And just like that, the 2011 season has begun. From what I could see on my TV screen, it was a beautiful day for a ballgame in LA–gorgeous blue skies, killer heat, and Dodger Stadium brimming with overeager baseball fans. There’s not much that can go wrong on Opening Day, because even if your team loses, you’re so excited to see them play again that it almost doesn’t matter. Almost.
Today was classic Giants baseball. Lincecum and Kershaw dueled for seven innings, with a combined total of 9 hits and 14 strikeouts (sadly, only 5 K’s belonged to Timmy). Pat the Bat rallied for the Giants in the 9th with a solo homer to right field. Brandon Belt enjoyed his first major league appearance, whipping out a hit in his first at-bat and pushing LA closer Jonathan Broxton to eight pitches before grounding out to end the game.
There was a great moment in the 2nd inning, where Miguel Tejada tagged Juan Uribe for the first out, after the former Giants infielder overshot second base. I don’t have too much animosity towards Uribe (though I can’t say that’s the case for many Giants fans), especially after all he did for San Francisco last year. Still, it’s hard getting used to him in Dodger blue.
I will say one thing for the Giants, regardless of the outcome of the series. I’m making a commitment this season to keep myself from comparing the 2011 Giants to the 2010 Giants. Everyone is going to do it, since the big question is whether or not they can successfully defend their title. And I’m prepared to hear headlines like, “World Series Champs Prove They Can Rise Again” or “World Series Champs Fall to XYZ Team.” However, it’s a new year, the playing field has been evened again, and at least until we begin approaching the postseason, I think we can do without all this unnecessary pressure. Tomorrow is a new day, and we still have three chances to show the Dodgers who’s boss in the NL West. Go Giants!