Craig Calcaterra

Metal Detector

Metal detectors at ballparks (which don’t really enhance security) cause delays

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Some ballparks put up metal detectors last year, but this year is the first year of Major League Baseball’s new rule requiring all parks to have them. And, on Opening Day, a predictable side effect:

The new procedure created confusion and long lines at the gates for hundreds of fans who were trying to get inside the venue in time to watch Masahiro Tanaka throw out the first pitch for the Yankees.

Unsurprisingly, many fans were not happy with the delays the metal detectors caused.

“Not good. It’s just out of control,” said Joe Marinaio, of Staten Island, N.Y., as he stood in a long line outside Gate 4. “There’s no organization. It’s just a free for all.”

Though Marinaio, 19, heard about the new security measures via Twitter, he said he didn’t expect to have to wait over an hour just to enter the stadium.

Over time people will get used to this and the lines will be shorter, one assumes. It always seems to happen that way.

But it’s still worth noting that metal detector at the ballpark are nothing more then security theater, with experts saying that they will do nothing to make people safer at ballparks and could, in fact, be counterproductive in this regard. In other news, I am aware of no security dangers inside ballparks — no widespread or systemic incidents of violence, terror or anything else — which made this new rule reasonable and necessary in the first place.

But this is 21st century America where even suggesting that it’s possible to go too far in the name of security is unthinkable. Where, if someone in a position of authority suggested we all dress up in ballet tutus and wear crash helmets 24/7, most people would say “well, security is a good thing, and if doing this saves one life  . . .”

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Masahiro Tanaka
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Blue Jays 6, Yankees 1:Masahiro Tanaka’s lowish velocity and poor results probably have everyone in Gotham clenching their sphincters at the moment because there’s really not a path to the playoffs without their putative ace being healthy and effective. And, in this game, his lack of effectiveness is probably going to make many wonder if he’s healthy. Not that getting shelled by the Blue Jays is going to be an uncommon thing for teams this year. A couple of bombs, a couple of manufactured runs and there’s a six-spot against you. That was plenty for Drew Hutchinson.

Tigers 4, Twins 0: David Price cruised for eight and two-thirds. And, to be honest, totally could’ve finished this shutout off if Brad Ausmus’ Manager3000 software hadn’t beeped upon encountering the “base runner on in the ninth inning” subroutine that mandated the Ausmusbot to bring in the Closer Unit. Didn’t matter, of course. Homers from J.D. Martinez homer and Alex Avila were all the Tigers needed. Oh, and welcome to Detroit Yoenis Cespedes.

Rockies 10, Brewers 0: Getting shut down by Kyle Kendrick while allowing him his damn self to get two hits off of you and having your best player get hurt in the same game is pretty bad. Having the other guys drop a 10-spot on your Opening Day starter in the same game? Even worse. But hey, last year the Brewers started strong and then faded. Maybe they’re gonna do it up different this time.

Red Sox 8, Phillies 0: Cole Hamels wasn’t traded to the Red Sox like so many thought he would be, but that doesn’t mean a deal of some sort wasn’t done. Like, say, Hamels being secretly enlisted as a Red Sox spy. I mean, sure, it’s far-fetched, but it’s way easier to ensure a Red Sox win by serving them up meatballs yourself than it is to play for them and trying to stop the other team from doing the same. Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez each hit two bombs and Clay Buchholz looked like an ace (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9K) even if Curt Schilling doesn’t think he does.

Orioles 6, Rays 2: Trvis Snider had three hits, drove in two and flashed some pretty sweet defense as the O’s beat the Rays. Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty all hit homers.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: All that hand-wringing over Matt Harvey not starting the opener and everyone being stuck with old man Bartolo Colon amounts to the old man allowing one run over six while striking out eight. Four relievers held that lead, but one of them was not Jenrry Mejia, who felt stiffness in his right elbow while warming in the bullpen during the game. He’s supposed to be the closer this year so, yeah, yikes.

Royals 10, White Sox 1: If I remember my 2014 narratives correctly, this is more runs than the Royals scored all last year. Alex Rios had a three-run homer and two other hits. The Royals scored five runs in the seventh. Yordano Ventura gave everyone a scare when he crumpled to the ground in pain, but it turns out it was just a cramp. Jesus, dude, don’t freak us out like that.

