The days are ticking away until pitchers and catchers report for spring training followed by the rest of the team.
Let’s take a look at some of the notable dates to circle on your calendar in anticipation of the 2012 Mets season.
April 5- Mets Opening Day
The team will begin the season at home against the Atlanta Braves. Most likely, Johan Santana will not be pitching this game, and the nod may go to R.A. Dickey. Tim Hudson is also likely to be on the shelf for the Braves, so expect to see either Jair Jurrjens (if he’s not traded) or Tommy Hanson.
April 9-11- Mets host the Washington Nationals
We may not see Stephen Strasburg toe the rubber at Citi Field, but we will be able to see firsthand the improved Nationals, as well as the great Davey Johnson.
April 15- Jackie Robinson Day
The Mets always put together a tremendous ceremony for Jackie Robinson Day, but this year they will be on the road in Philadelphia. Hopefully, the Phillies do a good job.
April 24- Jose Reyes returns to Flushing for the first time
The Mets open a three-game series with the Miami Marlins, and Jose Reyes (without dreadlocks) will be back in town. He will likely get a positive ovation, since it was the team’s financial situation more than Reyes’ preference that led him to sign elsewhere. In other words, if the Mets had the money, Reyes would still be here.
May 7- Critical early season road trip
The Mets will play a tough road trip against the Phillies and Marlins. Returning home .500 would be a nice accomplishment.
May 18- Start of Interleague Play
The Mets head north of the border to take on Joey Bats and the Toronto Blue Jays. After this one series, there will be a break in interleague play.
May 27- Banner Day!
In honor of their 50th anniversary, the Mets will bring back a fan-favorite tradition, Banner Day. Get those bed sheets ready fans! It should be a ton of fun. (To staff writers here, we should make an MMO banner.)
June 1- Cardinals come to town
The Mets will host the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals and a familiar face in Carlos Beltran.
June 4- First-Year Player Draft
Hopefully, the Mets can snag a few good prospects in this year’s draft.
June 8- Subway Series No. 1
The Mets will head to the Bronx to play the Yankees.
June 22- Subway Series No. 2
The Mets will host the Yanks. Is it fair that the Mets have to play the Yankees six times while all the other NL East only face them three times just because of a supposed rivalry based on proximity?
July 10- All-Star Game
Kansas City will be the destination of this year’s All-Star Game. With Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols now in the AL, Ike Davis has a legitimate spot to make the roster.
July 13- Divisional road trip
Right after the All-Star break, the Mets another important road trip against the Braves and Nationals.
July 26- The Patented West Coast Road Trip
The Mets have other struggled when heading out west. The team begins an 11 game trip against the Diamondbacks, Giants and Padres that could make or break the season at a critical point.
July 31- Trade Deadline
If things aren’t going so well, David Wright and R.A. Dickey may have their bags pre-packed if the trade call comes (Wright probably more so than Dickey).
September 1- Rosters expand
If the team is out of contention, hopefully we’ll get to see some of the top organizational prospects, maybe even Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.
October 3- Final day of regular season
Barring a Mets miracle, the optimists (like myself) will already be looking forward to the 2013 season.