As Jonathan India coasted into second base after his first big-league hit Thursday, Cincinnati Reds legend Barry Larkin, who was also enjoying his first day at a new job, had some advice on the Bally Sports Ohio broadcast.
“Get that ball,” Larkin said. “Get that ball.”
The St. Louis Cardinals did return the baseball to the Reds dugout so India would have a souvenir. He planned to give it to his parents, John and Elizabeth, at dinner that night.
“They’ll hold on to that,” India said. “I dedicate that to them, especially with all the sacrifices they’ve done for me in their lives with baseball throughout my years.”
India said his mom was crying when he saw her after the game.
“It was just a beautiful thing to me and something I’ll never forget,” he said. “I’ll always cherish it, always carry it with me throughout my career.”
Credit: David Jablonski
Credit: David Jablonski
India’s play in his first big-league game was a bright spot for the Reds on an otherwise forgettable Opening Day at Great American Ball Park. After Tommy Edman grounded out to India at second base to start the game, the next six Cardinals batters scored. Eleven minutes after the first pitch, the Reds trailed 6-0. They never got closer than four runs after that point in an 11-6 loss.
India, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 draft and the Reds’ third-ranked prospect entering 2021, according to Baseball America, struck out in his first at-bat but doubled in the fourth and singled in the sixth.
“It was a great feeling,” India said. “Before the game, I was waiting for the nerves to kick in, but the funny thing is I wasn’t nervous. I felt comfortable with the guys. I think it all started in spring training with the group of guys we had. They made me feel very comfortable out there. They made me feel like I’ve been there before. They helped me through the day. They told me to really take it in and to not forget to breathe. We didn’t get the win, but we still played some good baseball as a team.”
At 24, India is the youngest player on the Reds roster. He became the 19,903rd player to appear in a Major League Baseball game, according to BaseballReference.com. He was one of nine players across baseball to debut Thursday.
“When they announced my name,” India said, “and I heard the fans going, I was like, ‘Wow this is it. This is the time.’ I really took it all in. I didn’t black out or anything. I really looked around stadium and took in all the emotions. It was a great feeling, and I’m still thinking about it.”
Cardinals at Reds, 4:10 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410
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