We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 baseball season… for some reason, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays get the honor of playing the very first game at 1:10 p.m. The marquee match-up of the day pits the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs against their St. Louis rivals at 8:35 p.m. (I doubt I will manage to stay up to watch the end of it.)
The game I’ve been looking forward to since Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets last October 5th will happen on Monday as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets kick off their 2017 campaigns. The Braves will be better as they begin their first year in a new stadium (let’s hope they’re still using it by the time the local taxpayers finish footing the bill.)
It’s gonna hurt a bit to see Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey in Atlanta uniforms this year. I’m really curious to see the reaction Colon will get on Wednesday night when he pitches against the Mets for the first time since leaving New York. (I’m going to that game, and I’m not sure whether to cheer or boo.)
But Opening Day is about celebrating possibilities for a new season, and the Mets have an excellent chance to return to the postseason. They retained almost every significant player from last year’s team and are starting the year with one of the best rotations in baseball.
We could see some milestones reached this season:
- Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre needs 58 more hits to become the 31st member of the 3,000 hit club, though his pursuit will be delayed by a season-opening DL stint.
- Angels DH Albert Pujols has an outside chance at joining Beltre in the 3,000 hit club this season. He needs 175 hits, but hasn’t gotten that many in one year since 2010. Pujols has a better shot at becoming the ninth member of the 600 home run club – he’s only nine away from that mark.
- Colon needs 135 strikeouts to become the 33rd member of the 2,500 strikeout club.
- Ex-Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez needs 20 saves to become the fourth member of the 450 save club.
- It once seemed like a lock that David Wright would own the Mets’ club home run record before he retired… health issues have made that less of a certainty, but the Mets’ captain is just 11 short of surpassing Darryl Strawberry‘s team mark of 252.
What are you looking forward to in the 2017 Major League Baseball season?