Monday, April 6, 2009

5 Questions About Opening Day

Yes, it's here - Opening Day 2009. The start of the Major League Baseball season is upon us. Here's a few questions that I've heard come up about this day.

1. Um, who played in the World Series last year?

Unless your team won or lost, many fans forget who actually played in the World Series last year. The Philadelphia Phillies pulled it out against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have nothing to be ashamed about though. No one gave them any credit as they had no high-paid superstars. Many jumped on the bandwagon when they took the early lead in the Series but to no avail. They're back at the bottom of the expectation list again this year. We'll have to see how this pans out. (Of course, mentioning the Rays gives me the excuse to play my favorite video of their mascot!)

2. What are some significant milestones that have happened on opening day?

From the Baseball Almanac:

"Ted Williams was a .449 hitter in openers, with three home runs and fourteen runs batted in during fourteen games. "Teddy Ballgame" also boasted at least one hit in every Opening Day game he appeared in. Williams' first Opening Day (April 20, 1939) was especially noteworthy as he faced the rival New York Yankees and Lou Gehrig, who was playing in his 2,123rd consecutive game.

Opening Day 1940 witnessed one of the most famous pitching events as Cleveland ace Bob Feller and White Sox hurler Eddie Smith went head-to-head. Smith blinked, but Feller remained in control and tossed the only Opening Day no-hitter in Major League history.

Hammerin' Hank Aaron ignited the crowd at Riverfront Stadium on his first swing of the 1974 season when he tagged Cincinnati Reds for his 714th career home run to tie Babe Ruth on the all-time list."

3. How many United States Presidents have thrown out the opening pitch?

At least twelve sitting presidents have thrown out the ceremonial first pitch. One of the most interesting had to be Harry S. Truman - he threw one with his left and another with his right hand on Opening Day 1950.

4. What is an interesting movie to watch about Opening Day?

Well, I know of the ever-so-creepy Robert DeNiro and Wesley Snipes flick, The Fan. It's a pretty cheesy "thriller" where DeNiro plays a psyshopath (he's good at that). The movie isn't totally about Opening Day but the event plays a big part of the film.

I did find a nice list of less creepy baseball-themed movies here.

5. What has been your favorite opening day?

I've been to a few at Chavez Ravine and one at Tropicana Field and always have an amazing time. My favorite to date was last year at the Ravine that celebrated the Dodgers' 50th season in Los Angeles. What an awesome day!

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