03/28/08 10:00 AM ET
Webb feels at home on Opening Day
Cincy near birthplace for ace, who starts third straight opener
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Webb grew up not far away from Cincinnati in Ashland, Ky., watched the Reds as a kid and is well aware of how special Opening Day is in the Queen City.
"It'll probably never happen again, to work out that way that Opening Day will be there and me be the starting pitcher there," said Webb. "To be that close to home and for that to be my home team and grew up watching those guys, and the tradition that they have with Opening Day always, it's going to be pretty special, because I'm going to have a ton of family there again."
Webb always has lots of family and friends in the stands when the D-backs visit Great American Ball Park, but this year the contingent might be a bit smaller considering that tickets for the opener will be harder to come by than your typical D-backs-Reds game.
"It's just going to be pretty sweet to have the Opening Day there, though, and let a lot of people enjoy it, too," Webb said. "There was a lot of people that wanted to get tickets and stuff. Obviously, we can only get so many. I think it's going to be tough to get tickets, anyway, so there might be even a little less of a ticket request for families and people, friends probably, that come up because they just can't get tickets."
Opening Day is getting to be somewhat of a tradition for Webb. The right-hander will be starting his third straight opener for the D-backs, which places him behind Randy Johnson's six for most in franchise history. That's what happens when you win the National League Cy Young Award in 2006 and finish second in the balloting the following season.
No matter how many he starts, though, Opening Day always provides a little extra adrenaline.
"Yeah, it's always going to be nerves and excitement and all that," he said. "I get that in between every start. It usually takes me an inning or two to get the nerves to calm down. It probably feels just like all the other [openers]. That said, there's going to be some excitement to go out there and do it. I don't think there's going to be any more pressure just because we're in Cincinnati."
Webb has two no-decisions in his Opening Day starts, both of which came in Coors Field. In 2006, he allowed one run on five hits over seven innings, and last year he gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings in what would turn out to be a season-long struggle against the Rockies.
"Just the crowd and the buzz that goes on on Opening Day and the excitement of all the fans ready for the baseball season to start up, it's pretty sweet," Webb said. "To be a part of Opening Day, it's a real honor to be able to pitch that."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.