Real baseball was played today, between real professional teams in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues, with real outcomes and hardly any meaning. Still, we baseball fans are happy to break the five-month drought caused by that pesky thing called an offseason.
It was a wild day, actually. With walk-off wins, grand slams, huge ERAs and a whole lot of home runs. Dazzle your friends with these first-day fast facts, which you can feel free to forget by Monday.
• First hit: Belonged to Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves in their 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
• First grand slam: Hit by San Diego Padres infielder Jedd Gyroko in a sixth-run first inning for the San Diego Padres against the Seattle Mariners, a game the Pads won 9-3.
• First pitcher to get really roughed up: Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Noesi, who gave up those six runs (four earned) in two-thirds an inning. Hurray for that ERA (54) being higher than his jersey number (45).
• First tie: Yes, a tie. The Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers played to a 5-5 draw after the Rangers scored two in the bottom of the ninth.
• First walk-off win: The Cleveland Indians put up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Cincinnati Reds 11-10. For all the money the Indians spent this season, it was Mike McDade (he of no major-league experience) who hit a three-run double to win the game for the Tribe. Lou Brown applauded from above.
• Adjust your fantasy rankings! Joey Votto had two hits and an RBI. You weren't thinking about drafting him, were you?
• Home run count: 10. The only team that didn't hit one today was big, powerful Detroit. Something tells us they'll be fine.
• Lucky number: 14. Both the Indians and Royals had 14 hits. Get 14 hits any game — be it February or September — and that's a good thing.