It’s Opening Day. That would normally warrant a long and prosaic intro, but this year, I made that a whole separate post, and made a video to go with it. You can find that here, and we’ll just fill the rest of the intro with filler while you’re gone. Go ahead, really. The rest of us won’t talk about you while you’re gone. Meet us back here in three minutes.
[takes a three-minute nap]
Huhthehuffmmmwhat? Wow that was fast. Welcome back! It’s the April 3rd Opening Day Baseball Texas Daily!
1. “Baseball is the best at it,” Jeff Banister mused in his office, talking about Opening Days just hours before first pitch. “You wanna hear about my *first* Opening Day? I can tell you my first Opening Day.”
Banister’s first Opening Day on the Major League level was in 1999 as a Field Coordinator for the Pirates. They opened that season against the Montreal Expos at Three Rivers Stadium. But that wasn’t what Banister was referencing. No, he was accessing a much older memory, one that had etched itself on his brain in those earlier years when everything is programmed in indelible ink.
“Nineteen Seventy-One. La Marque, Texas. We had a parade down main street all the way to Bobby Beach stadium. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. We all gathered up, took pictures, and we actually played a baseball game, and I got a snow cone at the end of it.”
The manager smiled. “We were in a flatbed trailer; we got all dressed up. It was the…” he paused and squinted, as if the details were coming into focus. “The Gulf Coast Engineers.”
“What flavor was the snowcone?” one reporter asked. Banister didn’t hesitate: “Is there any other flavor besides rainbow?”
2. Yu Darvish is finally an Opening Day starter, the ninth in the last nine seasons for the Rangers. He tweeted about the honor when it was announced, but was a bit more reserved when the cameras and microphones were on this week.
“Right now, I’m not trying to imagine what it will feel like when I get on the mound,” Darvish answered through a translator when asked what his expectations were for what it would be like tonight “I’ll just wait to get on the mound and see how I feel (…) I just want to enjoy it when I go out there and have fun. That’s my goal.”
Fun isn’t a word I’ve heard much from Darvish in the past, so I asked him: what makes pitching fun for you?
“Mmmm,” Darvish considered the question for a moment, then nodded as he answered in Japanese. “I have fun when I’m throwing the way I want, the pitches that I want. When I’m making those pitches, that’s when I have the most fun.”
Perhaps if I had made the question a bit more broad and asked what makes baseball fun for him, he might have mentioned this.
3. Comparing this year’s Opening Day Roster to 2016’s, it might come as a bit of a shock to realize that fewer than half of the names are the same. Elvis Andrus, Tony Barnette, Robinson Chirinos, Shin-Soo Choo, Delino DeShields, Sam Dyson, Cole Hamels, Rougned Odor, Martin Perez, and Ryan Rua are the only holdovers (here’s a reminder of what the 2016 roster looked like).
Elvis Andrus is making his ninth consecutive Opening Day start. That streak is third all-time among Rangers, behind Michael Young and Ivan Rodriguez, who each stand at 11.
There are nine players on the roster who have never been on an Opening Day roster before: Dario Alvarez, Matt Bush, Alex Claudio, Joey Gallo, Mike Hauschild, Jose Leclerc, Nomar Mazara, Jurickson Profar, and Drew Robinson.
Little Dragon has a few albums out, but I’m still in the process of taking in their self-titled debut from 2007, which I discovered recently. “Twice”, the first song on the record has been in pretty regular rotation for me for a year or more, but I only just started digging into the rest of their work. It has elements of jazz, some modern downtempo classiness, and maybe a little world music? Twice is my favorite, but the rest is worth hearing, too. ALSO - maybe they’ll be this year’s first repeat rec; their new album comes out April 14th.
(Spotify, Apple Music, Website)
During the regular season, these recommendations occasionally come from Rangers players, broadcasters, or other people around the team (here’s a complete list). If there’s a player or person you’d like Levi to ask for a music recommendation, shoot him an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or a tweet here.
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