Not to belabor the point, but Opening Day is finally here. No more guess work, no more speculation. For several reasons that I just don’t feel like addressing anymore, the Mets endured what felt like* one of the longest offseasons in franchise history. For better or worse that’s all behind us now and I’m excited to see how it translates on the field.
*I say “felt like” because we’ve been through plenty of “long offseasons” before. You know the drill: the team stinks, the team makes changes, the fans analyze and over-analyze each move, much disagreement, argument, name-calling, and teeth-gnashing ensue, the team fields a roster that may or may not be better than the previous seasons’, and we enter the new season with question marks galore. If this feels familiar, it’s because it IS familiar. I really think 1987 might be the last time we DIDN’T go through this cycle, but I can’t be sure because I was 10 at the time and Al Gore hadn’t invented the inter-webs yet, so what do I know? But I digress (and not for the last time).
Actually, I’m excited for several reasons:
I’m excited to see the offseason improvements to Citi Field. I’ll be arriving early, leaving plenty of time to see the Home Run Apple, the new banners, the additions to the fanwalk, McFadden’s, and the museum. All of these upgrades should have been included when the park opened, but at least they’re there now. I’m going to do my best to drink it all in before the game starts.
I’m excited to see the sight-lines from my new seats. After much hand-wringing, my group decided to move out of our digs in section 518* for the promised land of section 513. We struggled with it for a few weeks before succumbing to the sales pitch our (very helpful) ticket rep gave us. For me personally, it was a necessity. I don’t like to publicize personal issues (and I still don’t really want to get into it), but we had a real conflict with the person seated next to us. While I’m sure she’s actually very nice in real life, we just could not peacefully coexist on a permanent basis. So, we temporarily crossed the aisle into section 517 before our rep persuaded us to move down a few aisles (and over a few sections). Now we’re in uncharted territory, a group of four seats perched above the entry gate to 513. I trust that we’ll be happy with the move, but not without some trepidation. For better or worse, it’s the dawn of a new day.
*Of course I struggled with the name of this blog (and my Twitter account) for a long time. It boiled down to inertia and sheer laziness: I just couldn’t bring myself to relaunch. A complete inability to come up with a catchy name contributed mightily. Damn my lack of creativity.
I’m excited to see the player introductions. Sure, I don’t agree with some of the roster moves (the inclusions of Jenrry Mejia, GMJ, and Mike Jacobs in particular) and I’m disappointed that two of my favorite players, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, won’t be able to join us. But I still get a kick out of watching the Shea Citi-faithful great their team. Who will get the loudest cheers,* who will get the biggest jeers,** and how will they respond? I know it’s trivial, but it’s the kind of minutia I revel in.
*I suspect it will be David Wright and Johan Santana.
**I’ll be shocked if Oliver Perez doesn’t trump Luis Castillo, though I’ll be cheering for both. Sue me. GMJ? TBD.
I’m excited to see the in-game presentation. I’m a card-carrying dork and I love the little things: the songs played for each player when they come to the mound/plate, the between-inning gimmicks (Jumbotron spots, the Kiss Cam, fan text messages…you name it), the vendors hawking various goods in their unique styles, all of the minutia and gewgaws that separate the in-stadium experience from watching on TV. Will the Mets have an eighth-inning sign along? Will it be the insufferable “Sweet Caroline”? Will I still be able to boo if I lose my voice singing “Lazy Mary”? It’s all part of the spectacle that is Opening Day.
By the way, if you haven’t already, take a minute to click on that last link: it’s the final seventh inning stretch at Shea Stadium. If that doesn’t fire you up a bit, then maybe, just maybe, you’re a little too jaded (and thank you ebaseballparks for capturing that moment).
Most of all, I’m excited to watch meaningful baseball again. Our Mets make for a curious underdog: sporting one of the highest payrolls in baseball, they have several clearly-identifiable weaknesses that prohibit even the most optimistic Mets fan from declaring them pennant-contenders. To say they have some issues to overcome is to put it nicely, but stranger things have happened. The journey starts today. A lot of things of will happen over the next six months. There will be highs and lows and we’ll cheer and boo and be elated and get crushed, all in turn. It’s sure to be a rollercoaster, one which may well go careening off the rails, but we’ll be there through it all, loving and hating our team with all the passion we can muster. That’s the beauty of being a Mets fan, and I can’t wait to begin anew.
For one brief, shining moment, every team’s record is the same: 0-0. But that all changes as soon as Johan Santana takes the mound at Citi Field. Let’s all be sure to enjoy the day, and Let’s Go Mets!