Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Opening Day in Houston

Mark Newman:

I just wrote about 70,000 words, told more Opening Day stories than any single book ever had, built what was essentially a living e-book over months, and as of moments ago all 30 teams finally have a win or loss. It started with a countdown on Jan. 31 at 51 days till Sydney (featuring Ichiro), and became a liveblog through the MLB Opening Series, Sunday’s Opening Night at San Diego, 13 Opening Day games, and then a final Tuesday Opening Day game marking the start of Derek Jeter’s farewell tour. See all the firsts on Grand Openings,’s official Opening Day blog, at

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter got his 3,317th hit, got plunked, and got his final season started. Nolan Ryan threw to Craig Biggio, and Scott Feldman threw like every Houston fan hopes he will again. Dexter Fowler got it all started for Houston with doubles in his first two ABs as an Astro, Jesus Guzman went deep, Jose Altuve pestered the visitors and they were happy in Texas. Now every team has played a regular season game and nobody is 0-0 in the Standings. We have all the firsts . . . .

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Opening Day

Mark Newman:

Join me on our Grand Openings liveblog. What an incredible day so far. The first walk-offs, the first grand slam, the first Replay Review challenges, the first blown save, all the first hits and runs and special moments. Join me in comments there at

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

PNC Park, site of Pirates 1, Cubs 0

Today’s Games | Watch live on MLB.TV

First Replay Review challenge by a manager: Jeff Samardzija bunts into a 1-5-4 double play after the Cubs mount a rally in the top of the fifth at Pittsburgh. Rick Renteria challenges, and the call is upheld.

First Replay Review reversal of 2014: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle keeps his until the top of the 10th in that same game, and Bryan Morris picks off Bonifacio. The runner is initially called safe, but upon further review, he’s out. It took 2:30 for the review.

So far we’ve quickly seen our first walk-offs thanks to an Alex Gonzalez single in the ninth for Detroit and then a 10th-inning homer by Neil Walker to provide the only run in Pittsburgh; our first grand slam byJimmy Rollins; a successfully managerial debut for Brad Ausmus and Matt Williams; our first run-scoring wild pitch; our first immediate comeback from 6-0…

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Dodgers 3, D-backs 1 in Game 1

Mark Newman:

Introducing our new Grand Openings blog at I set my alarm for 3:50 am ET, started reskinning the Opening Day Countdown Down Under blog, and over the next hours recorded firsts in a celebration of the return of real Major League Baseball action. Follow this blog!

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

Clayton Kershaw

After more than 50 days of an Opening Day Countdown Down Under, we’ve put up some new decorations on this blog for the regular season and we introduce you to Grand Openings — part of the overall coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2014 season-openers. It all starts with the historic MLB Opening Series happening now in Sydney, Australia, so let’s look at some of the first firsts:

First win of MLB season: Dodgers 3, D-backs 1.

First winning pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (1-0), making it four consecutive Dodger wins when he starts on Opening Day. And first photograph (above, great shot by Matt King for MLB Photos via Getty Images) of a winning pitcher delivering a pitch with a huge dirt stain on his knee thanks to sliding into second base trying to stretch a single just moments before, ultimate gamer moment.

First losing pitcher: Wade Miley (0-1).


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How to schedule your life around Australia games

Opening Series AdviceOK, don’t say I never take care of you guys. I interviewed a sleep specialist doctor at length so those of us fans back here in North America will know EXACTLY how to schedule their lives around the MLB Opening Series in Australia. My story was just posted on the homepage and we just tweeted it out on the @MLB account and I wanted to make sure you have this so you can stay razor sharp and alert as you blog for the masses about the return of REAL baseball games.

You may be surprised by some of the tips. You may not realize that you need to nap on the first day of baseball this time. And whatever you do, this is NOT the night for a midnight screening of Divergent, at least not if you are a real baseball fan. Get to bed early, get up at 3:50 am if on East Coast, or 12:50 if on West Coast in a Dodgers or D-backs household, and see the first pitch of the season. And that’s just the start…

3 Days – Babe Ruth

Mark Newman:

You know everything there is to know about Babe Ruth. Except how he did in his career on Opening Day. See the unbelievable numbers and join me on the Opening Day Countdown Down Under blog as we honor The Bambino just three days away from the start of another Major League Baseball season.

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

Babe Ruth

He wore No. 3 for only seven seasons, but boy did he wear it big.

Babe Ruth already had hit 470 of his 714 home runs by Opening Day in 1929, when the Yankees and Indians became the first Major League Baseball clubs to regularly wear jersey numbers on their backs. (Go back to our 8 Days post for more on that history.) Just as Opening Day is where you begin any regular season, it also is where you begin any discussion of The Bambino as a player, so we are going to focus on his annual beginnings as we tick down to a new MLB season in only three days at Sydney.

Cumulative Opening Day stats:
Pitching: 3-0, 1.71 ERA, 26 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 5 BB, 10 K
Batting: 25 for 60 (.417), 22 R, 22 RBI, 7 HR, 6 BB, 5 2B, 1 3B

His teams were…

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7 Days – Mickey Mantle

Mark Newman:

We are exactly one week away from the start of another Major League Baseball season, and that means it is time to honor Mickey Mantle at No. 7 in the Opening Day Countdown Down Under. Take a unique look back at The Mick’s Opening Day history, and join in the comments to help decide who should be No. 6.

