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MLB’s Best and Weirdest Plays, Unveiled

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Major League Baseball celebrated Opening Day for the majority of its teams on Thursday. From dazzling pitching performances to clutch home runs, Newsweek delivers with some of the day’s best, and weirdest, plays.

Trout's Opening Day Homer
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels hits a home run in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on March 28, 2024, in Baltimore.

Greg Flume/Getty Images

Mike Trout Opens Season with Home Run

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout has faced some harsh criticism this offseason. Anyone who doubted his talent was silenced when Trout launched the year’s first home run off Baltimore starter Corbin Burnes in the first inning, in his first at-bat.

Good Afternoon, Baltimore

The Baltimore Orioles entered a new chapter of their storied history with new owner David Rubenstein and new ace Corbin Burnes. Rubenstein and his ownership group introduced themselves to fans before the game by buying everyone at Pickles Pub a round of beers, and Burnes struck out 11 in his O’s debut.

New York, Meet Juan Soto

Juan Soto helped the New York Yankees win their first game of the year with more than his bat. He did go 1-for-3 with two walks and one RBI but it was his defensive play in the ninth inning that helped his new team the most. With Houston’s Mauricio Dubón on second in the ninth inning, Kyle Tucker singled to right, and the game appeared to be tied until Soto cut him down with a perfect throw home from right field.

MV3: Betts, Ohtani, Freeman

Even though their season began in South Korea on March 20, Opening Day at Dodger Stadium was special. Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman were a combined 5-for-8 with four walks, six runs, and two homers in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Betts and Freeman homered while Ohtani had a single and a double.

Vlad Jr. Crushes Monster Home Run

At Rogers Centre, there is a party porch with a small opening between the seats and the batter’s eye. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. blasted a 450-shot over the porch and left fans in Toronto in a frenzy. The exit velocity was just a cool 111.8 mph. Not too bad for Opening Day.

Happy Hour in Cincinnati

Nick Martini, 33, celebrated his first Opening Day in the big leagues with a pair of home runs and five RBIs to power the Reds to an 8-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. Martini became the third Reds player to hit two homers on Opening Day, joining Adam Dunn who did it twice in 2007 and 2005.

Tyler O’Neill Makes Opening Day History

New Red Sox outfielder Tyler O’Neill has mostly been known for his Gold Glove-winning defensive play but on Thursday he homered on his fifth straight Opening Day, setting an MLB record.

Bieber’s Dominant Outing

Cleveland ace Shane Bieber looked like he was in Cy Young-winning form on Thursday against the Oakland A’s. His 11-strikeout performance makes him the sixth pitcher in AL/NL history to record at least 10 strikeouts in three or more Opening Day appearances.

Weirdness in Texas

In the ninth inning of a tied game between the Rangers and Chicago Cubs, Miles Mastrobuoni appeared to foul off a pitch but the home plate umpire didn’t agree. Texas catcher Jonah Heim, instead of going after the ball, argued the call instead and allowed the Cubs to take the lead. However, Heim got his redemption when he delivered the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 10th to give the Rangers a 4-3 win.