Opening Day

“If baseball is a narrative, an epic of exile and return, a vast, communal poem about separation, loss, and the hope for reunion—if baseball is a Romance Epic—it is finally told by the audience. It is the Romance Epic of homecoming America sings to itself. Where does America sing this poem, say this story? Wherever baseball gathers.” – A. Bartlett Giamatti from “Baseball as Narrative”

Baseball again gathers today* with the 145th version of professional baseball’s Opening Day. The day of eternal optimism. Next year is here, and there is at least some hope for fans of all 30 major league teams (including the Twins).

*Well, there was a game last night, and a couple of games in Australia last week, but lets not let the facts get in the way of a good celebration.

It’s a funny holiday that baseball fans celebrate. It is the first of 162 games; a game that has as much impact on the standings as the second game; or about as much meaning a mid-June get-away day game against a last place team. Save the possibility of an injury, no team will be any more out of the pennant race after today’s results than they were before.

Still, it marks the return of the daily ritual of summer. Once again there will be triples, stolen base attempts, and box scores. But, like Giamatti writes in the above mentioned essay, there is always something new. This year the new includes expanded instant replay, the possibility of Byron Buxton’s major league debut (plus a long-shot chance of seeing Sano), and Paul Molitor using advanced defensive statistics to position Twins fielders.

As usual, people like me will discuss meaningless facts and statistics, such as the Twins’ five-game losing streak on opening day. Last year’s opening day starter, Vance Worley, cleared waivers, was outrighted, and ultimately traded to Pittsburgh for cash. This year’s opening day starter, Ricky Nolasco, represents the most money the Twins have ever spent to bring in a free agent.

Tomorrow will be just another game, and the 2014 season will be with us for another seven months, but today is the Opener.

Twins Opening Day History

Date – Result – Starting Pitcher

4/11/1961 W @ NYY 6-0 Pedro Ramos
4/10/1962 L @ KCA 2-4 Jack Kralick
4/9/1963 L vs CLE 4-5 Mudcat Grant
4/14/1964 W @ CLE 7-6 Camilo Pascual
4/12/1965 W vs NYY 5-4 (11 innings) Jim Kaat
4/12/1966 W vs KCA 2-1 Mudcat Grant (2)
4/11/1967 L @ BAL 3-6 Jim Kaat (2)
4/10/1968 W @ WAS 2-0 Dean Chance
4/8/1969 L @ KCR 3-4 (12 innings) Tom Hall
4/7/1970 W @ CHW 12-0 Jim Perry
4/6/1971 L vs MIL 2-7 Jim Perry (2)
4/15/1972 L @ OAK 3-4 (11 innings) Bert Blyleven
4/6/1973 W @ OAK 8-3 Bert Blyleven
4/5/1974 W @ KCR 6-4 (11 innings) Bert Blyleven
4/8/1975 W @ TEX 11-4 Bert Blyleven (2)
4/9/1976 L @ TEX 1-2 (11 innings) Bert Blyleven (3)
4/9/1977 L @ OAK 4-7 Dave Goltz
4/5/1978 L @ SEA 2-3 Dave Goltz (2)
4/6/1979 W @ OAK 5-3 Dave Goltz (3)
4/10/1980 W @ OAK 9-7 (12 innings) Jerry Koosman
4/9/1981 L vs OAK 1-5 Jerry Koosman (2)
4/6/1982 L vs SEA 7-11 Pete Redfern
4/5/1983 L vs DET 3-11 Brad Havens
4/3/1984 L vs DET 1-8 Albert Williams
4/9/1985 W @ CAL 6-2 Frank Viola
4/8/1986 W @ OAK 3-2 Frank Viola (2)
4/7/1987 W vs OAK 5-4 (10 innings) Bert Blyleven (4)
4/5/1988 L @ NYY 0-8 Frank Viola (3)
4/4/1989 L vs NYY 2-4 Frank Viola (4)
4/9/1990 L @ OAK 3-8 Allan Anderson
4/9/1991 L @ OAK 2-7 Jack Morris
4/6/1992 W @ MIL 4-2 Scott Erickson
4/6/1993 W vs CHW 10-5 Kevin Tapani
4/5/1994 L vs CAL 2-8 Kevin Tapani (2)
4/26/1995 L @ BOS 0-9 Scott Erickson (2)
4/1/1996 W vs DET 8-6 Brad Radke
4/1/1997 W vs DET 7-5 Brad Radke (2)
4/1/1998 L @ TOR 2-3 Bob Tewksbury
4/6/1999 W vs TOR 6-1 Brad Radke (3)
4/3/2000 L vs TB 0-7 Brad Radke (4)
4/3/2001 W @ DET 3-2 Brad Radke (5)
4/1/2002 W @ KC 8-6 Brad Radke (6)
3/31/2003 W @ DET 3-1 Brad Radke (7)
4/5/2004 W vs CLE 7-4 (11 innings) Brad Radke (8)
4/4/2005 L @ SEA 1-5 Brad Radke (9)
4/4/2006 L @ TOR 3-6 Johan Santana
4/2/2007 W vs BAL 7-4 Johan Santana (2)
3/31/2008 W vs LAA 3-2 Livan Hernandez
4/6/2009 L vs SEA 1-6 Francisco Liriano
4/5/2010 L @ LAA 3-6 Scott Baker
4/1/2011 L @ TOR 3-13 Carl Pavano
4/6/2012 L @ BAL 2-4 Carl Pavano (2)
4/1/2013 L @ DET 2-4 Vance Worley

Overall Record on Opening Day: 25-28

 

 

 

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