What can I say about Opening Day, the start of Baseball Season is a joy like few others. The start of April often brings the best baseball, warm weather, clear skies, players rearing to go. For the fans, what could be better than waiting six months for the start of the season, to sit in the bleachers and watch your team start a journey that will hopefully in in triumph in November. This isn’t me though.
Sitting in a dark room at 3AM, isolated and alone in a Beijing dormitory, yearning for a piece of home. Yet that’s not arriving, so what is the next best thing to that, a piece of Canada, namely Blue Jays Baseball. So I waited for Opening Day, wanting to relive the highs of the past two seasons, but knowing that baseball’s a fickle game, and a roster can collapse in a blink of an day, and when it arrived, I, and we all were thankful, because meaningful baseball had finally began.
To the game itself, and what a slow burner that was. Estrada was dealing, kind of. His control was masterful, which leads to the question, what happened? The answer, Marco Estrada was pitching, so obviously there wasn’t going to be any run support. Sure enough the Jays were down early, with the Orioles putting on two in the 3rd inning. Estrada’s inning started terribly with the leadoff double and the four-pitch walk. But honestly, when he started off ‘Murderers Row’ (you think that’ll stick, you heard it here first, or fifth but whatever, those three will combine for 120 home runs this year) by getting Machedo to give an easy sac fly, I thought sweet, he’ll cruise through Davis and Trumbo. That kind of reasoning is why I’m in China. Davis crushed a single, scoring one, and was out stretching a double, a play which made a lot of sense in my eyes. Onto Trumbo, and he’d bring home Adam Jones, who disgracefully wasn’t waved home by whoever the third base coach is for the Orioles with an actual double.
At this point I thought it’s one of those days, yet a switch seemed to flick, and the Jays went on a tear. Well not a tear, but they loaded the bases twice in the same inning. The fifth started with a walk by Pillar, then Zeke singling. Three batters later the bases were loaded for Joey Bats. As Buck himself said, if there was a time for resigning him, this was it. Which if this at-bat is a microcosm of his season, I’d release him and bring back BJ. On a 2-0 count, to a pitcher who wasn’t throwing strikes, he lost the plot, swinging at a high fastball outside the zone, and fouling out to the catcher, at which point I probably woke up my neighbour with a slew of words I shall not publish here. Sure enough, Kendrys Morales drove in his first RBI for the Jays with a well-worked walk. Bases-Loaded for Tulowitzki, and there was a point I thought he needed to be signed for, it was this moment. Ground-out to Third, fuck what do I know, 2-1 Orioles heading into the sixth.
Estrada somehow struck out two in a 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth, and the Jays tacked on another in the sixth, with Zeke doubling in newbie Steve Pearce. After which point the game got hazy, having not slept for around 20 hours, and with school starting in three hours, I tried to get around twenty minutes of shut-eye, by the time I’d woke up Joe Biagini was shamefully being brought out of the game for a LOOGY.
From there, I have no complaints about how the game ended up. The Jays tried to tag Zach Britton, who was brought into the game about six months too late by Buck Showalter, but Bautista grounding into a double play with a runner in scoring position was as close as the Jays would get to scoring. Gibby did a good job with the pitching staff, and Trumbo’s game winning home run wasn’t a bad pitch by Grilli. I think that even though he missed his spot, it wasn’t over the plate, Trumbo just barrelled it, it happens sometimes.
So 0-1, with J.A to pitch on Thursday morning my time, let’s all hope for a better result tomorrow.
Note, when I first wrote this, it was about two hours after Opening Day, so in the rare case that people actually view this, I hope it’s understood