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Opener fun, but means very little

April 2, 2014
By John Mehno (johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com) , The Altoona Mirror

PITTSBURGH - You know the best thing about opening day of the baseball season?

It's over in a few hours.

The excitement is understandable, especially when we've had a miserable winter like the one we hope is finally over.

It's spring and green grass and a clean slate and all that stuff.

But it's also one game out of 162.

It's nice that the Pirates won, and it was a great finish with hometown guy Neil Walker slamming a 3-2 pitch into the right field stands.

It was the second walk-off opening day home run in 128 Pirates seasons. The other one was struck by Bob Bailey in 1965 to give the Pirates a 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.

What did it mean? Bailey would hit 10 home runs the rest of the season in 626 at-bats. By May 24, the Pirates had a 9-24 record, dead last in the 10-team National League. There wasn't a lot of carryover from that euphoric opener.

The 1965 Pirates finished 90-72, in third place, thanks to a 38-19 record after Aug. 1.

There are so many twists and turns in a long baseball season. The victory over the Chicago Cubs on March 31 was fun, but will it mean anything more than the outcome of the Aug. 8 home game against San Diego?

The Pirates won a game on Monday. They didn't set a tone or establish a pattern. On the latter, you should hope not - it wouldn't be good to go nine innings without scoring.

They lost the opener to the Cubs last season, and it didn't keep them from winning 94 games and making the playoffs.

Settle in and get ready for the season. It's a very long ride.

Not the same

Speaking of openers, is there any doubt that tradition is a casualty of the Bud Selig era?

The season technically opened in Australia, where the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played a couple of games in the middle of the night while everyone else was still in spring training.

Then when the "real" opening day arrived, the New York Yankees weren't even on the schedule.

Last call

This is it, the Guess How Many Games The Pirates Will Win contest at the Mainly Mehno blog on altoonamirror.com closes this evening at 7:05.

You guess: 1. How many games the Pirates will win and, 2.(tiebreaker) How many home runs they'll hit this season. You could win a box of leftover (but brand new) Pirates promotional stuff.

They've already won one game and hit one home run, so you have that advantage. Hurry up and get your guess in before the cyber-ledger closes.

Thanks to everyone who has entered. You will receive a confirming email soon.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

 
 
 

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