With all his experiences in the game, Glavine has learned that the season's first game sets a tone that usually lasts for about 15 minutes. Really, that's all. The Mets suffered a dreadful loss to the Reds on Opening Day last season and didn't win until their sixth game. But the 7-6 loss, decided on a final pitch, wasn't the first domino. The Mets didn't lose their second game because Joe Randa beat Braden Looper in the first one.
"We all know that's true," Glavine said. "We didn't go 0-162."
Yet, he would prefer to win Monday and overcome the '06 inertia.
"For all of us and for myself, too," he says. "It's just better that way."
But if the Mets had won on Opening Day as dramatically as they lost and then ran off three or four more victories, one of them would have imbued the first game with some special, quasi-permanent power. It's all part of the self-deception that fuels the game and allows its participants to deal with the strain of failure.
"We lie to ourselves all the time," David Cone said days after he had started the Mets' Opening Day victory in St. Louis in 1992. "If it's good, we hold on to it and make something more out of it. If it's negative, we move on. Turn the page. You learn pretty early that you can't dwell on the negative. It'll eat you up."
The Mets had won on Opening Day that year in fairly dramatic fashion. Bobby Bonilla, who would endure a most trying first season in New York, hit two home runs, the second one coming in the 10th inning and providing the margin of victory in a 4-2 game. They left old Busch that night, pleased with themselves. But they lost the ensuing two games and six of their first eight. (Incidentally, the second baseman on that team was one Willie Randolph.)
"All it means if you've lost the first one," former Mets shortstop Kevin Elster said the previous year, "is that you lost one game. But if you win the first one, you feel like you're going to the World Series.
"The truth is somewhere in between."
Mets probable lineup|
|2.||C||Paul Lo Duca|
RHP Livan Hernandez
15-10, 3.98 ERA in 2005
2-2, 6.16 ERA in 2005 vs. NYM
10-10, 4.52 ERA lifetime vs. NYM
LHP Tom Glavine
13-13, 3.53 ERA in 2005
3-1, 2.93 ERA in 2005 vs. WSH
30-20, 3.41 ERA lifetime vs. WSH
On the Internet
Official game notes
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Wednesday: vs. Washington, 7:10 p.m. ET
Thursday: vs. Washington, 7:10 p.m. ET
Friday vs. Florida, 7:10 p.m. ET