Baseball returned to play on Thursday, and MLB Opening Day provided a long list of highlights, lowlights, and oddities that fans have been craving since October.
From obscure rules to an unfortunate cancellation, there’s plenty to unpack from the first day of the season. Here’s a look at a few of the biggest stories to come out of MLB Opening Day.
Blunder bungles Bellinger homer
Cody Bellinger hit the first home run of the season for the Los Angeles Dodgers – until he didn’t. Bellinger smashed a long drive to left at Coors Field, only to see Raimel Tapia snag it over the wall. The ball popped out of Tapia’s glove and landed behind the fence for an apparent homer.
One of the craziest moments you'll see at a baseball game
Cody Bellinger hits a two-run home run, but with Justin Turner running back to first base and Bellinger passing him, it officially becomes a single instead and Bellinger is out pic.twitter.com/dzB9yIHghZ
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) April 1, 2021
The only problem? Baserunner Justin Turner ran on contact, and turned around to head back to first base when Tapia appeared to make the initial grab. Bellinger passed right by him on his home run trot. The umpires called Bellinger out on the play, but he had made it to first base before the blunder. That meant he had hit an RBI single, and Turner could score.
“I don’t think there’s a blame to be placed. I think that Cody was coming out of the box hard, which he should’ve, and he’s kind of looking at where the ball’s at, going hard,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game. “But at that point in time, they just got crossed.”
Cabrera launches picturesque Opening Day blast
Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera hit the first home run of the year in the MLB, moving himself just 12 away from 500 for his career. But afterwards, all anyone could talk about was the image of Cabrera hitting his bomb as the snow fell in Detroit.
Petition to put this in the Louvre. pic.twitter.com/bKrBSgwrd5
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 1, 2021
The Tigers would go on to score a 3-2 Opening Day win over the Cleveland Indians.
Astros finally face the music
The COVID-19 pandemic saved the Houston Astros from constant heckling in the 2020 season, as the team didn’t have to hear from fans about its now infamous cheating scandal. But fans in Oakland still booed Houston mercilessly during pregame introductions – and made plenty of comments during the game – on Opening Day.
“Got to hear some boos, finally. That wasn’t fun to listen to, I didn’t think, but we played good so it didn’t matter,” said Astros pitch Zack Greinke, who threw six scoreless innings in Houston’s 8-1 win. “Hopefully we’ll keep playing good and it won’t be as big of an issue.”
COVID delays Opening Day for Nats, Mets
New York Mets fans will have to wait a while to see Francisco Lindor’s debut with the team, as MLB postponed the opening series between the Mets and the Washington Nationals on Friday. Four Nationals players have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
Initially, the teams postponed their Opening Day game on Thursday after three Nationals tested positive. At least five other Nationals players remain in quarantine due to contact tracing protocols.
The Mets will now begin their season on Monday when they visit the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s unclear as to when the Nationals will be able to begin play.