Yeah. That’s a win. You’re catdamned right it is. Photo by Samara Pearlstein, emphasis by Miguel Cabrera.
I took notes. I know these posts are your favorites.
Opening Day 2010. Justin Verlander vs. Zack Greinke. The game and what happened in it.
–The Royals are wearing their powder blues. I am a big fan of the actual royal blue, but these are kinda nice. They should’ve gone with the full royal blue hats, though, not powder blue with royal brims. Kansas City boos Johnny Damon lustily. You’re not so bad, KC. I could grow to like you a little bit.
–Carlos Guillen pops one up over the infield, nobody calls it, Greinke throws his hands out as if to say I DON’T KNOW GUYS WHERE IS IT I JUST DON’T KNOW. Bloomquist makes a last-ditch dive for it, but misses. Magglio scores from second I think, making it 1-0 Tigers. These are the Royals I remember.
–The FSND Verlander scouting report: Workhorse. Repeat delivery. The Butler did it.
Mario: I can’t believe you used that.
Rod: I said it!
Mario: Especially to a Spartan…
Shortly thereafter Mario calls Billy Butler “one of Verlander’s nemeses”.
–Here comes Scott Sizemore with his yellow body armor batting gloves. Rod calls Greinke “The Truth”, caps verbally implied.
–Verlander is riding at 97-99 mph so far today. In the second inning, Jose Guillen singles up the middle. A couple guys later, Yuniesky Betancourt survives a long at-bat to blast a two-run homer. 2-1 Royals. Whhhyyyyyyy
–Damon booed again in his second at-bat. Mmmhm. In the bottom of the third, David DeJesus strikes out on a 98 mph fastball way outside, then hops around several times because he can’t believe he let himself be beaten so badly. Mmmmhmm.
–Rod Allen describes Willie Bloomquist’s knee surgeries as ‘orthoscopic’. He means ‘arthroscopic’, unless Bloomquist has eyes in his knees. Although, really, what do I know about the physical mutations of the Royals?
–Scott Sizemore has an excellent HURR DURR batting face. He kind of lets one side of his mouth hang open when he’s concentrating really hard up there. Pretty great. He breaks his bat; the barrel flies all the way out to third, skipping just past Bloomquist’s feet as he goes to field the ball. Bats these days, why I tellya, they oughta take action, action I tellsya.
–Saturday at Comerica will be a Year of the Tiger celebration! Oh man, if you are going to that game, you better live it the hell up. That sounds amazing. In other important promotions news: the only bobblehead giveaway so far seems to be the Justin Verlander K-counter bobbleheads on April 30, which somehow manage to look nothing like him. There is a ‘Paws foam tail’ giveaway on July 11 that sounds intriguing, but it’s only for kids. I’m a kid at heart, shouldn’t that count? I think so.
–Fifth inning, two outs. Chris Getz singles up the middle. DeJesus, up next, shows bunt but pulls it back. Laird catches the ball cleanly, but while trying to transfer it to his hand somehow throws the ball straight up into the air (??). While he’s waiting for it to come back down, Getz steals second base. Not kidding. I’m still not entirely sure what happened here.
–DeJesus singles. A few pitches later he steals second, making a TERRIBLE slide. He faceplants about a foot and a half away from the bag, losing his helmet and somehow bollocksing up the front of his belt. He lies there for a few seconds in shame, then picks his head up and starts laughing at himself. We would laugh with him, but Verlander walks Scott Podsednik to load the bases, and Billy Butler follows that up with a two-run single to make it 4-1 Royals. Verlander threw Butler only fastballs, including the last two pitches in the at-bat, which were both clocked at 100 mph by FSND’s gun.
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–Going into the 6th inning, Greinke has thrown 77 pitches. Verlander has thrown 93. Bloody typical. Why must we go through this again, Justin?
–Damon singles to right for his first hit as a Tiger. Woo freakin’ hoo. Rod tells us how, during Spring Training, the whole team went over to Damon’s Orlando home for “some groceries”.
–Joel Zumaya starts the 6th, amid many announcer assurances that we will not see Zoom this early during “the regular season” (what’s this, then?) and we’re only getting him early today because of the off-day tomorrow. He only needs 7 pitches in the inning: four 101 mph fastballs, three 83 mph whatevers. At least he’s consistent?
–For the record, Rod Allen totally called Zoom’s last batter of the inning. Yuniesky Betancourt had watched an 83 mph strike go by, then poked an 83 mph ball foul. Rod said that Zoom should throw him a fastball high (“at the neck”), because after those other pitches that was exactly the kind of ball Betancourt would swing at and be unable to hit. Sure enough, for the third pitch of the at-bat Zoom chucks an elevated 101 mph fastball, which Betancourt swings through to end the inning. Rod Allen is occasionally insane and sometimes inane, but every so often he reminds you why he’s so good at this whole baseball announcin’ thing.
