Tuesday, March 31, 2009

T minus 6 Days

The start of the new season is less than a week away. This weekend, a couple of exhibition games will "open" Citifield. Then the Mets will go to Cincinnati for the opener (remember when the Reds ALWAYS had the official opener? Back before ESPN bought Bud?) and the Florida, before returning home for the official regular season Citifield Opener on April 13. I for one am excited for the season.

I've read elsewhere people saying that they are not hyped for the season. They don't think the team is appreciable better than last year. They bemoan moves made (Ollie for $12 m per) and not made (Lowe, Manny). I say pooh.

It's April folks. A new season is upon us. How can you not be excited to see Jose leadoff? To see him get on first and them await the inevitable break for 2nd? To see him leg out a triple in the gap?

Or how about seeing David Wright at the plate, doing all his little quirks and then driving the ball into that gap? How about seeing Delgado drive one deep? Or Beltran patrol center with the gracefulness of a gazelle? To see if Daniel Murphy is as good as he looked last year over the long term?

On the mound, how can you not be pumped to watch Johan? Every time I flip on SNY and they are showing game 161, I get chills. I can't wait to see him this year. I want to see Pelfrey continue to make THE LEAP, to see Ollie, as maddeningly inconsistent as he may be, hurl a gem. To see the Maine we all know from 2006. To see a pen that won't leak.

I know, all the projections say this guy is gonna do worse than last year, and Ollie isn't worth $12 million, WARP this and Verducci that, and the stadium is too small/cold/antiseptic/paid for by tax-payers. Forget all that stuff for a while.

Sit back and think about the smell of the grass, the sound of the ball popping into a mitt, the crack of the bat. Think about the feeling when you walk through the gate and see the field. Or think about hearing Gary, Keith and Ron on SNY or Howie and Wayne Hagin on WFAN. There's plenty of time to worry about the stats and projections. For now, just sit back and enjoy the game.

My first game in person this year will be April 27th. And I cannot wait to see the new park, and to watch my Mets.