4:00 — Baltimore Orioles at Minnesota Twins (ESPN and WFTC)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Houston Astros (FSN Houston)
4:01 — Extra Innings is carrying an over-the-air game broadcast, something I haven’t seen before on DirecTV. I guess the ability to do this is part of their new contract. It’s from “My 29” — well, not really mine, because it’s WFTC in Minneapolis/St. Paul and KFTC in Bemidji.
4:03 — They do a nice little tribute to Herb Carneal at the beginning of the Twins broadcast. I have to admit that he’s someone who was never really on my radar.
4:05 — I’m getting a little tired of “Magic Carpet Ride,” which is the music being played during a Chevrolet ad that’s been running a lot today. But I guess the members of Steppenwolf aren’t getting tired of cashing their royalty checks.
4:10 — The Orioles haven’t opened a season on the road since 1977.
4:12 — The Rockies are down 8-6 going into the bottom of the 9th, but anything can happen. 3 out of 4 Opening Day games previously played at Coors Field ended with a walk-off home run.
4:20 — An ad read by the Rockies announcers goes, in its entirety, “Hey, if you have a crack in your windshield, call Elite Glass, number one for more than one reason.” This makes the broadcast interactive, since it allows the audience to speculate endlessly about what those reasons might be.
4:24 — True, anything could have happened, from a walk-off home run to a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”-type magical transformation causing the person in the mascot costume to turn into an actual small purple triceratops. But what actually happens in the bottom of the 9th is a double followed by three straight strikeouts. The new red uniforms worked for the D-Backs!
4:36 — Forget C.C. Sabathia. Kent Hrbek is looking a little large now that he’s retired.
4:37 — However, while Kent Hrbek is being interviewed, the Twins hit back-to-back home runs. So whatever he’s doing, it’s working.
4:40 — Very sad that the Menards guy isn’t in Menards commercials anymore. At least they haven’t turned him into a computer-animated character who appears at the end of the commercial as they’ve done with the Empire Carpet guy.
4:52 — Shannon Stewart of the A’s certainly looks different than he did when he was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for June 2000 (relatively work-safe link to Wikipedia).
3:09 — NESN does an in-game promo for the Boston Globe’s online store without mentioning the actual web address. Guess everyone in New England is supposed to know already.
3:15 — My afternoon snack is Pringles Select potato chips. Yes, upscale Pringles that come in a bag. Now that they’ve had Lays in a can for a while now, I guess the reverse was inevitable.
3:18 — Some company is donating $100 to a food bank for every Rockies home run. It’d be a little more charitable if they were making a donation for every run, period.
3:23 — The wind suddenly kicks up at Coors Field and hot dog wrappers start blowing around, which allows the announcers to awkwardly transition to offering their best wishes to people affected by a recent tornado in Colorado.
3:26 — Okay, NESN does the “scorecard” graphics, too, like TBS. So they’re partially forgiven for their score bar.
3:30 — Oakland A’s at Seattle Mariners (FSN Northwest)
At last, another game starts.
3:34 — Listen, whoever was responsible for this FSN promo, you need either the dollar sign or the word “dollars.” This says “six million dollars dollars.”
3:42 — Wow, it’s a new rule that batters are supposed to keep one foot in the batter’s box when they take a time out. I predict that this rule won’t be enforced very vigilantly.
3:53 — Looking forward to the new Belle and Sebastian song “Piazza, Oakland DH.” He strikes out in his first appearance as such.
2:00 — Unfortunately, there are only two games going on right now. Or maybe it’s fortunate, so I can follow each one better.
2:06 — So if there exists a baseball-themed ad for Esurance.com, why did I see their basketball-themed ad several times already today during other baseball games?
2:15 — DirecTV is offering a fight on Saturday night on pay-per-view for $24.95, “or,” as the announcer says, “as part of your regular Showtime subscription.” Showtime is $12 per month, with only a one-month-at-a-time commitment.
2:19 — The Aflac trivia question on NESN is “Other than Schilling, Martinez, and Clemens, who was the last Sox pitcher with back-to-back Opening Day starts?” If you have to qualify it that much, perhaps you should find another way to ask the question, or perhaps you should ask a different question.
2:20 — You can tell it’s a little windy in Kansas City when the fountain water gets blown into the shot from the centerfield cameras.
