The New York Mets will be entering their 56th season of play in the National League this week when they host the Atlanta Braves at CitiField on Monday afternoon. Their fans are expecting a big season from the orange and blue and will be counting on coming away with a victory in the club’s opening game.
Why? Because the Mets have the best home Opening Day record in Major League Baseball history. They have won 34 of their 55 openers, which is a winning percentage of .618. This is a surprising fact considering the Mets have an all-time winning percentage of just .481 and they lost eight of their first nine opening day games from 1962 through 1970.
Since then, they have been the kings of opening day. After disappointing the home faithful in those early years, the Mets won 12 of their next 13 home openers from 1971-1983 and have won 19 of the last 33. Since moving into CitiField in 2009, the Amazins are 5-3 in openers.
What is the reason for this success you ask? Very simple. The Mets always sell the place out on Opening Day and the fans are enthusiastic and raucous, even if the team’s forecast for that season is cloudy.
Remember, Met fans are descendants of two of the most loyal, knowledgeable and animated fan bases in the history of American sports – the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. There is no more rabid baseball fan than a New York National League fan and since 1962 those fans have been the followers of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club.
Opening Day is like a national holiday for Met fans. They revel in it and the club responds. Some of the best times I’ve ever had were at Mets openers. There was something about taking off from school or work and meeting a group of friends at Shea for another fresh start to a baseball season. Most times we were rewarded with a win, but it was always a blast. Met fans know how to party.
Having attended a great deal of the openers over the years, I personally have bore witness to many of the Mets’ most memorable moments such as the return of Tom Seaver in 1983 and Gary Carter’s walk-off homer in first home game as a Met in 1985.
This year, the Mets arena of the favorites to win the National League pennant and will send their best young fireballer, Noah Syndergaard, out to the mound to preserve the franchise’s opening day tradition of winning. Syndergaard is a fan favorite and famous for his devastating fastball. which averages 97.9 miles per hour, the best of any starter in MLB last year.
When hot, Thor, as he is known for his long, flowing blond mane, keeps the radar gun busy with his 101 mph fastball and sinker. No doubt the fans will be out in full force with blond wigs and “K” placards in his honor.
2017 could be one of those years where the Mets are dominant. There have been so few over the past half century, perhaps two, but this year has that feel.