The Legend of Jason Heyward was born in Atlanta on Opening Day.
It wasn't a good day for baseball... if you're a Cubs fan, but if you happen to be a Braves fan, then this day could not have been scripted any better. All eyes were on Atlanta's newest franchise player, outfielder Jason Heyward, and as if foreshadowing things to come, the young rookie caught the ceremonial first pitch from Braves legend, and fabled homerun hitter, Hank Aaron. Then with the scored tied at 3 in the first inning, he came to the plate for his first major league at-bat with two runners on. The Ted was already alive with excitement, and the entire crowd was already standing at the anticipation of seeing this your phenom's first big league moment.
Carlos Zambrano delivered the first pitch to the 6-foot-4 Heyward; ball one. The second pitch was another ball; the patience of Heyward was on display in his first big league at-bat. And with the third pitch the Legend of Jason Heyward was off and running. In a picture perfect swing he CRUSHED, and I mean CRUSHED the ball deep beyond the right field fence and into the back for the Braves bullpen for a three-run homerun. Welcome to the big leagues, kid (this stuff is supposed to be hard, you know).
That homerun was a no-doubter. The Cubs right fielder trotted respectfully towards the right field wall without even looking up. The crowd went absolutely nuts, and when I saw absolutely nuts, I mean people were jumping all around, high-fiving everyone within reach. It was like that homerun had won the World Series or something, people were hysterically exuberant. It was an amazing moment for Jason Heyward, and an amazing moment for anyone who was there.
There were some other players on the field today too, and many of them wearing a Braves uniform had good games. Brian McCann essentially said to Jason Heyward one inning later, "what ever you can do I can do better," and hit one of his patented moon shot homeruns 10 rows deep to right field.
Yunel Escobar had a great day, driving in five runs. In fact, the 6th and 7th spots in the lineup, Escobar and Heyward, combined to drive in nine runs! Everyone in the lineup except for Melky Cabrera had a hit, but Melk had some great at-bats, taking the count full three times and seeing 31 pitches on the day. As if rubbing salt in the Cubs pitching wound, even pinch hitter Eric Hinske joined the fray with a run-scoring triple in the seventh inning.
I can't remember the last time the Braves put together two 6-run innings in one game. Do we have any amateur Elias Sports Bureau folks out there?
Starting pitcher Derek Lowe couldn't find his way through the middle of the Cubs order, but despite giving up five runs he gets the win. I think we should officially call that a "DerekLoweWin."
What a great game. There are a thousand more positive things that could probably be said about today's game, but all we really needed was number-22. If the first game is any indication, this is going to be a fun season.
|Final - 4.5.2010||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Derek Lowe (1 - 0)
LP: Carlos Zambrano (0 - 1)