2:23 — Hey, it’s a pinball-themed Pepsi commercial, which makes me want to play pinball more than it makes me want to drink Pepsi.
2:26 — I happen to see on the ESPN ticker that the Tribune Company is going to be getting rid of the Cubs at the end of the season. So let me be the first to predict a World Series victory in 2008. Yes, for the 100th anniversary of the last one.
2:30 — The answer to that trivia question is Dennis Eckersley, who pitched on back-to-back Opening Days in 1982 and 1983 — actually, he was the Opening Day starter from 1979 through 1983.
2:34 — NESN’s score bar is bugging me because the number of outs isn’t right next to the inning count. As far as I’m concerned, the number of outs is very closely related to the inning count. Compare ESPN’s version, which is better.
You can also see the batter a lot better on ESPN, at the cost of the grass looking really, really bright.
2:49 — Eric Byrnes of the Diamondbacks makes a throw from right field with such force that he winds up doing a somersault. It’s very impressive.
2:54 — Apparently, the fountains at Kaufmann Stadium were “worked on” over the winter, so it’s no wonder they’re getting in the way of the camera shots.
2:59 — Southwest Airlines has new nonstop service from Denver to Tampa starting in May. Except they say “Tampa Bay” in the commercial, which would seem to indicate that they’re using a floatplane, given that Tampa Bay is a body of water. I think I complained about this last year, but this time I have a screenshot as evidence.
1:00 — Boston Red Sox at Kansas City Royals (ESPN and NESN)
Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (FSN Rocky Mountain)
1:01 — At last, a game is over: Marlins 9, Nationals 2.
1:05 — Mariano Rivera comes on for the Yankees. The Devil Rays were keeping it close for a while, but the Yankees now lead by 4.
1:11 — Hey, the Diamondbacks really did switch to red uniforms. If their fellow expansion team were to follow suit, though, they’d be accused of copying the Red Sox, their division mates.
1:14 — But they lost 9-5 to the Yankees, so maybe they should think about switching to red.
1:17 — Gary Sheffield is still swinging his bat wildly in an amusing manner as he waits for pitches.
1:18 — Didn’t help. He struck out.
1:22 — The Dodgers-Brewers game must have been a quick affair, since the postgame show is already airing.
1:29 — Ken Griffey Sr., in the FSN Ohio booth, claims he grounded his son a few times while they were playing together for the Mariners.
1:45 — I check my e-mail. Nothing much seems to be happening in the world except for Opening Day.
1:52 — It’s hard to come back from 9 runs down in the bottom of the 9th, and I’ll be surprised if the White Sox do it.
1:54 — There’s another Molina?!
1:58 — Turns out I’m not surprised, although the Sox did manage to score 2.
12:00 — Salsa, chips, and cheese — lunch of champions!
12:07 — Say what you will about TBS, I enjoy their “scorecard” graphics.
12:09 — On WGN, they’re interviewing Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who at one point refers to baseball as “the industry,” which is just a horrible way to refer to baseball, although I’m sure it feels like it from his perspective.
12:16 — Hey, Ken Griffey Jr. is in right field for the Reds! He’s still around?
12:17 — The Reds catcher still has the old Mr. Redlegs design on his mask (well, the old new Mr. Redlegs design, without a mustache, which has now been replaced by the new old Mr. Redlegs design).
12:20 — Ah, the Midwest!
12:25 — Mrs. Owner of the Dodgers is being interviewed at hipster hangout named Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood, where I’ve been once. Various Dodgers people went to various establishments today to watch the game with the fans. Given the game action on the TVs in the background, I can tell that this interview is not airing live.
12:32 — A woman with a loud and high-pitched voice is sitting very close to a microphone that TBS is using to capture crowd noise, and she’s cheering for Tom Gordon: “Come on, Flash!”
12:41 — At this moment, both the Braves-Phillies and Blue Jays-Tigers games are tied at 3 with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th.
12:44 — At this moment, a cat has jumped onto my lap to watch her beloved Tigers.
12:49 — Tigers and Blue Jays go into extra innings. The Braves-Phillies game already went into extra innings, while I wasn’t paying attention.
12:54 — Bud Selig is in the booth at the White Sox-Indians game. Hawk Harrelson tells him he’s the best commissioner since 1959, with the late Bowie Kuhn second. Uh-huh.
