Surviving One Day Without Baseball Exactly a Year Ago Seemed Like an Ordeal
Khris Davis Hit Exactly .247 For Four Straight Seasons
As absurd as it seems now, I remember being restless on this very date last year. It was March 27, 2019, and the source of my anxiety was having to endure one whole day without baseball. I had been taking in a daily game since the last week of February, when Spring Training began. I had even gotten to enjoy a couple of regular season games, thanks to the Japan Series involving the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners a few weeks earlier.
Some yard work had been planned for March 27, since I knew beforehand that no games were scheduled for that day. I figured, seeing that Opening Day for most teams would be tomorrow, I would easily get through one measly day without too much pain.
I was wrong for, even after completing the yard work and cleaning out the garage, I still found myself lost without baseball on the TV. By the time the sun set, I went to bed looking forward to the return of baseball after what seemed to have been a decades-long 24 hours.
With the hindsight that 2020 has forced upon us, I would gladly give up baseball for that one day, instead of what now could be months or even, God forbid, an entire year. All I can do now is look back at the early hours of the 2019 spring, which experienced quite a few interesting events that make me miss the start of this season even more.
Here are ten of the unusual observations I enjoyed during Opening Week 2019.
1. It took just thirty minutes to play the first five innings of the March 28 Opener between the Indians and Twins, thanks to the pitching of aces Cory Kluber and Jose Barrios. However, the final four innings took four times as long, what with Terry Francona pitching changes and several video reviews, so that the game took nearly three hours to complete.
2. St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who had just been acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks, got a hat trick against the Milwaukee Brewers. He slugged three home runs, the last of which broke a four all tie and sealed the victory for the Cardinals.
3. Washington reliever Kyle Barrachaugh (great name) got a dubious distinction the next day, as he allowed a run to score before throwing a single pitch. With runners on the corners, he committed a balk that plated a run to increase New York’s lead to 7-4.
4. Down two runs in the ninth, the Astros got the tying run to the plate when George Springer doubles. He advanced to third on a wild pitch to Jose Altuve, who was 0 for 3 and overdue for a hit. Inexplicably, Altuve decided to bunt, only to have the ball pop up for the third out. Game over.
5. Forty seven pitches into the game, the White Sox finally hit a ball in fair territory. It is by now the fourth inning, and so far Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger has gotten six strikeouts and allowed no one to reach base. Because of a bullpen inefficiency, Clevenger would end up with a no decision.
6. Eight Dodgers hit home runs in Opening Day, helping MLB set a record 48 throughout the day.
7. Milwaukee's Christian Yelich became the first player to hit a home run in each of his team's first four games.
8. In a March 31 battle against the Tigers, Elvis Luciano of the Blue Jays became the first player born in the 21st century to appear in a Major League Baseball game.
9. Two catchers, John Ryan Murphy of Arizona and Russell Martin of Los Angeles, pitched against each other as the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 18-5 on March 30.
10. On the fourth of April Oakland's Khris Davis collected two hits against the Red Sox to raise his batting average to .247, the exact mark he had finished with in each of the four previous seasons.