Opening Day is a beautiful thing. Not only is it the green grass, blue skies, and one of the greatest games on the planet, but Opening Day resembles hope. Hope that just maybe your team, no matter how low the expectations of others, might just have a shot this year.
Being a Mets fan my entire life may make me slightly biased when it comes to this article. However, what I’m presenting are the facts.
Back in the 2012 MLB season, the Mets kicked off the season with an incredible start. After an extremely rough 2011, General Manager Sandy Alderson made numerous changes to the team. These changes were meant to be a longer term play; some coaching changes and a few call-ups from the minors and a shorter outfield wall. But still, hope was in the air for the New York Mets and their fans for an above average season at least.
That brings us to Opening Day in 2012, with low expectations of the Mets filling the media. The Amazin’s started off the season with an impressive 3-game sweep over the Atlanta Braves. Then something strange happened; the team had some life in it. After a 13-10 April, the Mets started getting some attention and people, like myself, began to wonder if this team could really put together a winning season. After a 15-13 May and another 15-13 June including the Johan Santana No-No, the Mets were looking unstoppable going into the All-Star Break. I’ll never forget that spring seeing my team in 1st place on the NL East standings. I was a proud fan.
With a star-studded filled roster including Santana, R.A. Dickey, & David Wright plus a group of lesser known players including Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, and Kirk Kirk
Niew, Newin, Newyn, Nieuwenhuis (there we go!), this team seemed to have something real special going. Not only were they playing way above what others expected, but they had become one of the most exciting teams to watch in Baseball.
And then July happened…
I’m not sure what may have caused this, but the Mets seemed to have stopped playing once the Summer heat kicked in. With a 7-18 record in July, the Mets dropped down the NL East standings quicker than my two-year-old nephew attempting to run and tripping over his feet. As the season crept for the Mets with a 12-16 August, and a terrible 11-16 September the Mets were too far out of the running to even matter. But the question still stands; how can a team that plays that well, look completely different over the course of 7 days?
Fast forward to Opening Day 2013, The Mets are Facing the Padres. The expectations are low this year, just like 2012, with predictions placing Mets at a 4th place finish in the NL East. Analysts all share the same feeling about the 2013 Mets; continued on-par pitching and a less than stellar offense. During the offseason, the Mets did bolster their pitching staff and add a few key players (while also getting ridding of some others), however it doesn’t appear to be enough to sway anybody’s feelings on the team.
That is of course unless you’re a Mets fan…
With an impressive offensive surge from the Mets, Opening Day was quit the performance. An 11-2 win over the San Diego Padres gave Mets fans something to hopefor and increased their status as the best all-time opening day team with a 34-18 Opening Day record. But still it was just a fluke, right? Wrong. The Mets did it again 2 days later with another offensive slaughter over the Padres, this time an 8-3 win featuring homers from power-hopefuls Lucas Duda (check out his monster of a home-run here), Ike Davis, and recent veteran acquisition, John Buck. But with all the eyes on the offense, it’s easy to forget the incredible pitching performances. Opening Day starter Jon Niese allowed only 1-hit over 7 innings, showing he has what it takes to be one of the Mets top starters. Game 2 brought in one of the Mets newest starting pitchers, Matt Harvey. Harvey (who is not a fan of jackets), brought up late last season, has created quite a stir amongst Mets fans hoping for something special from the young pitcher. Harvey pitched 7 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit and 2 walks. Needless to say, Harvey looked good on his first start of the 2013 season.
As I’m writing this, the Mets are playing their 3rd and final game of the Opening Series. I know it’s too early to make any predications, but I will say that if the Mets can continue to play up to their potential (like the first half of 2012), this can truly be a surprise team that will be a force to reckon with.