Fansided
Rising Apple
New York Mets News

New York Mets Memories: My trip to 2009 Opening Day in Cincinnati

kstrauss
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 6: First baseman Carlos Delgado #21 of the New York Mets holds up his glove to show the ball after doubling up Edwin Encarnacion #28 of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on April 6, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Mets won 2-1.(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 6: First baseman Carlos Delgado #21 of the New York Mets holds up his glove to show the ball after doubling up Edwin Encarnacion #28 of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on April 6, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Mets won 2-1.(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
facebooktwitterreddit

Attending a New York Mets game on Opening Day is something all fans should cross off their bucket list. In 2009, I got to see them begin their year in Cincinnati.

The 2009 New York Mets season was supposed to be a hopeful one for fans. Fresh off collapses in 2007 and 2008, the team was not far removed from the National League East title season in 2006 and was poised to recapture that success.

The Mets were getting ready to open the brand-new Citi Field and made offseason moves to build another playoff team, adding the likes of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz to strengthen a shaky bullpen. With Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David Wright and Jose Reyes on the roster, things were supposed to be looking up.

Going to college in the Los Angeles region at the time, I wanted to take every chance I could get to see the Mets in person. Opening Day 2009 presented the perfect opportunity, as the team was scheduled to start the year with a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.

More from Rising Apple

My older brother had moved to Tennessee for school, so I decided to take a trip for Spring Break for some quality time and baseball. While reminiscing with him about our Opening Day journey, we both had the same realization: the details are fuzzy a decade later but the feelings of excitement and wonder will stay with us always.

The weekend started for me with a flight out of Los Angeles to Chattanooga, where my brother was living at the time. His friend from high school had also moved to the area, so the three of us planned to load up the car for a road trip to Ohio.

Now I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to Ohio in early April, or how in the world the Reds manage to pull off hosting Opening Day each year, but the weather was not on our side. Leading up to my flight and the entire weekend before first pitch, the forecast was bleak. Our fears of snow during the game turned out to be unfounded – the weather instead was a frigid rain and temperatures in the 30s.

Even before the game started, we had ourselves an adventure. Starting in Chattanooga, we hopped on I-75 north, taking us through a number of beautiful and historic towns like Knoxville and Lexington.

We drove through much of Tennessee and Kentucky on a Sunday, settling into a motel on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River before finding one of a handful of restaurants open for dinner by Great American Ballpark. Unfortunately, the Sunday night scene in Cincinnati was virtually non-existent in 2009.

The next morning, we all bundled up and made the short drive across state lines to the ballpark. We parked next to Paul Brown Stadium and joined the throng of fans heading to the game. It felt like 90 percent of the folks had taken the day to watch the hometown Reds and they couldn’t have been more gracious and welcoming to three out-of-towners.

We, of course, arrived before the gates opened and tried to stay warm while touring Great American Ballpark during batting practice. On the advice of everyone who stopped to talk with us, we had a few Skyline Chili Dogs to warm up (they’re better than you’ve heard).

The game itself was exciting; if you love having to grind out a win. Johan Santana started on the hill for the Mets and Putz and Rodriguez made their first appearances for the team.

Daniel Murphy started in left field and drove in the only Mets runs, including a solo home run off of Aaron Harang. Every starting position player had a hit for New York except for Brian Schneider, and Jay Bruce smacked a double to left center for the Reds.

In the end, it was a 2-1 Mets win to improve the club’s major league-best winning percentage on Opening Day. Not a lot went right the rest of the season as the team finished in 4th place with a 70-92 record.

Next. Surviving as a Mets fan in Los Angeles

Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!

Write for us!

However, there’s no experience quite like seeing your favorite team with a chance to start the season off on the right foot. If you ever get the opportunity to watch the Mets on Opening Day – either home or away – I highly recommended it.

facebooktwitterreddit