–Seventh inning, Greinke is done. Our old friend Roman Colon will pitch. Greinke’s ERA after one game: 1.50. Verlander’s ERA after one game: 7.20. Sound the alarms, WE’RE ALL DOOMED.
–Mario goes into a whole spiel about Sizemore’s batting gloves, on and on, so big, so visible, so protective, the trend towards bigger and better batter protection these days, etc etc. Rod listens to the whole thing, then declares, “They’re ugly.” Mario is forced to admit that the bright yellow clashes with the Tigers uniform. It took me a while to look them up, but they’re the new gloves from something called XPROTEX (is the name XTREME enough, do you think?). They remind me of segmented worms.
–Stuff happens. Sizemore walks, so he gets on base for the first time even if he hasn’t had his first hit yet. Santiago pinch hits for Everett and singles; Sizemore goes to third even though the ball was hit to Scott Podsednik, who is playing left field. A direct insult to Podsednik’s arm.
–Robinson Tejeda takes over for Colon. Austin Jackson gets his VERY FIRST HIT! A double that scores Sizemore, making it 4-3 Royals. The future is bright and full of promise and stars and kittens and things!
–A whole bunch of runs score in the inning. Damon hits a 2-run double, Miggy has an RBI single, Inge has a 2-run double. By the time the inning ends Juan Cruz, who appears to be 73 years old, is pitching, and it is 8-4 Tigers. I imagine that Zack Greinke is simmering with rage in the clubhouse. But the FSN cameras show us Adam Everett groping Ramon Santiago in the dugout, all grabbing at his stomach, handling his shoulders. OK. Everett’s hair looks pretty glorious today.
–Zoom starts the 7th inning. He throws five pitches: four triple-digit fastballs and one 85 mph whatever, which is grounded to third. Inge takes an awkward route to it, double-clutches it in his glove, and throws it away (sigh). I find Zoom’s continued love affair with the 100+ mph pitching disturbing. Yes, it’s cool. But we have already seen that it only leads to sadness and the DL in the long run.
–Stuff happens, Phil Coke is in, keeping the hair and mustache for now (RotT approves). Royals move around the basepaths, eventually getting to the point where Jason Kendall tries to score from second. Austin Jackson throws him out instead (the ball skips off the mound a little, but it comes in on the third base side of the plate and so Laird is able to tag Kendall out before he can touch home). AJax is trying his absolute hardest to reach for the Grandersonian stars.
–There’s this one Royals fan in the crowd that you can see when the camera closes in on a lefty batter. He’s got a jersey and by the 8th inning he’s wearing his hat in the rally cap configuration. He also has a camera with a big lens and has been shooting the entire game. You get on with your bad self, photographer Royals fan! Much respect!
–Ryan Perry finishes the 7th and has a very easy 8th. Rod Allen says, “I see you, Ryan Perry!” You need to hear it in his voice and with his cadences, though.
–KYLE FARNSWORTH IN TO PITCH THE 9TH INNING. YES YES YESSSSSSS. He has let his hair grow out (curls!), he is wearing the goggles, AND HE HAS A GOATEE NOW. Kyle Farnsworth with a goatee. I just. You guys. Kyle Farnsworth with a goatee, on a team that is seriously weighing the pros and cons of putting him in the starting rotation. I am making one of those huge cartoon grins in real life.
–The Farns has an easy inning but I can’t even make myself care, because the Tigers are up and KYLE FARNSWORTH HAS A GOATEE.
–Rod announces, “Papa Grande! The Big Potato!” Mario loses it. He loves The Big Potato.
–On his way out of the bullpen, Jose Valverde takes a huge gulp of water. He then pauses at the bullpen door. He spits a huge stream of water to his left. He turns his head and spits a huge stream of water to his right. He faces forward and spits one last huge stream of water out. Now he can proceed to the mound. WHAT JUST HAPPENED
–Valverde wears his socks up, wears pitching goggles, and has a dark blue glove. He has a funky, distinctive, easy-to-imitate delivery quirk (a pause before going into his kick, with his glove held nose-high, opening parallel to the ground). He does the water thing. His nickname is Papa Grande or, apparently, The Big Potato. He owns a record label. I… I think I’m in love.
–He also at one point appears to forget how many outs there are and runs a ball over to first instead of starting a game-ending double play with it. But it’s all OK, because in the end, the final score is 8 to 4, and THE TIGERS WIN.
–It wasn’t clean. At times it wasn’t pretty. There were some moments of concern in addition to the moments of glory. But who cares? It’s a win. And at least it was better than last year.