April 4, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; A general viewof the home run sculpture at left center field before the start of opening day game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Kyle Lohse ran the Joel Pineiro game plan perfectly, and while that's ultimately not amenable to no-hitters—it helps to not let everybody hit the ball—it works pretty well from a fourth starter. Between that Dave Duncanism and David Freese's three hits, the Marlins' stadium-opener offered a lot of continuity for Cardinals fans watching without the benefit of Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols for the first time in 11 years.
The only problem: The Marlins scored a run and we didn't see the Home Run Feature in action, perhaps the worst of all possible worlds.
Everything else worked appropriately tonight; the Cardinals' smoothed-out offense got hits from everybody except Matt Holliday, Jason Motte threw a bunch of high-90s fastballs, ESPN ran an uncomfortable, poorly edited telecast designed to appeal to nobody except Bud Selig's ego, and Angel Hernandez made a brutal missed call that cost a team a run.
Spring Training is over, and it looks like everybody used the time wisely.