It has to be tough for Mets fans: last season’s epic collapse made for one of the biggest “there’s always next year” proclamations in recent memory. They’re getting a shiny new ballpark in 2009, and even the day after the last opening day at Shea they get upstaged on the front page of the Daily News by the damn Yankees. It’s not even because of any spectacular Yanks news; the Bombers lost 5-2 to the Royals in an away game. No, Yankee Stadium is shuttering its doors this season, and no one will let you forget it. The News devotes half of its front page to pimping out its The Stadium magazine series, which gives readers “the amazing history of Yankee Stadium.” Talk about “always a bridesmaid, never a bride!” If this were a romantic comedy, the Mets would be notorious second fiddle Judy Greer. Even the Post saw fit to put the Mets home opener on the front page, and there are times it seems like Steinbrenner is in some sort of cabal with Rupert Murdoch, considering how much front-of-paper coverage the Yankees get.
Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: Yes, Yankee Stadium has about 40 years on its counterpart in Queens. But the lack of front-page real estate for the Amazins is especially ridiculous considering how “made for the papers” yesterday’s game was. We get the last-ever home opener in Shea. The Mets are playing the Phillies, their biggest division rivals. The Phils are the ones who snatched the division title from the Mets with one day left in the 2007 season, thanks again to that horrible collapse. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is hated for his “We’re the team to beat” remark from last year (which, again, proved to be prophetic). This rivalry is gearing up to the next Yankees/Red Sox or Cubs/Cardinals, and despite this, we need to be reminded yet again by the front page of the Daily News that the Yankees had a slugger named Joe DiMaggio.
The Post, however, does not cover the opener in the news section, the front page tells readers to “SEE SPORTS,” while the Snooze does have a news story on the opener on page 3. We get a really cute picture of a 10-year-old Mets fan riding the 7 train with the wax statue of David Wright (which does not appear to be online) and favorite memories from fans, one of which naturally was Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner’s error in 1986 that eventually led to the Mets’ World Series victory and the Beatles’ 1964 concert. (Speaking of Buckner, he threw the first pitch at Fenway’s Opening Day yesterday. Talk about cathartic! Two championships will wash away bad blood.)
At least the score was interchangeable. Just as the Yanks did to the Royals, the Mets lost to the Phillies, 5-2.