Terry Collins turned back the clock to 1994, when for the first time in his long baseball career, he stood on the foul line for pregame introductions as a big league manager. Collins' Astros beat Expos in the 12th inning that day, a memory that lingers with the Mets manager to this day.
"It's all been worth it," Collins remembers thinking during introductions that day. "The 20 years in the minor leagues, all the winter balls, all the instructional leagues, all the things that you did to get there, it was all worth it to stand there for the first time."
Indeed, as we wrote in Monday's editions of Newsday, Opening Day remains a special moment for veterans and rookies alike. Here are a few facts about Monday's festivities at Citi Field, where the Mets begin the season with a 1:10 p.m. game against the Padres:
Pregame ceremony: the Mets will honor volunteers who played an integral role in the response to Hurricane Sandy.
First pitch: The honor goes to Mets great Rusty Staub, who turns 69 on Monday. The club is honoring the 1973 team, which claimed the National League pennant 40 years ago.
National anthem: "Shameless" star Emmy Rossum will be joined by 50 choir members from the Scholars’ Academy School Chorus from the Rockaways.
God Bless America: Stars from the Broadway show "Hands on a Hardbody" -- Keith Carradine, Allison Case, Kathleen Monteleone and David Larsen -- will team up for the seventh-inning song.
For the record: The Mets are 33-18 on Opening Day, 15 games over .500 despite only outscoring their opponents by eight runs (223-215). In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mets have the best winning percentage on Opening Day:
Team Games W-L-T/Pct.
Mets 51 33-18-0/.647
Diamondbacks 15 9-6-0/.600
Mariners 36 21-15-0./583
Orioles 112 64-47-1/.577
Yankees 112 64-47-1/.577