The beauty of baseball is often found in the subtleties. However, sometimes the humor, the astonishing feats, and the absurdities punch you in the nose. Cheryl Wright details the eventful opening month with the entertainment ranging from the longest game in Red Sox history to a game played in an empty stadium. Then she brings us the humor by showing that April showers bring chicken fingers.
The 2015 baseball season has barely begun, yet there has already been plenty of memorable moments and surprising results. For example, raise your hand if you thought the Astros would end April with a 15-7 record and tied for the best record in the American League. Here is a look at a few of April’s most distinctive events and wackiest stories:
April 6: An Opening Day rain delay is rarely memorable. However, a rain delay in Miami makes news since Marlins Park has a retractable roof. After a sudden rain shower took the roof operators by surprise, the Braves/Marlins game was delayed for twenty minutes while the roof was closed. Meanwhile, America learned that the Marlins do not even own a tarp. Maybe they included it in a trade when they broke up their last World Series winning team?
April 6 – 8: In the Dodgers’ first series of the year, Adrian Gonzalez abused the Padres’ pitching staff by amassing 10 hits in 13 plate appearances with a .769/.769/2.077 line. He also became the first player in history to hit five home runs in the first three games of the season.
April 10 – 11: The Red Sox and Yankees engaged in a 19-inning marathon, with the Sox eventually winning 6-5. The 6-hour, 49-minute game was the longest (by time) in Red Sox history and second longest in Yankee history. Seventeen pitchers combined for 628 pitches. In the “outhouse-to-the-penthouse” department, Xander Bogaerts went 0-4 in the first half of the game. He then went 4-4 in extra innings.
April 14: Royals’ rookie outfielder Paulo Orlando hit two triples, increasing his total number of major league hits to three, all of them triples. “Tripaulo” was the first player ever to have triples for his first three major league hits. He would club two additional triples in his first week, becoming the first player in the modern era to hit more than three triples in the first seven games of his career.
April 17: In San Francisco, a chicken finger suddenly fell from the sky, delaying play for 20 seconds while players tried to figure out what had happened. Speculation was that the chicken fell out of a seagull’s beak. If so, the offending seagull never returned to claim his snack.
April 20: In the second inning at PNC Park, Starlin Castro hit a foul ball off of A.J. Burnett that struck a fan behind the protective screen. The fan was making her way into a front-row seat when she was hit in the back of her head by the ball. The game was delayed for 20 minutes while the woman received medical attention. Fortunately, she appears to have avoided serious injury.
April 20: The Oakland Athletics beat the Royals 5-0, completing their fifth shutout of the season. They became the first team in history to win five shutouts in the team’s first 12 games.
April 23: In the seventh inning of a White Sox/Royals game, tempers flared when Yordano Ventura snagged an Adam Eaton comebacker to the mound. Ventura yelled something at Eaton before tossing the ball to the first baseman. The two teams quickly converged on the field. Five players were subsequently ejected. Seven players received discipline – either fines or suspensions – as a result of that incident. The Royals eventually won the game 3-2 in the 13th inning.
April 25: The Mets won their 11th consecutive game, improving their record to 13-3. The 11-game winning streak tied a record for the longest streak in team history.
April 28: The Washington Nationals overcame an eight run deficit to defeat the Braves by a final score of 13-12. After being down 10-2 after four innings, the Nationals closed the gap to only two runs after seven innings. They would win the game on Dan Uggla’s three-run homer off Jason Grilli in the ninth. This was just the third time in the organization’s history – and first time as the Nationals – that the team had won a game after trailing by eight runs or more.
April 29: After riots in the city of Baltimore forced the Orioles to postpone two home games against the White Sox, the league was determined to at least complete one game before Chicago left town. Law enforcement officials indicated that they could not guarantee the safety of all fans, so the commissioner decided to play the game without any fans in attendance. Although the game was closed to the public, a few fans gathered outside the center field gate to cheer on the home team. The Orioles would win the game 8-2. Because of lingering safety issues, their next home series against the Tampa Bay Rays was moved to Tropicana Field, with the Orioles playing as the home team.