Opening Day baseball is filled with excitement. Fanfare fills ballparks across the nation. Many times, fireworks decorate the sky after the game. There were plenty of fireworks off bats this year.
Is there a better start to a sports season than Opening Day? Sun shining down on perfectly manicured green grass. The smell of hot dogs or beef brisket covered in funnel cake batter, fried and covered with powdered sugar. The sound of a fastball popping the leather catcher’s mitt, or when a bat smokes it out of the park.
There is a saying that “chicks dig the long ball.” Well, if that imperfect statement were to be true, Opening Day of the 2017 season must be one for the ages. With more than 20 players going long on day one of the season, three of which hitting two home runs, fireworks filled the day.
While Monday may be the official start to the season for most teams, Madison Bumgarner could not wait that long. While the rest of the San Francisco Giants lineup struggled to score on Sunday, Bumgarner flexed his country muscle with two no-doubter home runs. The first came off of Diamondbacks ace Zach Greinke. He is the first pitcher in MLB history with two home runs on Opening Day.
Monday started with a bang as well. The defending American League champion Cleveland Indians traveled to Texas to take on the Rangers. Rougned Odor threw the first punch of the game, firing a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning. He followed that with a three-run shot in the third. Both home runs came at the expense of Corey Kluber.
Two more players decided to double their pleasure as well. The catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasmani Grandal, launched two homers off San Diego Padres pitchers in a 14-3 rout. To make it more impressive, the home runs came from both sides of the plate. Khris Davis or the Oakland Athletics also homered twice, leading to a 4-2 win over the Angels.
One and done
While the previous players hit two home runs, some of the most impressive shots came from those who it just one. Here are some of the more notable long balls.
The Dodgers hit four home runs total, including one from 2016 Rookie of the Year, Corey Seager. But, it was the grand slam from Joc Pederson that was the biggest blow of all.
If it is Opening Day, it is a safe bet that Bryce Harper will hit a home run. Spoiler alert: he did. For the fifth time in his six years, Harper went yard on day one.
There were many other notable players that hit homers on Opening Day. This includes Andrew Benintendi, Carlos Correa, Mike Moustakas, Willson Contreras, and Evan Longoria. And Mike Trout crushed his first home run of the year, with an exit velocity of 113 MPH. But, two other proved prophetic.
When you are a veteran player on a new team, the pressure to produce can be crushing. Unless you are Edwin Encarnacion. He simple just crushes. Remember the game in which Odor hit two home runs? Well, it was not enough. Encarnacion’s eighth inning home run tied the game at five. The Indians won 8-5.
However, the most crushing shot came off the bat of Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles. Last season’s home run leader mashed a shot that was extra special, as it was the walk-off winning in the bottom of the 11th inning.
So, if you like home runs, day one was a great day. Will the trend continue throughout the season? Who knows? Regardless, no complaints here.