PHILADELPHIA -- Nearly 18 months after the general public last stepped foot into Citi Field, fans will return to the ballpark for the Mets’ home opener on Thursday vs. the Marlins.
For the Mets and all those who follow them, it will be a day more than a year in the making.
“I think we’re going to be as excited as they will be to see us playing live,” manager Luis Rojas said. “It’s going to be exciting just to hear the support, the shouting, the yelling, all the impressions that they get from the guys when they do special things out on the field. We look forward to [Thursday]. We can’t wait for that time. We’re talking about it. We’re so anxious in the best kind of way. We’re so anxious to get there to Citi Field and see our fans present, supporting us.”
The experience won’t be completely normal, with New York state regulations limiting the Mets to 20 percent capacity -- or a maximum of 8,492 fans -- at Citi Field. But it will be a welcome beginning. The Mets have plenty of pomp and circumstance planned for the event, including a national anthem performance by Broadway singer Lauren Patten, and a rendition of “God Bless America” from another Broadway actress, Jessica Vosk. Before the game, the Mets will toe the line for the type of introductions they missed when their original Opening Day in Washington was postponed.
The Mets will also hold a virtual ceremonial first pitch relay involving three pairs of New Yorkers who represent groups affected by the pandemic: a fifth-grade teacher and one of her students; a food pantry volunteer and a representative from the food insecure community; and a COVID-19 survivor and her life-saving doctor.
Across the East River in Manhattan, the Empire State Building will shine blue and orange to commemorate the Mets’ home opener.
“I can’t share enough my excitement,” Rojas said. “It’s going to be special for the whole group. We’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while now, and I know it’s going to be special for fans to be there supporting the guys as well.”
Makeup games scheduled
Major League Baseball has rescheduled all three Mets games that were postponed last week after four Nationals players tested positive for COVID-19. The makeup games will take place at Nationals Park as follows:
• June 19: The Mets and Nationals will play a split doubleheader at 1:05 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. ET
• June 28: The teams will play a 7:05 p.m. ET game on what was previously a mutual off-day. The Mets will take a special trip to Washington for this game.
• Sept. 4: The teams will play another split doubleheader at 1:05 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. ET
From the trainer’s room
• A day after taking a Chase Anderson fastball off his left hand, third baseman J.D. Davis underwent an additional batch of X-rays that came back negative. Davis was out of the lineup on Wednesday and is day-to-day, but he has avoided the type of broken bone that would have cost him significant time.
• Carlos Carrasco has entered a normal Spring Training mound progression as he works his way back from a torn right hamstring. Carrasco threw two innings in a simulated game on Sunday, and should pitch three more on Friday, with plans to build up from there. However, the Mets won’t have a clearer timetable on Carrasco’s return until he proves capable of fielding his position, which he hasn’t yet attempted to do.
• Seth Lugo continues to play catch off flat ground as he recovers from right elbow surgery, but he has yet to throw off the slope of a mound. Like Carrasco, the Mets hope to have Lugo back at some point in May, though the timetables for both pitchers remain uncertain.