Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Mets' Home Opener Friday, Full Of Festivities, After 5-2 Road Trip To Open Season


Citi Field during the "New in '22" event on March 31. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Phillies, 9-6, on Wednesday afternoon, to finish their season-opening road trip at 5-2, with the home opener set for Friday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Max Scherzer made his second start for the Mets, and he pitched very well after a tough start where he faced a first inning jam and had to get in sync with catcher Tomas Nido. He went five innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and three walks, while striking out seven to improve to 2-0 on the young season. He won his first start for the Mets in Washington last Friday night, part of a series in which the Mets took three out of four from the Nationals.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who was the designated hitter on Wednesday, had a big day, as he went 3-for-5 with five RBI, with a massive three-run home run in the sixth inning that gave the Mets an 8-1 lead at the time. He also had an RBI double in the fifth.

Brandon Nimmo also had a home run, a solo shot in the third off Phillies starter Aaron Nola to give the Mets the early lead.

Starling Marte had an RBI single in the sixth ahead of Alonso's three-run homer, and the right fielder went 2-for-5 with that RBI, giving him five on the season.

The Mets' starter in the home opener on Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks will be Chris Bassitt, whom the Mets acquired from Oakland in March. He won his Mets debut last Satuday night in Washington, in which through six shutout innings in a 5-0 win, and allowed just three hits and one walk, with eight strikeouts.

Here is a look at the Opening Day festivities:

Tom Seaver Statue Dedication: The Mets will unveil the highly-anticipated Tom Seaver statue on Friday morning in a pre-game ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m. The statue will be located to the right of the Home Run Apple in front of Citi Field. 

Tom Seaver's widow, Nancy, their two daughters, Sarah and Anne; Mets owners Steve and Alex Cohen; and Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza will be in attendance.

Sculptor William Behrends was commissioned to design the Seaver statue, which features his iconic drop and drive delivery and is two times life-size to scale. The statue is 10 feet high from the granite pitcher's mound and 13 1/2 feet in length. The total weight of the statue is 3,200 pounds (2,000 pounds of bronze and 1,200 pounds of structural stainless steel). The granite mound came in nine separate pieces that weighed 33,600 pounds and added approximately three feet in height.

Sarah Seaver, Tom's oldest daughter, said in a statement, "This is a wonderful way to celebrate his wonderful years in New York. The Mets have been working on this for years, and to see William Behrends' vision come to fruition is so exciting and very touching. We are thrilled to share this with all the fans who supported Dad throughout his career.

Behrends is known for his depictions of baseball legends, as he designed and sculpted a Willie Mays statue outside Oracle Park in San Francisco, and Tony Gwynn's monument outside PETCO Park in San Diego. He also, for the past 30 years, has sculpted faces onto the Borg-Warner Trophy for winners of the Indianapolis 500.

Tom Seaver pitched for the Mets from 1967 to 1977, with an encore in 1983. He was part of building the franchise up from its tough early years to being an anchor of the Mets pitching staff in their championship season in 1969. Seaver won three Cy Young Awards, in 1969, 1973, and 1975. The Mets won the National League pennant in 1973, so two of his Cy Youngs came in years the Mets were in the World Series. He won 311 games in his career, with 198 of them coming with the Mets.

"There is a reason he was called 'The Franchise'," Mets Chairman, CEO, and Owner Steve Cohen said in a statement. "You can't measure what Tom Seaver meant to this organization. This magnificent statue will be a wonderful daily reminder to Mets fans coming to Citi Field that Tom Seaver is forever a Mets legend."

Jackie Robinson Day: Aprl 15 is the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball when he made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in 1947. 

The Mets will commemorate the occasion by recognizing Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars who will take the line with the Mets. 

The first 25,000 fans in attendance will receive a Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers T-shirt.

Throughout Major League Baseball, in keeping with this wonderful tradition, players, managers, and coaches on all 30 Major League clubs will wear number 42 on the back of their jerseys with a commemorative sleeve patch.

Shea Floral Presentation: The annual Shea family floral presentation is a tradition that dates back to the first Opening Day at Shea Stadium in 1964, in honor of Bill Shea, who was instrumental in bringing National League baseball back to New York City in the early 1960s. It will start approximately 35 minutes before first pitch. Members of the Shea family will present Mets Manager Buck Showalter with a good luck floral arrangement. 

Tribute To NYPD Officers Rivera & Mora: The Mets will honor and recognize fallen New York City Police Department officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, who were tragically killed in an ambush in January, prior to the start of the game. New York jazz recording artist Anais Reno will perform the National Anthem and the New York City Police Department will present the colors. During the seventh inning stretch, NYPD police officer Makiah Brown will sing "God Bless America."

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