"There's an old expression," Kiner said. "I'm very happy to be here. But at my age, I'm happy to be anywhere."
After that, along with a ceremony to honor late Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, Opening Day began for the Mets. Representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard sang the national anthem at Citi Field, marking the first time all-female singers from each branch of the military have sung together at a major U.S. sporting event.
"When you spend your whole life doing this, Opening Day means it's the start of the things you like to do best, and that's play the games," manager Terry Collins said. "Summer's on the way. Winter's over."
Entering his second season at the helm, Collins was not the only member of the Mets anxious to begin. General manager Sandy Alderson, who had not tweeted from his @MetsGM account since February, relayed a message roughly a half hour before first pitch.
"Opening Day with beautiful weather and Johan Santana on the mound," Alderson wrote. "What a great way to start the season. Let's go Mets!"