Cubs Opening Day

Fukudome's First Was Fabulous, But He's No Kaz Matsui


Kosuke Fukudome's Cub debut
was so riveting Monday afternoon, it was almost enough to distract from Kerry Wood's ninth-inning failure and the larger disappointment of losing the opener to the Brewers.

But terrific as it was, Fukudome's plate performance didn't quite match up to what one of his countrymen, Kaz Matsui, did when he first took the field for the Mets four years ago. On that evening, Matsui slugged the first pitch in his Major League career 429 feet, well over the center field fence in Atlanta's Turner Field, and set his new team off on a 7-2 season-opening victory. In addition to the homer, Matsui ripped a pair of doubles and walked twice, so he reached base five times in five PA's.

Given the way Matsui eventually stunk up New York, it could be argued that his Met career went straight downhill following that first game.

In any case, here's a review of the most prominent Japanese hitters to cross the Pacific and how they fared in their first regular season games on American soil:

It's All About Us: Opening Day 2008 From A Cub Perspective

For an Opening Day loss to a bitter in-division rival in which our ace had to leave the game prematurely, our leadoff man looked overmatched, and our new closer was tagged for three runs in an inning, that was a pretty satisfying game. All the credit goes to you, Kosuke. Thanks.

But former and perhaps future Cubs had a hand in games all across the land, and there were other Cub connections evident on this, the true Opening Day 2008.

Here is a Cub-flavored summary of today's already completed games:


D-Backs 4, Reds 2
.
Dusty loses his first game in the Cincy dugout. Corey Patterson goes
0-for-4, but doesn't strike out. Not once. In the whole game.


Nats 11, Phillies 6
.
Following their one-game home series against the Braves, the Nationals
traveled to Philadelphia to play the Phils. I can't find any way to
connect this game to the Cubs, except for the fact that scheduling a
Cubs-Brewers game in Chicago in late March when there's a perfectly
adequate domed stadium 90 miles north of Chicago is asinine...much like
scheduling the Nationals for a one-game home stand and then sending
them on the road.

The Last Time... (Cubs Opening Day Edition)

 

"Why, I remember when my father and I used to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and watch the season start in Japan."

--The Onion ("On Baseball's Opening Day")

Has Opening Day lost any of its luster since Major League baseball trash-canned the quaint tradition of starting every season with a single game, played in Cincinnati, the home of the game's first professional team, where the occasion was celebrated with a parade down the city's streets? Is the day less magical now that it has unfolded in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Japan, and the weekday game in the Queen City has given way to a made-for-ESPN event played on Sunday night? Of course it has.

But the thing is, it's still a damn special day on the baseball calendar and in WAY too many of the past 99 Cubs seasons, it has been the one and only day of the season when Cub fans' optimism was in full bloom.

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  • so nastay...

    triple, walk, domination

    crunch 1 min 38 sec ago view
  • And he gets out of it by K-ing Braun, Lucroy and Carter!

    Let's get some runs!

    billybucks 4 min 40 sec ago view
  • welcome to the cubs j.nathan.

    2 pitches into the inning and there's a guy on 3rd with 0 outs (triple).

    his velocity is hanging around 91/92mph.

    crunch 22 min ago view
  • Always a good idea to bring in Richard against a LH batter.

    billybucks 43 min 39 sec ago view
  • Russell left game with left heel contusion from foul ball on Saturday. Started to bother him during the Sunday game.

    Cubster 59 min 22 sec ago view
  • a.russell out and down into the clubhouse...no one knows why.

    it's very hot on the field, so it might be heat related.

    crunch 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • I blame the All-Star game again, or else Michael Barrett.

    Cubster 1 hour 32 min ago view
  • Miller park roof is closing. Hmmm, might play differently now?

    Lester at 72 pitches through 3. Roof closing might get him through 6.

    Middlebrows pulls a calf or hamstring. Len says he blew a tire rounding 1st. Nieuwenhuis enters game.

    Now roof opening. Dizziness. No AC in the ballpark wrt the field.

    Cubster 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • just to lighten the mood:
    Shark's day: 5.2 IP 5 Runs (all earned), 8 Hits, 2 HR. Left the game down 5-0 to Yankees.

    Anyone expecting game 4 NLCS Shark vs Hammel or Lackey?

    Cubster 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • First inning: two on, no out, Rizz and Zobrist due up. Don't score.
    Third inning: two on, one out, KB and Rizz due up. Don't score.

    This is getting' old, fellahs.

    billybucks 1 hour 42 min ago view
  • KB still with ZERO RBI since the A/S break. Ouch.

    billybucks 1 hour 45 min ago view
  • 62 through 2ip...yow.

    it's an off day for d.ross, too. the wild pitch + passed ball in 2 separate strike 3 calls allowing the runner to reach 1st and the 5sb through 2ip makes for a bad game so far. ross cant shoulder any blame for some of those SBs, especially that villar steal of 3rd while lester watched him.

    crunch 1 hour 49 min ago view
  • 39 pitch inning by Lester. I guess it's a wash vs yesterday's 1st when Lackey gave up 2 run HR.

    Cubster 2 hours 14 min ago view
  • 39 pitch, 2 run, 1st inning for lester. bleh.

    horrible control so far today.

    crunch 2 hours 17 min ago view
  • lester threw over to 1st! ...badly. braun takes 2nd.

    it was a slow rainbow throw.

    crunch 2 hours 26 min ago view
  • wow...villar just stole 3rd (after stealing 2nd) by walking 1/2 way to 3rd and then just sprinting toward 3rd with lester watching him do it from the mound.

    crunch 2 hours 32 min ago view