The baseball season is 0.06 percent over. The Dodgers and Red Sox could still be without profit. Corey Kluber is on the way to a record of 0-32. What is to say that we have learned absolutely nothing. We do that every year. One day of baseball can not tell us anything.
OR CAN IT? I would like to postulate a theory that the action of Thursday can tell us all sorts of things. Unmissable truths that will not prove wrong in the next 161 games. We have enough information and some of these hints are called spoilers. Be warned.
Here are the indisputable truths that we learned on the opening day.
Giancarlo Stanton will dominate the headlines more than you might have expected
I still maintain that Stanton is the most marketable player in the game. It could one day be Aaron Judge, but Stanton is not much older, and he's been doing that much longer. He makes this a baseball thing that otherwise interests indifferent baseball fans: he hit baseball far. It is an important skill for a baseball player to have, if he wants to be popular.
If you want to go to the YouTube Conspiracy Zone, here's a thought: There's no better place for Stanton if you're Major League Baseball than the New York Yankees. He will get the most eyeballs. It is compared and compared to the largest of all-time sizes. That's what Rob Manfred wanted, even if he can never admit it.
Stanton naturally hit two things on the opening day:
It comes complete with a stilted John Sterling call, which for some reason is in Italian. Because if I want to celebrate someone of Irish, Puerto Rican, and African American heritage, I go straight to the old Italian, like Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda . Anyway, I would like to point out this irrefutable truth: It will not stop. I did not understand the recapitulation of the MLB network, but I suppose it went this way:
GREG AMSINGER: Stanton Stanton Stanton Stanton Stanton Stanton Stanton Stanton Stanton Stanton
ERIC BYRNES: STANTON STANTON STANTON STANTON  MARK DEROSA: [is wearing a bandleader’s outfit, complete with tall, feathered hat, and making marching band sounds as he walks around the studio] prrb prrrrrb psssshhht pssshht Stanton! prrrrpbbt brrrb a pshht pssht phsst stanton!
That's not a criticism! That's exactly what I would hire to see. I am leading this article with Stanton Stanton Stanton. I just want to point out that it will only get worse.
Imagine making a home run in the same house as Richter.
Imagine it was the ninth inning.
It does not get better, so just let it wash over you. Stanton is now safe on the Yankees. We thought we were prepared, but we really were not.
The Phillies will be funny all year round, eh?
Gabe Kapler used to have a blog. Let me share the opening sentence of one of his contributions:
If you want to be your strongest, take sun on your boys. And in boys I mean your testicles.
There was a 1939 study that suggested that beans produce more testosterone when exposed to UV radiation. That's all Kapler needed to know, and now he's shifted his priorities to make it happen.
That comes up now, because if a manager is convinced of a study from 1939 when it was illegal to leave the house without hat, he will definitely become orthodoxe to the new saber mimetics, suggesting that it is dangerous for a starting pitcher to take a third pull through the grid. And on the opening day, Aaron Nola was replaced by a brilliant start in the sixth inning. He had admitted four base runners to date and had thrown only 68 courses.
To be fair, the move came after a double and a Freddie Freeman home run, so it's not that it was completely unexpected. Considering the score (5-2 at the time), it was not unreasonable for a manager to think that the Bullpen was the better bet for the rest of the way. It's just not a step most managers would take today.
What makes the move strange, though, is that the Phillies are not going straight out with Andrew Miller, Kenley Jansen and Tommy Kahnle. Setting this precedent on the opening day is a message that the Phillies will be hard at on their bullpen, and I'm not sure if it's the kind of bullpen it's worth leaning on.
Strange, of course, does not have to be bad. It is possible that the Phillies are funny all year round and they win because of that. There is really a science about pitchers facing the thugs three times, just as there is science about … sunlight. It's great when it works, but when you burn yourself, oh, man, it ever stings.
I mean, technically Felix Hernandez was not very good on Thursday. Of his 83 playing fields, only 49 were punches, which meant he nibbled, nibbled, nibbled and tried to navigate through the new reality, where he has no hall-of-fame stuff and has to win with his Hall-of – Fame command. It did not work last year. It does not have to work this year. And if you look at the raw numbers, two walks and four strikeouts in 5⅓ innings are not exactly dominant. Yovani Gallardo can do that.
On the other hand, I'll have to hear you here very carefully: FELIX BACK.
The Mariners had the Bullpen experience that the Phillies would have killed by bowing but not breaking, and unlike the decision to remove Nola, it was not very confusing when Hernandez left. He has ground, ground, ground, and you just want to push a veteran pitcher so hard on the opening day.
I'm still looking for optimism, and I'll choose to find him with Hernandez wherever I can. I'm not a Mariners fan (he says and smiles at the deserved arrogance of someone who's actually been lucky), but I'm totally invested in his success for a reason: I'm afraid of change. And death. Mostly death.
Hernández, who is not one of the most appealing jugs in baseball, reminds us that nothing stays the same, that entropy rules all of us. It's a reminder that the most attractive person in 100 years will melt into the ground that everyone you've ever known will leave you one day. It's a reminder that even Willie Mays, the biggest athlete many people have ever seen playing the game, will have trouble getting up a flight of stairs. And we can not do anything about it.
Well, there is one thing. We can root for delays. I'm concerned about this delay, and the best part is that it can take six years. More if we use Bartolo Colon or Randy Johnson as a template. So I wake that up, which means Felix, once he's back, is proud to call FELIX back, even though there's always a chance I'll scream for the last time.
He looked pretty good. He will have a great year.