Tuesday , September 26 2023
It's a long season, but Mets fans are smiling today and they have a right to enjoy it.

Mets Mix: Opening Day Ceremony Stirs Emotions and Memories of Carter

Okay, let’s get it out of the way: the Mets are 1-0, tied for first place. They beat the Atlanta Braves before an almost capacity crowd at Citi Field. In the spring sunshine you can’t blame the hope springing eternal in the minds of Mets fans, holding their collective breaths to see if Johan Santana could pitch again. Pitch he did – five scoreless innings- and there was a feeling like all was possible, even if it was only for just one day.

There is something about returning to the park on Opening Day, kind of like the first day of school with the smell of newly sharpened pencils, the new clean notebooks, and the bright clothes for another year. There is the smell of spring, the freshly cut grass, the odor of hot dogs, the crunch of the Crackerjacks, and the soda that tastes better than the stuff from a can. There is the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the feeling that you’re home again, sitting in that blue seat in an ocean of orange and blue shirts cheering for the team you love. What could be better than that?

Before the game there was the usual pomp and circumstance befitting Opening Day. Everyone looked good in new uniforms, and young and old Mets were on hand for the occasion and to honor Gary Carter. There was a feeling that the Kid was there, hovering over the stadium as a presence almost as powerful as his smile once had been in the clubhouse so long ago.

The Mets wore Carter’s Number 8 on their batting practice jerseys as a tribute to Carter, and then would wear the black home plate “Kid 8” icon that they will wear on their right sleeve all season. Current Mets “kids” like Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Justin Turner, and Josh Thole may not have ever played with Carter (or were even born before that great 1986 season), but they all know how much Carter meant here and they honored him as much as guys like Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, and Bobby Ojeda who played with him.

It was hard to keep a dry eye when Carter’s family stood in the outfield against the wall when the tribute in center field was revealed. That home plate icon will be there where it should be, reminding everyone of the true “center” of that 1986 team, the guy who kept things together when they could easily have fallen apart. It was a fitting tribute to a great guy, and the Mets and their fans showed the reverence that was deserved on this day.

So in the spring sunshine we Mets fans had our day. Despite predictions of the team losing 100 games this year and being abysmal to watch, this day proved that there is hope. Santana threw those five innings, David Wright knocked in the only run, and fans had something to cheer about. Carter was honored and the fans went home happy. There’s a long season ahead, but Mets fans are smiling today and they have a right to enjoy it. It was a great day to be a Mets fan.

Photo Credits – Daily News

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. His newest books 'The Stranger from the Sea' and 'Love in the Time of the Coronavirus' are available as e-books and in print. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

Check Also

Tom Seaver and Jackie Robinson – NY Mets Honor Two of Baseball’s Greatest Players!

Two baseball legends were honored on April 15, 2022, and Tom Seaver and Jackie Robinson more than deserved it.