Monday, April 5, 2010

It's Opening Day at Shea

It's Opening Day, and for the first time since 2006 and for only the second time in the past 7 seasons, the Mets are opening the season at home. While Dave Singer over at NY Sports Dog takes a look back at 48 Mets Opening Days, I look back at a few seemingly random things that I remember about Opening Day. Sound Byte Alert: After reading through that, I deliver an obscure Opening Day sound byte from Opening Day 1998 at Shea.
  • 1987 was my first Opening Day. It was also the most memorable in my memory, and it started what I'll be calling "the second 25 (years)" in Mets history. It was "banner day" at Shea, when the new World Championship banner was raised and the players were introduced to their World Series rings. I think after ESPN Classic finishes playing Game 7 of the '86 Series, I'll pull that DVD off the shelf and watch the Opening Day ceremony.
  • On Opening Day 1988, Darryl Strawberry hit the roof at Olympic Stadium
  • Opening Day 1992 - Mets win in 12 in St. Louis on a weird Opening Day night game
  • 1993 was the inagural game for the Colorado Rockies
  • 1996 brought us the magical defense of Rey Ordonez. He had a great defensive play throwing out a runner at the plate on a relay throw from LF from his knees (that was also the day that NL Umpire John McSherry had a fatal heart attack during the traditional opener in Cincinnati)
  • 1998 saw the Mets win in 14 innings 1-0 on a hit by a backup catcher in their first March Opening Day
  • In 2000, the Mets opened the season against the Cubs in Tokyo with a "home-and-home" 2 game series that took place while other clubs were still in Spring Training
  • 2003 brought on the Art Howe era and new star pitcher Tom Glavine. I was at Shea in person for my only Opening Day to witness a horrible game, even by the low standards of the 2003 Mets.
  • 2004 had the Mets starting on the road with Kaz Matsui leading off the game with a home run.
  • In 2005, Matsui followed up his season-leading-off homer with a first-at-bat homer on Opening Day in Cincinnati.
  • 2006 marked a new era in watching the Mets with SNY taking over at the Mets TV partner, and the last Opening Day at Shea
  • 2007 was a Sunday Night opener in St. Louis, matching up the World Champs against the team they beat to win the NL Pennant

Some of these Opening Days for me have seemed to coincide with a Passover Seder. Funny how the mind works. In my adult years, I would try to work at home and arrange my schedule to be without meetings (tought to do on a Monday) so I could watch not just the Mets but all the games. I went out to Shea in 2003 for my only in-person Opening Day. It was a cold March 31 at Shea. The result on the field made the day worse. I do remember a different case when I was in College in 1998, when I cut class so I could stay in my dorm room at Hofstra in order to watch the game against the Phillies. And the game kept going. 9 innings. 10 innings. and so on. It reached the point where I had to grab my walkman, head across campus to go to work, and miss the end of the game. Below is really the only offensive highlight of the day.

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