Mariners 4, Angels 1: Mike Trout got his in the form of a solo homer in the first, but that’s all anyone got off King Felix, who was otherwise untouchable (7IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 10K). Trout struck out his other three times to the plate so I suppose 2015 is picking up where 2015 left off for all of these dudes.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: With Opening Day, the Reds’ opportunity to sign Johnny Cueto to an extension before he hits free agency basically ended, as he is not going to negotiate during the seasons. And with Opening Day, the Reds are reminded that they don’t have a pitcher anywhere as good as Johnny Cueto, who struck out ten in seven shutout innings. He didn’t get the win because of some unholy combination of Kevin Gregg, the Elias Sports Bureau and society, but he’s still the best pitcher they’ve developed and he’s gonna either get dealt or walk away because, I assume, someone decided that Homer Bailey needed to get paid.

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Clayton Kershaw wasn’t at his best (if you can call striking out nine guys not being at you best) but Adrian Gonzalez was (3-for-5, HR, 2B 2 R) as was Jimmy Rollins, who hit broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run homer in the eighth. I watched this one with my kids because, as I’ve noted recently, they’re Dodgers fans now. They didn’t get my joke about how Craig Kimbrel has gotten to watch all kinds of great moment in Dodger Stadium in recent years without actually getting to participate in them. But Dodgers fans know what I’m talking about. As do Braves fans. Padres fans who had to endure that never-ending eighth inning without the team’s best reliever coming into the game are starting to grok it some too.

Braves 2, Marlins 1: A rain delay in a domed stadium which included the home team’s new star fall on his face because of the slippery track. The Brave may have lost their closer on Sunday, but their pen was just fine yesterday. It escaped a bases loaded no-out jam in the seventh to preserve a one run lead. Nick Markakis drove in both of the Braves’ runs. Julio Tehrean scattered eight hits.

Astros 2, Indians 0: Dallas Keuchel outdueled Cory Kluber, tossing seven shutout innings. The Astros’ runs scored on an RBI single and a sac fly. Not that Kluber was chopped liver. He had a no-hitter into the sixth. His first hit allowed, however, went to Jose Altuve who then stole second and scored on that George Springer single.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: Madison Bumgarner picked up where he left off last year, scattering six hits across seven innings, allowing one run and picking up the win. The top three in the Giants’ order — Nori Aoki, Joe Panik and Angel Pagan — combined to go 8 for 14 with four runs scored and two driven in.

Athletics 8, Rangers 0: Sonny Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Ben Zobrist had a two-run homer and a double. It was the first time the A’s had won an Opening Day game since 2005, which seems impossible, but it’s true.

Cole Hamels is not having a good audition for the Red Sox

Cole Hamels
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What? You think he’s being traded to Boston too. It’s only a matter of time. For now, though, he’s pitching against the Red Sox for the Phillies and he’s having a hell of a time of it today.

Hamels has tossed five innings and he’s given up four runs on five hits with three walks. Four of those hits have been homers. Two by Dustin Pedroia (whose demise may have been greatly exaggerated) one by Mookie Betts and one by Hanley Ramirez. All solo shots, thankfully.

Current score: 4-0 after five innings. In other news, they are serving liquor in Citizens Bank Park. Probably selling well today.

Yankees fans want to “ForG1V3” Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez
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source: AP

A-Rod got a mixed reception when first announced today. But some fans there are happy to have him back:

In his first two plate appearances: a walk and a single.

Masahiro Tanaka is not having a great day

Masahiro Tanaka
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Let us not freak out a mere hour into the season, but it’s at least notable that Masahiro Tanaka is being beaten up like Loki at the end of the first Avengers movie.

He was doing OK in the first and second inning but in the third he gave up three hits, all of them hard, including a homer by Edwin Encarnacion that looked practically grooved and was smashed. Even a couple of the outs were on hard-hit balls. While I won’t fetish velocity the way a lot of Yankees watchers do, it’s worth noting that Tanaka is sitting 89-90 right now which is not typical for him. He and the Bombers are down 5-0 in the fourth inning.

Oh, and Alex Rodriguez had his first plate appearance of the year. He walked. Typical A-Rod, padding his OBP when his team is down rather than hitting a five-run homer to put his team back in the game.