Despite the eager support of President Nixon and the managing of former Red Sox great Ted Williams, the Washington Senators lost yet another of the traditional baseball season openers in the nation's capital yesterday, this time to the New York Yankees, 8-4.
Baseball's 100th year began when Nixon lobbed out the first ball after the traditional chatting and joking with Williams in the Presidential box before the game. The fans seemed more excited about the new Washington manager however, and Williams received a standing ovation that exceed the applause for Nixon when he took the field before the game.
Home runs by Jerry Kennedy and Bobby Murcer helped the Yankees to a healthy 8-0 lead, and Mel Stottlemeyer was able to hold the Senators to four runs despite huge Frank Howard's two run homer.
Boston fans will not be treated to a home opener until Monday afternoon when the Baltimore Orioles fly in for a four-game set. But the Red Sox play their first game today in Baltimore with somewhat realistic hopes of repeating their 1967 success.
Pitching is decidedly the Boston weak point. Jim Lonborg must make a comeback after a disastrous season last year, when he won only six games. Jose Santiago is our indefinitely to add to the pitching woes. Three probably starters are Ray Culp, Dick Ellsworth, and Ken Brett.
Otherwise, the Sox are solid. Tony Conigliaro can see again, and George Scoot can apparently hit again. Other dependable players are Carl Yastrzemski, who distinguished himself last year as the American League's only .300 hitter, Reggie smith, Ken Harrelson, Mike Andrews, Rico Petrocelli, and Russ Gibson.
The Red Sox are one of six teams this year in the newly established Eastern Division of the American League.