The date of Apr. 3, 2017, won’t just bring warm and fuzzy feelings about baseball for the New York Mets, it’ll bring that championship air.
- New York Mets (0-0)
- Atlanta Braves (0-0)
- MLB, Mon., Apr. 3, 2017, 1:10 p.m. ET, SNY
- Citi Field, Queens, New York
On the night of Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, New York’s most electrifying star had assumed the stage he was born for. Game 5 of the World Series saw Matt Harvey breeze through the Kansas City Royals for eight-straight innings.
By the time the raucous Citi Field crowd sat down after the top of the 8th-inning, the foregone conclusion that the New York Mets were taking the series back to Kansas City had already spread through the building.
And hey, who knows … maybe the Amazins’ could have pulled off the very same 3-1 deficit we saw the Cubbies showcase last fall.
Harvey’s effort was heroic, picturesque and poetic all in the same sense. The Mets had made it back to the big time and their biggest star had risen to the occasion after much doubt.
As we now know, it was not meant to be. Neither was 2016 as injuries and missed opportunities plagued the club all campaign long.
2006 was the last year that saw New York make it to the big time. Endy Chavez robbery or not, that team also fell short. They also fell short the following two seasons, via epic collapses.
This time around, in a much fortunate scenario for the organization and city, this version is built extraordinarily different in comparison to that Omar Minaya special. This time around, Sandy Alderson built it the painfully right way with youth and power arms in abundance.
This is why that 2015 World Series appearance remains at-large. It’s a moment in time that marks the arrival of this club, not the end.
When you walk through those Citi Field gates on Monday, that championship air will exist.
You know it when you breathe it. Teams and players in the unenviable position of a rebuild or low monetary means go into opening day with a sense of rejuvenation. April, in a sense, becomes the Super Bowl of the season. Everything’s new. Everything’s fresh.
Hope springs eternal.
All 30 Major League Baseball clubs have a shot.
Opening day in Flushing, circa 2017, is different. Not only does hope spring eternal for the Metropolitans, but an obvious swagger is present.
Noah Syndergaard will be on the mound. You know the man, part man, part mythical figure. He not only represents that bonafide ace who’s separated himself from the rest of the talented crop, but he’s that sensational face of the franchise any baseball club would pray at night to grab ahold of.
Yoenis Cespedes will be in left field. You know this guy too, the guy who goes by Yo and smacks mammoth home runs while dazzling with his rocket of an arm. He’ll be hitting third in a power-filled lineup from head-to-toe.
Jose Reyes will be at third base. Obviously, you know this guy. You know, the kid who amazed you at a young age with his brilliant blend of speed and wizardry across the infield now assumes the role left behind by the sad story of the captain.
Asdrubal Cabrera, one part of last season’s blonde brothers, will be at shortstop. He’s a guy who’ll tag-team with Neil Walker, the new de facto captain of the clubhouse, always willing to speak for the team.
There’s also Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, those two veterans in the outfield who fans can’t seem to despise enough. Though they’ll smack their fair share of home runs in 2017, they’ll also be mentioned on WFAN more than the statistical clubhouse leaders.
Oh yeah, there’s a kid named Michael Conforto on the bench. You know this kid as well. He’s the lefty who Keith Hernandez can’t get enough of. If Terry Collins doesn’t find a way to get him into that No. 3 hole soon, Mex might explode right there in the booth with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling.
The arms that’ll follow Thor on Monday will include the names of Fernando Salas, Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed. Even with Jeurys Familia in tow, there will be questions from this unit beyond opening day.
Every team has questions. What’s important on this day is that the Mets have more answers than the majority of the big league clubs in the land.
No, these aren’t your 2011, 1991, 1980 or 1966 Mets. This is opening day for your 2017 New York Mets, a version of your club who breathes that championship air all game long.
First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. ET and can be seen on both SNY and ESPN. (But we already know which network is the choice around these parts.)
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 3, 2017
— Yoenis Cespedes (@ynscspds) April 3, 2017