Countdown to Opening Day: 9
March 23rd, 2011 by slangon

Opening Day is almost upon us, and I for one cannot wait. Whether the Mets are actually good this season, or stink it up (more likely), I’m just jazzed to start watching some live baseball that doesn’t involve guys wearing numbers like 93. This year also happens to be the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 Mets World Championship. In honor of that, I’d count down the days until the season opens by comparing the Opening Day starters for the ’86 team with the projected starters for this years edition.

The Mets started the 1986 season on the road, just like this year. Their first game took place on April 8 against the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. They won the game 4-2 behind a complete game by their starting pitcher, who we’ll get to later.

Starting in right field for the 1986 World Champion Mets, position #9 on your scorecard, was Darryl Strawberry.

Straw was pretty much already established as one of the bright young stars of the National League by 1986. He had already won the Rookie of the Year and was on his way to his 3rd straight All-Star appearance. His numbers at the plate that year were actually a little down for him, but still pretty damn good. He hit .259 with 27 homers and 93 RBI. He also stole 28 bases and scored 76 times. He was good, not great, fielder. He had 6 errors and a .975 fielding percentage. Then again, when most people think of Darryl Strawberry, I doubt they’re thinking of his glove.

In 2011, the Mets right fielder will be Carlos Beltran.

Yes. That’s right. Beltran is going to be in right field, not center. After having various knee ailments over the last few seasons, Beltran took the high road and deferred to Angel Pagan as the teams center outfielder. I think that was a good move on a few levels. First of all, it seems like popular opinion of Carlos is not that great amongst Mets fans, so having the teams best interests at heart will go a long way in restoring some good will with the fan base. Secondly, it just makes sense for the team. I think at this point it’s just a fact that Pagan will be more capable of playing center, especially covering all the real estate of Citi Field.

Like many things with the Mets this year, if Carlos is healthy and able to do his thing, I could see him having a good year, especially considering that this is a walk year for him. If he’s not, I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.¬†What is slightly disturbing is that after appearing as a DH in 1 spring training game, he had to take a few days off because his other knee (the one he didn’t have surgery on) was bothering him. Considering that, I don’t even know if it’s correct to be calling Beltran the Opening Day starter. For all I know, we might be seeing this guy patrolling right.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. As of now though, advantage 1986.

RF – 1986
CF – ????
LF – ????
SS – ????
3B – ????
2B – ????
1B – ????
C – ????
P – ????

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