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Mets Opening Day – Nobody Was Blown Away

For the 6th time in team history the Mets opened their home schedule with a game in March losing a very quiet 3-1 decision to new manager Pat Murphy’s Milwaukee Brewers yesterday afternoon. The Mets are now 2-4 in March home openers which is a far cry from their Opening Day best in baseball history.

Having attended more than 30 Opening Day games, yesterday’s game was not the coldest I have experienced, that being the 1985 game (game time temperature was 45 degrees) in which Gary Carter introduced himself to Mets fans with a game winning homer run in the 10th inning. We fans were all so happy to go and get warm as we cheered ‘Gary, Gary’ Gary’ walking down the ramps to exit Shea Stadium. But the fans around me agreed that yesterday’s game was the windiest Opening Day game in memory. Sitting in the sun was remarkably nicer than in the shade where my seat was. s

Yesterday’s game was the most muted Opening Day I’ve ever experienced. The Mets getting only one hit, a line-shot home run off the bat of Starling Marte that just cleared the orange line in left field in the second inning. Then the wind took over on the field. Fly balls were an adventure all day and anything hit in the air down the left field line that appeared to be going foul, was blown back into the field of play.

Mets starter Jose Quintana, helped by an inning-ending double play in the first inning, muddled through 4 2/3 innings throwing too many pitches. Mets fielders had to stand around in the cold and wind waiting for a ball to be put in play. The fielding was adequate but there were several balls that just got by a diving Met fielder. Meanwhile, the few balls that the Mets hit with authority off Brewer’s starter Freddy Peralta were hit right at Brewer’s fielders. After giving up Marte’s home run, Peralta finished his outing in which he picked up the win, by retiring the last 13 Met hitters.

It was all so-… meek. D.J. Stewart who walked on a full count following Marte’s homer, was picked off first base. Even though the Mets were leading 1-0 at that moment it was a bad omen.

Opening in 2009, this is Citi Field’s 16th year, and the stadium still looks terrific. There were some odd notes about opposing players posted on the scoreboard when they first came to bat.  ‘He needs new walk-up music’ among them. Some of the data was incorrect like Brett Baty hitting home runs in seven straight games for the Reds?  Opening Day kinks can be the only explanation. The excitement in and around the park before the game could be felt everywhere and despite the cold and wind, tailgating fans were in abundance.  

Cristian Yelich who had three hits AND took the #7 train to the game with teammates Rhys Hoskins Bryce Turang, and Hoby Milner led off the 4th inning with his own line shot over the head of Starling Marte before it went over the fence to tie the score. Just like that. The Brewers then added another run on a sacrifice fly by Wilson Contreras in the 5th inning – one that threw off Marte enough that he could not get much on his throw home. They added a 3rd run to make it 3-1 in the 7th on a fielder’s choice by good-looking rookie Jackson Chourio who had a terrific debut including a stolen base in which catcher Francisco Alvarez’s throw beat him to the bag.  

The only other excitement came in the 8th inning when new Brewer Rhys Hoskins slid hard into Jeff McNeil at 2nd base to break up a double play. McNeil was lucky to escape injury and was not happy about it at the time or after the game saying that he and Hoskins ‘have a history’.  The former Phillie, Rhys Hoskins has a history with more than one Met. 

One thing that was noticeable on a cold and windy day at the ballpark was the lack of food and drink vendors, which is something that went away several seasons ago. Had there been hot chocolate vendors walking through the stands, surely, they would have had a field day and gone home exhausted.

For the Mets, the bullpen with Drew Smith, and Michael Tonkin looked good, new Met reliever Jorge Lopez had a rough first outing with the team. New manager Carlos Mendoza had little to do given the lack of offense.

Losing the first game of the season has been out of character for the Mets over their history. But it’s not a harbinger of disaster any more than having won all those Opening Day games was a prognosticator of season success. Keep in mind that in the championship seasons of 1969 and 1986, the Mets lost their opener both times.

The best thing about baseball is that there’s another game today. And tomorrow. And next week.  

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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