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Thoughts on Opening Eve 2011

I just finished watching the Giants and Dodgers play a quintessential pitcher's duel, and I eagerly await the debut of the Mariners tomorrow. In the meantime, a random assortment of thoughts:

  • In 2003, Bob Melvin made his managerial debut on opening night, and it was also in Oakland. That's about all that is the same between Eric Wedge and him, but it was an excuse to unearth the box score from that game. It is one of those random games I vaguely remember for no good reason. I remember the M's looking bad, and they did in a 5-0 loss. I didn't remember Mark McLemore starting at shortstop, Ben Davis at catcher, or Giovanni Carrera pitching a scoreless eighth. This is a team that won 93 games. Therefore, if the M's are shut out tomorrow, I will expect a 93-win season.
  • It warms my heart to see Ryan Langerhans get an opening day start. He earned it with his spring, and he is one of those players that I just really like. I secretly (well, I guess no longer secretly) hope that he has a pleasantly surprising season.
  • I am also happy to see that Josh Wilson caught on somewhere, and it made me laugh to see that he will be backing up Willie Bloomquist in Arizona.
  • Speaking of the D'Backs, their collection of former Mariners (Wilson, Bloomquist, Russell Branyan, J.J. Putz, and if you want to include him, Aaron Heilman) is endearing.
  • By far the most-viewed post of all-time on my blog is the one where I projected the 2011 roster back on July 25 of last year. Now, we know the 2011 roster. I got 7 of the 13 position players right, all 5 starting pitchers right, and only 2 of the 7 bullpen arms correct. For some reason, the turnover doesn't feel as big to me as it probably should, looking at these numbers.
  • The Mariners opened up in Oakland last year too. They won 5-3, behind the strength of Casey Kotchman's 4 RBIs, and a home run from Rob Johnson. I'm not making this up. Further proof that the Mariners will have a better season if they lose their opener in Oakland.
  • It's amazing how much energy the 2010 M's sucked away from the franchise. The 2011 roster has legitimately exciting storylines with Erik Bedard's comeback, and Tom Wilhelmsen's remarkable return to baseball. Josh Lueke is an interesting storyline too, and Ichiro is four hits away from being the franchise's all-time leader in that category. Michael Pineda will make his MLB debut in the next week. Still, this team can't create much buzz.
Buzz isn't necessary for opening day to be exciting though. It's opening day, 'nuff said, and it's almost here.