Annie goes out and about on Opening Day to investigate what name fans are wearing on their backs.
Opening Day is special, no matter where a player is in his career. Several Padres shared their favorite Opening Day memory:
“My first Opening Day, my rookie season in Colorado against the Padres, I get a walk-off [home run] off Trevor Hoffman. That may be the highlight of my career up to this point. It was very exciting, I’ll say that.”
— Clint Barmes
“I went three for five on my first Opening Day ever, so that was a lot of fun.”
— Wil Myers
“The first Opening Day is always special. To open the season with your team is special. It’s something where you look around and you can’t really believe what you see.”
— Joaquin Benoit
“A couple days ago, because that was the first Opening Day where I actually played. I’ve always been on the bench on Opening Day. Just being on the field for all the ceremonies — Instead of being the guy jogging on the field and having my pullover on, I was actually down in the bullpen with my pitchers. That was cool.”
— Derek Norris
“Obviously because of the history of the team, the Yankees. Being named to the line with [Derek] Jeter, Mariano Rivera, all those guys – for me, it was just a blessing. One of the best moments of my career. I never thought I was going to play for the Yankees. Obviously I love baseball and I play because I love it, but even when I was young, I was never thinking Major Leagues because I didn’t have a dad who was pushing me to that. I just loved baseball. So going out into the old [Yankees] stadium, running out when they mentioned my name, I think that’s one of the best Opening Day moments in my life.”
— Wil Nieves
News and Notes from Opening Day:
D-No the gamer – The last time the Padres had a player with the nickname “Deno” (Chris Denorfia), he was the consummate gamer. Always hustling, dirty uniform, fan favorite. Welcome new catcher Derek Norris, who in his series debut with the Padres, legged out two infield singles while batting in the two-spot against the Dodgers. Norris also took a swinging bat from Carl Crawford off his right arm and twisted his ankle on a play at the plate, and didn’t miss an inning.
Said Black: “He’s a hard nosed player. We knew that going in when we talked about Derek in the wintertime before we made the trade. We heard about the makeup, the grittiness to his play so it doesn’t surprise me. He’s living up to those monikers about who he is. He’s got foot speed for a catcher that probably surpasses most catchers. He plays hard. He runs hard down the line which you’ve noticed on every play, whether he’s out or safe. But there’s a toughness to him. He took a broken bat off the triceps, the play at the plate yesterday, a couple foul tips. I mean that’s the nature of the position but he’s a tough kid.”
No somber Yonder – Remember last year’s epic April for the Padres? Well, Yonder Alonso was one of the many Padres hovering around the Mendoza line. Through four games in 2014, Alonso was hitting a solid .188 with three hits in 16 at-bats. This year, with some added help in the lineup and less pressure, the first baseman is off to a great start and leads the team with a. 467 batting average (7 for 15).
Said Black: “He’s getting his hits. Finding his holes. I think what we like is the approach in each at bat and that’s what we’re looking for. Doesn’t look like he’s trying to pull the ball. He’s staying up the middle. He’s going the other way. Yonder gets in trouble when the swing gets too big and he tries to hit for a little bit of power. We just want him to collect his hits, get on base, and score runs.”
Upton Here, Upton Here – New Padres outfielder, Melvin Upton and older brother of left fielder Justin Upton, was at Petco Park on Thursday. Upton, who was dealt with closer Craig Kimbrel from the Braves just a day before the season started, is battling a foot injury that will likely sideline him until late May. He’ll head for Arizona where he will finish rehab and participate in extended spring training. As far as where he fits when he’s ready to go…
Said Black: “We’ll cross that bridge when he gets here. I don’t have a crystal ball. He’s hurt. He’s going to go to Arizona and try to get healthy and we’ll make that determination once he gets back on the baseball field, where he fits.”