There’s an old saying in baseball that whenever you are making your debut that the ball will find you, and on Opening Day that’s exactly what happened to Jonathan India. The first batter of the game hit a ground ball right to him at second base.
“I knew it was coming,” India said after the game. “I felt it. Lefty was up, I just felt a ground ball was coming right to me and it was a nice easy one. It was a good ground ball to get out of the way.”
Jonathan India was the first Cincinnati Reds position player to make his debut on Opening Day since Chris Sabo in 1988. He was the first player to debut at second base since Pete Rose in 1963. Those guys turned out fairly well for the Reds. India got things started in his debut in a good way, going 2-4 with a double.
In his first trip to the plate Jonathan India worked a full count before taking strike three. In the 4th inning he returned to the plate and this time he took an offspeed pitch from Jack Flaherty and lined it into left field and raced around the bags for a double. The next time he came up to the plate he hit a laser off of a 95 MPH fastball from Ryan Helsley, singling a liner at 109.7 MPH into left field. In his final trip to the plate he would fly out to right field.
All throughout the game Jonathan India looked like he belonged. He looked comfortable. He didn’t look nervous or like he was pressing at the plate to try and “make something happen.”
“Before the game I was waiting for the nerves to kick in,” India said. “Funny thing is, I wasn’t nervous out there. I was comfortable with the guys and I think it all started in spring training with the guys we had – they made me feel comfortable out there, made me feel like I’d been there before. They helped me throughout the day, they told me to really take it in. Don’t forget to breath. It was a great feeling, I’m so happy it went the way it went today. ”
As for that double that went for his first hit of his big league career? Well, that baseball is going home with his parents.
“I’ll give it to them tonight at dinner,” India said. “They’ll hold onto that one. I dedicate that to them, especially with all of the sacrifice they’ve done for me in their lives with baseball throughout my years, so it definitely goes to them.”