In Episode 1344 of Effectively Wild, Ben, Sam, and Meg answered a listener email that was presumably addressed to Ben and Jeff, because the listener, Dario, had not consumed any current baseball news since the end of the World Series.
He does not know about the change in hosts of that podcast. He doesn’t know about Brodie Van Wagenen, or Robinson Cano, or where Bryce Harper went. He has no idea about 3-batter minimums or that the Long Island Ducks are going to move the mound back.
Until tomorrow, when he breaks his fast with the first Mets game of the year, which he just so happens to be live streaming.
I find this fascinating. All these dribbles of excitement we’ve gotten over the offseason will be piled on him at once. Gary will introduce the pitching matchup, which will probably not come as a huge surprise to Dario. Scherzer and deGrom. The news that deGrom is the Cy Young award winner will come as joy, but it’s unlikely that’s a huge surprise to anyone that watched him last year. That he’s been extended to a nice contract on the other hand–That will certainly amplify that joy.
I’m most interested in how good Dario thinks this team is. He hasn’t been watching the projections go up and down all offseason, or scrutinizing every fringe move from the four teams in the NL East. He’ll just have his impressions of the roster and how the players that are currently playing look.
I plan to ask Dario a couple of questions after Opening Day to get his impressions, so stay tuned for that.
This is a different Opening Day than we’re used to. Two seasons in the playoffs has the season kicking off with anticipation in a way not seen since 2001. There’s heavy expectations on this team, and while we’re all thrilled Mets baseball is back and the games count, it’s in a “Let’s get on with it” way, as we await the summer to see how the team looks, and what needs to be done to win the division. Opening Day is always one of the highlights of a Mets season, and maybe sometimes it’s one of the best, but this year it’s going to be little more than a footnote.
Even though it’s going to be silly for a while yet, scoreboard watching is going to begin real early. In 2015 the Mets shocked the Nationals who were falling apart. Last year they kept it close for a while and still managed to make the playoffs as well. This year is a full-on battle. Each team knows the other is serious, capable, and dangerous. We’re going to get rotations being lined up to face each other. DL stints and roster moves made with upcoming Nationals series in mind.
The Mets and Nationals square off for six games in the second half of April. In a way this is a practice Opening Day, because everything really gets started April 21st when the Nats arrive at Citi Field.
So enjoy your tailgates, settle into your seats. Flip on your tv or radio and listen to Gary, Keith, Ron, Howie and Josh. Let’s get this season started, because it’s going to a fun ride.
I started my day at the Apple’s tailgate. Starting the day with beer and burgers and Mets fans before heading into the park is a fun way to go. I had a burger and tweeted this picture at Ted Berg, which (along with the Apple’s invitation to come visit) drew him out of Citi Field. It was great that he could find time to hang with us a bit; personally I would’ve been too nervous about getting to interview Ralph Kiner to eat much.
Despite six games in the books, baseball doesn’t feel real until I return to a baseball stadium for a real game. (Spring Training was nice and all, but it’s not the same)
Starting at noon today, I will trek out to Citi Field for Opening Day against the Washington Nationals. First order of business: Read the Apple tailgate! Following that, I intend to do a lap around Citi Field on the outside, and then a lap around Citi Field on the inside. I like to take in the tiny minutia that changes from year to year. Ralph Kiner will throw out the first pitch. The Mets will bat in the bottom of the order. Hopefully the Mets will win.
Tomorrow’s high is 53 degrees, and with the usual wind at Citi Field it’ll probably feel colder than that. I’ll be wearing my Dickey shirt, covered by an orange sweatshirt under my cream colored Pagan jersey. And a blue cap.
One of the things I intend to focus on is the beer selection. I’ve heard there are some new brews at Citi Field, to complement the nice selection that already exists. I floated the idea that Citi Field has the best beer selection in the majors, but I”m thinking that’s probably not entirely true. After I do Citi Field’s list, I’m going to do some research on other parks I attend, and other parks I don’t attend, and try to come to researched opinion on beer at baseball stadiums.
I’ll have a lot of pictures from Opening Day to share this weekend, and perhaps scattered among posts throughout the season. And to top it off, I get to go back to Citi on Sunday!
To follow my tweets and updates directly from Citi Field before, during, and after the game, follow me on Twitter.