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And Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Walk-Off Minutiae...

The last time the Mets opened a season in St. Louis (1992, for those curious) their second baseman was their future (now current) manager. Perhaps the next time they open in St. Louis, the second baseman of today will be their future general manager (or some other front-office position appropos for someone who runs a winter-league team).

I think the best thing to come out of Opening Day from a walk-off perspective (that's what we do here) is that a few of the Flushing geriatrics, in whom I'm currently showing little faith, walked-off the field on their own power.

I told someone the other day that by the end of the season that David Newhan would be the everyday second baseman and Endy Chavez would be the regular left fielder. That person shunned and mocked my thinking, particularly after what Msrs. Valentin and Alou showed from a defensive perspective in Game 1.

I didn't write a season-preview piece but had I done so, I would have voiced significant concerns over both of those positions. I'm still nervous about both but at least those apprehensions can be put on hold for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Moises Alou looks like he runs about as fast as his recently-turned 65-year-old uncle Jesus (who beat the Mets in the 1968 opener with a walk-off double). Let's be honest and acknowledge that the only reason he made a great diving catch is because he's too old and slow to make many plays look routine. I think it should be a rule this season that any time Billy Wagner enters a game, Chavez should be required to enter as well. No need to risk any close games on whether your left fielder can bend over to touch his toes.

As for Valentin, I'm not very hopeful of his duplicating his 2006 numbers simply because he's never shown the capability of doing so before, and not too many guys are getting better at his age. He did look rather spry on Sunday and that was a pleasant surprise.

So was the performance of Tom Glavine, whom I have tagged for 6 to 8 tries before he gets that 300th win. I appreciated the xerox copy of his 2006 Opening Day showing (1 run, 6 hits, 2 years in a row), and all the double plays (4...the Cardinals don't do that against the Mets...ever!).

There was a lot to be happy about, so enough with the negativity, though that does tend to be my natural nature. Paul Lo Duca showed why he is worthy of the No. 2 spot in the order. I liked what I saw from Joe Smith, even though his effectiveness was limited to one batter. The Carlos' each made the Cardinals pay for stupidity (Delgado doubling after Beltran was hit on an 0-2 pitch, Beltran throwing out David Eckstein, who went from October hero to April fool in one fell swoop). Aaron Heilman's jam-escapability was Duaneresque. And at the rate everyone in the media is talking, perhaps Pedro comes back by May 1.

This didn't erase the sting from last season. I was telling someone on Sunday that I was having a hard time letting go of 2006 (I carried around my 2006 rally towel like a security blanket). But hey, baseball's back, and the Mets are off to a good start. So all is good with the world.

As the unwise man who batted after Willie Randolph in St. Louis on Opening Day 1992 (and hit the go-ahead HR that night) once said:

Just try to wipe the smile off my face.

True Metpeners know...The Mets have beaten the Cardinals five times on Opening Day. The team the Mets have beaten the most on Opening Day is the Phillies (6 times).

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