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After a full slate of Opening Day games to kick off the 2023 MLB schedule, Friday was a day of rest for some of those teams. OK, it was a safety day in case some of Thursday’s games had to be postponed due to inclement weather. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Friday did mark the start of a new season in minor league baseball, something near and dear to many of us since it brings prospects to a local ballpark.
Astros Get Their Rings
A day after raising their second World Series banner, the Houston Astros finally got those championship rings. The 15.3-carat rings feature a white H on an orange star with 624 diamonds, 12 genuine orange sapphires and 43 genuine blue sapphires. The Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3, sparked by Yordan Alvarez’s go-ahead, three-run double in the seventh inning.
MVP got his ring. pic.twitter.com/HHQEb5Y0Ff
— Houston Astros (@astros) March 31, 2023
Details behind the diamonds. pic.twitter.com/jgDUeI4TG3
— Houston Astros (@astros) March 31, 2023
What’s A Cronenworth? 7 More Years
While we wait to see if the Pittsburgh Pirates and outfielder Bryan Reynolds can resolve the opt-out obstacle in a contract extension, the big-spending San Diego Padres have doled out more dollars, this time to Jake Cronenworth. The versatile infielder has agreed to a seven-year extension, although financials have not been disclosed, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Cronenworth, 29, is making $4.225 million and this deal covers his last two arbitration years. Could a Juan Soto deal be in the offing?
Pitch Clock Effect
Sure, it was only one day, but the pitch clock had its desired impact in tightening up games. Compared to 2022 Opening Day, Thursday’s 15 games had an average length of 2 hours, 45 minutes as opposed to last year’s 3:12. Here is the length of every game on Opening Day 2023:
To say the pitch clock was smash success on Opening Day would be a gross understatement. We're talking best rule change ever. Only 5 of 15 games went over 3 hours.
The scores of 3 of the 5 gms that went over 3 hrs: 10-9, 10-9, 11-7.
Here are the times for the Opening Day games. pic.twitter.com/Vn92CPlYFU
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) March 31, 2023
Angels’ Rendon Has Incident With A’s Fan
Opening Day wasn’t positive for everyone. Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon had a run-in with an Oakland A’s fan following the Angels’ 2-1 loss in Oakland. Reminder that this is only a snippet of the entire incident. Rendon is expected to have media availability Saturday following Friday’s day off. MLB said it is investigating the run-in.
Here's a video of Anthony Rendon grabbing a fan's clothing, cursing at him, then attempting to hit him.
He accused the fan of calling him a "bitch."
The Angels said they have no comment, but noted that Rendon will be available to comment on it tomorrow before the game. https://t.co/DNX5ZquTBm
— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) March 31, 2023
Minors Deal OK’d By Players
A day after coming to an agreement with MLB owners on a historic first collective bargaining agreement, minor league players voted near-unanimously (more than 99%) to approve the deal. The minor leaguers in the offseason were folded into the Major League Baseball Players Association union. The two headline-grabbing items that benefit players are more than doubling their previous salary at each level and improved housing conditions paid for by MLB clubs. MLB owners must now ratify the deal, which is expected by Monday.
Minor League Players overwhelmingly approve historic first collective bargaining agreement
Read more: https://t.co/laipyMXTut@MLBPA | @MiLB_Players pic.twitter.com/VPYr3XHivN
— MLBPA (@MLBPA) March 31, 2023
The beginning of the season also brings the release of some cool data. MLB said 269 (28.5%) players on Opening Day rosters were born outside of the U.S., the third-most since the numbers began being tracked in 1995. Only the pandemic-expanded rosters of the 2020 season (291 players, 30-man rosters) and the lockout-enlarged rosters of 2022 (275, 28-man rosters) were better. Players born in the Dominican Republic led the way at 104, with Venezuela next at 62. Also, a record 19 women are coaches at various levels of affiliated baseball.
— MLB (@MLB) March 31, 2023
These women are making history every day.
We’re entering this season with a record number of women (19) coaching at the professional level. #WomensHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/kw2voOK7sR
— MLB (@MLB) March 31, 2023
Best Moments From Yesterday
Cleats By Kids
Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña is certainly beginning his second MLB season with a bunch more fans. Among them are Pena’s Pals, his charitable cause. The first group of five kids from an elementary school took colored Sharpies to a pair of white spikes before Friday’s game. Pena then wore the spikes, something he plans to do each Friday home game this season.
Jeremy Peña will be wearing cleats tonight signed by kids from Spence Elementary in Aldine. The kids, known as Peña Pal’s, were picked because of good character and good grades. Peña plans to do this every Friday home game with different deserving children each time. pic.twitter.com/o8nvIsf6v1
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 31, 2023
Pitchers Are Fielders, Too
Two days in and there have been a handful of terrific plays. One of Friday’s highlights was Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland chasing down a grounder near the third-base line and doing a Derek Jeter twisting jump throw to nail Padres catcher Austin Nola at first.
Pitchers are DEFINITELY athletes. 😱 pic.twitter.com/DV3XFMyb6e
— MLB (@MLB) April 1, 2023
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
Baseball Reference is the best. 😂
👊 @baseball_ref pic.twitter.com/IKpQhoyZt9
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 31, 2023
Injuries and Other Moves
The Milwaukee Brewers will reportedly be calling up their No. 3 prospect, outfielder Joey Wiemer, for his MLB debut. Wiemer will take the place of third baseman Luis Urías, who injured a hamstring diving into first base Thursday and is headed to the injured list.
The St. Louis Cardinals traded left-hander Anthony Misiewicz to the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations.
Outfielder-second baseman Nick Solak was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Seattle Mariners for cash considerations.
Former Minnesota Twins catcher-designated hitter Gary Sánchez signed a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Articles You Should Read
Big Unit in Cooperstown for something other than pitching — C. Trent Rosecrans, The Athletic
Dodgers’ flickering lights annoy Diamondbacks — Jorge Castillo, Los Angeles Times
Cooper Hummel’s dream comes true with Mariners on Opening Day — Ryan Divish, Seattle Times
Fantasy Baseball Coverage
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
I can understand an off day after opening day in case of bad weather but why does Tampa need a day off when its a dome ?