MIAMI — Mets owner Steve Cohen sat down the right-field line with several hundred working-class straphangers from the Mets-loving 7 Line community. For this Opening Day, Cohen played a true man of the people, breaking away from the public to pay him the occasional tribute – “Un-Clay Steel-Eve” – and of course about 20 in the bank account. billion dollars.
The fun really began the night before, when Cohen led a rally with Keith Hernandez, Mookie Wilson and other orange and blue veterans at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino 20 miles north in Hollywood. Mets fans seem energized almost like never before by their record $375 million payroll and the promise of greatness.
“Just 2,000 of my closest friends,” Cohen wrote of the Opening Day Eve event, which saw the two-day festivities interrupted in true Mets fashion by another major accident.
Mets fans are pumped for this roster that boasts two Hall of Fame pitching resumes (though unfortunately, only one remained active as of Thursday). It should come as no shock that even a large crowd of 31,397 bowed by Marlins standards in the heart of the 305.
The day was almost perfect, like so many Mets openers – they almost always start great! — highlighted by the professional pitching of co-ace Max Scherzer, great work by the shoddy bullpen, their $341 million shortstop Francisco Lindor’s fancy glovework and enough to defend NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara and the unnamed guys who followed him Hit on time.
But as Mets fans know, moments for celebration often lead to setbacks. A day where everyone was ready to cheer began with some bitterly disappointing news – that co-ace Justin Verlander would have to start his Mets career on the injured list.
There will be people who say it’s so Mets, and I get it. Here is Verlander, one of the best and most reliable pitchers of the past quarter century, and he can’t pitch, at least for now.
Verlander said, “That’s not the way I wanted my Mets tenure to start, that’s for sure.”
Officially, it was announced that he was suffering from a low-grade strain of Teres Major. For those who didn’t major in physiology, apparently there is a muscle near the armpit.
“It’s another challenge we’re going to face,” said manager Buck Showalter. ‘We’ll get through this. I try not to pay attention to that. I know we won’t have a clubhouse.
Sometimes it feels like you need a medical degree to cover the Mets, who no longer have $73 million worth of pitchers available, counting Jose Quintana and of course Edwin Diaz, who celebrated. Literally hurt myself while celebrating.
Sometimes, it seems that Mets fans aren’t allowed to be completely happy.
But say it to them, the team at least looked great on the field in their 5-3 season-opening victory. One can only imagine how great they can be when they all get back together.
Verlander expressed some belief that this area of pain does not represent missed prime time. But even better than that is realizing that continuing to play catch is a history of his resilience. He was selected as the replacement for Jacob deGrom not only because he is the 2022 ERA champion, but also because he is not the MRI champion.
Anyway, Scherzer, the Mets’ other $43.33 million man, did what he was supposed to do, which was to get by. Scherzer used a mix of pitches exceeding pure velocity to sail through the first five innings before three extra-base hits punctuated by Garrett Cooper’s long home run tied the score in the sixth, and calm Gave Marlins fans a brief thrill.
Scherzer didn’t have his best fastball—it was a four-seamer that Cooper deposited into center-field—but he used his full repertoire and smarts to get by. The combination of Scherzer and Verlander should make this Mets team special. But for now it is just Scherzer who has played his role of ace well.
It seems the Mets have two equally great things, one being the luxury of having a record payroll. I wouldn’t say these two future Hall of Famers have had exactly the same careers. No, hitting six Marlins, Scherzer moved in front of Verlander. He has 3,199 to 3,198 strikeouts for Verlander. So it’s close enough.
If you can get past Verlander’s shock, it was a great day that showcased a lot of his talent. Brandon Nimmo hit a two-run home run behind new center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr., batting champ Jeff McNeil led off with two hits, and the Mets made little of what they do.
The fans here were going crazy.
Nimmo said, “The 7 line appeared in full force.” “It was really amazing. It felt like a home match.”
Cohen said it felt like a “frenzy” in the right field, and he was loving it. One disappointment wasn’t going to spoil his day. Or her, either.