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Monday, April 02, 2007

Reflections on Opening Day

While I'd recorded it on my XM-Radio and began listening to it on the bus ride home tonight, I was delighted to discover that the game was carried on WGN, and TiVo, in its immense wisdom, recorded it or me. Which meant I got to watch opening day tonight on TV! Some thoughts:
  • I really like the new uniforms. I thought I'd miss the black, but I don't. The font is a lot of fun (I'm going to have to snag it for my banner logo), the piping looks clean, and the pure red vented batting helmets--while not something I want to wear around town--seem a bit more "right" than the red & black helmets ever did.
  • I love Adam Dunn when he's awesome.
  • Griffey looks fantastic in right field. I'm excited about this new outfield defense we have now.
  • Ryan Freel's an animal. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes he just goes ape.
  • Harang looked darn good. I was saving this for my upcoming spring training review (I'm behind!), but Harang's BABIP in the spring was 0.433 (very unlucky) and his FIP (predicts ERA from peripherals) was 3.74. His strikeout rate was still a nice 7.7 k/9, his walk rate was a brilliant 0.7 bb/9. His homer rate was a somewhat high 1.40 hr/9, but homers can be somewhat random events--and one less would bring him down to a very average 1.05 hr/9. So don't worry about that 6.66 spring training ERA--not that anyone is anymore after 7 innings with one unearned run allowed.
  • Ross was scrapping a bit. I do expect him to decline a bit this year, though I still think he'll be a hitter who is well above replacement level.
  • How about Saarloos (he of the 3.9 k/9 last season) starting the year with a strikeout? Breakout season? :)
  • Encarnacion made a couple of really nice plays. I really hope he can be at least an average defender this year--if he is, our infield defense might actually be above average. :)
  • Pretty neat to see the standing ovation for Hamilton. That was an amazing moment and really made me proud to be from Cincinnati. I can only imagine what it must have been like for those of you who were there. I wonder whether someone with his history would have gotten this kind of reception 20 years ago. It seems like there's finally been a realization that drug addiction is a disease in this country.
  • Mr. Redlegs is kinda scary in real life. I was more comfortable with him when he was just a cartoon.
  • Overall, a heck of a lot more fun than last year's opening day.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images/Thomas Whitte, AP/Tom Uhlman, and AP/Al Behrman