The moments from Opening Day 2019 that we'll remember on Opening Day 2020
Opening Day always brings with it a feeling of joy: Baseball is back, the sun seems to shine just a little brighter and everyone around town is nicer than normal.
Sure, it's only one day, but it's the first day. Fans are seeing new players for the first time and those first impressions are huge. With 15 games, there were a lot of first impressions to be had, but some made a bigger impression than others. Here's what the Cut4 staff took away from the first day of the 2019 season -- the things we'll still be talking about this time next year.
Bryce Harper makes his Phillies debut
LET'S GO! pic.twitter.com/iyBTxPxb8u— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 28, 2019
Matt Monagan: A delightful welcoming from the always delightful Philadelphia fanbase. Also, are these not the greatest shoes you’ve ever seen? Maybe Bryce is actually, slowly transforming into the Phillies mascot and we’ll see a full-on Phillie Phanatic in the batter’s box by next week.
Chris Landers: That was less a game than a loosely organized block party. I still haven’t fully calmed down, honestly. Now if we can just get Bryce to add a Gritty cleat into the mix.
Eric Chesterton: Gritty cleats would be great! If all goes according to plan and the Phillies play into October, I feel the green and orange combo of one Phanatic cleat and one Gritty cleat would work well as a fall color combo.
Also, Bryce didn’t even make it through one game without Philly fans baptizing him with boos. It’s probably best to just get that out of the way early anyway.
Lorenzo Cain's game-ending catch
Matt: The catch was tremendous, but the reaction was even better. I think he high-fived every single person in Miller Park. Gonna be a fun season in Milwaukee.
Chris: The baseball season is often described as a marathon, not a sprint -- 162 games means not getting too high or low based on one outcome. But in the late innings of this game, it felt like everything in the world was riding on this moment -- and if you think that’s an exaggeration, don’t tell that to Cain or his son.
"NOT TODAY!" 😂— ESPN (@espn) March 28, 2019
Lorenzo Cain's son jumped in while Cain talks about his game-saving HR robbery. pic.twitter.com/6bsT6LXmvL
Eric: The celebration was a fitting monument to the "Let the Kids Play" commercial MLB put out right before Opening Day. He made a great catch to save the game, at home, in front of fans still energized from last year's postseason run. If Cain's not going to get pumped up in that situation, when would he get pumped up? I hope this is the start of a trend.
Luke Voit's adventures with sunflower seeds
Matt: Like, what is he doing? Did he forget how to chew? Somebody help him.
Chris: Look, Voit is a busy man. He doesn’t have time for things like “looking at what he’s eating” or “only putting in his mouth as much as he can safely eat”. That’s what gravity’s for, anyway. Here’s a prediction: This will be the most popular way to eat seeds on the go by this time next year.
Eric: I'm concerned for Voit, honestly. This is a guy who works out a lot. I mean, he does one-handed bench presses! If he has forgotten the basic mechanics of eating -- as it appears he has here -- that's going to be a big problem for his recovery from those grueling workouts. Greg Bird may be in store for a lot of at-bats.
Yasiel Puig's butt wiggle
Matt: New city, same Puig. He may have gone 0-for-4 at the plate, but look at his butt. That’s worth at least four homers and six RBIs.
Chris: No disrespect to L.A., but it’s so much fun watching a whole new, uninitiated fanbase react to the baseball (and booty) stylings of Yasiel Puig. Long may he reign.
Eric: I have loved everything about Puig's transition from L.A. to Cincinnati. He had always turned up the dial on his personality in the postseason, but since the trade, every day has brought us Postseason Puig.
Fernando Tatis Jr. picks up two hits in his MLB debut
Matt: It’s not two grand slams in one inning, but still a proud moment for the Tatis family. We’ll all be furiously searching the internet for this first-hit video when he’s elected to the Hall of Fame in 2043.
Chris: I could tell you about how great Tatis will be, or how we’ll all know his name this time next season, but let’s just skip the dance and admit that this is an excuse for me to gift you with this photograph.
Eric: Thank you for sharing that, Chris. It's a tragedy that his first hit has overshadowed his second: A perfectly placed bunt toward third base that caught the defense napping.That's some veteran savvy right there, and he's only 20 years old. Imagine how wily he's going to be 10 years from now!
The Dodgers' power display
Matt: Who doesn’t love dingers? I also love Joc Pederson. I hope he hits 50 this year.
Chris: The thing I enjoyed most about this is the obstinacy of it: The Dodgers have been pushing the boulder up the hill for years now, only to come up tragically short in October. Heading into the year, there were some doubts -- is Clayton Kershaw healthy? Why didn’t they sign Bryce Harper? Is their window closed -- but they’re here to tell you that, yes, they’re still very good, and no, they won’t stop hitting dingers. (Also, Joc needs to keep this up so I have an excuse to talk about his bulldog, Blue.)
Eric: Talk about a statement game! They've lost in the World Series for two straight years, arguably under-performed throughout the 2018 regular season and had what appeared to be a disappointing offseason with injuries and free agency. They put those concerns to rest somewhere around their sixth home run -- Joc's second dinger. They (probably) won't keep this pace up all year, but after watching their Opening Day display, I'm not sure how much I'm willing to stake my reputation to that prediction.
Chris: Opening Day always brings packed crowds, but this year just felt … different, somehow. There was the block party in Philly, of course, but places like San Diego were seemingly on their feet all afternoon. Cardinals-Brewers was a straight-up postseason game. Cincy was so hype that it gave Derek Dietrich a curtain call in his first game as a Red. The new kids on the block are here, and they’re extremely loud.
Eric: This season feels unique in the number of teams that used the offseason to take a jump into contention after long runs of not being very good. Clearly, Padres, Phillies and Reds fans responded to that on Thursday. The Brewers are only a year removed from that journey and the fans seem just as amped. You don't watch the game to see the fans, but all that energy was fun to watch.
Matt Monagan is a writer for MLB.com.
Eric Chesterton is a writer for MLB.com. He is an appreciator of the stolen base, the bunt against the shift and nearly every unconventional uniform design. He eagerly awaits Jamie Moyer's inevitable comeback.