CitiField was absolutely electric for Monday afternoon's 2015 Home Opener. Opening Day is always special to me (I haven't missed one in over 25 years), and this was one of the best.
The weather was perfect and the place was packed with Mets fans, setting up a perfect Opening Day. Let's face it - most of the time these situations do not work out well. How many times can we think of over the past few decades where the Mets have come up small in the big moments?
I do not remember a buzz ever this strong at CitiField, not even for the first game ever, when Mets fans mostly milled about their new surroundings rather than focusing on the game at hand.
I pulled my 7 year old son out of school for his first Opening Day, and brought my dad, who had himself taken me to many Opening Days when I was a kid. My college buddy and perennial Opening Day partner joined us as well.
I drove up from central New Jersey, heeding the Mets' advice to arrive early, and my dad took the LIRR in from the Island. My college buddy did not get to the park early enough to avoid being sent to Guam to find a spot and parked so far away he had to take a shuttle bus in from the satellite lot.
Despite the monster crowd, we made it through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda lines OK, got patted down and wanded as usual (metal detectors were nowhere in sight), were handed our magnetic schedules, and made it to our seats in time for the Opening Ceremonies.
The pregame ceremonies were a tribute to fallen police officers, featuring a mammoth American flag in center field, a helicopter flyover, and a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem performed by a uniformed officer.
Many people griped about Matt Harvey being held back from the home opener, but Jacob deGrom is electric, and I don't think fans were shorted in any way by having the reigning Rookie Of The Year get the first home start of 2015.
My kid was into the game from start to finish. He asked me for some ice cream during the 5th inning, and astonishingly I was able to run to Mister Softee and back, retrieving a helmet sundae resplendent with orange and blue sprinkles, only missing a couple batters. We even made a bathroom run in the 7th without much delay. And if that weren't enough I was thrilled when a beer vendor walking the aisles had a Brooklyn Summer Ale in his tote. A legit brew without waiting in line? Nice.
The game was a nail-biter, and the crowd was into it from start to finish. A 2-0 win capped by a tense Familia save made for a perfect afternoon - one that I will never forget. Thanks New York Mets. You did it right this year.