The Mets play their 55th season opener in Kansas City on Sunday night. The Mets have had their share of stunning wins and horrifying losses on past Opening Days—especially horrifying losses. It was just two years ago when Anthony Rendon stomped out all the Mets' morale before the calendar had turned to April.
But there have been plenty of others, both good and bad. So let's go back in time and look at the Mets' three best—and three worst—Opening Day games.
3. April 4, 2005: Reds 7, Mets 6
A season filled with optimism started with such a resounding dud. Fresh off his curse-breaking World Series win with the Red Sox, free agent signing Pedro Martinez pitched very well for the Mets in his debut. He only gave up three hits over six innings, although one of them was a three-run home run in the bottom of the first courtesy of Adam Dunn. The other new signing Carlos Beltran also acquitted himself nicely, with a game-tying home run in the top of the third.
By the ninth, the Mets had a 6-4 lead and an easy save opportunity for Braden Looper. His ERA and WHIP were infinite once the game was over. A single by Austin Kearns, a two-run shot from Dunn, and a walk-off homer by Joe Randa gave the Reds a phenomenal win—and the Mets an inexplicable loss.
2. April 1, 1997, Padres 12, Mets 5
There was no heartbreaking finish here, but there was the small fact that Mets pitchers came together to surrender an eleven-run inning. They were up 4-0 against the Padres in the bottom of the 6th, but starter Pete Harnisch opened the frame by giving up back-to-back-to-back home runs to Chris Gomez, Rickey Henderson, and Quilvio Veras. Then the bullpen came on, and the floodgates opened.
Three relievers later, the Padres had amassed three hits, drawn three walks, been hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, taken the lead, and padded on six insurance runs. Needless to say, the Mets didn't have much in the form of a comeback.
1. April 26, 1995: Rockies 11, Mets 9 9-11 (14 innings)
For a neutral fan, this one probably goes down as one of the craziest season openers ever. For Mets fans, it was sheer agony. Baseball was just coming back from the strike, so everyone was just grateful to be able to watch the game. But by the time the Mets were down 5-1 in the fifth, most of that joy had reverted back to frustration.
The Mets got in the game with one swing of the bat. A Todd Hundley grand slam tied things up at five. The Rockies responded with a run, but a Bobby Bonilla RBI double tied it right back up in the seventh. Then nuttiness ensued. Another Bonilla hit gave the Mets a 7-6 lead, but John Franco blew the save on a Larry Walker RBI double with two outs in the ninth.
No one scored through the first three extra frames. The Mets took the lead again in the thirteenth inning on a Jose Vizcaino hit, only to see Mike Remlinger blow a save of his own when he gave up an RBI double to pinch-hitter Jim Tatum. On to the fourteenth the game went.
The Mets took the lead yet again with a Joe Orsulak double, giving Remlinger another chance to seal the win. But after a hit and an error. Dante Bichette stepped in and crushed a three-run home run.
3. April 7, 1970: Mets 5, Pirates 3 (11 innings)
The first Opening Day win is always the sweetest. And that's right, it took the Mets nine tries to get their first 1-0 record. The Pirates tied the game at three in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Roberto Clemente single against Tom Seaver.
The pitching tightened down through extra innings, though. Cleon Jones hit a potential go-ahead single in the top of the 10th, but Tommy Agee was thrown out at home. The Mets finally broke through their next time up. An error against Pittsburgh catcher Jerry May gave pinch-hitter Donn Clendenon a chance, and he knocked home two to give the Mets a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
2. March 31, 1998: Mets 1, Phillies 0 (14 innings)
This was without a doubt the best pitchers' duel in an Opening Day Mets game. Starter Bobby Jones and five relievers combined to keep the Phillies off the scoreboard. On the other side, Curt Schilling was his usual dominant self, allowing just three baserunners and striking out nine through eight innings of work.
The Phillies kept things scoreless until the bottom of the fourteenth. The Mets then loaded the bases, and with two outs,sprayed a line drive to right, scoring Brian McRae and putting an end to the second-longest Opening Day game in Mets history.
1. April 3, 2001: Mets 6, Braves 4 (10 innings)
This game was made by the narrative surrounding it as much as anything else. The Mets were coming off a World Series appearance, but they didn't have to go through Atlanta en route and still hadn't proven they could hang with the Braves. And with a two-run home run from Mike Piazza in the top of the first and an RBI single from Chipper Jones in the bottom of the inning, this game had all the makings of an Opening Day classic.
Atlanta tied things up in the seventh on a Javy Lopez home run. Robin Ventura answered right back, with a two-run shot to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. But the Braves had another rally in them, thanks to RBI hits from Rafael Furcal and Brian Jordan. But Ventura did it again in the tenth, as another two-run blast gave the Mets the lead once more, and this time they wouldn't give it up.