What’s going on: Bartolo Colon is gone, sapping entertainment from the batter’s box and quality innings from the rotation, but otherwise the Mets’ roster is largely the same as the one that lost to the Giants in last year’s National League wild-card game. The team is banking on good health to get back to the World Series. If Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz meet their potential, it’ll be hard to top their starting pitching. And if their lineup—which, we’re happy to report, still includes power hitter and sports-car enthusiast Yoenis Cespedes—remains intact, they should score enough runs to compete with the Nationals in an NL East that looks stronger than it did last year. But as the 2016 Mets showed, injuries can change a season fast, and there’s already some spring-training carryover: David Wright, the team’s longest-tenured player, has suffered a setback to his shoulder, and pitcher Zack Wheeler’s recovery has been slow. That last year’s battered unit went as far as it did may be a testament to Terry Collins’ motivational skills. Juggling outfielders effectively could also be a challenge—Cespedes, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson are all best suited to play corners, but in the early going it doesn’t seem like management expects true centerfielder Juan Lagares to start (nor do they seem ready to experiment with Michael Confroto in center).
Why you should go: Over the past couple of seasons, the Mets have graduated from rebuilding into contention—and because it's been 30-plus years since the team’s last championship, Mets fans have a certain desperate enthusiasm that makes Citi Field an exciting place when the team is winning. If all goes well, by 2018 the fans will lose some of that edge.
How to get there: Take the 7 train or Long Island Railroad to Mets–Willets Point. Walk toward the gigantic baseball stadium right outside the station.
What to eat: Shake Shack is the most popular option and is perpetually crowded. Other good NYC-based stands include Two Boots Pizza and El Verano Taqueria.