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps Rookie Card

By the time Topps issued its 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps rookie card, the holy grail for many baseball card collectors, the legend of an American hero was well underway.

Mickey Mantle poses for a portrait at Yankee Stadium in 1960

Mickey Mantle poses for a portrait at Yankee Stadium in 1960

A 19-year-old “jewel from mine country” in Oklahoma already had arrived the previous year to elevated typewriter praise and mythical description — or in the words of his eventual biographer, Jane Leavy, “The World Opened Up” to him. Mantle, the “Commerce Comet,” had hit a 600-foot bomb in Southern California on a Yankees barnstorming trip in the spring of 1951, and he had gone on to crack the Opening Day lineup in a No. 6 jersey and then acquire No. 7 when called back up later in the season. He had helped the Yankees to the 1951 World Series title, their 14th championship.

Sky was the limit.

Now it was…

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9 Days – Ted Williams

Mark Newman:

Are you following’s Opening Day Countdown Down Under? We’ve been counting down since Ichiro at 51 days away, and now we’re in the single digits and land of immortals. Suggest numbers in comments there as we get closer to Sydney and the start of a season.

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

Ted Williams

And here we are in the single digits. The land of baseball immortals. If you are an active player to be mixed in for the remainder of our daily countdown to Major League Baseball’s Opening Series on March 22-23 in Sydney, Australia, you better be Hall-bound.

We begin the royal rollout at No. 9 with the best hitter in baseball history. Ted Williams began his book, “The Science of Hitting,” with these words: “Hitting a baseball — I’ve said it a thousand times — is the single most difficult thing to do in sport.” And he began his Red Sox career — one that would last from 1939-60, with long pauses for war service —  by ripping a double on Opening Day.

It was April 20, 1939. On the other side of the world, Germany was celebrating Adolph Hitler’s 50th birthday as a national holiday. At Yankee Stadium, two future…

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22 Days – Clayton Kershaw

Mark Newman:

Just 22 days until Major League Baseball opens its season in Sydney, Australia, and today’s Opening Day Countdown Down Under blog is featuring CLAYTON KERSHAW at No. 22. That’s fitting, because we’re basically counting down the days to his first start of the season. Remember last year?

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is now likely to make a fourth consecutive Opening Day start for the Dodgers on March 22, three days after his 26th birthday, against Arizona in the first game of Major League Baseball’s Opening Series in Sydney, Australia. That became highly probable when Zack Greinke left his exhibition start after four pitches Thursday with a mild right calf strain.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw watches the flight of his first career home run, starting the scoring in his own 4-0 shutout of the Giants last Opening Day.

If it becomes official, then all Kershaw has to do is maintain his pace and he could be known one day as the greatest Opening Day pitcher.

In his three Opening Day starts over the last three years, the left-hander has thrown 19 scoreless innings and the Dodgers are 3-0. That included seven innings (9 strikeouts) in a 2-1 home win over the Giants…

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A New Home, and a New Approach

Mark Newman:

Make sure you read Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco’s new post about his move to the States and his comments on his native Venezuela. It’s a pretty powerful post.

Originally posted on White Shark:

The two big headlines for me since I last blogged:

We moved from Venezuela to Miami, and for the first time in 11 years I didn’t play winter ball.

 My wife and I bought a house in Miami last year with the money we earned from the World Series. If you’ve been watching the news, Venezuela isn’t a very safe place to be. It hasn’t been a safe place for a long time. I was there from Dec. 20 to Jan. 10 – 20 days – and personally witnessed three robberies. Everybody has been the victim of at least one crime.

Mine happened when I was 16. I was kidnapped for four hours with a gun to my head.

I had just signed a professional contract, and my mother bought me a car as a congratulations gift. I drove to the beach with my girlfriend. We stopped at KFC on the way back. When we were pulling out of the parking lot, a car hit us…

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32 Days – Sandy Koufax

Mark Newman:

Please join me on the Opening Day Countdown Down Under blog here at as I am posting a different Opening Day moment for 51 straight days on the way to Major League Baseball’s Opening Series March 22 in Sydney, Australia. Today is 32 Days away, so we are going with Sandy Koufax. Who should be 31? Follow the blog at and leave comments! – Mark

Originally posted on Grand Openings:

Sandy Koufax

April 14 will mark the 50th anniversary of Sandy Koufax‘s only Opening Day start in a Hall of Fame career, and today we celebrate No. 32 as the countdown continues to Dodgers vs. D-backs on March 22 in Sydney, Australia.

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax poses for a portrait in 1962. (Photo by Louis Requena/MLB Photos)

Don Drysdale had generally handled the Opening Day assignment for the Dodgers in that era of their 1-2 domination on the mound following the club’s move from Brooklyn. The big right-hander started on Opening Day in 1958-61, ’63 and ’65. Johnny Podres had started it in ’62, the first game at Dodger Stadium. For Koufax, ’64 was his turn and his time.

Koufax had been named Most Valuable Player of the 1963 World Series, leading the Dodgers to a sweep of the Yankees and then receiving a unanimous Cy Young Award as well as National League…

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