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Kershaw, Bumgarner highlight MLB opening day

Frozen fields thawed, baseball stars ready for sunshine on MLB opening day

Jake Catterall, 12, of Tacoma, Wash., races toward first base and past a partially-completed opening day logo during a practice run around the bases a...
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw smiles while chatting with teammates during practice for an exhibition baseball game against the ...

Mariners Ballpark Baseball

Jake Catterall, 12, of Tacoma, Wash., races toward first base and past a partially-completed opening day logo during a practice run around the bases a...

Dodgers Angels Baseball

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw smiles while chatting with teammates during practice for an exhibition baseball game against the ...

No team lost more games in spring training than the champion San Francisco Giants and hardly any pitcher struggled more than Madison Bumgarner, the World Series Most Valuable Player.

With the new Major League Baseball season starting this week, however, none of that matters. Every team starts with the same record.

In all, 28 teams will play on Monday, all hoping to make the MLB playoffs in October.

Clayton Kershaw and Masahiro Tanaka will be on the mound, Mike Trout and David Ortiz will be at the plate, All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel will be with San Diego after Atlanta traded him Sunday.

"If you can play every day like opening day and get yourself up like you do for opening day, you're probably going to have a good year," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, whose club visits Arizona.

The 2015 MLB season started Sunday night at renovated Wrigley Field, where manager Joe Maddon and his Chicago Cubs lost to St. Louis 3-0. Adam Wainwright got the win, and Jason Heyward doubled off Jon Lester for the first hit of the year.

Even though the baseball action is just getting underway, some stars have already emerged -- the full-time groundskeepers at Fenway Park, who have gotten the diamond ready despite the snowiest winter in Boston since the city began keeping such records.

"I was never worried about getting ready for opening day," said David Mellor, director of grounds for the Red Sox. "The field is in great shape. It is looking better with each passing day."

Across the Northeast and Midwest of the United States, ballparks were battered by a harsh winter. Blizzards, freezing temperatures, sheets of ice and wicked winds made preparations even tougher.

At Fenway, up to 40 inches (100 centimeters) of snow blanketed the field at one point. Mellor and his crew used a half-ton of black sand -- like ground-up tires, it absorbs heat and helps the melting process -- to clear the crush. Boston was hit with more than 9 feet (2.74 meters) of snow overall.

"When we had all the snow, I thought I'm glad we aren't opening at home," Mellor said. "But because of all the hard work of my co-workers, we are actually ready to play now."

Red Sox newcomers Hanley Ramirez and Sandoval play Monday at Philadelphia. The Fenway home opener is April 13 against Washington.

The forecast for some of the cities that endured the worst winters -- Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Kansas City -- looked promising on opening day, with clear skies and highs in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (15-21 Celsius).

Alex Rodriguez, back from a season-long drug suspension, Tanaka and the Yankees will be home to play Toronto. Pitcher Adam Warren was eager to see how well the grounds crew had done at Yankee Stadium, especially since the city's new Major League Soccer team recently played on the grass.

"I know they've been working hard. The kind of weather that I've been hearing that New York has been having, for them to get it in great shape is pretty remarkable," Warren said Sunday in Tampa, Florida.


Updated : 2021-09-18 16:41 GMT+08:00