Game 1 – Mets
Mets 6, Cardinals 1
The over/under on how many times during the month of April that Rob or I type something that roughly translates into “it’s still too early to make any judgments” is 14, so let’s just get one of them out of the way. Wouldn’t be prudent . . . at this juncture . . . to get ahead of ourselves. Not gonna do it.
That said, there is nothing quite like Opening Day, or in the Mets’ case, Opening Night. And there’s nothing like stomping the World Series Champions in something of a rematch from last fall’s NLCS to kick off the new campaign. It felt good, and there’s nothing wrong with a sliver of revelry after watching it. Most of us in the Township are no dummies; we know that Tom Glavine hitting his spots and the lineup driving in runs is the given (or it had better be), with the rest of the rotation and the bullpen –which bent but did not break last night – presenting significantly more of a variable. But baseball is baseball, and when anything can happen but the expected positive result still does, be pleased.
Glavine becomes more of a Met and less of a Brave all the time; there’s no question which lid he’ll don on the plaque, mind you, but those first couple of shaky years at arm’s length seem a distant memory.
The aforementioned pen made things interesting more than once last night, but man oh man, did the defense come to play. Reyes’s wizardry is the standard; Beltran’s unadvisable but dazzlingly effective gun to the plate was a bonus; Alou’s diving catch and Valentin’s two-turning were absolute gravy, but critical to the outcome. If the Mets can muster that level of play on a regular basis, that kind of D will make any sort of pitching staff seem Grade A.
As an aside, here’s a tip for Hollywood: think about making Miami Vice: The Early Years, featuring David Wright as a raw Sonny Crockett, Jose Reyes as a young Rico Tubbs, and Jose Valentin as a (no matter how young he is, he always looks old) Lt. Castillo. Okay, maybe it's a stretch, but 'Stache’s resemblance to the stoic Lieutenant distracts me a fair bit. At the very least, it’s worth a cheesy Mets promo poster.
Everyone in the starting lineup for New York recorded a hit, including Glavine, but it was the infield’s turning of four double plays – including a spectacular one started by an amazing snare by Valentin – that kept this from being a tighter affair. There was plenty to enjoy, not much to frown about (except perhaps Paul LoDuca taking a foul ball off his hand), and Baseball Season 2007 is underway with a smile.
Sometime during February or early March I thought to myself that the excitement and heartbreak of that October night at Shea seemed like years and years ago, thanks to my burying any off-season thoughts of the Mets into hibernation, like a depressive’s repression. Last night was a letter-perfect Mets awakening for me, and it’s as if that loss in Game 7 happened last week. God, I love baseball.