Opening Day is a celebration of a new season, with looks back at previous successes and excitement for the future. Here are the highlights and firsts of Friday's home opener between the Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Masters of ceremony: Jim Hunter handled most of the responsibilities during the 30-minute pregame ceremony, with a little help from MASN broadcaster Gary Thorne.
Ceremonial first pitch: A week ahead of the 50th anniversary of his Orioles debut, pitching legend Jim Palmer threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The team gave him a custom cake shaped as a glove from SugarBakers in Catonsville, and the Orioles Reach foundation donated $50,000 to Autism Speaks to mark the occasion.
Loudest pregame cheer: Center fielder Adam Jones was close, and first baseman Chris Davis wasn’t far behind either of them, but third baseman Manny Machado received the loudest of all the pregame ovations. Opening Day was Machado’s first game at home since late August, when he underwent right knee surgery.
Loudest boos: Blue Jays Josh Donaldson was acquired in an offseason trade from the Oakland Athletics, but the change in uniform didn’t make Orioles fans forget his feud with third baseman Manny Machado last year. He received the loudest jeers during pregame introductions, and then was heartily booed on his first plate appearance in the top of the first inning.
National Anthem: Tenor Richard Troxell, a Thurmont native, sang “O Canada” in both English and French before a 30-foot-by-42-foot flag that flew over Fort McHenry was unfurled behind him on the centerfield batter’s eye for the Star Spangled Banner. Fans warmed up with a traditional “Oh” during the Canadian anthem before unleashing a much larger one during the familiar American anthem.
First pitch time: 3:11 p.m.
Weather: 51 degrees and cloudy, with a threat of rain, at first pitch.
First hit: Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes lined a 2-2 pitch at Jones, who did well to get to the ball and got his glove on it but couldn’t hold on.
First run: Reyes advanced to third base on a double by center fielder Dalton Pompey, then scored when right fielder Jose Bautista singled to right field for the game’s first run.
First out: Toronto designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion lined out to Jones, though the game’s first out led to its second run.
First error: With Bautista on first, Bud Norris’s pickoff attempt skidded past first baseman Chris Davis and against the wall for an error. Bautista advanced to second on the error.
First strikeout: Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle fanned right fielder Steve Pearce on a two-two pitch.
First Orioles hit: This one qualifies as first home run as well. With two down and the crowd silent in the bottom of the first inning, Jones homered on a 2-1 offering from Buehrle into the left field seats.