New York Mets Ready To Open Season and New Stadium

Vinny MadioCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2009

FLUSHING, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  A general view shows the final pitch between the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins during the last regular season baseball game ever played in Shea Stadium on September 28, 2008 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets plan to start next season at their new stadium Citi Field after playing in Shea for over 44 years. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The New York Mets are ready to come back to New York for the final spring training games. The games will be held at the new digs for the Mets, Citi Field, and will be against the Boston Red Sox.

The Mets and Red Sox will play two games starting Friday and then will be heading out to Cincinnati, then Florida and then finally back home to New York for the real home opener against the Padres.

Jerry Manuel has announced the 25 guys who will be joining him to start the season and there is no surprise with the starting lineup or the rotation, unless you still believed Pedro Martinez was coming back to beat out Livian Hernandez. 

The bench is very similar to last year, with Castro, Tatis, Anderson, and Evans, who is only there until the Mets need the fifth starter. 

The two new guys to the bench are Alex Cora, the defense specialist and the name you might here very quickly if Luis Castillo doesn't get off to a hot start. The other spot belongs to the defensive specialist in the outfield, for the past two years, Met fans where use to Endy Chavez coming in and making the big play and igniting the team. 

This year it will be Jeremy Reed, a speedy, left handed hitter from California. He has spent his entire career in Seattle, so coming to the National League, and especially New York will be new for him.

The bullpen was defiantly addressed this offseason and is the main focus going into the season. The two guys the Met fans will remember from last year, are Pedro Feliciano, one of the best situational lefties in the game, and Brian Stokes, the long man out of the 'pen who did a fantastic job last year.

New to the Mets middle relief, are Sean Green,the righty groundball specialist who needs to lower his era to be effective for the Mets.  Next the Mets have submarine pitcher Darren O'Day to replace Joe Smith.

O'Day hopefully will be more consistent then Smith was, and become that piece the Mets have missed since Bradford departed. 

Also a guy that few Met fans might remember from that miserable September is young hard throwing Bobby Parnell. This is the guy that should excite Met fans, he has a huge arm and throws a hard ball.

He used to be a starter, but he is best off being in the bullpen and becoming that seventh inning guy for the Mets and future closer hopefully. The Mets hope he can bring them what Joba Chamberlain brought to the Yankees in relief.

And finally you have the two big offseason acquisitions. First the new set-up man for the Amazings, JJ Putz. The Former closer turned set-up man will defiantly be an upgrade over Duaner Sanchez, and will help take a load off current closer, Francisco Rodriguez.

K-rod is ready to take the ball and get the Mets over that hump. He is very cocky and always shows it.  We can expect 40 saves from the guy, but nothing will be bigger then the games he will save in September. 

If the Mets had Putz and K-rod last year, they probably wouldn't of blown so many games after the seventh inning. It will be mostly on those guys out of the bullpen so it doesn't happen again.

Though Delgado and Church will need big seasons again, as will Perez and Pelfrey. John Maine needs to regain the form from 2007 and Santana just needs to be himself.

Look for Wright, Reyes and Beltran to compete for the MVP awards this season as Beltran is due for 30 home-runs and 100 RBI and Wright and Reyes will continue to grow into perennial All Stars.

The Mets need to get off to a hot start, especially in a new ball park and especially after another September collapse. But as Met fans know, its not how you start, but its how you finish, and this is the year the Mets need to finish better then the Phillies.

The new Stadium needs it, the players need it, the manager needs it, and most importantly, the die-hard fans need it. Here's to a great 2009 season, Go Amazings!