Beginning their 60th season in Los Angeles, the Dodgers' Opening Day had a perfect historical link to the time when they played in the L.A. Coliseum before Dodger Stadium was opened in 1962.
The first season in Los Angeles was in 1958, when the veteran team struggled in an unconventional ballpark and finished seventh in the National League. The Dodgers traded for a journeyman outfielder named Wally Moon from the St. Louis Cardinals before the '59 season. While many other Dodgers complained about playing in the Coliseum, Moon adapted by launching high long drives to left field over the temporary screen, later called "Moon shots." Moon was instrumental to the Dodgers' first World Series championship in L.A. that year.
On Monday, on his 87th birthday, Moon along with Tommy Lasorda, 89, threw out the ceremonial first pitches to begin the 2017 season for the Dodgers.
For his seventh consecutive Opening Day start, Clayton Kershaw pitched an outstanding seven innings allowing two runs, one unearned. The San Diego Padres were baffled by the best pitcher in the game.
The Padres have tried to upgrade their starting rotation by signing three veteran starters to one-year contracts. On Opening Day, Jhoulys Chacin didn't make it out of the fourth inning.
For the first time on an Opening Day, the Dodgers had four home runs. Joc Pederson had been tinkering with his swing last season and this spring to decrease his strikeouts while keeping his fabulous power. On Monday, Pederson hit a grand slam. The Dodgers need Pederson to be productive offensively for the entire season to win an unprecedented fifth NL West title.
Corey Seager shocked the baseball world last year. In 2012, when the Dodgers drafted Seager, most baseball knowledgeable baseball people thought Corey could have a better baseball career than his older brother, Kyle, who plays third base for the Seattle Mariners. The Dodgers didn't want to rush the young Seager through the Minor League system. But in September 2015, Seager -- who had a superb season in the Minor Leagues -- gave the Dodgers no choice but to promote him. After having a September that most big leaguers only dream about, Seager forced the Dodgers to put him on their postseason roster, where he made an impact even though the Dodgers lost in the NL Division Series against the New York Mets.
In 2016, every Dodger fan knew Seager would be the team's starting shortstop even though he missed most of Spring Training with a calf injury. Seager was great, providing the Dodgers excellent production and reliable defense at the second-most demanding position on the diamond. His 27 home runs surprised most people, including Seager. His magnificent performance earned him the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Entering this season, Seager figures to be the cornerstone of the franchise for many years to come. Again, he missed most of Spring Training with a strained oblique. During the first inning, the rust was evident when Seager made an errant throw that allowed the Padres to score an unearned run. However, later in the game, he homered.
Yasmani Grandal is another key for the Dodgers this year. For the past two seasons, injuries had sapped his offensive production. The Dodgers don't have a veteran catcher to backup Grandal, so the club needs Grandal to be healthy.
This offseason Grandal changed his diet, eliminating almost all meat. He doesn't think he has been in better shape in his life. After having a fantastic Spring Training, Grandal homered twice on Monday.
Monday's game was also marked by the fact that it was the first Opening Day in 68 years that Vin Scully was not on the air. His retirement didn't sink in for me until I didn't hear, "It's time for Dodger baseball!"
Sarah D. Morris can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.