12:57 — W.B. Mason has helpfully added “Office Supplies” to their outfield wall advertising this year. Now we can assume that things there are just like they are at Dunder Mifflin, as seen on TV’s “The Office.”
11:00 — Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds (ESPN 2, WGN, and FSN Ohio)
L.A. Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers (FSN Prime Ticket)
Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
11:01 — Vin Scully! “And a pleasant good day to you wherever you may be.” Now it really is baseball season.
11:13 — Hey, a new family movie starring Ice Cube! Looks about as good as the Devil Rays.
11:15 — There sure are a lot of car commercials on YES. But I thought no one in New York drove.
11:19 — The Blue Jays caps have a “T” instead of a “J,” I notice. Too bad, because I liked the “J.” Maybe that’s still the home cap.
11:21 — Two female fans in the upper deck of Comerica Park are interviewed. One of them refers to it as “Tiger Stadium” and is quickly corrected by the interviewer.
11:24 — Since the Reds are wearing their new mustachioed Mr. Redlegs patches, perhaps they should all have grown mustaches to match.
11:25 — The Superstation WGN Scoreboard graphic has a problem, I say.
I contend that “Sponsored By:” should either be right-justified so it’s against the sponsor graphic, or that graphic should say “Sponsored by Scotts” (which would work fine even with the graphic there on the right).
11:29 — C.C. Sabathia looks a little large.
11:31 — The White Sox announcers start talking about how one should not judge a book by its cover when it comes to C.C. Sabathia. I guess I’ve been properly chastised! However, Darin Erstad promptly hit a 2-run homer off him to pull the White Sox to within 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st.
11:37 — Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley is in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field, but does not have to be interviewed by someone with a radio mike.
11:39 — The Yankees infield has been a bit error-prone today, which has helped the Devil Rays tie.
11:40 — First appearance of Joe Maddon, coming out for an explanation from the umpire about a player being called out on a bunt that hits him in fair territory.
11:42 — Rocco Baldelli hits an RBI single, and the Devil Rays are leading.
11:44 — Amtrak — the Washington Nationals of transportation!
11:49 — Hey, Dr. Cox from “Scrubs” is in that movie with Ice Cube. Well, John C. McGinley, I mean. I assume he’s not playing the same character he plays on “Scrubs.” Not to be confused with John C. Reilly, who is not to be confused with Andy Richter, who is not to be confused with John Candy.
11:54 — Comcast SportsNet’s “Scores on the Fours” should perhaps be renamed “Scores on Most But Not All of the Fours.”
When Opening Day came around a year ago, I was unemployed with no immediate prospects. Within a month, I had been hired for a full-time temp job. And by the time the World Series rolled around, I was hired as an actual employee.
So it’s clear that baseball is a force for good. Let’s see what it can do for me this year.
10:00 — Tampa Bay Devil Rays at New York Yankees (ESPN and YES)
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies (TBS)
Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers (FSN Detroit)
Florida Marlins at Washington Nationals (MASN)
Time for everyone’s pre-produced “Opening Day” intros.
10:05 — The Tigers manage to get under way first.
10:06 — The Blue Jays have the first at-bat of the season — a walk.
10:08 — And the Blue Jays steal against Ivan Rodriguez. This season is going great for the Tigers so far.
10:09 — The Marlins steal third! Looks like this is going to be the Year of the Stolen Base, as the L.A. Times sort of predicted today.
10:11 — Carl Crawford leads off for the Devil Rays with a hit against the Yankees.
10:12 — Crawford steals second!
10:15 — Rocco Baldelli, whose name is on the back of the Devil Rays T-shirt I’m wearing, hits to the warning track. The Yankees announcers say it could have been a home run if the humidity were lower today.
10:19 — I have to go get my laundry out of the dryer. Meanwhile, things fall apart for the Devil Rays.
10:30 — The Yankees score two runs, which the YES graphics briefly award to the Devil Rays.
10:40 — Hey, it’s Adrian Fenty, the mayor of Washington, D.C., in the stands at RFK Stadium, being interviewed with a radio mike that’s not quite working properly.
10:49 — The Devil Rays get their first run of 2007. First of many, I’m sure.
10:52 — Not particularly baseball-related, but I get an automated phone call from the L.A. Times telling me that the “TV Times” section is being discontinued after next week, but I’ll still be able to get TV listings online. They don’t know I have a TiVo.