This blog is from contributor Pat Lay.
Ok, folks. I have some breaking news, so it’s best if you’re sitting down. Ugh, I hate this part. I better just rip the Band-Aid off. Historically, the Mets are not THE TEAM in New York…
Tragically, that crown belongs to our loudmouth step-brothers. 27 championships is a bit try hard, don’t you think? But don’t worry, because we have something even better. Something that not even They Who Shall Not Be Named possess. I’m obviously referring to the best Opening Day winning percentage in the history of Major League Baseball! .661! And the crowd goes wild!
Are you going wild? Is this thing on? Damn, it’s quieter than McFadden’s in here. Too soon?
Sure, it’s not the sexiest stat but we’ve dominated Day 1. And with all of the hype surrounding the current crop of Mets, this year promises to be some more of the same. So, in preparation, let’s relive some of the best moments in Mets Opening Day history! I’ll stick to the top five since even I can’t handle listening to myself for much longer than that.
#5 Gary Carter’s Walk-Off In Mets Debut
April 9th, 1985 sounds like a helluva day. If you were lucky enough to witness it in person, I’m jealous (I was a few years away from being born). What more could you ask from a debut with your new team? Extra innings? Check. Walk-off homer? Check. A World Series title a season later along with eleven All-Star appearances and a HOF induction is just icing on the cake. We miss you, Gary.
April 9, 1985: In his debut with the @Mets, Gary Carter delivers on Opening Day hitting a walk-off HR in the bottom of the 10th inning off former @Mets closer Neil Allen to give the Mets a 6-5 win over the @Cardinals. #LGM #MetsRewind pic.twitter.com/HwIBtBG3mo— @MetsRewind (@metsrewind) April 9, 2019
#4 Mets Break Opening Day Home Run Record
Opening Day 1988 is another one that I narrowly missed (thanks, Mom and Dad). This one is pretty straightforward. The Mets absolutely raked. Mr. Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds led the charge with two dingers apiece. The Metros embarrassed Montreal with six total bombs, an Opening Day record that would stand until the Dodgers launched eight into the stratosphere in 2019. Show-offs.
4/4/1988 The Mets hit six home runs on Opening Day against the Montreal Expos. Strawberry, Elster, Dykstra and McReynolds all went deep, with Darryl’s second shot hitting the roof of Olympic Stadium and traveling an estimated 525 feet.@LennyDykstra pic.twitter.com/pzeCveFlkD— This Day in Mets History (@NYMhistory) April 4, 2020
#3 The Amazin’s Win, Eventually
I could write an entire article about March 31st, 1998. It was the first Opening Day I can recall attending as a kid. I remember playing hooky from grade school, poking my head out of the rear window of my dad’s truck as my hat flew off on the LIE. The game itself was a weird one (Bobby V used 19 players). A hot one (82 degrees). And a freaking long one (14 innings). While a pre-bloody sock Curt Schilling held us to two hits through eight innings, the Mets hung on to win it four hours and 37 minutes later. This game meant more to me than a 1-0 victory over the Phillies. It taught me how to live in the moment. And not to worry about my math homework until I got home.
3/31/1998 After 4 hours and 35 minutes and 14 innings of baseball, the Mets beat the Phillies on Opening Day thanks to a walk-off single by Alberto Castillo. This game is notable for being the longest scoreless Opening Day in National League history. pic.twitter.com/6LFmSQMH3A— This Day in Mets History (@NYMhistory) March 31, 2020
#2 See Ya, Shea. Hello, Citi Field.
Shea Stadium was a special place for all of us. It wasn’t pretty, but it was ours. I was an upper-decker growing up (toilet humor intended). Terms like “mezzanine” and “logue” were foreign concepts. And forget field level. I ain’t no Mr. Moneybags. I was sad for a while after it fell but when Citi Field opened its gates on April 13th, 2009...I mean, come on. It was like distracting a toddler with something shiny so you could toss their filthy woobie in the trash.
The excitement I felt that day was blinding. I don’t even remember the game, which was a rare day one loss to San Diego. It’s all probably for the best considering Mr. Opening Day himself, Tom Seaver, threw out the first pitch to Mike Piazza. You can’t top that duo even if you tried.
#1 Tom Seaver, The OG of OD
The top spot on this highly touted list is saved for a man that was the living embodiment of Opening Day, Tom Seaver. OK, this isn't a moment. But Tom Seaver has 11 of them as the Mets Opening Day starter! Those collective 11 deserve the top spot honors.
Let’s take a look at Terrific Tom’s OD resume:
● 16 Opening Day career starts (MLB record)
● 11 Opening Day Mets starts (Franchise record)
● 6-0 Opening Day with Mets (Tied Franchise record)
There’s a reason why Tom Brady adopted the moniker. It’s reserved for GOATs. The best Opening Day pitcher on the best Opening Day team. Ever. While Opening Day 2021 is merely a week away, let’s remember Tom Seaver and everything he did for the game of baseball and the team that resides at 41 Seaver Way.
Today In 1983: Tom Seaver returns to the New York #Mets after 5 1/2 years in Cincinnati and strikes out Philadelphia #Phillies leadoff hitter Pete Rose on Opening Day at Shea Stadium! #MLB #Baseball #History pic.twitter.com/aHmmzzHwOU— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) April 5, 2020
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end without falling asleep. As a reward, take a look at this little number the Mets produced right before the pandemic hit:
If you're hitting the final home game on Thursday at Citi Field, swing by the Marina Lot to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down your sorrows before heading inside.