Game 1 - Mets
Mets 2, Braves 1
Misery Loves Company's six Opening Days prior to today have featured more than one close game going the wrong way thanks to bullpen collapses, from a Sox nightmare at the Trop to Braden Looper spoiling Pedro's Met debut. Enough angst-inducing drama to make us wonder at the time if we actually had 162 games' worth of recaps in us.
With Omar Minaya's singular focus affixed to "improve the 'pen" this off-season, all eyes were on the Sean Green/J.J. Putz/Francisco Rodriguez trio today as the Mets clung to a 2-1 lead that should have been far more comfortable. I'd love for the nearly flawless outing the three newcomers delivered to be something of an omen for how it will go this year for the Mets. I'll settle for this Opening Day win.
Everything's relative, in fact. I can still remember rushing home from work to take in the Mets-Cubs opener early one April afternoon in 2003. A 15-2 drubbing that had me cursing the club from the very first frames. I dare say that one was a tone-setter. I also remember watching the aforementioned Loop Job from The Dubliner in 2005 -- a suitable setting for a year of much drinking due to the Mets.
So today, seeing Johan Santana impress on an afternoon when he didn't have his best command and Golden Boy II Daniel Murphy get it done at the plate and in the field was downright pleasant. Calm, soothing, and a fine way to usher in the '09 campaign. In truth, at this point I don't even remember what happened at the end of last season. It's washed away. (Nick: "Tap tap tap . . . hello, is this thing on?")
Oh, and right on cue, Murph and Ryan Church began their respective 2009's as if to say, "Tell me again about how the outfield corners needed Gary Sheffield so badly..." We'll see how Sheff works into that arrangement. I happen to like both of those guys out there. I can't tell how the much-publicized story of David Wright convincing Sheffield to come to the Mets is sitting with Murphy and Church, but for one day against a mediocre club, enough pieces worked to scratch out a win.
A win we'll surely need, since after many beers last night, I said the Mets would win 91 of them. Alrighty then.
P.S. Right now I still miss Endy, but that'll change if these new kids plug the holes we've had. Until then, godspeed, #10.