Hear that, J-Hey? Darn you!
If you haven't already heard the hosannas coming from all corners, the Atlanta Braves' rookie homered in his first major league at-bat on Monday, taking Carlos Zambrano(notes) deep for a three-run homer in the first inning of the Braves' 16-5 win over the Cubs. As if that wasn't enough, Heyward went 2-for-5 with 4 RBIs on the day, adding an RBI single in the eighth.
The opening day blast comes right after a spring training full of hype fueled by the wreckage of the cars he crushed during batting practice and makes Heyward the 103rd player in big league history to begin his career with a homer during his first trip to the plate.
Though it has some strong competition from Mark Buehrle's incredible putout, Heyward's homer will serve as the day's lasting highlight. That honor was sealed with the feelgood cutaway shots to his parents — who were hugging everyone around them in a jubilant Turner Field — and on a day when Tiger made headlines by answering a bunch of snoozy questions in a press tent 150 miles away, it was an extra nice tonic for those of us who prefer our big stories to take place on the field of play.
This was actually the second straight opening day that the Braves saw one of their rookies hit a first at-bat home run. And while the cautionary tale of Jordan Schafer(notes) seems like it would dampen some of the enthusiasm, I hardly think that will be the case.
This Heyward kid is different.