April 6, 2020

Before Opening Day was pushed back, these San Francisco Giants learned it doesn’t always go as planned

A new era of Giants baseball was supposed to begin Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

After 13 seasons managing the club, Bruce Bochy stepped away and Gabe Kapler was hired to lead the next generation of Giants. After four seasons in Madison Bumgarner’s shadow, Johnny Cueto was supposed to fill the role of staff ace and take the ball on Opening Day.

Hunter Pence was supposed to make his triumphant return to his old club, Buster Posey was supposed to become the seventh player in franchise history to make 10 Opening Day starts at the same position and Alyssa Nakken was supposed to debut as the first female coach in baseball.

It could all still happen this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, Opening Day has been indefinitely postponed.

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Where to turn your attention when you can’t look forward? Backward of course, to Opening Day memories of the past.

Some are recent: “My first Opening Day was pretty exiting of course,” said Brandon Crawford, who has started at shortstop for the Giants in each of the last eight openers. “And then there’s the one with Bumgarner’s couple of home runs, a crazy pitching duel in LA, and some others.”

Some are in the distant past: “The one that sticks out for me was when I was with the Indians and it was April 19, 1980,” broadcaster Duane Kuiper said.

Then there are others you might not know about: “Opening Day in 2000 was among the most memorable days of my baseball life,” Kapler said.

Let’s turn back the clock 40 years to 1980, when Kuiper’s Indians hosted the Toronto Blue Jays.

With 61,753 fans in attendance at Cleveland Stadium, Kuiper started the game at second base for the Indians. He finished in the clubhouse.

“It’s the only time I ever charged the mound,” Kuiper recalls.

With hard-throwing left-hander Balor Moore on the mound for Toronto, Kuiper took a fastball high and tight that sailed behind his head in the bottom of the eighth inning. He remembers falling to the ground and shouting at Moore to throw the ball over the plate.

“He did the one thing that you can’t do and he made a motion for me to come out,” Kuiper said. “So in front of 62,000 people, I’ve got to go out. I’ve got to go out …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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