Flushing, NY: The day could not have been nicer for an opening day of baseball in New York. The sun, the clouds, the warm weather and flowers throughout the main entrance could not be a more welcoming site for Mets baseball. Unlike my experience going to the Yankees second game in the Bronx that felt more like football weather, this was a day perfect day given by the baseball Gods for the Mets and their loyal fans to show off their 2021 team. Many fans I spoke to (as we can’t speak to the players due to Covid) were especially anxious to see their 2021 team’s new additions, one in particular their new super star and super rich shortstop, Francisco Lindor.
The game started as any Mets fan would want, strong pitching and good defense. They were treated to both. Starting pitcher, Taijuan Walker was in great form striking out four and allowing two earned runs on just four hits over six innings of work in his first start for the Mets.
Mets fans were also treated early to seeing their new shortstops defensive talent when in the top of the fourth, Lindor leaped like a cat to steal a base hit away from Starling Marte.
The game was entertaining with good pitching and defense from both teams. The Marlins pitchers were fighting to end their losing streak and looking to pull a victory here in New York. It seemed that they would get their wish and win the first of this three-game series going into the bottom of the ninth with a 2-0 lead. Some Mets fans were also believing that their home team was about to lose and began leaving their seats. However, the majority of the sparsley seated 8,011 paying fans were quickly given new hope when Jeff McNeil hit a game-tying homer off Marlins pitcher, Anthony Bass to open the bottom of the ninth.
Fans who had left began rushing back to their seats as the Mets proceeded to load the bases on two hits and an intentional walk. Conforto was due up and he was not the reassuring player the Mets fans wanted in this situation as he was booed by the fans in his previous at bat hitting into an inning ending double play. Slumping Conforto quickly fell to an 0-2 count with one out.
Every fan, every reporter and every Mets player were focused on the next pitch. I imagine this is one of those lifetime situations that baseball players either dread being in or live for. Conforto had the beginning of the Mets home season riding on him. He was the sole man that every fan and Mets player was counting on to win the game and pull off a, come from behind walk off hit.
That’s when the most bizarre play I have ever seen take place. It looked like Conforto had struck out on a third strike call, but then the empire, Ron Kulpa quickly changed the direction of his arm when he confirmed Conforto’s appeal that he was hit by the pitch. The fans went wild as the Mets players stormed out of the dugout and began swarming Conforto tearing his shirt and celebrating the come from behind home opening game victory, a 3 -2 win that will surely go down into the history books and be remembered by every Met fan that attended this beautiful baseball spring day in Flushing queens.
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