If one were to take the auspices on April 3, 2017 where the Mets are concerned, one would find the results most encouraging. After a week of fairly miserable weather, the day dawned bright and warm on Monday. A slight chill early in the morning gave way to mid-Spring heat. Traveling to the game on the early side – your intrepid columnist was pleased to partake in a most generous Opening Day tailgate party – and toting a friend in a Yankee hat, we braved the tail end of rush hour traffic and arrived shortly after the gates opened at 10:00, only to find a veritable restaurant row of smoking grills and folding tables. One group next to us even had a deep fryer hooked up to a propane tank and were dunking what looked like andouille sausage beignets. We were happy with our hot dogs and brats. As per Opening Day tradition, our hosts brought a bottle of GTS Vineyards’ cabernet – the Tom Seaver winery, to put it in the vernacular – and we had a New Year’s toast, followed by a robust rendition of “Meet the Mets,” led in full throat by the guy typing this. Including all verses and the key change. As the sun peeped out in full, we shed our jackets, never to don them again until the end of the day.
We then waited in a monstrously long line to enter through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. It stretched across the plaza, nearly reaching the subway steps behind the Old Apple. By the time we got in and got settled, we had missed the player introductions and the gigantic flag and National Anthem. Ah, well. Such is life in the big city. Anyway, from a new vantage point, I got a warm-up salute from Jay Bruce, unsurprising, seeing as we sitting basically right behind him and were constantly caterwauling his name. Anyway, the game got started with Noah Syndergaard striking out Ender Inciarte on three pitches. You wanna talk about auspicious beginnings? The packed stands were howling, and it was only the first batter of the year. Syndergaard then proceeded to mow down Brave after Brave until a blister derailed him after six shutout innings.
For their part, the Mets could no nothing against Julio Teheran for six innings, either. Their eyes lit up on seeing the Atlanta bullpen, however, teeing off for a six-run seventh inning outburst. As has been noted elsewhere, this was achieved without the benefit of a home run. It should also be noted that the Atlantas were most generous with their free passes. In fact, the only extra-base hit for the Mets was Lucas Duda’s towering double over Inciarte’s head. That came with the bases loaded and chased home the final three runs of the inning. It was then left up to the Mets’ bullpen and they did not disappoint, wrapping up a rather tidy 6-0 lid lifting win.
Meanwhile, the sun beat on the environs of my new perch in right field and many of us came away with slightly sunburned faces.
It’s almost summer.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.