Finally, the doors to Citi Field are open for business. A new era in New York baseball history begins tonight with the Mets and Padres in Queens.
From first, second and third glances, this is a beautiful ballpark. We’re all trying to see how it plays, but we won’t know until the weather gets warmer. Plenty of quirks, nooks and crannies in the outfield for some weird bounces meaning you can expect a lot of triples and maybe and inside-the-parker or two for Jose Reyes.
This is supposed to be a pitcher’s park, but the overhang in right could be generous to Carloses Delgado and Beltran.
It should be a busy night. I’ll live blog, of course, but until game time if you want to note your favorite Opening Day memories, this is the place to do it.
Here’s the line-up:
J Reyes SS
D Murphy LF
D Wright 3B
C Delgado 1B
C Beltran CF
R Church RF
B Schneider C
L Castillo 2B
M Pelfrey P
Manager Jerry Manuel is thinking about going back to Jose Reyes in the leadoff slot to get him going. That spot worked for Luis Castillo, who owned up to the challenge and is hitting .321 with a .500 on-base percentage.
Castillo has been far from the nightmare at the plate he was last year.
I’ve always liked him second, but I can see the logic of Daniel Murphy in that slot. That also allows for a 3-4-5 of Beltran, Wright and Delgado.
Batting him eighth is a waste, but what about ninth and swap with the pitcher? The idea would be to bunch the speed of Castillo and Reyes together.
Initially, I thought Tony La Russa was reinventing the wheel when he did it, but there’s sense to it. If the pitcher is an automatic out (that’s the assumption), what difference does it make if it is eighth or ninth?
In his book, Joe Torre took a jab at Carlos Beltran, calling him soft mentally and questioned his leadership capabilities. It’s a rap that resurfaced during the Mets’ pennant race fades the past two years.
Torre said Beltran wanted to come to the Yankees for a discount, but was talked out of it by his agent, Scott Boras, who got him an extra year and $19 million more with the Mets (seven at $119 million).
Said Torre: “Beltran wanted to come to us, so he could hide among the trees. Nobody wants to be that guy to lead.”
Not surprisingly, Beltran refuted Torre at last night’s Thurman Munson Dinner.
“First of all, I don’t know Joe Torre personally, so I don’t know what kind of person he is,” Beltran said. “The second thing I have to say is that when I met with the Yankees when I was a free agent, he wasn’t there, so you know, he didn’t know that we talked, so I didn’t meet him. So if he did say what he said, then that’s his opinion. I don’t have to comment on that. I feel very happy where I am.”
Johan Santana goes tonight for the Mets, who are 11-3 in his last 14 starts. Santana has won seven straight decisions, so there’s more than a little bit of hope for the Mets.
Tonight’s closer: Anybody’s guess.
Carlos Beltran, who ran into the wall last night, will play. There’s never been any doubt of Beltran’s toughness in my mind. The guy played with a broken bone in his face after his collision with Mike Cameron in 2005.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
SS Jose Reyes
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
C Ramon Castro
RF Ryan Church
LF Nick Evans
LH Johan Santana