Nothing can touch the first day of the NCAA tournament as the annual king of sports-induced “sick” days. For seamheads, however, Monday was the day to [cough] call the boss and [cough, cough] tell him or her you were fighting off [cough, HACK] a nasty bug. Luckily, we get paid to sit around and watch professional baseball all day, so no phony call was needed. Here were our favorite moments from taking it all in:
“I did have one … in Triple-A.” — Neil Walker, the Pittsburgh native who launched a walk-off homer for his Pirates, his first (major league) walk-off hit.
8 erned runs allowed by Philly’s Cliff Lee, who became the first Opening Day starter to get a victory despite giving up eight runs since Dutch Leonard of the Washington Senators in 1945. Hat tip, SABR stats.
BEST REMINDER THAT CHEATERS SOMETIMES WIN
Brewers star Ryan Braun, back after his 65-game suspension for the Biogenesis scandal, was given a standing ovation by the announced 45,691 fans in his first at-bat at Miller Park. The former NL MVP later scored a run in Milwaukee’s 2-0 victory over Atlanta.
BEST OTHER REMINDER THAT CHEATERS SOMETIMES WIN
Nelson Cruz, who hit 27 homers with Texas last year before getting suspended 50 games for the Biogenesis scandal, hit the go-ahead home run for his new team as host Baltimore beat Boston 2-1.
The Nationals’ Adam LaRoche and his huge beard belted a monster that cleared some of Citi Field’s upper deck.
“Like y’all to meet our new son Boston Matthew. was 6lbs 6oz born at 9:19 this morning. Everyone is healthy.” — @BrianDuensing52, Twins pitcher.
Best non-baby-news tweet
“A recent study shows that the earlier you get to Miller Park to tailgate, the more bratwursts you can enjoy. That’s a fact. #BrewersOpener” — @Brewers (verified team account).
Best replay challenge
The first challenge ever! We were thrilled it happened, especially after watching a few weeks worth of hourlong reviews of hundredths of seconds in the NCAA tournament. See, what happened was, the runner was … oh, forget it. Four-hour baseball, boo.
Jimmy Rollins’ grand slam, his 200th home run, was the first “Whoa!’’ moment of the season.
Best Cubs-like moment
The Cubs. Something about not scoring a run over 10 innings against Pittsburgh that just feels kind of Cubs-y. There’s always next century.
The Eagles beat the Cowboys 14-10.
Best ex-Twin moment
Pick any moment from the hard-to-watch-for-Twins-fans doozy Franchise Liriano tossed. Zero runs, 10 K’s.
Best ex-Twin moment II
Ben Revere’s sprinting, diving grab in right-center against the Rangers. Dude can play some defense. But, hey, so can Byron Buxton. Is it 2015 yet?