The Cubs just might win the World Series. Or maybe the Brewers, or the Diamondbacks or even the Yankees may have a chance at the ring. Hope always springs eternal right before Major League Baseball's Opening Day.
Fans pack their home stadiums with the optimism that "this is the year." Out of the 162 game schedule, the home opener is still just either one win or one loss but it takes on an extra significance.
"An opener is not like any other game," remembers Hall of Fame
pitcher Early Wynn. "There's that little extra excitement, a faster
beating of the heart. You have that anxiety to get off to a good start,
for yourself and for the team. You know that when you win the first
one, you can't lose 'em all."
So, two questions usually get asked while waiting in line for a dog and a beer. First, which team has the best Opening Day record? Second, is all lost if your team happens to blow the opener? Can we still win the World Series?
In the National League, the New York Mets have enjoyed the most success over the years at that first home game, according to the Baseball Almanac . With a record of 29-19, the Mets have the best Opening Day winning percentage, followed by the Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. That's right, the Cubs have won 56.7 percent of their 134 Opening Days.
Over in the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays have won an amazing 75.7 percent of their first games. Of course, the Blue Jays had 33 openers as compared to the second place team, the New York Yankees, who have played in 109 openers with an impressive 66 percent winning percentage. The Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles round out the top five in the AL.
Is there hope if the season starts 0-1?
Since 1903, 33 teams have lost their opener and still gone on to win
that year's World Series. Of course, winning the first game is no
guarantee of success either. The old St. Louis Browns share the record
for most consecutive Opening Day wins with nine from 1937-1945, but
they finished with a losing record in seven of those seasons.
As for being "just one loss out of 162 games," the Boston Red Sox know the importance of that early April win. Four times in their 109-year history, they have lost their first game only to finish the season a single game out of first place. Since they all count, let's hope your team leads-off with a victory.