Even with all the opening day baseball games, the coolest story of the day was the unveiling of a statue in Arlington created in memory of Shannon Stone, the firefighter who was at the game with his son when he reached out to catch a souvenir baseball thrown to him by Josh Hamilton, stumbled, and fell 20 feet to his death. The Rangers had a local artist create a statue of Shannon and his son, Cooper, that was created in Shannon’s memory, but dedicated to all fans – especially the fathers who bring their kids out to the ballgame. [ESPN and others… The MLB site had video of the unveiling.]
Opening Day Notes:
The first full slate of opening day games included a number of fine pitching performances. Johan Santana went five scoreless in his first outing since shoulder surgery, Roy Halliday threw eight scoreless, as did Justin Verlander, in wins, and Johnny Cueto looked like Luis Tiant in dominating the Marlins (the Reds Opener, but the second game for the run-scarce Miami Marlins). Ryan Dempster and Stephen Strasburg pitched well without getting a decision, and Erik Bedard faced the wrong team in losing, 1 – 0.
One new record was set – the Toronto Blue Jays needed 16 innings before a J.P. Arencibia homer topped the Indians, 7 – 4.
For a complete scoreboard, I’m partial to the MLB.com scoreboard – especially the MLB.com application on the iPad. Seriously – it’s awesome.
Aches and Pains…
Mets outfielder Andres Torres reinjured his calf on opening day, so he is likely going on the DL and returning to Port St. Lucie to rehab. [FoxSports]
San Diego placed pitcher Tim Stauffer on the 15-Day DL with a strained right elbow.
The Transaction Wire…
A few teams were making final moves, sending various players to the minors or bringing them up to the bigs. Those that caught my attention:
The Yankees assigned Jack Cust to their AAA affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Baltimore outrighted one-time prospect Dana Eveland to AAA Norfolk
Players celebrating with cake, cards, or remembrances include:
(1903) Mickey Cochrane, Hall of Fame catcher
(1908) Ernie Lombardi, Hall of Fame catcher (and schnozz)
(1937) Phil Regan, the Vulture, so named for stealing wins in relief…
(1943) Marty Pattin
(1951) Bert Blyleven, Hall of Fame Curveball
(1964) Kenny Williams, outfielder and White Sox GM
(1969) Bret Boone, alleged steroid user
(1971) Lou Merloni, who alleged that the Red Sox trainers taught people safe steroid practices without necessarily encouraging players to use them…
I’ve probably written this before – and if so, I apologize – but Marty Pattin is just one of those guys who makes me think of my grandfather and baseball cards. My parents both lived in a three-flat home on Sacremento near Addison in Chicago. Mom lived upstairs, the owners lived on the main floor, and my dad lived downstairs. After my parents married and moved out, we would regularly go down to that same three-flat to visit my grandparents and invariably I would watch baseball games with my grandfather, Sverre Kramer. He lived and died with the Cubs, used to yell out “Oh, for the love of Mike…” whenever something bad happened (which was often enough) and one of my first baseball memories is watching a game with him where Roberto Clemente hit two homers to top the Cubs and Fergie Jenkins some 40 years ago.
Anyway, down the street at the end of the block was a corner store. My brother and I walked down there one day – I was seven years old – and we were given 50 cents to buy something by Grandpa Kramer. Mike bought candy. I, of course, bought baseball cards. Opening the pack, the one player who stood out to me was Marty Pattin. I can still picture the card and reading the stats on the back.
Anyway, Pattin has kind of hung around in my baseball brain. A few years before I got to the University of Kansas, Pattin was a coach there – so I would see his name in the media guide. Pattin comes up in trivia questions from time to time, and no matter what I always end up thinking about that pack of cards. It wasn’t my first pack of cards – dad used to leave one under my cereal bowl as a kid from time to time – but it might have been the first pack that I chose to buy by myself. And it’s Marty Pattin’s card that I think about.