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New starts and old expectations for the Mets on Opening Day

It's five months after the Mets lost the World Series. Both everything and nothing has changed.

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Few things in life are certain. Death. Taxes. Floridians making bad life decisions. Mike Trout hitting dingers.

The Mets breaking my heart is pretty close to guaranteed, too.

The 1962 Mets couldn't hit. The early '90s were one bad team after the next, and the mid-2000s, well, we don't talk about those years. 2016 is different. 2016 is full of hope and promise and expectations. That probably means that 2016 is going to hurt the worst of all.

There's a lot to look forward to this season. The Mets have arguably the best rotation in baseball, and it'll only get better when Zack Wheeler returns in the second half. Yoenis Cespedes is back, Michael Conforto will be in left field all year, and David Wright—fingers crossed—will man third base for at least 100 games. Travis d'Arnaud will hopefully stay healthy, and Neil Walker's defense will probably be less embarrassing than Daniel Murphy's. There's a lot to look forward to this season.

On the other hand, time has done its slow march forward in the five months since Wilmer Flores struck out looking to end the season and the Mets sat in the dugout as the Royals celebrated at Citi Field. Curtis Granderson is 35 years old, and last year's resurgence could have been a complete fluke. Bartolo Colon is 42 and is probably, almost definitely, going to stop being a medical marvel at some point. Wright is 33 and has trouble moving some days. Of all the things that could go beautifully right this year, almost as many could go horribly wrong.

None of that matters on Sunday. Sunday is new, Sunday is fresh, and Sunday is beautiful. Sunday is a chance to begin again.

People will say that Sunday night is a rematch of Game 5 of the World Series, that it's a chance for Matt Harvey to prove himself again or for Edinson Volquez to cement himself as the ace of the Royals' staff. Those things are true, and yet none of them matter. They matter almost as much as spring training stats matter.

Opening Day is New Year's and the first day of school. It's when you pick out your best outfit and spend extra time on your hair. It's freshly cut grass and new cleats and a packed ballpark. It's about the beauty of a fresh scorebook and empty standings. You aren't chasing anyone yet, and you aren't being chased. Everything's equal, ever so briefly.

A win for the Mets on Sunday would be great. A win next in the second game of the season next Tuesday would also be great. But these wins don't mean anything more than a win in June or in September. Anything more than ones and zeroes is all aesthetics.

I think the Mets are going to be good. I think the Mets are going to be really good. I think they're going to win 92 games and take the East and go deep into the postseason. I think they'll make it to the World Series and honestly, I think they could win it all.

I also know that fate is cruel.