day of the year, MLB’s Opening Day.

18 is also the number that Daisuke Matsuzaka wears. He was heavily hyped going into last season (mostly because of gyroball, his performance at the World Baseball Classic and the over $50 million the Red Sox paid just to have the rights to negotiate with him).

But while he didn’t live up to the hype — he wasn’t an All-Star caliber pitcher — Dice-K did pitch well last year. His ERA (4.40) was below the league average, and he had 201 strikeouts in 204 innings. That’s good. He’s still only 27, coming to the U.S. younger than a lot of players from Japan who come over. So he still has a lot of room to improve. Matsuzaka is scheduled to start the second of the two games the Red Sox are scheduled to play in Japan against the A’s.

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