The Mets and Cubs faced off for the second of a two-game, season-opening series Tokyo on March 30, 2000. Being an honor-based society, in order to earn the respect of the roughly 40,000 fans in attendance, not to mention the countless Japanese baseball fans watching at home, the Mets would have to avenge their loss from the day before: a sloppy 5-3 defeat in which big ticket offseason acquisition Mike Hampton issued nine free passes, one shy of the club record for most walks in a single start.
Avenge is just what the Mets did, thanks to several masterful, as well as record-setting and/or breaking performances. Rick Reed got the nod and was as efficient as Hampton was wanton. The righty needed just 90 pitches to hurl eight innings of one-run ball, a run that was unearned due to an off-target relay to first by the normally sure-handed Rey Ordoñez. That errant toss ended the shortstop's streak of errorless games at 101, an MLB record at the time (it wouldn't be a long-lasting one, though, as rent-a-Met Mike Bordick played a flawless short for 110 consecutive games two years later).
Offensively, the Mets were again stymied by Chicago pitching. Kyle Farnsworth and a quartet of relievers combined to allow just three hits over nine innings, though the Mets did push across a run via two walks and a sac fly off the bat of Rickey Henderson. Henderson also became the first player since Ted Williams to steal a bag in four different decades, swiping second in the seventh. However, he was, like most base runners that the day, was left stranded in scoring position.
In fact, there would be no additional offense from either side in this game until the top of the eleventh. That's when Todd Zelie laced a two-out single to center for the Mets' first hit in five innings of play. Rey Ordoñez and Melvin Mora followed with walks to bring up pinch hitter Benny Agbayani. One year earlier, Benny went deep in his third at-bat of the season. This year, it took him just two pitches to find the bleachers. Benny's grand slam, socked to the deepest part of the Tokyo Dome, sent the Mets home winners and almost certainly made the 18-hour flight back to the States an enjoyable one.
Terry Bross turns 47. In 1991, Bross joined fellow St. John's alums John Franco and Frank Viola to give the Mets pitching staff three former members of the Red Storm. Of the trio, Bross appeared the least frequently, tossing just ten innings of relief. On March 30, 1992, the Mets celebrated the right-hander's birthday by trading him to the Padres.
Aside from the Bross deal, the Mets have made six other trades on this date in their history. The one the that worked best happened on March 30, 1994 and it involved sending Anthony Young and minor league pitcher Ottis Smith to the Cubs for infielder Jose Vizcaino. Given starting shortstop duties upon his arrival, Vizcaino actively hurt the Mets with his performance during the '94 season. He was below replacement level with the bat and the glove, according to Baseball Reference, and a 1-for-11 mark in stolen base attempts means that he certainly didn't add any value with his legs. From 1995 to '96, though, Vizcaino contributed 3.5 rWAR while providing a little bit of positional flexibility.
Also of note, Dwight Gooden officially announced his retirement on this date in 2001 after it became clear that he wouldn't make the Yankees staff out of spring training. Said Doc at his press conference, "It's a sad and enjoyable day for myself. I've enjoyed a great career." The bulk of his greatness came, of course, as a Met. Gooden spent 11 of his 16 years in the majors as a member of the Mets organization and ranks behind only Tom Seaver on the team's record books in such categories as wins, strikeouts and pitching WAR.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Jeopardy! made its network television debut on this date in 1964. An institution just two years younger than the New York Mets, Jeopardy! has featured a host of orange and blue-tinged answers over the years, many of which were compiled by our own Rob Castellano last year. You can read his analysis here.