Monday, April 1, 2013


Well, here we go once again, just a few hours from Howie Rose welcoming us to Citi Field and the blowing of the shofar to raise the curtain on the 2013 National League Baseball Season in New York. The calendar may just show the benign date of April 1st, but it's really a holiday for me and approximately 40,000 other people who will be making our first pilgrimage of the year to Citi Field. It's tradition. This will be my 9th consecutive Opening Day and 12th overall. How can I possibly miss Opening Day? It never gets old, because it's always the start of something new. I put in for the Day Off from work 2 months ago and even my boss knew exactly why I was requesting off for April 1st. "IT'S METS DAY, ISN'T IT?!" is what she told me.

A few bits of housekeeping to discuss here before game time, though.

We've already been through this in short form and longer form, but this is a transitional year for the Mets. It's going to be a lot of throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks (I read this somewhere about some team, but I don't recall where. It applies well to the Mets, though, so I'm stealing it), and seeing what the givens do. I expect that the Mets will win somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-76 games. I said that last year and they finished with 74, but I think the Mets this year can be better, or at least more interesting down the stretch. If, by some chance, they have a hot start at the beginning of the season like they did last year, I don't think anyone is going to buy into it, though. They have to prove they can finish strong. Individually, I look for impactful things from the following players (take "impactful" to mean whatever you want)
1) David Wright
2) Ike Davis
3) Ruben Tejada
4) Jonathon Niese
5) Matt Harvey
6) Lucas Duda
7) Bobby Parnell

I look for meaningful contributions from the following players (meaningful contributions is not "impactful"):
1) Marlon Byrd
2) Colin Cowgill
3) Shaun Marcum
4) Zach Wheeler*
5) Travis d'Arnaud*

*I assume they'll be called up around May 1st, or whenever that mythical service time clock resets itself. That might not be enough time to impact the season in the larger picture, but enough to do something worthwhile.

Everyone else, just do the best you can and don't screw up too badly. You know what I mean.

They didn't make any more major improvements to the field, so I've heard, but one thing I did notice is that some of the concession stands have been moved around. I've talked plenty about eschewing the Shake Shack Zone for the concession stands near my seats in the Promenade, because the lines are always short and the food is just as good. I was a fan of the Blue Smoke outpost up there, but apparently it's been moved out in favor of "Nathan's Hot Dogs and Chicken," which appears to be the same thing as regular old Nathan's, except that they offer a larger array of Chicken-involved food. I suppose I'll find out what they mean by this chicanery tomorrow, but if it's not as good as the Blue Smoke chicken sandwich, I will be very upset. Of note is that Blue Smoke downstairs is now Blue Smoke "On The Go," and doesn't offer the chicken sandwich either, so Citi Field may well be lacking in a good chicken sandwich. What it will not be lacking in, however, is the absurdly good Pat LaFrieda Filet Mignon sandwich. This sandwich debuted midway through last season and took Citi Field by storm, proving itself so popular that the single location on the Field Level is no longer enough, so popular that it's successfully managed to boot Keith's Grill out of the Promenade level and take over the stand for itself. So, maybe I'll be eating a lot of steak sandwiches this year. Until I run out of money.

For the first time since 2009, I'll be debuting a new Game Hat. And not a moment too soon, since that hat has brought me no luck as far as team success is concerned. The new model for 2013 is not so dissimilar from the old one, Blue on Blue, with the classic orange NY and orange button on top, and the 50th Anniversary logo on the back. Yes, it's from last year, but I bought it at the end of the season (when the Mets kindly discounted all 50th Anniversary merchandise) and it's been sitting in the plastic bag I bought it in in my drawer for the entire offseason, so it's properly marinated for today's maiden voyage. Hopefully a new hat will bring some new success to the team.

It's just not Opening Day without a good Car Fire. But I haven't seen one out there in a few years. Anyone else out there know what I mean? It seems like every time there's a good Opening Day Car Fire, the Mets have a good year...

I think that about covers it. Now on to the more official matters. Opening Ceremonies at 12:40, First pitch at 1:10!

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