New York Mets
Home field: Citi Field, Flushing; tickets
Who they are: New York City's National League baseball team, born in 1962 after the painful departures of the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers—inheriting their first ballpark from the former, perpetual underdog status from the latter and colors from both. Winners of two memorable World Series championships: one from 1969, before which they hadn't even managed a winning season; the other in 1986, when they dominated wire to wire with a brash, talented squad that seemed destined for a dynasty but fell apart soon after. They're also the team Jerry Seinfeld discussed with a naked guy on the subway in a classic episode of his television show.
What to expect: Maybe good things, if the team stays healthy. Though Zack Wheeler has already been lost for the season, the Mets' rotation figures to be a strength with ace Matt Harvey back from surgery to join Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and reigning NL Rookie of the Year (and MLB Hair Model of the Year, in our book) Jacob deGrom. On defense, the team figures to have its highs—the incomparable Juan Lagares manning centerfield—and its, well, more questionable spots: the middle infield could get dicey, but fans will tolerate a few miscues if Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores hit. Speaking of hitting, much of the Mets' run-scoring hope rests on veterans David Wright, Curtis Granderson and new acquisition Michael Cuddyer batting back the advance of father time to stay in the lineup and reclaim their previous form. Much is uncertain—but if things go according to plan, the Mets could be playing postseason games for the first time since 2006.
Why you should go: Citi Field is a cozy place to watch a ballgame, and Mets fans include among their ranks some fun characters—including the boisterous 7 Line Army and the omnipresent (and self-explanatory) Cowbell Man. And, yeah, there's a Shake Shack. –Jonathan Zeller
New York Yankees
Home field: Yankee Stadium, South Bronx; tickets
Who they are: In name, look and history, the Yankees are the most familiar sports team on earth. They're 27-time World Series champs, with more legendary players, retired jerseys and catchy nicknames than you can swing a bat at: Babe, The Iron Horse, Mr. October, Donnie Baseball. (Our favorite is Gator, which harks back to former hurler Ron Guidry's Cajun roots.) Many teams wear pinstripes, but there's something classic, enduring and instantly recognizable about the Yankees' no-individual-name home game outfits, perhaps because their design hasn’t changed since 1936. Though the Bronx Bombers have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, they always seem a threat; before that, they had made the postseason for 17 out of 18 years.
What to expect: A whole lot of uncertainty. Call this the PC era—as in “Post Captain,” or after the retirement of Derek Jeter. How will newcomer Didi Gregorius fare in the spotlight as the opening-day shortstop, marking only the third time in 20 years a player other than Jeter had that honor (both previous times due to injury)? Former star Alex Rodriguez is back after a year's suspension, but will he hit at all like his old self? Staff aces CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka are coming off of major injuries. Can they hold up for a season, or even till the All-Star break, let alone perform up to their expected levels? Ready to pick them up is a strong bullpen, anchored by power-throwing lefty Andrew Miller and 2014 revelation (and nycgo.com interviewee) Dellin Betances. There's talent, if somewhat aging talent, across the roster, and manager Joe Girardi will do his best to make the most of it. Plucky underdogs the Yanks will never be, but they still could surprise in the very competitive AL East.
Why you should go: To have a pregrame walk among the plaques in Monument Park, to feel a part of baseball history, to eat a Lobel's steak sandwich (sections 133 and 321) and to sing along with the bleacher creatures (section 203). Parents, cover your kids' ears! –Andrew Rosenberg