I woke up yesterday, looked out my back window, and snapped the photo above. That didn’t look like Opening Day weather to me, and I live 20 minutes from Citi Field. But it was a false alarm, a speed bump, the skies cleared and the weather got warmer. A little warmer, anyway. The message Mother Nature sent me was, don’t overreact, it’s important to exhale, let things shake out. By the time the day was over, that message was pretty important for me to cling to.
Things started out well enough. Due to some offseason surgery I’m rehabbing in New York, just like Matt Harvey (okay, not anything like Matt Harvey) and I’m not yet cleared to resume normal baseball activities. For me that meant no trip to Citi Field this year, the TV would have to suffice. I embraced the situation and put on SNY as early as possible, and was rewarded when sometime before noon they showed a clip of Ralph Kiner calling a Darryl Strawberry walk-off homerun against John Franco. I recognized that game right away, May 6, 1988. Ten minutes before Strawberry connected, my wife, Terri, had gone into labor with what turned out to be my daughter, Kelly. I’ve never forgotten that blast, but don’t remember ever seeing it since that night, so that was pretty cool. A nice quick Opening Day reminder of all the memories in my family connected to the Mets. To further emphasize that point, Kelly, out on her own all these days later, dropped in on me right before the pitch to watch the game with me. We also had Black and White Cookies available, as Terri had made sure of that. The pregame couldn’t have gone any better.
Of course, there was also a game. I don’t feel any reason to recap it in any detail, by now there have been a hundred other recaps on the Internet. The story was pretty clear cut to me. Once Dillon Gee couldn’t go on any more, we had to use guys from the bullpen. And one by one, with the notable exception of Jose Valverde, everybody was awful. Now bullpens are important in this modern age, and it is going to be hard to win nine games, much less ninety, when your pen pitches like this. But for one day I’m going to remember the early morning message I received. Don’t overreact, it’s important to exhale, and sometimes things need to shake out.
This bullpen is not defined yet. Going into the game, I wasn’t sure who was going to pitch in the eighth. After the game, I’m not sure who is going to end up pitching the ninth. But there is time, and an organization full of arms. One game is one game and all that. No need to panic.