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Terry Francona on Opening Day

“I’m not sure how something can be the same over and over and over and over again and yet be so wonderful. There’s a lot excitement. There’s certainly some anxiety. There’s probably a small piece of terror. Did we cover everything?
Things like that. But it’s the same every year. It never changes. I hope it doesn’t. It’s a great feeling.”

Terry Francona in the Boston Globe

Opening Day, Interrupted

Bartolo Colon pitches against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field on June 13, 2014 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Bartolo Colon (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

My Opening Day experience consisted of catching pieces of the third and eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees, and parts of the eighth and ninth innings of the Mets’ 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.

The most memorable moment was hearing the fans at Yankee Stadium embrace Alex Rodriguez with a loud ovation during his first MLB plate appearance since 2013. (He walked, so that wasn’t especially exciting… but at least he had a better day that most of his teammates – A-Rod had one of three Yankee hits against Drew Hutchinson.)

Masahiro Tanaka had a terrible pitching line, allowing four earned runs in just four innings. I didn’t get to see him at all, but it doesn’t seem as though his new pitching style is nearly as effective as the old one that led to damage in his left ulnar collateral ligament. It’s a shame – I enjoyed watching the 2014 Tanaka.

Bartolo Colon proved that he was up to handling the Opening Day assignment for the Mets, even though fans wanted to see Matt Harvey. Jeurys Familia looked dominant – and that’s good, because he might become the closer for the immediate future. And at least this year, Terry Collins sent healthy pitchers to the mound to defend a ninth inning lead, although having Buddy Carlyle earn his first career save wasn’t in anyone’s Opening Day plans.

Let’s hope that today’s MRI doesn’t reveal any serious problems with Jenrry Mejia‘s arm.

Today, when I could actually sit down & watch a baseball game, neither the Mets nor the Blue Jays are playing.

New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

But that’s ok – I’ll get my baseball fix at the Trenton Thunder’s “Welcome North” event at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton this afternoon. The 3-6:30 p.m. event offers fans a chance to meet the 2015 Trenton Thunder team and get autographs, eat free hot dogs and take a tour of the ballpark.

Trenton’s roster this year includes four of the top five prospects in the Yankees’ farm system as judged by Baseball America: pitcher Luis Severino (#1), outfielder Aaron Judge (#2), first baseman Greg Bird (#4) and catcher Gary Sanchez (#5).

Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

The beauty and ugliness of baseball

BaseballThe Opening Night curtain is about to go up on the 2015 Major League Baseball season, and we’ll have six months of pennant races, record chases and amazing achievements to enjoy.

For the first time in a generation, there is more excitement about the New York Mets than the New York Yankees. (For posterity, I will note that the Mets had the best record in the Grapefruit League this year at 19-12… since we are already sensibly forgetting about exhibition game wins and losses.)

And it’s a good thing that the games will be underway soon, because we badly need something to talk about besides the ugly stories that have dominated the baseball discussion for the past week.

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