David Wright will need a bounce back season if the New York Mets are going to exceed low expectations. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
The New York Mets open the 2012 season Thursday afternoon when they take on the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m.
While optimism is always high entering a baseball season, it's a very different feel around this franchise right now. Not only because Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes were facing each other as members of the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, respectively, but because of the cloud left by the Bernie Madoff drama.
Now with some sort of financial stability (we think) will the negativity start to be toned down in and around the Mets?
t's a long season, but a quick start out of the gates will go a long way towards helping that happen. Any sort of stumble and the empty seats on Opening Day will quickly multiply with Citi Field being a ghost town by the time Summer rolls around.
Leading the Mets out of that gate won't be Reyes or Beltran, but David Wright and Johan Santana will be there along with a revamped bullpen that is light years ahead of the one manager Terry Collins had at his disposal last season.
New York will also get to play to lean on the early benefit of playing at home with the first six and 13 of 19 played in Queens.
The first one is against a Braves team fighting plenty of their own demons. Atlanta is trying to forget about a historic collapse last season when the lost an eight and a half game Wild Card lead with just 23 games to play. They will also be without Chipper Jones as he recovers from a knee injury.
Both teams are desperate to show signs of life early, but which will come out on top?
You can watch Santana matching up against Tommy Hanson locally on SNY or listen to all the action on WFAN 660.
NL East: The Best and Worst (via sbnation)