It was a long 99 days of no MLB baseball thanks to the lockout. Finally, on April 7th, MLB welcomed fans back to their ballparks.
We’re two weekends deep into April and things feel normal again. The temperatures are warming up (mostly), Daylight Savings Time has passed, and baseball is back. More than just some fun college baseball. More than high school baseball (or Legion baseball for Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota). We’ve got MLB baseball that has finally opened their gates and joined the baseball party. So, as we all head into the first full week of MLB play, let’s combine our voices and give MLB a collective, “Welcome back!”
What We’ve Seen
Over the first four days of MLB play we have seen the things we love. Home runs, spectacular catches, great pitching, and benches-clearing scuffles have all returned in their glory. There are fans overreacting daily on social media. Our favorite play-by-play crews are back in the press box for both home and away games. We have hometown reunions and former injured players returning to the field. Whatever it is you have grown to love about baseball is back. So fans, “Welcome back!”
Colorado Gets a Huge Reunion
Of all the things we romanticize about, few may be more heart strings pulling than what happened in Denver over the opening weekend. A name synonymous with Denver sports has returned. Originally a victim of iHeartRadio cuts, Jerry Schemmel returned to the booth to call games alongside Jack Corrigan. Sure the focus at Coors Field was Russell Wilson returning to the home of his short-lived baseball career to throw out the first pitch. Or to see what Freddie Freeman did in his first AB in Dodger blue. But, in a way only Schemmel would want, his return wasn’t given much fanfare across MLB for those outside the Denver market.
I’m absolutely ecstatic to be back doing Rockies games, especially with these two fine gents! I know most people don’t get to RE-live their dreams. We have an awesome God!!! pic.twitter.com/GMO6VSqHvY
— Jerry Schemmel (@jschemmel6) April 10, 2022
Southern California Gets a Reunion, Too
Speaking of Freeman, he returns to SoCal this week. Just a few miles from his high school, he’ll step onto the field of his second favorite childhood LA team. After years with the Braves, he lands on a team filled with All-Stars. The glitz and glam of the Hollywood lights were enough to draw him back home. Hopefully, the confines of Chavez Ravine will be more welcoming than spacious Coors Field was. And, his family, friends and fans will all provide him one huge, “Welcome back!”
Long Balls From the Usual Suspects
Maybe reunions and homecomings aren’t what gives you all the feels. Perhaps monster home run dreams are what put you to sleep at night. Mike Trout, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.and Carlos Correa have provided you with sweet melodies. Nolan Arenado, Matt Chapman and Giancarlo Stanton probably have you waking from your slumber ready to make it to a ballpark so you can greet these guys with a huge, “Welcome back!”
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) April 10, 2022
Number 1’s Act Like Aces
Everyone loves great pitching. Early season aside, there have been great performances from San Diego starters Yu Darvish and Sean Manaea. Neither gave up a hit to the Diamondbacks. Robbie Ray looked the part of Cy Young winner in his 7 inning, 3-hit outing against the Twins. Maybe the most important pitching outing of the first several days was that from Adam Wainwright. His farewell tour started off by tossing a masterful 6 innings with 6 strikeouts and giving up 5 hits. Much to the dismay of hitters, they’ve greeted pitchers with a grumbling of, “Welcome back.”
Let the Kids Play
Finally, if the veterans flexing their muscles isn’t what you want to see, you’re fortunate enough to see the brightest group of rookies taking the field. It’s been years since 2 of the top 3 prospects took the field on Opening Day. For that matter, the group of rookies that took their place on major league rosters this year is fantastic. Hunter Greene was electrifying in his first ever start for Cincinnati. Julio Rodriguez has shown he belongs and that you can have fun playing baseball. Bobby Witt stole the show on day one. Not to be out done, Steven Kwan leads all rookies with 13 total bases. He also leads in total bases accompanying him on flights. So for all the “kids” in the league, “Welcome!”
Steven Kwan is so committed to getting on base that he literally takes a base with him everywhere he goes.
Did the flight attendant give him a funny look? Sure, but did she hit a bases-clearing 3-run triple in her fourth MLB game after a record-setting weekend? No, she did not. pic.twitter.com/qNG30kZaEP
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) April 12, 2022
On to the Next 158 or Whatever is Left
Whatever has caught your eye these past few days of Opening Weekend, you have been treated to the sights and sounds that comfort you. Be it in the stands with a hotdog and cold beverage or on the couch with ice cream and coffee, you’ve been treated to more than baseball. You’re getting the drama, the crack of the bat, the pop of baseballs hitting gloves and the thud of cleats hitting the base. Fans are getting pregame autographs down the 3rd base line as players finish taking pregame fielding. Yes, even players are reciprocating what the fans have provided them. Collectively, MLB and fans are giving each other one big, “Welcome back!”