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Santana, Mets Can Dream For a Day



By Mike Silva ~ April 5th, 2012. Filed under: New York Mets.

It’s pretty hard to ruin Opening Day.

For at least 9 innings the fan base can hope and dream about all the best-case scenarios that were laid out throughout spring training. If they win, it’s even grander since it could be the one and only time the home team can say they are in first place.

Since they are 33-18 on this special day, the Mets have put together their fair first day optimism in even the worst seasons. The 1996 club had a rousing 7-6 comeback win over the Cardinals, but would go on to lose 91 games and see all three of their vaunted Generation K  fall to injury. In 1999 they lost to the lowly Marlins, and the New York papers headlined “$75 million dollar busts” the next day in reference to their new payroll. That team took its fan base through one of the more memorable seasons. The ’69 Miracle Mets lost on Opening Day, giving up 11-runs to an expansion team from up North, despite a certain Hall of Fame righty taking the mound.  Ironically, the dreadful endings to 2009 and 2010 started with a victory on the first day of the season.

Today might not go down as the most classic opening day, but it was a much needed positive turn in the right direction. Johan Santana gutted through 5 scoreless innings, David Wright had 2-hits, including the game winner, and the newly bought bullpen held on to the victory. I have been saying this Mets team isn’t playoff-caliber, but to believe it’s in the class of some of the worst team’s in club history is foolish. A rebuilding process needs to start somewhere, and what better way than with a team the fans grow to love, despite knowing the end result won’t be a championship.

The big story, of course, is Santana. No one has successfully returned from a torn anterior capsule, but Santana looked very similar to the pitcher we saw before the injury. Of course, this wasn’t vintage version that won two Cy Young Awards in Minnesota, but the gritty version that has tried to drag the Mets through so many games since his arrival in 2008. I don’t know where this Santana story will end, but his competitiveness is a great lesson for the young players. You sometimes can accomplish more than what science and the numbers dictates if you have the desire to work through a challenge.

Of course, things can never go perfect for the Mets. They announced a sell-out crowd when it was clear there were many no-shows or tickets mysteriously purchased at the last minute. Jason Bay also continued to demonstrate warning track power, and their new centerfielder appears to be as gimpy as the previous one. Even the Santana story could take a bad turn if his body doesn’t respond to what was a taxing outing. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fans dreaming a bit and wondering if they could be treated to the same type of baseball we saw in June and July of last season.

I said in my season preview the Mets need three things, none of which include W’s and L’s, to happen in order for this to be a successful season. All I expect from this club is to play hard, fundamentally and compete every night.

They did that on Opening Day, and if they do it for the majority of the next 161 games, then things might not be so dreadful at Citi Field this year, after all.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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