On Thursday, Major League Baseball presented “Opening Day at Home” -- a full slate of 30 games broadcast nationally across various platforms including networks, digital streaming and social media, creating a full-day event on what would have been Opening Day. The experience was intended to invite fans to feel a sense of community and unity on a day many were looking forward to while underscoring the importance of staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Using the hashtag #OpeningDayAtHome, fans could connect with each other while watching their team’s selected game at a set time. The selected Dodgers game was Clayton Kershaw’s 15-strikeout no-hitter against the Rockies on June 18, 2014.
“Opening Day at Home” also served as an opportunity for MLB to raise awareness for several worthy charities that are helping provide relief to the most vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic. Last week, MLB and the MLBPA made a $1 million joint donation to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels, in addition to a $30 million commitment made by MLB clubs to emergency relief for ballpark employees. If so willing and able, fans can contribute toward these charities, MLB official charity Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and additional causes at MLB.com/give.
If you never saw Sandy Koufax in his prime, the next best thing was Kershaw overwhelming the Rockies with the first no-hitter of his career in an 8-0 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw was about as dominating as a no-hit pitcher could be. He struck out a career-high 15 without a walk. Of 107 pitches, 79 were strikes. Eight of the strikeouts were finished with a slider, six with a curve, only one with a fastball. Twelve were on swings and misses, three were called.
Kershaw appeared unhittable from the start. His fastball was a lively 94 mph, the overhand curve breaking off the table, the slider darting temptingly into the feet of right-handed hitters.
"As far as individual games, this is pretty special," Kershaw said. "I'll remember this for the rest of my life. Get to do it at home, it's even better. It's amazing."
It was the second no-hitter for plate umpire and 15-year veteran Greg Gibson, who had the dish when Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against Atlanta in 2004.
"When Randy got to the fourth inning, he was so locked in that everybody just stopped talking around the plate, and it was kind of that way tonight," Gibson said. "Nobody was saying anything. Kershaw was that locked in."
Kershaw's bid for a perfect game was dashed when shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed a two-base throwing error on Corey Dickerson's chopper leading off the seventh inning. Kershaw gave Ramirez a shrug of the shoulders after the play, he said, as if to convey, "nothing you can do about it, good try. It was a really tough play. Under normal circumstances, it's pretty close to a hit."
Miguel Rojas, who earlier had a three-run double, saved the no-hitter and shutout by robbing Troy Tulowitzki behind the third-base bag one out after Ramirez's error.
"When there's a special moment for someone, you want to watch how a guy responds," Tulowitzki said. "Clayton, I've always had a lot of respect for how hard he works. It's nice for me to see how much it means for him. If something can bring tears to someone's eyes, it means you really care, and he cares a lot about this game."
This week, MLB unlocked its expansive vault and is offering fans special access to the most unforgettable moments. MLB has made the entire 2018 and 2019 game archives free to all fans through MLB.TV. Fans can also access more than 200 full classic MLB games on YouTube including timeless World Series games, memorable postseason matchups, no-hitters and perfect games.