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Friday, April 9, 2010
Darren's Diary: Good first pitch, bad handoff

By Darren O'Day

Editor's note: In this week's diary, Darren O'Day talks about Opening Day, a good first pitch, a bad handoff and a bullpen celebration.

Darren O'Day
ARLINGTON -- Last week in my diary, I talked about Roger Staubach and throwing a strike. The truth is that was one of the more impressive first pitches I've ever seen. I think he's got a little something left in that right arm. He threw a nice heater right down the pipe. That's something we all struggled with Wednesday, so maybe we need to get him a uniform. It's not an easy thing to do. I tried to throw out the first pitch at a game at my college and it looked more like a pitchout, so it was impressive to see him groove one.

I thought our team did an awesome job on Opening Day. A good flyover is all about timing and they nailed it, roaring by just as the anthem wrapped up. I never fail to get goosebumps. Did anyone else notice the enormous Texas flag we had stretched across the hill in center field? I was wondering if there were any other teams in the big leagues that had their state flag at their Opening Day. I would be very surprised if they did. Texans love them some Texas. I’m starting to buy into it in my second year in the Metroplex.

For us to be no-hit for six innings is pretty incredible, especially by a guy who hadn't pitched in a year. We knew he was a good pitcher and had a plus changeup, but for him to do that to a team of such accomplished hitters was something. I remember thinking during the player announcements of Mike Young, Josh Hamilton and Vladdy about what an intimidating lineup we have. You have to be on your toes for one through nine. Shaun Marcum baffled us for a while, but we eventually got to him. Nelson's homer is the kind of homer that makes Arlington a hitter's park. He's a big, strong dude, but he put half a swing on it and almost smoked me in sitting in the bullpen. That's a good piece of hitting, knowing your ballpark and how use the jetstream.

That was a special Opening Day win for us. To get no hit for six innings and come back like that shows the persistence of our hitters. We have decided to do something about the fact that it takes us way too long to run from the bullpen out to the field on a game-winning hit. We were jumping around, celebrating by ourselves, but there was something missing. Doug Mathis decided that from now on, the bullpen will be having our own private dogpile down there. Once that is over, we’ll all hustle to the locker room for the traditional beer shower.

I was thankful for Salty getting the hit and beer shower going early in the season. My technique is a little rusty from the long offseason. I did too much shaking and didn't have my thumb placed correctly and had beer spraying all over me.

That wasn't the only thing that was shaky for me this week. My exchange when Wash pulled me from the game Wednesday was not good. He came out and put out his hand for the ball and the first thing that came to mind was to shake it. That's just a boneheaded move. Wow. He said nothing. He was professional about it. Once again, I blame the long offseason for that. Scott Feldman was ready for me when I came in and said, 'Was that a rough exchange there? What happened?' He had a good laugh at my expense.

It was an odd night for Arlington, but it felt good to see my first game action. It was windy and chilly, and I was a little overexcited for my first appearance. I was overthrowing and my ball wasn't sinking, but it got better as I went along. Luckily, I have at least 162 more games to improve.