Amazing expectations for Mets after World Series run

By Joseph Staszewski

Kristina Pena’s attire for Mets games hasn’t changed—but the expectations that she and the rest of the club’s fans have for the 2016 season certainly have.

“I am like quivering in anticipation,” said the Glen Oaks resident prior to the team’s home opening April 8. “I am beyond excited.”

Pena has been showing up at Citi Field in blue tights and an orange skirt, as well as sporting some orange hair to go along with her Mets gear, since the start of last season, when she bet some Yankees fans that she could wear more team colors than they could. She kept that attire throughout the Mets’ unexpected run to the National League pennant, and is wearing it again in hopes of even greater excitement in 2016.

Getting to the World Series is no longer good enough for the Flushing faithful, who are now fully thirsting for the Mets’ first championship in 30 years.

“New season, new start, new expectations and this year anything less than a World Series is almost a failure,” said Bellrose resident Al Weinman.

The sellout crowd of 44,099—the largest ever for a regular-season game at Citi Field—saw the Mets beat up on the Phillies 7-2. They also got one last reminder of 2015 when former Mets John Franco, Rusty Staub and Edgardo Alfonzo raised the NL pennant in the new Coca-Cola Corner in right field. It is what drew Bayside native John Carroll, at the game with his two sons, back for his 10th straight opener.

“Can’t wait,” he said. “That’s why we are here.”

The club itself saw the raising of the pennant as a way to celebrate and turn the page at the same time.

“You could feel the energy from the fans,” said outfielder Michael Conforto. “They’re very excited to have baseball back in Citi Field… It’s cool to see the flag go up. You get chills a little bit. You have those feelings come back. It’s also motivation to get the ultimate, the trophy and the World Series banner.”

After winning 90 games last season, fans see the team’s vaunted pitching rotation as the biggest reason that even more games should go their way this year. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon give the team a potential “ace” every time out. It was the veteran Colon who received one of the biggest hands during pre-game introductions

“It’s like Mount Rushmore,” said East Elmhurst native Antonio Goodman. “Now on any given day you can see a top-gun pitcher, which is awesome.”

DeGrom, who was expecting the birth of his first child, allowed one run on two hits over six innings of work, while striking out six. He brought home the first run with a fielder’s choice in the second. Conforto matched a career-high with three RBI and Neil Walker drove in two.

They helped Mets fans leave Citi Field happy, with dreams of a World Series and tickertape parade fresh on their minds.

“God, I hope so,” Flushing native David Lerner said. “I’m rooting for that. I’ll be there.”

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