The New York Yankees and New York Mets opened their seasons, and their initial games couldn't have been more different. The Yankees, of course, won, because that's what they do. They're the New York Yankees and the New York Yankees win. But on opening day, there hasn't been a juggernaut in baseball, or any sport for that matter, that rivals the New York Mets. After eight consecutive defeats to begin their half-century life, the Amazin's ran off a 32-9 record in the following 41 years. Whether they were good, great, bad or just mediocre, the Mets usually won on opening day. That was their shining day. But not this year. Maybe this time, though, they got the bad out of the way first, because when the dust settled they left Florida with a series win (and the Yanks took two out of three, as well). Each team is now three games into the 162-game grind, and here are the top five moments of the first weekend of baseball for the two local teams.
5. Willie Harris Breaks Up No-Hitter: How embarrassing would it have been for the Mets to have a no-no thrown against them on opening day? As the game progressed, Met fans everywhere were just rooting for at least one darn hit, and the new Met came through. Harris was the star of the weekend for the Amazin's, and this double was the beginning of the team's turnaround.
4. Willie Harris Belts Two-Run Home Run: Here he is again. He drilled one over the wall in the top of the first in Sunday's game, setting the tone for an easy Met win. In seasons past he was a Met killer, now we now what it's like to have him on our side.
3. Mark Teixeira Hits Three-Run Bomb: Ok, this is really two moments, because he blasted a pair of three-run dingers this weekend (along with a solo shot), so either qualifies for this list as a magical moment. Slow start? Not this year.
2. Curtis Granderson Smacks Game-Winning Homer: There's a little more weight added to opening day, with all the ceremonies and pomp and circumstance, so the Grandy Man's long ball edges either of Teixeira's homers because this one proved to be the winning run on Thursday over the Tigers.
1. David Wright Comes Through in the Clutch: The Mets take the No. 1 spot because if they would have lost the second game after the disaster of opening day, it would have been the end of the world with doom-and-gloom encasing the world of the Flushing franchise. But after the Frankie Rodriguez meltdown, Wright had the big hit with an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th (and let's not forget Josh Thole's go-ahead RBI single the previous inning). It was doubly satisfying for the Met third baseman after all the criticism heaped on him the last few years for coming up small at the end of ballgames.
And here are five quick bonus "under-the-radar" moments:
5. Mariano Rivera's Save in Game Two: It's nice to have the game's greatest security blanket on hand to put out any growing-out-of-control fire.
4. Rafael Soriano's Debut Inning: A perfect inning in the opener was good news for the new Yankee reliever.
3. Carlos Beltran Scoring From First: Ike Davis drove in Beltran on a double into the gap (Gary Cohen asked for it as Davis stepped into the box, and the Met play-by-play man got his wish), and the hobbling right fielder safely made it around the bases. He's not running so much like a gazelle anymore, but maybe a gazelle with bad knees.
2. A.J. Burnett Getting Through the Fifth Inning: In game two, with the Yanks holding a big lead in the fifth inning, it was another uh-oh moment for Burnett, as it was the time for his usual implosion, but he struck out Magglio Ordonez with two men on to end the threat, and it was an extra gritty performance as he was sick as a dog.
1. Jorge Posada's Two Home Runs: One of the big questions coming into the season was how Posada would handle the DH spot. Well, launching a couple of two-run homers on Sunday was a positive beginning.