It is, quite possibly, my favorite day of the year. Will always has advocated for it to be named a national holiday.
But it’s not, and I’m finally OK with that. I wouldn’t get it off anyway – you need your newspaper every day – and I like getting mail. So it’s OUR holiday.
And I’m even more excited about this year’s Opening Day than usual, if that’s possible. Here are the top 10 reasons.
1) SheaQuest 2008. Through my awesome cousin Tim and even more awesome parents, I’m getting to the Shea one last time.
And this isn’t just any glorious game. No. Tim scored tix to the Ultimate Throw Down Between Good and Evil. That’s right, a Subway Series game.
Considering I get choked up when I get to see the Mets in a spring training game, I’m likely to be a puddle by the end of batting practice and a complete wreck when they send the Yanks back home in shame. But that’s not going to stop me from booing Derek F. Jeter, cheering every single Met and sending the grand ballpark out in style with some of the people most special to me.
2) April 21, Mets vs. Cubs. Speaking of special people, Will’s in a Wrigley Field season ticket group and members rotate games. For the second year in a row, he scored a game with the Mets and his lovely sidekick graciously allowed him to bring me.
3) July 19, Mets vs. Reds. BaseballTruth.com is a memory – and a grand one at that -- but the Executive Game lives on! Board members voted to see a game in the Bronx, but that fell through. So after great deliberations and only a modest amount of lobbying/begging from me, we’re going to Great American Ballpark to see the Mets again.
That’s right, three regular-season Mets games this year! My records show that hasn’t happened since 1989 -- the last of our three years in Connecticut.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m a known jinx. I haven’t seen the Mets win a game since 1991, coincidently my last game at Shea. Perhaps that’s the team’s way of saying it was time to come home. That’s happening, and the streak is going down.
4) Johan Santana. Do you think he’s going to like throwing in a pitchers’ park against batters not used to his filthy stuff? I see great things.
5) Pedro’s back! Pedro Martinez’ cameo at the end of last season was nice, though way too short. He’s healthy, he’s back and hopefully we have him for the entire season.
6) Jose Reyes is serious. No one knows what happened when Jose fell into his September funk, but he’s focused and starting anew. I expect nothing short of a magical season.
7) You think David Wright is honked off that Jimmy Rollins in walking around with Wright’s MVP Award? I think D-Wright’s going to ensure that this one’s a no-brainer – by the end of May.
8) No more Tom Glavine. I was tired of his reluctant-Met routine. Let Mr. Homesick pitch for the Braves.
John Kruk was just all over ESPN talking about how John Smoltz and Glavine were going to lead the Braves to the division title. Kruckie seems to have forgotten that both those guys are on the wrong side of 40 and Smoltz is already hurting.
And we know what happens with Glavine as the season progresses. He runs out of gas then coughs up seven runs in the top of the first without getting a second out in the ultimate must-win game – then acts like he doesn’t give a damn. Tell Chipper we said “Hi,” Tommy.
9) And speaking of Glavine and Game 162, I am so ready to move on because I am so tired of hearing about last season. I swear, the ESPN announcers spent two-thirds of the spring training game against the Braves last week talking about “the collapse.”
Yes, we sucked. But the Phillies played out of their minds. They get credit for that.
And as if 4:10 p.m. today, it’s old news.
10) No Barry Bonds, no Sammy Sosa, no Roger Clemens. All of the alleged major juicers are done and out of the game. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to hear about steroids quite so much.
It’s been a long winter in so many ways. And it ends this afternoon in Miami.