Dave Shotkoski never made it to Atlanta. His widow did.
Felicia Shotkoski and 9-month-old daughter Alexis sat in the Braves official box and watched Atlanta rout San Francisco 12-5 on opening day.
Her husband, a replacement player, was killed March 24 during a robbery attempt near the club’s spring training site in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“I really have mixed emotions being here today, but at least one of us made it to Atlanta for opening day,” said Shotkoski, who lives in the Chicago suburb of North Aurora, Ill. “I received so many warm, loving letters from Georgians and my daughter and I have been treated great.”
Together again, sort of
Here they were again, together sort of, just like any other opener from the last three years.
There was Brian McRae, digging in at the plate. In the dugout behind Brian sat his father, Hal, arms folded, hat cocked askew, an intent gaze coming from an expressionless face.
But this scene was nowhere close to the recent past for the McRaes, their 22-year lineage with the Kansas City Royals now broken, probably forever.
Brian McRae was now wearing the blue-gray-red collage of the Chicago Cubs. Hal was adorned in the fire-engine red attire of Cincinnati, serving as the Reds’ hitting coach.
Schott cops smoke
Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, an opponent of the city’s antismoking law, was photographed puffing on a cigarette as she sat in her seat during the season opener.
Told of the pictures of her with the cigarette, she said, “Naw.”
Schott spent most of the game in the owner’s box, where she is permitted to smoke.
Cardinals 7, Phillies 6
Scott Cooper, traded to St. Louis from Boston earlier this month, singled home the tying and winning runs as the Cardinals rallied from five runs down.
Cooper, a lifelong St. Louis resident, finished with three hits and four RBIs.
Dodgers 4, Marlins 2
The smallest home crowd in Florida’s threeyear history watched as Eric Karros hit a pair of two-run doubles to help Los Angeles.
Attendance slipped to 18,587 from 42,125 for opening night.
Cubs 7, Reds 1
Jim Bullinger pitched six shutout innings and Brian McRae had three hits in Chicago’s seasonopening road win.
Braves 12, Giants 5 i
A crowd of only 24,091 saw Fred McGriff homer twice and drive in five runs, leading Greg Maddux and Atlanta over San Francisco.
Expos 6, Pirates 2
It was hard to tell whether Pittsburgh had more trouble with its fans or Montreal.
Darrin Fletcher homered, Jeff Fassero pitched five effective innings and Roberto Kelly came around to score on his own infield single in a bizarre, error-filled fifth inning that led to fans pelting the field with wooden pennant sticks.
Rockies 11, Mets 9
Coors Field served up a long, frosty one on opening day.
In fact, Colorado’s 11-9 victory in 14 innings marked the longest debut game for any big-league ballpark used this century.
Astros 10, Padres 2
Jeff Bagwell, last year’s unanimous N.L. MVP, hit a two-run homer in the third and made several nice defensive plays at first base, Houston spoiling the debut of new manager Bruce Bochy and three starters who came over in a 12-player deal with the Astros in December.
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