Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-4-3

4/3/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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“I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.” — A. Bartlett Giamatti

Monday, April 03, 2006

Top of the 1st
JOE ON OPENING DAY

“You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” Joe DiMaggio

Top of the 2nd
ONE GAME – ONE COMPLAINT
What is my problem? With only one game in the books I’m already complaining? Well…yes.

The White Sox kicked off their defense of their World Championship status last night by defeating the team that many think will be their chief rival in AL Central, the Cleveland Indians, 10-4. No complaints there.

I’m not complaining about Jim Thome’s homer, C.C. Sabathia’s abdominal injury (I’m not happy, just not complaining), not am I complaining about Brandon McCarthy, who replaced starter Mark Buehrle and pitched three perfect innings for the victory.

I’m complaining about the fact that the fans in the stadium (and watching at home) had to sit through a 2:57 rain delay after the top of the 4th to get this game in. Folks, we’re talking the first game of the season, there are plenty of make-up opportunities. The attendance was announced at a sold out, 38,802, and about a one-fourth of the crowd stayed around for the resumption of the game after a long wait. That’s just not fair to the people who paid for those seats. The game didn’t end until 2:10 a.m. ET.

I think the powers that be should give some consideration to the fans and just like there is a minimum amount of time that the umps must wait before calling a game, there should be a maximum as well, at least at this time of the season.

Top of the 3rd
MILLWOOD V SCHILLING
AL ERA champ Kevin Millwood makes his Texas Rangers debut by squaring off against Curt Schilling and the Boston Red Sox. Millwood led the American League with a 2.86 ERA but was just 9-11 while pitching for the Cleveland Indians because he received only 3.98 runs per nine innings from his offense, the seventh lowest in the league.

Rangers’ manager Buck Showalter named Millwood the Opening Day starter immediately after he agreed to a five-year, $60 million contract. Sox manager Terry Francona named Schilling the Opening Day starter immediately after Schilling told him to name him the Opening Day starter.

Top of the 4th
CY V CY
Former Cy Young Award winner, A’s lefty Barry Zito will make his second Opening Day start facing fellow southpaw and former Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson of the Yankees. Game time is 7:05 p.m. PT at Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum and the opener has been sold out for weeks.

Top of the 5th
ROYALLY SCREWED
Scott Elarton, Cleveland’s No. 5 starter in 2005 with a 4.61 ERA, will be the Royals opening day pitcher.

The Royals have a fascinating rotation. Their supposed number two starter, Zack Greinke, who last season went 5-17 with a 5.80 ERA, home on Feb. 25 because of personal issues and there is still no official timetable for when he will return. Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, the No. 3 starter, hasn’t started since 2004. No. 4 starter Denny Bautista went on the DL last May with right shoulder soreness and never pitched again in majors. No. 5 starter Runelvys Hernandez hasn’t won since last July 22 and came to camp so overweight he was pushed back from No. 2 starter and put on the DL for lack of stamina.

Left-hander Mark Redman, 5-15 last year at Pittsburgh, could join the rotation when he recovers from knee surgery around May 1.

Top of the 6th
TODAY’S COMPLETE SCHEDULE
1:10 pm Washington/N.Y. Mets Livan Hernandez faces Tom Glavine
2:05 pm Pittsburgh/Milwaukee Oliver Perez against Doug Davis
2:05 pm Boston/Texas Curt Schilling versus Kevin Millwood
2:10 pm Chi. Cubs/Cincinnati Carlos Zambrano faces Aaron Harang
3:05 pm Tampa Bay/Baltimore Scott Kazmir against Rodrigo Lopez
3:05 pm St. Louis/Philadelphia Chris Carpenter versus Jon Lieber
4:05 pm Arizona/Colorado Brandon Webb faces Jason Jennings
4:10 pm Atlanta/L.A. Dodgers Tim Hudson against Derek Lowe
4:10 pm Detroit/Kansas City Kenny Rogers versus Scott Elarton
5:05 pm L.A. Angels/Seattle Bartolo Colon faces Jamie Moyer
7:05 pm Florida/Houston Dontrelle Willis against Roy Oswalt
7:05 pm San Francisco/San Diego Jason Schmidt versus Jake Peavy
10:05 pm N.Y. Yankees/Oakland Randy Johnson faces Barry Zito

Top of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM – 4/3/2006
This birthday boy homered in his first major league at-bat, as a Cardinal in 1954 and scored the last run at the LA Coliseum as a Dodger.
WOOLLY MAN

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA – 4/3/2006
Off which Reds pitcher did Hank Aaron hit his 714th career home run on Opening Day 1974 to tie the then all-time career record of Babe Ruth?
Send your answers to Bill@billy-ball.com

Bottom of the 7th
BILLY-BALL-A-GRAM ANSWER – 3/31/06
He hit the first home run in Devil Rays history.
WE BAG DOGS – Wade Boggs

BILLY-BALL-TRIVIA-ANSWER – 4/2/06
What was the name of the Seattle expansion team?
The Seattle Pilots – now the Milwaukee Brewers

Top of the 8th
DID YOU KNOW?
Back in the day, the first game in the National League would be played in Cincinnati, which was accorded the honor out of respect for the Redlegs, the oldest professional ballclub. Each year the game would be preceded by the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. This year, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Mario Soto will be Grand Marshall of the 87th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade.

You can watch the parade live in streaming video, beginning at 11 a.m. (local time) on wcpo.com’s main page.

Top of the 9th
THANKS TO HARVEY
For so many of us Opening Day is a big deal. It’s especially big for me, because I know we will all be virtually getting together. Well, I almost missed it this year.

Late Saturday night my computer went kaput (a technical term). Sunday morning I was in with Harvey Sattin ((617) 738-6393) and by Sunday evening my data was recovered and I was back in operation and able to join you today.

If you are in the Boston area and you need work on your PC, or network, I can only tell you…call Harvey.

Bottom of the 9th
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Have a great day!

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Information provided in Billy-Ball has been gathered from A.P. reports, espn.com, sportsline.com, mlb.com and numerous other e-sources. Opinions expressed in Billy-Ball are obviously solely the opinions of the author of Billy-Ball and do not reflect those of source material no matter how off the wall they may be.