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Updated: April 2, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Videos by MLB)

Major League-season begins with memorable Opening Day

BOSTON, Massachusetts / DENVER, Colorado / DETROIT, Michigan / MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin / PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania / SAN DIEGO, California / WASHINGTON, DC (USA) - Thursday (April 1) was Opening Day in Major League Baseball! All 30 teams had the first of their 162 regular season games scheduled.

It was a memorable day. Not only because fans were allowed back in the stadium to attend the games. This season, some rules of last years abbreviated season return. Games in a double-header will be seven innings (plus eventual extra innings). And in extra innings, the at bat begins with a tie-break runner on second base. Four games needed extra innings on Opening Day.

On Thursday, two of the fifteen games were cancelled, meaning four teams didn't play on Opening Day.

The opening game of Boston Red Sox at home at Fenway Park against Baltimore Orioles was cancelled due to rain. This game was re-scheduled for Friday.

...Miguel Cabrera hits the first homerun in the snow...
The opener of Washington Nationals at home against New York Mets also was cancelled. This was due to one positive case of the coronavirus of a player in the team of Washington. After contact tracing was conducted, it was announced that four more players and a staff-member had to be placed in isolation. These persons were not to be with the team in case the game had been played. The players would have been replaced by players added from the team's Alternate Training Site. However, as not all contact tracing was completed, it was decided to cancel the game out of precaution. A new date has not yet been announced. As of now, Washington and New York now will play their first game on Saturday. There was no game scheduled for Friday.

There were some notable moments on Opening Day. Both involved a homerun and both needed a discussion.

The first moment happened in the bottom of the first inning with Detroit Tigers hitting against Cleveland Indians. That game was played in sometimes heavy snow! With one out, Jeimer Candelario singled and with two outs, Miguel Cabrera hit the ball into rightfield, where it hit the top of the outfield-railing. The 37-year old Venezuelan thought the ball stayed in the field and slid into second base, thinking he had hit a double, but the umpires said he had homered. The play was reviewed and the call was upheld. The ball did indeed hit the top of the outfield-railing, but above the yellow marking, which made it a homerun. And with that, Cabrera hit the first homerun in the 2021 Major League-season. The homerun gave Detroit a 2-0 lead en route to a 3-2 win.

...Cody Bellinger's homerun becomes a single...
Cody Bellinger hit the first homerun for Los Angeles Dodgers, but instead had to settle for a single! In the away-game at Colorado Rockies, there was no score in the top of the third inning. With one out, Justin Turner singled. Hereafter, Cody Bellinger hit the ball into deep leftfield, where leftfielder Raimel Tapia jumped up and caught the ball. But Tapia then hit the railing of the fence and the ball dropped out of his glove to the other side of the fence, making it a homerun. Turner had left on contact and already has passed second base when he saw Tapia jump up and catch the ball. Thinking it was a catch, he turned around to get back to first base in time and never saw that Tapia lost control of the ball. Turner touched second base again and was on his way to first base, where he passed Bellinger, who was halfway to second base, knowing he had hit a homerun. Then, it became a situation for the rules. The homerun hit by Bellinger was annulled and reduced to a single, as he was ruled out for passing the preceeding runner (Turner). But Turner was allowed to complete his run across the bases, as he would have when it would have been a homerun. And so, a 2-run homerun became an RBI-single and also accounted for the second out. Who knows what would have happenend when this would have been a 2-run homerun (with one out), as the next two batters both walked. They stranded, as a strikeout now ended the at bat. Colorado won with an 8-5 score.

More than 20,000 spectators attended Colorado's first home-game at Coors Field in Denver. In accordance with State and City safety regulations, a capacity of 21,000 spectators is allowed for the first series of home-games against Los Angeles (through April 4) and Arizona Diamondbacks (April 6-8). There has to be social distance and fans must wear face masks. All other games were attended by 8,000 through 13,000 spectators.

Five of the seven players with a Dutch passport came into action on Opening Day. Xander Bogaerts didn't play, as the game of Boston Red Sox was cancelled. Kenley Jansen didn't pitch for Los Angeles Dodgers.

...Didi Gregorius makes a great catch...
Didi Gregorius struckout in his first three at bats, but played a role in the winning run and made a great defensive play in the 3-2 home-win of Philadelphia Phillies against Atlanta Braves. In the eighth inning, he led off with a singke, but was then forced out at second base by Ozzie Albies. In the bottom of the tenth inning, with the score at 2-2, Bryce Harper was the tie-break runner at second base. He moved to third base on a grounder by J.T. Realmuto, then stayed there when Alec Bohm also grounded. Hereafter, with two outs, it was opted no to pitch Gregorius, who was then walked intentionally. But next batter Jean Segura then hit the ball into leftfield for a walk-off single to give Philadelphia the win.

In the same game, Ozzie Albies was 0-for-5. He struckout in his first at bat, grounded out in the third, popped out in the sixth and flied out in the seventh inning. With the score at 2-2 and two outs in the top of the ninth, Albies hit a pop-fly into leftfield. There, short stop Didi Gregorius, who had ran backwards, made a great over-the-shoulder catch, ending the inning. Being the final hitter in the ninth, Albies was the tie-break runner for Atlanta in the top of the tenth. He moved to third base on a grounder, then tried to score on a flyout to centerfield by Marcell Ozuna. But the throw from centerfielder Roman Quinn to catcher J.T. Realmuto was perfect and Albies was tagged out at the plate to complete an inning-ending double play.

Jonathan Schoop was the second baseman for Detroit Tigers and batted 1-for-3. He struckout twice, but also walked once in the above mentioned game of Detroit against Cleveland.

Andrelton Simmons was 2-for-4, scored a run, struckout once and also got a walk for Minnesota Twins in a 6-5 loss in ten innings against Milwaukee Brewers.

San Diego Padres won 8-7 at home against Arizona Diamondbacks. Jurickson Profar was the leftfielder for 0-for-2 and walked for San Diego, which led 6-1 after four innings. Arizona then rallied for six runs in the fifth, but San Diego came alongside in the sixth. In the seventh inning, Jake Cronenworth led off with a triple, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Profar. And that was to be the winning run.

(April 1)

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