I went to the Mets home opener yesterday, my first-ever Major League opening day. It started off well enough, though there were some hiccups along the way.
I had to hunt around for a store that still had the limited Opening Day pin, but I did find one on the Promenade level. I then had to hunt some more before I found an open ticket window so I could get a ticket for Sunday – I probably should have just waited to get one at the gate.
But that was all forgotten by the time the pre-game ceremonies started.
Members of the Shea family continued the tradition of presenting a floral wreath display to the Mets’ manager before the team’s first home game of the season.
The players got introduced to mostly positive reactions. Francisco Rodriguez, as expected, got booed. So did Mike Pelfrey, unfortunately. (When the Nationals were introduced, Alex Cora got cheered – I can’t figure out a group of fans who will cheer for Cora and boo Pelfrey.)
One of the best moments of the day was seeing Ralph Kiner throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. More than anyone else still alive, Kiner embodies what it good about Mets baseball – he was there for the beginning, saw the two World Championship teams, and has been part of every season in between. He was the perfect choice to help the Mets start their 50th season at home.
The game started off well enough too. R.A. Dickey retired the side in order, finishing it off by striking out Ryan Zimmerman. Up in the stands, we didn’t know he split a fingernail during the inning and would have to get through the rest of the game without a good feel for his knuckleball.
Credit the Nationals, though – they took advantage of their opportunities. The Mets did not, and they had their share. Mets batters went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Friday.
Credit Dickey for battling, too. He left the game down by just one run after five innings. But the over-worked Mets bullpen doomed any hope for a comeback when Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell combined to allow three more runs in the 8th.
Through seven games, the Mets have three relievers with four appearances and three more with three. That’s not a sustainable pace, unless you think that Pedro Feliciano never got over-worked. 🙂 Yet that’s what happens when starters have only lasted six or more innings twice. Maybe it’s time to send down Lucas Duda or Daniel Murphy and promote Jason Isringhausen from extended spring training.
And still, the Mets didn’t give up – Angel Pagan made a great catch in the ninth to start an inning-ending 8-6-3 double play. Not that many stayed around to see it.
The Mets announced a sellout for Opening Day, and I’m sure they sold all their tickets. But I bet that there were some seats left unsold on StubHub and other secondary marketplaces, because there were plenty of scattered empty seats. There were probably some no-shows because of the weather, too – a balmy 42 degrees at gametime that only dipped lower as the day went on.
I’ll catch tonight’s game on TV somewhere that’s warm, and head back to CitiField tomorrow to try to do some of the things I didn’t on Friday – like checking out the new 1986 exhibit in the Mets Hall of Fame, and seeing my first Mets victory of 2011.