Though the day began in ominous fashion when Washington Nationals star Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19, the 2020 MLB season kicked off with a nationally televised battle between the Nationals and the New York Yankees. Much of the attention centered on the debut of Gerrit Cole in a Yankees uniform but, in the top of the first inning, Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton stole the spotlight with a towering home run against Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2020
Adam Eaton would answer swiftly in the bottom half of the first, with a solo shot to right, as the first game of the season got off to a fast start for the offenses.
Adam Eaton is now leading the NL in Home Runs 💥
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 23, 2020
Stanton’s home run is not only the first of the 2020 season, but also the first home run ever by a designated hitter in a National League ballpark. In part due to COVID-19 rule tweaks, the universal DH is now in place across baseball and, in short order, that paid dividends for the Yankees.
As for Stanton, this is undoubtedly an encouraging sign, as the highly paid masher appeared in only 18 games during the 2019 campaign. Though the Yankees were able to weather his absence to the tune of 103 wins and a division title, New York’s lineup is even more terrifying with a full-strength Stanton in the middle of the action.
It was just one swing, but Stanton announced his presence with authority and made a bit of history in the process. In a season that will be one-of-a-kind for myriad reasons, things began in encouraging fashion for the Yankees, as they aim to vindicate their status as the betting favorite to represent the American League in the 2020 World Series.