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 connected with each other while watching their team’s selected game at a set time. As part of a day full of baseball, the Padres re-aired their dramatic comeback victory against the Rockies from June 2019.
“Opening Day at Home” also was 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.
The Padres' game that aired Thursday holds a special place in franchise lore. The team trailed 11-5 before mounting the largest ninth-inning comeback in club history.
That rally started and ended with Fernando Tatis Jr., who opened the frame with an opposite-field knock, then tied the game nine batters later with a 116-mph laser beam of a two-run single to center field.
It was an improbable rally for the ages. When Tatis stepped up to the plate at the start of the frame, the Padres' win probability stood at 0.5 percent. That number steadily increased, as the Padres pieced together a workmanlike rally that spanned 11 hitters.
"I ain't seen nothing like it," outfielder Wil Myers said at the time.
Of course, the Padres still needed to actually win the game. And they did that three innings later with a five-run 12th in which Hunter Renfroe launched his third homer of the game. Closer Kirby Yates was given the daunting task of closing things out, and he did just that in the bottom of the frame.
In retrospect, the game serves as the highlight of an absolutely bonkers weekend of baseball. The two teams ended up splitting their four-game set, combining for 92 runs -- a Major League record for a four-game series.
"We scored a lot of freaking runs," Manny Machado said. "It was something crazy."
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 '19 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.