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Monday, April 1, 2013
Morning briefing: Play ball!

By Adam Rubin

FIRST PITCH: Opening Day usually treats the Mets well. Very well. In fact, better than any other major league club.

The Mets are 33-18 on Opening Day, even though they lost the first eight openers in franchise history. The .647 winning percentage is best in the majors.

Today, Jonathon Niese makes his first Opening Day start, opposite San Diego Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez at 1:10 p.m.

Game 2 on Wednesday features Matt Harvey against left-hander Clayton Richard. Dillon Gee opposes left-hander Eric Stults in Thursday’s matinee series finale.

Read the series preview here.

The Mets and Yankees playing simultaneous Opening Days at home will mark the first time two New York teams do so since 1956. That year, the New York Giants opened at the Polo Grounds, while the Brooklyn Dodgers opened at Ebbets Field.

Monday’s news reports:

Justin Turner (calf strain) will avoid the disabled list, which meant Zach Lutz was dispatched to Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.

David Wright, who signed an eight-year deal in December, will be introduced on Opening Day as captain for the first time today. Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post:

You have to be blinded by optimism to think the 2013 Mets have a legitimate chance at a playoff run. So you buckle in for the longer trip, the multi-year climb toward respectability that will mark progress this year with the anticipated big-league debuts of Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey’s first full big-league season and Jon Niese’s continuing maturation -- commencing today with his first Opening Day start.

And you find hope in Wright, the homegrown star who decided in December to forego a potentially lucrative free agency this coming winter to sign an agreement keeping him around through 2020.

Read more on Wright in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• The Mets recorded the “Harlem Shake” Sunday.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record writes a feature on Niese. Read more on Niese in the Daily News and Post.

• Marc Carig in Newsday gets players to talk about the special meaning of Opening Day, but colleague Anthony Rieber writes in the paper that low expectations have cast a pall among fans.

• David M. Schwartz in Newsday writes that Eastern Long Island supplies the sod for Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.

• Kristie Ackert in the Daily News gives a position-by-position overview.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News likens the current state of the Mets with 1983.

From the bloggers … Shannon at Mets Police offers a reminder not to confuse the passion of Mets fans with the business agenda of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. … Mestmerized Online compiles its projected rotations for Mets minor league affiliates.

BIRTHDAYS: Rusty Staub, who throws out today’s ceremonial first pitch, turns 69. ... Daniel Murphy turns 28.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

@adamrubinespn Hope he sucks- Hope BAY-Perez stink too Hope DICKEY REYEs rock Beat YANKS-Hope All r wrong On METs # of Wins

— Laurie Glick (@CRAZEDMETS) March 31, 2013
YOU’RE UP: What’s your favorite Opening Day memory?