Opening Day memories: Raising banners, Al Leiter and the New York Mets

With Opening Day 2020 postponed since of the coronavirus pandemic, Sporting News staffers look back at their most remarkable Opening Days from the past.

Opening Day.

Among the best days on the calendar for sportsfans It brings a sense of renewal, a new avoid to one’s action and optimism that perhaps, simply perhaps, this is the year.

Back in 2001, the New York Mets’ home opener had this wonderful sensation; the start of what was ideally going to be an unique season while likewise commemorating the previous one. The Mets were the protecting National League champions.

April 9, 2001, was a bright, bright, warm and picture-perfect day. I was back home in Brooklyn, N.Y., for spring break; in simply a couple of brief weeks I would be finishing from Binghamton University. Recalling, there belongs of me that believes we didn’t intend on going to the game however the day was so warm and welcoming, why not invest it out at the ballpark? How did we get last-minute tickets? We’ll leave that part out.

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We arrived early, as was the basic at that time, and took in battingpractice When it ended, my mommy and sis directed to the seats that neglected left field while I remained down by the dugout to take some images. Tip, this was prior to smart devices, so it was most likely a non reusable electronic camera, which indicated I waited days to get the movie back.

The team was revealed, gamer by gamer. They sported the white home uniforms that day– the ones sprayed with orange, blue andblack There was Edgardo Alfonzo, Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza, Rey Ordonez, Todd Zeile and the late Darryl Hamilton. And, obviously, the person whose jersey I was sporting, Al Leiter.

They all went out to thunderous applause and stood along the first- base line. When Leiter arrived, he turned and saluted the crowd. I make sure he tipped his cap too. As other names were being called, he found No. 22 recalling at him– the home gray jersey with New York on the front, with black cutting the letters. He pointed and waved and then pointed at his 22 and pointed back prior to offering a thumbs up.

Day currently made.

Ralph Kiner spoke. Banners were raised. More than 53,000 Shea faithful cheered. Mike Piazza homered two times. Ventura went 2-for-3. I make sure Ordonez made one of his fancy stops at brief. Kevin Appier pitched 7 stronginnings Native Brooklynite John Franco pitched a scoreless eighth and Armando Benitez closed it out.

On that day, nobody understood how that year would end. For that one day, there was optimism and hope– something that never ever waivered, whether at the ballpark or throughout New York City, in the coming months and years.

Since on that day, the Mets beat their archrivals, the Atlanta Braves, 9-4 and it was a great day in Flushing.

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