A lot of things stand out about Opening Day, but two in particular are important to me.
The first is the effort by Sean Green who finished for Johan Santana and worked the seventh. We’re optimistic about JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez on the back end, but the bridge to them was an issue. If you go by the weakest link in the chain theory, then there were none yesterday.
It will be interesting to see how Jerry Manuel juggles the back end when he wants to give K-Rod or Putz a day off. Having confidence in a guy like Green makes it all the more easier.
What I didn’t like yesterday was how the Mets hit with RISP. That’s been an on-going problem the last two years. It’s only one game and the weather yesterday was horrible, but another hit or two and the game was a blowout. Playing with a lead is always easier and you know there will be games when the pitching gives it up and it’s not Santana on the mound.
With apologies to some Christmas songs, maybe Opening Day is the best time of the year. There’s the feeling of hope and dreams. There’s something special and fresh about Opening Day.
My favorite Opening Day was when my father took my brother and I out of school to see Opening Day in Cleveland against Baltimore. School wasn’t crazy about the reason but he took us out anyway.
Nasty weather in Cincinnati, but the feeling is they’ll play.
Here’s the Mets’ batting order:
SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Carlos Delgado
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Ryan Church
C Brian Schneider
2B Luis Castillo
LH Johan Santana
That kind of summarizes what Jerry Manuel is thinking as he pulls Oliver Perez with two outs in the first. Four walks, a bad fielding play by Perez and a grand slam has him in a 6-0 hole in the first.
It has been a miserable spring for Perez, and one has to wonder how much it has to do with him waiting to be signed. His mindset has to be as off as his fastball, which is down, and his control, which is all over the place.
The new park is a gem. It even looks good in the rain and drizzle, which was the case last night. If you were at the game let us know what you thought of the place. Good, bad or indifferent.
BTW: Gary Sheffield is in the building. He’s having his physical and will talk to the press after the game.
Sheffield isn’t in great shape now, which begs the question why doesn’t he open the season in an extended spring training and leave a healthy Evans on the roster for the first week?
Shea Stadium was home to the Mets for 45 seasons. It was dumpy, but “it is our dump,” Mets’ fans would say.
Citi Field is state of the art all the way. I like the spaciousness of the concourses, the variety of food options and the quirks that comprise the outfield dimensions. No cookie cutter is this place. In designing Citi Field, the Mets borrowed liberally from both the old and the new. You can see bits of Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field, as well as Camden Yards and Jacobs Field.
Unlike the Ballpark in Arlington, which is like a suit with checks and plaids, there is a seamless quality about Citi Field. If fits. It looks right. It feels natural.
I’m just anxious to see how it plays.
I’m a little uneasy about this season, because for the first time I’ll be doing Mets Chat Room without the benefit of covering the Mets as a beat. It kills me at times not to be doing so.
But, I still have my Baseball Writers credential, so I have access to the park and will be trying to get down there as much as possible. It’s impossible to keep up the pace as in the past, but I will do my best to keep the blog going on limited resources. I’m doing so because you’ve stood by and read me during the offseason.
For that I’m grateful and I wish you all well, and more to the point, I wish you what you all want — the Mets in the Series.