At least not the opening of it.
The Reds had traditionally played the first game of the season in honor of their status as the oldest major league team. That tradition has broken down in recent years, with prime time games taking over as the real opener and even some other teams having their first pitch go off before the Reds’ on the first day with a slate of afternoon starts. But 2012 totally subordinates the Reds and makes life difficult for the events that usually surround the game.
The Reds don’t start until Friday, a full two days after the Marlins’ opener. More significantly, that’s Good Friday. Which, while not an ideal start for any team (there has been controversy about this before) is particularly tough for the Reds because Opening Day for them is usually accompanied by a big parade, the opening of a downtown market and other festivities. One who cares a lot about Good Friday can probably make room for a baseball game, but a whole day of whoopin’ it up is a bit much, it is feared.
The Reds are said to be petitioning Major League Baseball for a change here. Given that they start the season against the Marlins, however, and that since the Marlins open on Wednesday night against the Cardinals they can’t play a game on Thursday due to weird rules about one-game series, I can’t really see what baseball can do about it.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.