Suspend reality for a moment and imagine you have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in building a custom mansion for yourself. It will be brand new, equipped with every personal amenity you requested, built to your exact specifications, and of course, it is a huge improvement from your old place.
And when it is just about done and you are all set to move in… you let your little cousin spend the first night in it, breaking in your new house for you.
This is the situation the New York Mets find themselves in, allowing St. John’s to christen their new house. Except that there is an added level of importance: it goes down forever in history.
Baseball is steeped in history. Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball revels in its roots. Records are to be remembered and cherished and when they are broken, there is inevitable nostalgia for the days of baseball past. Players become larger than life throughout the course of history. The story of Babe Ruth can sound as much like an American tall tale as a factual biography. The history of baseball is as rich today as the present-day game.
The opening of a new park falls right in with the rest of hallowed baseball history. A quick Google search can yield the results of the first game at every stadium.
While it might not seem that important to an outsider, baseball fans will agree that this history is a part of the game. Don’t believe it? Ask any Yankees fan if they wouldn’t mind the Yankees losing the first game at their new stadium.
That’s why the Mets should have been the first to play in their own park instead of allowing St. John’s the honors. Of course, it is an honor – one that St. John’s and fans of the Red Storm were right to gladly accept.
There is no denying that it is a great experience and opportunity for the players of St. John’s, Georgetown, and all the fans that will be attending the game.
But perhaps the Mets were too generous. On the other side of the city, the Yankees will christen their new park playing two exhibition games against the Chicago Cubs, another ancient team steeped in history.
The Yankees will be the centerpiece of Yankee Stadium. The Mets, however, will not even be the first baseball team to play at Citifield.
Sports teams aim to have their home stadiums be fortresses for the team: places defined by the greatness of the club, where other teams are intimidated to come. Though this is certainly still possible for Citifield and the Mets, they are not off to a good start.
As a St. John’s community, we should certainly be glad for this opportunity. It will probably be an entertaining game and a great experience all around.
But for the Mets, it is an opportunity passed by – one that they may live to regret as another grand chapter of baseball history is written.