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5 causes we’re very excited for Opening Day 2021

It’s baseball week! Opening Day shall be right here in a matter of days and hours, not months and weeks. It’s splendidly great, isn’t it?

Listed here are 5 issues I’m most enthusiastic about for Opening Day. 

MORE: Opening Day schedule, begin instances for all 30 groups

The sounds

I’m ridiculously excited for these fortunate sufficient to be within the stands on Opening Day. Baseball writers and followers have waxed poetic for many years concerning the thrill of listening to the crack of the bat or the pop of the glove or the roar of the gang. However a summer time with out listening to these sounds in individual — it simply isn’t the identical watching on TV or streaming in your telephone — actually has confirmed the “absence makes the center develop fonder” adage true another time. 

For me, the primary recreation I’ll cowl this yr — and the primary one I’ll be at since spring coaching in 2020, just a few days at the beginning shut down — shall be April 8. I’m positively giddy on the concept of as soon as once more listening to the bat, the glove and the followers make baseball music. Love that masks don’t cowl your ears, proper? Right here’s hoping all of us get the prospect prior to later. 

Acquainted faces, acquainted locations

Buster Posey shall be behind the plate for the Giants on Opening Day. Lorenzo Cain shall be roaming the outfield for the Brewers. Jordan Hicks shall be within the Cardinals’ bullpen, hoping for his likelihood to assist St. Louis shut out its first win of the season with a dominant late-inning efficiency. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

All three of these gamers sat out the 2020 season for COVID causes. Posey and his spouse had simply adopted twins. Hicks is a Kind 1 diabetic. Cain cited household causes for opting out after enjoying 5 video games. Baseball is healthier when it’s protected for gamers like Cain, Hicks and Posey to carry out. We’re getting again to regular, of us. That’s extra thrilling than the precise baseball about to be performed.

These three aren’t the one gamers who’re again, after all. Ryan Zimmerman sat out the 2020 season, and he’s been crushing the ball this spring — he has six homers and a .480 common in 25 ABs. Few pitchers are extra entertaining — or efficient — than Marcus Stroman, and he’s again within the Mets rotation. Michael Kopech will hurl his triple-digit fastball for the White Sox in an enormous league recreation the primary time since 2018; he missed 2019 with Tommy John surgical procedure and 2020 due to COVID. David Worth will pitch regular-season innings for the Dodgers for the primary time.

It’s going to be nice to see these gamers on the sector once more. Right here’s a full listing of the gamers who sat out 2020

Acquainted faces, new locations

By now, Mets followers have had seen plenty of spring coaching photos and video of Francisco Lindor in his new uniform. Similar with Cardinals followers and Nolan Arenado, Dodgers followers and Trevor Bauer and White Sox followers with Liam Hendriks. 

Seeing these guys take the sector in video games that depend, although? That’s the place it will get actual, and never only for followers of these groups. That’s when it sinks in for Braves followers that they’ll need to cope with Lindor this summer time, for Brewers followers that Arenado will possible gobble up would-be doubles down the road with that Gold Glove of his, and for Padres followers as they notice there is no such thing as a break after dealing with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw within the first two video games of a three-game sequence. And that’s when the remainder of us get to look at new fan bases fall in love with new stars. 

Shohei Ohtani 

He’s going to hit a house run on Opening Day, of us. Mark it down. 

Look, spring coaching stats don’t imply a ton. I get that. However I’m going to offer you a few spring coaching stats anyway: In 28 at-bats this spring, Ohtani has 5 residence runs and he’s batting .571 with a 1.701 OPS. Once more, spring. Certain. 

However he’s wholesome, and he’s spraying residence runs all around the ballpark. 

Desire a dark-horse MVP candidate within the AL? You can do worse than choosing Ohtani, and I can not wait to see him park one over the fence on Opening Day. Heck, it wouldn’t shock me if he went all Tuffy Rhodes on the White Sox in Recreation 1. 

The surprises

Ah, Tuffy Rhodes. He had all of 5 profession residence runs in 107 profession video games heading into Opening Day 1994, after which he proceeded to pop three in that one recreation — all off Dwight Gooden — in his first three at-bats. Even now, just a few many years later, it’s stunning. Rhodes performed 117 extra video games in his massive league profession and hit 5 extra homers, earlier than heading over to Japan, the place he grew to become a legendary slugger. 

Baseball’s a sport that’s been performed for the reason that 1800s, and it nonetheless finds a approach to shock and delight us every day. I can not wait to see what Opening Day 2021 has in retailer. 

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