Terry Collins had this unintentionally naive line after the Phillies drubbed the Mets, 11-0, Thursday in regards to today's home opener. "We'll finally have some people cheering us instead of booing us," the manager said. R.A. Dickey draws the home opener as the Mets face the Washington Nationals. Read the series preview here.
On to Friday's news reports:
• Francisco Rodriguez said he is unconcerned about the reception he will receive from spectators at Citi Field. Rodriguez pitched once at the ballpark after the August incident with his girlfriend's father, then revealed he had a torn thumb ligament and was placed on the disqualified list and underwent surgery.
"Honestly, I’m not going to expect people to throw me flowers and love me, because I don’t," Rodriguez tells the Record's Steve Popper. "Honestly I don’t. The only way I can change that is getting the job done. That’s what matters. I get my job done all the negativity is going to go away by itself. I hope they see and realize that I’ve been making a lot of changes in my life based on that, trying to get once again the love. It’s been difficult for me because I try to get stability once again in my personal life and at work. It’s a process that’s going to take time, but I just want them to be patient and don’t give up on me yet."
"I obviously have no control over what 40,000 people are gonna do," Rodriguez tells the Post's Dan Martin. "The only thing I can do is pitch. If I do that and I do it well, I think everything will be fine." ... K-Rod also speaks with Newsday about the topic.
• Dickey says he feels honored that the Mets adjusted their five-man rotation and held Chris Capuano out until Saturday in order to ensure the knuckleballer gets the start in the home opener. Read more reaction from Dickey in the Times, Post and Daily News.
• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro offers this take after listening to Collins praise his team for rallying from a seven-run deficit against Joe Blanton on Wednesday:
If that sounds furiously familiar, another Pollyanna manager peering through rose-tinted lenses, don't worry: Terry Collins is not Jerry Manuel, something that was evident within days of his taking over the team and within minutes of his first spring-training workout. Asked before the game if he was more impressed by the 7-0 deficit the Mets erased Wednesday night or more aggrieved they wound up losing the game anyway, Collins was quick to prove he gets it in a way Manuel never did, or could. "You like the fight to come back," Collins said. "But the final score is the final score."
• Newsday's Neil Best does a Q&A with Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Bob Ojeda on the 2011 Mets. A sample:
Q: All three of you have been more optimistic than most about the 2011 Mets. Why?
Ojeda: "I think what all of us saw in spring training was a sense of non-entitlement, is the best way I can describe it. It was a sense of, we have work to do. Terry Collins turned out to be an excellent choice. Here is a guy who is very thankful to be back in the game. He set a tone that everybody is important to this ballclub. They've bought it and believe it."
Hernandez: "If everybody performs up to their potential in that lineup, this team is going to score runs, and it's a good defensive team. It's about the pitching. That's where the question marks lie. I said all spring David Wright had completely gotten back to his old self with the bat. He's gotten rid of that uppercut and he's swinging level."
• The Daily News reports Mets owners have narrowed the groups of minority bidders to eight, and hope to raise between $150 million and $200 million to pay off the MLB loan and steady operations.
• Daily News columnist John Harper notes the bloom certainly came off the rose with Wednesday and Thursday's performances by Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese. Writes Harper:
Just in case the Mets were getting any crazy ideas about who's who in the NL East, the Phillies smacked them around the last two days as routinely as they brush their teeth. You didn't really expect some kind of sea change just because Terry Collins' crew roughed up Cole Hamels in the series opener, did you? Not that surrendering 21 runs the last two days kills all of the good vibe the Mets had created with their 3-1 start, as they return to New York for the home opener Friday at Citi Field against the Nationals.
BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Gary Carter turns 57. ... Timo Perez turns 36. ... Former top pick Eddie Kunz, who was traded to the San Diego Padres during the final week of spring training for first baseman Allan Dykstra, turns 25.