We often refer to Opening Day as Baseball Christmas, which feels appropriate: after a long and dark winter, a surfeit of gifts, an abundance of riches. If Opening Day is Baseball Christmas, today’s slate of games is a Baseball Children’s Birthday Party: some fans have teams that are the protagonists of the day, and others are spectators watching the scene unfold, and everyone’s had a little too much sugar and excitement and feels a little dizzy. And all I am saying, having stood in line for cake with other Mariners fans patiently for the past 20 years, is I want a fat corner piece, with roses.
Here it is:
The Angels are starting Reid Detmers, an actual child they drafted with the 10th overall pick in 2020. Detmers had the consensus best curveball in the class and immediately blistered the upper minors, but the perpetually pitching-impoverished Angels called him up after just sixty-something minor league innings and he’s scuffled some in the bigs. He missed significant time after a positive COVID test and will be making his first start since August. He’ll be a fresh arm and a new look for the Mariners, and his curveball-slider combo will likely give the breaking ball-allergic Mariners hitters fits. The trick will be to get to Detmers’ fastball, which has been crushed by MLB hitters; batters are slugging .739. A lefty with two plus breaking balls effectively neutralizes Jarred Kelenic, so someone else is going to need to step up and play hero today. Smells like a good day for Luis Torrens to crush a pitch or ten to Mercer Island.
Baseball birthday parties all start at the same time: every game across baseball starts at 12:10 PT today. This is standard procedure for baseball—the idea is to keep West Coast teams from gaining an advantage for the playoffs by knowing ahead of time if they can rest their starters or not—but it just adds to the chaotic nature of this particular day. It also robs Mariners fans a chance to do some scoreboard watching, which honestly I prefer; having to pull for the Nats and Orioles to do the impossible is exhausting, and I’d rather just focus on the game in front of me.
Because it’s also a Seahawks game day, the radio feed for the game will be on 770 AM rather than 710, so adjust your dials accordingly. I know a lot of Mariners fans are annoyed about this, but I’m just delighted that for the first time since I’ve been writing about this team, the Mariners are a bigger story on a Seahawks game day, no offense to our fine colleagues over at Field Gulls. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports NW as well, although not on Dish Network since their deal with ROOT expired at literally the worst possible time. But for once, there might be a TV in a bar tuned to the Mariners game as well as the Seahawks game, so hopefully DISH subscribers can get past today and this mess eventually gets figured out. (If you’re a DISH subscriber, you can complain to them here.)
Happy birthday, Mariners fans. Let’s get this fat slice of cake. We deserve it.