For those of you who have stuck with me for the last 12 years (and yes, it’s been close to 12 years of this), you might be thinking that I’ve been quiet lately. But in actuality, my radio silence has been due to loud noises that I’ve been making.
Turns out that for the better part of two weeks I’ve been battling what the doctor thinks is “possible pneumonia”. I took antibiotics, it went away, but on Friday it decided to make a comeback. So on this, Opening Day of 2017, I feel terrible. It sucks because I want this part of my life to flourish. This blog is my baby. And when I stop feeding my baby, it cries. When my baby cries, I cry. (Well, the blog doesn’t really cry, but I’m really good at picturing the worst case scenario. If you’ve read my blog this long, you probably got that.)
Although I will continue to be snarky about the calamities that happen to this team moving forward (because what’s Metstradamus if he ain’t a big grump), I really believe that this could be a special season. I didn’t do predictions here because I’ve been coming home at night with no desire to do anything except turn off all the lights and sleep. But I think the Mets are going to win the division. I’m a believer in going against the grain, and for the last two seasons the team that everybody picked to win the division has finished second. Everybody is picking the Nats this season, so I’m going with our guys.
Second, and more important, I think the Nationals are putting a two dollar spark plug on a Ferrari. Blake Treinen isn’t going to ruin the season, but he might mean the difference between hanging with the Mets for the division in April and May to falling so far behind that only the wild card will matter. The Mets depth will be their asset this season, where in the early part of the decade it was their downfall. While I’m not comfortable at all with letting Zack Wheeler go full bore early in the season, it might be a case of greater good where any early victory might put some distance between them and Washington. No Jeurys Familia for 15 games? No problem, Addison Reed will fill in and do fine. David Wright is in a body cast? You could do worse than Jose Reyes at third base. (And the Mets have done worse.) Curtis Granderson finally stares directly into Ray Ramirez’s eyes and turns to stone? Michael Conforto will save the day.
(And Jay Bruce is going to have the greatest April in the history of Aprils. He’ll make John Buck’s April look like flea and tick powder. Bruce may stink the rest of the year but nobody will remember because he’s going to hit .690 in April.)
We always look for Opening Day Oddities. The closest thing to one on Monday might have been the game being broken in the seventh inning against the Braves bullpen, most notably old friend Eric O’Flaherty. Eric O’Flaherty!!! Remember what I said about a two dollar spark plug on a Ferrari? O’Flaherty is a pair of worn brake pads at this point. Haven’t the Braves learned anything from when he was with us? He got one out and it was a sac fly to make it 2-0, and then a wild pitch, a walk, another walk, and then Lucas Duda gave us a bases clearing double which will quell the talk of hitting with RISP and “home run reliance” for a couple of days. I think the Braves will be better than people think but not if O’Flaherty can’t do the one job he was given, which is to get lefties out?
Noah Syndergaard was, thankfully, what we expected this season. Six shutout innings, electric stuff, and MacGyver ability in the fourth and sixth, which included a masterful comeback from down 3-0 to Nick Markakis to get him to floy out and end the inning with runners on first and third. The good news is that Syndergaard only had 86 pitches. The bad news was that the reason he didn’t pitch the seventh was because of a blister which will push his next start back a day to Sunday. It’s just the wolf reminding us that he or she is always at the door. Hopefully the door won’t be blown off the hinges. Seth Lugo and Steven Matz on the DL on Opening Day is quite enough, thank you.
But the Mets started off on the right foot yet again, as they are now 21-3 in their last 24 home openers with their 6-0 victory on Monday. If the Mets do what I think they’ll do and win the division (I’ll say 93 wins), then you know it will be possible to have a special season. If it does work out the way I think it will work out, I hope to be able to enjoy it. For various reasons, I have a severe FOMO for this season. Can’t explain it except to say that sports fans should be able to enjoy their sports to achieve some balance in life. It can’t be all grind. It’s why I have no problem with exuberant celebrations on walk off wins by a 60-70 team (take that, Costas!) It’s why pies and Gatorade celebrations, played out as they might be, are fine with me. They don’t do that for us, they do it for them. Keeps them sane. The Mets may drive me crazy, and they will do so again. But they keep me sane at the same time. So I hope to enjoy what might shape up to be a spectacular season.
They’re my sunshine.
They’re not my only sunshine.
They make me happy when skies are gray.
(But if the sun is out, it makes the Citi Field experience even better.)
They’ll never know, dear … how much I love them.
(Because if I told them, It would be a little creepy. I’m a 46-year-old male who never really grew up. They’d kick me out of Citi Field for that nonsense.)
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
(Not this year.)
Today’s Hate List
- Bryce Harper (Why not.)
- Adam Lind (Welcome to Washington.)
- Madison Bumgarner (Does he still lead the league in home runs?)
- Conor Gillaspie (Aah, memories.)
- Rob Gronkowski (Seriously can’t wait until he’s out of our lives. It may not be until after he’s done hosting Gronk and Kelly after Michael Strahan leaves, but …)