Apr 08

My Favorite Opening Day Memories

Major League Baseball always talks about the need to market itself, especially to the younger generation. A national Opening Day could be a good first step. A good second step would be for school districts around the country to shut it down for a day when their hometown team plays its home opener.

I don’t know how to go about it, but if I had a son or daughter I would take them out of school to go to Opening Day. That’s what my late father did on April 7, 1970, when he took my brother and I out of school for the day to watch the Indians on Opening Day against Baltimore.

Dave McNally against Sam McDowell. Damn, that was a good matchup.

Despite his note, the school did not approve, but he took us out anyway. His reason was we would take more from being at that game with him than anything we would have learned that day in class.

He was right. Baseball was very big in our home, and it still is in our family. That’s how you cultivate the fans of tomorrow.

Looking back, he was right, and it is one of my fondest memories of him.

My dad got it 46 years ago. I wonder how many fathers around the country will it today and take their kids to Citi Field.

My other favorite Opening Day memory was last year. I had been hurt the year before and spent nearly seven months in a hospital and didn’t go to the park for an Opening Day for the first time since 1988. I remember watching on TV from the hospital and promised myself I would go the next year.

Which, I did. There was a sense of accomplishment I will always remember.

I’ve watched on television Opening Days since 1966, but the memories of plays are scattered. Both those two memories were personal and that’s why I remember them vividly. To me, baseball’s Opening Days are about being personal, about who you watched them with and the circumstances in your life at the time.

So, what about you? What are your favorite Opening Day memories?

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Apr 08

April 8, Mets-Phillies Lineups; DeGrom Still On

With game time bearing down on us, Jacob deGrom is still on as the Mets’ starter in their Citi Field opener against the Phillies. Of course, the phone could ring anytime.

mets-logoball-2You have to wonder what’s going through deGrom’s mind right about now. He’s a professional, so you’d hope his mind would be able to focus on his job. Then again, he’s human so maybe his mind and heart are in Florida with Stacey.

I don’t know, the Mets have had three days off this week so everybody is rested. Plus, they have other options in Bartolo Colon and Steven Matz so maybe the best move might have been to send him home – after all, his wife was supposed to deliver three days ago – until his mind his clear.

Then again, maybe pitching would be the best thing. We’ll know in four or five hours.

Until then, here are the lineups:

METS

Curtis Granderson, RF

David Wright, 3B

Yoenis Cespedes, CF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Neil Walker, 2B

Michael Conforto, LF

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

Travis d’Arnaud, C

Jacob deGrom, RP

PHILLIES

Freddy Galvis, SS

Cesar Hernandez, 2B

Odubel Herrera, CF

Ryan Howard, 1B

Andres Blanco, 3B

Cedric Hunter, RF

Cameron Rupp, C

Emmanuel Buriss, LF

Jerad Eickhoff, RP

ON DECK: My favorite Opening Day memory. 

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Apr 08

Mets List: Home Opener Starting Pitchers

A feature I want to establish this year will be a Mets List, to run on Friday’s. Today’s topic is Mets’ starting pitchers for their home opener:

2015: Jacob deGrom

2014: Dillon Gee

2013: Jon Niese

2012: Johan Santana

2011: R.A. Dickey

2010: Santana

2009: Mike Pelfrey

2008: Oliver Perez

2007: John Maine

2006: Tom Glavine

2005: Glavine

2004: Steve Trachsel

2003: Glavine

2002: Al Leiter

2001: Kevin Appier

2000: Mike Hampton (at Tokyo)

1999: Bobby Jones

1998: Jones

1997: Mark Clark

1996: Jones

1995: Bret Saberhagen

1994: Jones

1993: Dwight Gooden

1992: Gooden

1991: Gooden

1990: Gooden

1989: Gooden

1988: Ron Darling

1987: Bob Ojeda

1986: Gooden

1985: Gooden

1984: Darling

1983: Tom Seaver

1982: Randy Jones

1981: Pat Zachary

1980: Craig Swan

1979: Swan

1978: Jerry Koosman

1977: Seaver

1976: Seaver

1975: Seaver

1974: Koosman

1973: Seaver

1972: Seaver

1971: Seaver

1970: Koosman

1969: Seaver

1968: Koosman

1967: Don Cardwell

1966: Jack Fisher

1965: Al Jackson

1964: Fisher (first Opening Day at Shea)

1963: Roger Craig (at Polo Grounds)

1962: Sherman Jones

ON DECK:  My favorite Opening Day.

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Apr 08

Mets In The Morning

The Mets’ home opener is a few hours away. There will be a lot on the blog this morning, with the items including:

* Mets List: A list of every Met pitcher who started a home opener.

* My favorite Opening Day ever.

* Jacob deGrom update.

* Pregame notes.

* Game preview.

* Lineups.

* Game wrap.

* And, of course, breaking news as it happens.

ON DECK: Mets List: List of Mets home opener starters.

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Apr 08

Today In Mets’ History: Last Opening Day At Shea

On this day in 2008, the Mets lost 5-2 to the Phillies – today’s opponent – in the final home opener at Shea Stadium.

In one of the great ironies in Mets’ history, the Phillies’ starter and winning pitcher that day, 46-year-old Jamie Moyer, was older than Shea itself.

Oliver Perez, one of the scorned names in franchise lore, started that day for the Mets. Another left-hander who would frustrate the team, Scott Schoeneweis, blew the save opportunity and took the loss.

The Mets’ combustible bullpen would symbolize the team that year as the club blew 29 save opportunities, tied for second-worst number in the majors behind Seattle.

The previous year the Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 games to play. In 2008, they blew the 3.5 game lead they had as late as Sept. 10. And, for the second straight year, the Mets were eliminated on the season’s final weekend at home to Miami.

ON DECK: Mets In The Morning

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