Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Fine Day For A Dog And An Underdog

Yes Virginia, you can take your disguises off your dog. No longer will your dog, your neighbor, your friends and loved ones need to wear disguises in public. It's 2010, so you can proudly wear your Mets gear in public again. And many people sure as hell did at Opening Day.

I miss Opening Day. I miss being there. Used to be that I'd go every season, or almost every season. 2010 marked the first time I'd been at the opener in nine seasons, and obviously my first one at Citi Field. I'll say this for the new barn, it's certainly been Metsmerized.

Yes, of all the new banners hanging outside the place, George Foster made the cut ... probably the only recognition of those late 70's/early 80's unis you'll see. But the fact that you see it shows you that on some level, the Mets care a little more about your fan experience than they used to.

Oh, and the blue paint on the stairwells helped too. Makes you wonder what was so hard about thinking of all this (along with the official dedication of the Adam Dunn Bridge, which is now the William Shea Bridge) last year. But hey, late really is better than never.

But back to Opening Day, I miss it. You know what I miss the most? I miss the fact that only on Opening Day can you hear the fans' visceral reaction that has been pent up since the beginning of October. For example, if you're the Mets' physical therapist, you can live 364 days of the year in anonymity. But on Opening Day, there's nowhere to hide. You've gotta toe the line like the rest of 'em and hear what the fans really think of you. In most places, fans may forget about all the injuries, but not here. Here, in Flushing, the physical therapist gets booed with an intensity only surpassed by the boos that Oliver Perez received.

What, you thought we forgot about last season? Nope, not until that first pitch was thrown for a strike by Johan Santana. After that, it was all good. And you knew it would be with Santana throwing darts for six innings and David Wright finally figuring out which part of the ballpark he needed to aim at for maximum production, or as Gary Cohen called it: "Utley's Corner" (why Gary, why?), Jason Bay pulled a Rock of the Westies and debuted at the top of his game, and the Marlins failing to navigate a harsh wind that made the field look like a National Geographic special on the mating habits of hot dog wrappers and other assorted garbage. Poor Frenchy looked like he was in a scene from District 9 in the Mo's Zone, which is probably a valley of dustmites by now. Hell I got hit with windblown beer and a half full bag of pretzels. I thought Alex Cora was going to blow away.

(Editor's note: On this beautiful Monday, I learned that left field can be just as much a sun field as right field ... but only on one side of your face. Must be that creative geometry Dave Howard talks about all the time. Only having red around one eye makes a sunbathing fan look like "Phantom of the Ballpark". So buyer beware, and bring some sunblock.)

Obligatory analysis of Snoop Manuel, the bad: How do you have your star free agent acquisition bat behind a guy who wasn't even a lock to make the roster a week ago (Mike Jacobs)? That'll be a disaster at some point. The good (at least for this game): Leaving Fernando Nieve in for the eighth inning after pitching a very good seventh inning. Somehow, I don't think Snoop is sold on Ryota Igarashi for the eighth inning ... at least not an eighth inning during a Johan start. No, not the time you want to debut a guy who struggled during the spring. So well played on that one, Snoop. But as the physical therapist learned, you can't hide forever.

So the underdog version of the Mets are 1-0, and tied for first place. But for this team, Opening Day is merely the ascension of the roller coaster. Wednesday night is Non-Johan Opening Day, so hold on to your hats.

The ride begins.


Lisa Swan said...

That dog is a fraud. I've seen him outside Yankee Stadium, with a pipe and a Yankee shirt on!

Unser said...

Instead of Foster, couldn't they have used a pic of Mazzilli, Stearns or Swan to represent that era? Hell, I'd even take Bob Bailor.

Anyone catch that great play by Buehrle yesterday? Great pitching performance too. We really should have looked into acquiring him . . .

G-Fafif said...

There's a pic of Mazzilli out there amid the lamp posts, maybe even in '78-'82 piping. But, yeah, the Foster presence caught my eye, too.

What was it George said in 2007? Oh yes, "What's up old people?" George himself is 61 now, or as old as he played when he was a banner Met.

Metstradamus said...

Lisa, I guess hence the disguise.

Unser, too bad nobody thought of that before ;)

Greg, you are correct! (And great memory on your part.)