After a tumultuous off-season, Opening Day weekend for the New York Mets couldn't have gone any better.
The Mets swept a three-game series with division rival Atlanta Braves at Citi Field to start the season 3-0.
The success almost...almost...made fans forget about a rough off-season that included a drastically reduced payroll, the departure of superstar shortstop Jose Reyes for the Miami Marlins, and team ownership being ordered by a judge to pay a $162 million settlement in the Bernie Madoff financial scandal.
But this past weekend, there were a lot of positive signs for Mets fans to hang their hat – and any hopes of a successful 2012 season - on.
Injury-riddled pitcher Johan Santana was on the mound on Opening Day and held the Braves scoreless and struck out five; third baseman David Wright looked like his old self at the plate, roping line drives and exhibiting some pop in his bat; and the Mets young players looked like pros, with Daniel Murphy working counts and getting on base, Ruben Tejada – Reyes' replacement - contributing a four-hit game, and Lucas Duda showing some of the power that people have predicted from him, hitting the ball out of the park twice.
Even Jason Bay, who has been a disappointment since he came to the team two years ago in a big free agent signing, looked more comfortable in the batter's box, working timely walks and getting the occasional base hit.
Which isn't to say the Mets are now the front runners in the National League East, not by a long shot. It's widely accepted that every team in the Mets' division - including the Washington Nationals and even the Braves, despite the weekend sweep - are far more loaded with talent.
But maybe if the Mets can stay healthy and the pitching staff, including the bullpen which looked strong in the first three games despite a slight hiccup on Sunday, can perform above average, then maybe the Mets can contend through the summer for a wild card spot in the newly revamped playoff structure.
And just maybe Citi Field won't be deserted for every home stand post Memorial Day.
Hey, ya' gotta believe!