After more than 50 days of an Opening Day Countdown Down Under, we’ve put up some new decorations on this blog for the regular season and we introduce you to Grand Openings — part of the overall MLB.com coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2014 season-openers. It all starts with the historic MLB Opening Series happening now in Sydney, Australia, so let’s look at some of the first firsts:
First win of MLB season: Dodgers 3, D-backs 1.
First winning pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (1-0), making it four consecutive Dodger wins when he starts on Opening Day. And first photograph (above, great shot by Matt King for MLB Photos via Getty Images) of a winning pitcher delivering a pitch with a huge dirt stain on his knee thanks to sliding into second base trying to stretch a single just moments before, ultimate gamer moment. Click here for the first Photo Gallery.
First losing pitcher: Wade Miley (0-1) — but a strong outing.
First save: Kenley Jansen.
First postgame interview: Scott Van Slyke. “Yeah, you’ll probably see me congratulate the first-base coach on a double again,” he joked. “When I hit it I thought it was gone, I was pumped up, excited, and when I turned around to go to second, I saw the ball fly in and realized I had a double.” Then asked about his wind-aided homer, he said, “Those should have been flip-flopped but I’ll take them both. It was great.” Van Slyke said he “prayed a little bit, asked for some energy and focus, and I think I got my prayers answered. It was fun.”
First MLB.com Condensed Game.
First announced crowd: 38,266 at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Cheers to the 38,266 fans that joined us Down Under tonight at @scg!
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 22, 2014
First usage of “4:33 in the morning back in Los Angeles” by Dodgers play-by-play man Charlie Steiner, during top of the ninth, on KLAC via MLB.com Gameday Audio.
First usage of “Well, it’s 4 o’clock in the morning back in Arizona”: By D-backs’ KTAR radio play-by-play man Greg Schulte to start the bottom of the seventh.
First seventh-inning stretch: 7 a.m. ET on March 22, 2014. Many fans in the U.S. are doing a morning stretch.
First gasp by Dodger fans: Kershaw hustling all-out to second in the top of the seventh and sliding on a single in which he is easily thrown out trying to stretch into a double. It denies him a second straight Opening Day extra-base hit, following his homer that won his start last year.
First run of the season off Kershaw: Mark Trumbo 4-3 groundout in the sixth (Justin Turner’s fifth assist so far) scores Goldschmidt from third, cutting the Dodger lead to 3-1. It follows consecutive Kershaw wins on Opening Day in which he threw nothing but goose eggs.
First Arizona extra-base hit: Paul Goldschmidt leadoff double against Kershaw in the bottom of the sixth.
First Web Gem of 2014: D-backs third baseman Martin Prado springs up like a cat to rob Ethier of a hit, ending the top of the sixth.
First call to the bullpen: Will Harris in to start top of the sixth for Arizona and cools off Van Slyke with a fly to right. Miley pitched five innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits, striking out eight and walking one. He threw 83 pitches, 54 for strikes.
First wave by a crowd: Sydney Cricket Ground in fifth inning. Chappell says on MLB Network that when they do the wave in cricket games, it usually is stopped once it gets to the Members Pavilion. “I don’t know if they think it’s beneath them,” says the Australian Cricket Hall of Famer.
First home run: Van Slyke on 1-1 pitch in the fourth, this time with the wind, inside the right-field foul pole over the 328 sign to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. Also first multi-hit game of 2014 and first player to reach six total bases. Also first player to interrupt a live Commissioner TV interview. Watch the highlight:
First great at-bat by a pitcher: Miley nine-pitch at-bat against Kershaw ending in a 4-3 and unexpectedly working the Dodgers ace.
First in-game interview: D-backs manager Kirk Gibson with MLB Network in top of the third, several minutes of live conversation from dugout during the action instead of the usual delayed TV interview between half-innings. Gibson said it’s obvious Wade Miley is “pumped up today” and the focus was “winning both of these games and then getting back and resting up four a four-game series with the Giants.”
First run and RBI: Andre Ethier 4-3 groundout scoring Adrian Gonzalez in the second.
First Wrigley Field comparison for Sydney Cricket Ground: “Think Wrigley Field, it’s blowing down,” by MLB Network analyst and cricket Hall of Famer Ian Chappell, on Scott Van Slyke wind-blown homer-turned-double. Also first utter confusion, with Van Slyke congratulating first base coach on home run trot and Mark Trumbo climbing way over fence in left.
First base on balls: Adrian Gonzalez on four pitches.
First hit of Major League season: Aaron Hill on grounder under Hanley Ramirez’s glove. It’s also first MLB.com highlight:
First Clayton Kershaw strikeout victim: A.J. Pollack on three pitches.
First groundout: Hanley Ramirez, 4-3 to end a 1-2-3 top of the first. Follow MLB.com Gameday for pitch-by-pitch.
First strikeout: Puig on three pitches, strike three in the dirt and thrown out at first.
First pitch: 5 a.m. ET , Wade Miley strike low and inside to Yasiel Puig.
First on-air words from Vin Scully, starting 65th season in the booth, at 4:58 a.m. ET: “Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good morning to you.”
— MLB (@MLB) March 22, 2014
First Australian national anthem: Emma Birdsall
First Star-Spangled Banner: Marcia Hines. Watch:
First on-field uniformed personnel introduction: Dodgers assistant hitting coach John Valentin.
First good gameday quote: “They may not remember every Opening Day they’ve played a part of, but they WILL remember this Opening Day.” – MLB Network analyst John Smoltz
First rain delay: Sydney Cricket Ground. Tarp removed 4:30 a.m. ET.