MLB 2016 Opening Day Notes & Observations

Baseball season is officially underway as teams league-wide got their seasons started on Monday. Baseball, as with all sports, cannot be judged on a sample size as small as one game.

So instead of giving misguided thoughts on how teams look after game one of 162 (Dodgers, good. Phillies, bad), here are some observations that will prove a little more concrete throughout the long season.

The Padres' new uniforms

The Padres have had some outstanding uniforms throughout their history. The plain navy blue and white uniforms they sported prior to this season, however, were less than stellar. They were plain, unimaginative, and in no way reminiscent of the excellent brown and yellow digs from the '70s or the orange and blue they sported later in the Tony Gwynn era.

(via MLB.com)
(via MLB.com)

This season they are wearing a uniform just to commemorate the All-Star Game being played in San Diego. After one look at these new fits, it’s clear the change needs to be permanent. They took their plain blue and whites and threw in some yellow trim. It sounds like a minor change, but it looks phenomenal. They’re also slated to wear a modernized version of their brown and yellow throwbacks on Fridays, and given how they’ve looked in photos, it’s doubtful they’ll disappoint in action. The Padres, in the midst of a massive rebuild, may not be much to watch baseball-wise, but their uniforms alone will warrant tuning in now and then.

Weird pitching line!

Weird pitching lines are fun. They can be weird in a positive way or weird in a negative way — it just doesn’t matter. The Seattle Mariners lost to the Texas Rangers 3-2 in their opener. Seems normal enough until you look at the box score and see that Felix Hernandez and Mike Montgomery combined for a one-hitter. Hernandez gave up three runs, one earned, on one hit with five walks and six strikeouts. Montgomery finished the job allowing a walk and striking out four over the final two innings.

So the Mariners are 0-1 and the pitching staff has allowed one hit. Brutal.

They made changes to the timing rules?

MLB lopped 30 seconds off of the allotted time between innings in an effort to speed up the games. In the interest of transparency, I had forgotten there was a rule change in regard to the timing until a graphic popped up during the A’s game. In watching at least part of every game that was played on Monday, it was unnoticeable with the eye test. We’ll see as the season progresses just how much the additional 30 seconds per break takes off total game time, but if Monday was any indication, probably not much.

Confirmed: Still would not fight Madison Bumgarner

The list of people I would avoid a fight at all costs with is LONG. It’s like, almost all the people in the world. Madison Bumgarner is right up there at the top of the list. The walking refrigerator with a cannon for a left arm has been scary for a while, but there was something about watching him gut out 101 pitches over five innings and striking out six despite having the flu that made him extra scary.

Can matte helmets be a thing?

Matte batting helmets need to be a league-mandated uniform policy. The Diamondbacks did it last year, and it looked awesome. The Giants and a few other teams have adopted the look this season, and it looks universally bad-ass. Rob Manfred could cement his legacy as one of Major League Baseball’s greatest commissioners if he flexes his muscles to get every team wearing matte batting helmets. This is a necessity of greater importance than the designated hitter rule, replay review and Pete Rose’s Hall of Fame eligibility.

UNC vs. Villanova was almost ruined by baseball

Due to the excess of baseball going on, I didn’t tune in to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship until there were 59 seconds left. Holy crap.

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