New season for Mets, new writer at 360

NY logoWhen I tell people about when I became a Mets fan I usually mention that I became one before the team even had its name.

Picture a shattered eight year old when the 1957 baseball season ended whose favorite team, the New York Giants abandoned the right coast for the wrong coast. And what was worse they took with them the boy’s very favorite player: Willie Mays.

It wasn’t possible to root for a team who started their home night games after my bed time. My father and I made a token effort at changing allegiances to the Phillies but that just wouldn’t take (Red –> yick). The idea of rooting for the Yankees was as distasteful back then as it would be right now. That idea was a nonstarter.

So baseball pretty much happened without us until the Continental League smokescreen resulted in New York being awarded a National League expansion franchise. If you don’t know that story, check out the Wikipedia link.

The day the newspapers revealed that New York would be getting a new National League team was the day my dad and I became Mets fans although the team did not get its name for a matter of months. My recollection is that one of the tabloids ran a contest to name the team. My vote was for something other than Mets and obviously the name “Mets” carried the day. Clearly I wanted a team in the worst way and, as they say, that’s what I got.

In the early years when they were lovable losers the question wasn’t whether they would win on opening day but rather whether they would win in the first week and a half. The first few years they did not. Just to prove that their opening day loss wasn’t a fluke they would go on to lose six to nine more before chalking up a W.

The record books show that the Mets lost eight straight opening day games before registering a win. What has always astonished me has been how good they have been since then on the day the bell has rung.

With Monday’s win over the Nationals the Mets brought their opening day record to 35-19. Since this comes after a 0-8 start it means that once they got cooking they have gone 35-11 in openers. How good is that? That’s a .761 winning percentage and if a team had that for a season they are going 123-39. That would blow the doors off Washington and everyone else.

I have always wondered whether there is anything more to it than dumb luck. After all, some team has to have the best opening day record so why shouldn’t it be the Mets? However that winning percentage since the early losing streak is just freakishly high.

But when the Nats, admittedly depleted by some key injuries, send out the best of their superstar pitchers in their building while the Mets roll out (pun intended) Bartolo Colon, not their ace, and yet the Mets still win…. To me it’s almost like some karmic entity is saying “I know I made it tough for you those first eight years so you can have this one pretty much every year from now on.”

8 comments for “New season for Mets, new writer at 360

  1. Matt Netter
    April 11, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Nice post, Larry. Welcome aboard. LGM.

  2. Chris F
    April 11, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Welcome aboard Larry. Looking forward to your posts.

  3. Metsense
    April 11, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Welcome aboard from another inaugural fan who saw them play in the Polo Grounds. I bet you were just as ecstatic as I was to see Say Hey Willie Mays in a Met uniform.

    • Larry Smith
      April 11, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      I do indeed remember Willie coming back to NYC as a Met. I met his acquisition with mixed emotions knowing how age had deteriorated his game. It was nostalgic to see wearing 24 and playing CF. But he was Willie Mays only in name most days.
      I suppose that’s why they say an athlete dies two deaths.

  4. James Newman
    April 11, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Great post Larry, welcome to the group!

  5. April 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Great post, Larry. Welcome!

    As for Opening Day, it does help when you’re able to trot out the likes of Seaver, Gooden, Leiter, Glavine, Pedro Martinez or Johan Santana nearly every year…

  6. Scott Ferguson
    April 11, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Awesome post Larry and welcome! I first became a Mets fan when I was a kid in the 80s, so I never saw Mays play, but he’s one player I wish I had seen. That’s the great thing about this site. Our writer’s come from many different generations of Mets fans and because of that, we have all kinds of different perspectives. Looking forward to your future posts.

  7. Patrick Albanesius
    April 12, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Welcome Larry, and keep those fine stories coming.

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