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Fans Flock to Citi Field for Mets Opening Day

QUEENS — Thousands of fans flocked to Citi Field Thursday for Opening Day of the new baseball season.

Amazin' fans filed in to catch the game against the Atlanta Braves full of the hope and optimism that comes with the start of every baseball season. For some, the day was full of extra emotions as well.

When Mark Mustaciuolo was a little boy, his grandfather would buy a large bag of peanuts and take him from Staten Island to Queens to watch the Mets.

"There would be a pound of peanut shells on the seat next to us by the end of the game," said Mustaciuolo, 36, who now lives in New Jersey, and was at Citi Field for his 12th opening day in 14 years.

This opening day was extra special for him, though. He purchased a brick in the grounds outside Citi Field dedicated to his grandfather, John Lay, who passed away eight years ago.

Standing over the memorial during a sunny spring day the emotions came rushing back.

"I have goose bumps from it," he said

For others the day was more about remembering the team during better times.

Mark Sank, 53, was handing out bracelets outside the stadium that read, "Time To Sell The Team."

Sank, a lawyer who lives in Stanford, Conn., bought season tickets the past 14 years, but was so disillusioned about the team's current money issues he decided to give them up this year.

For 9-year-old Evan Siden, who enjoyed a day off from school in Long Island by coming to the stadium, past glories and current team woes were far from his mind.

"Awesome!" said Siden about how he felt being at the stadium and out of school. "They are going to win."

And they did. The Amazins' beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0.

Despite the win, other fans were managing their expectations for the season.

"Ill be happy if we just break even," said Tom Rieth, 17. "We still have the Phillies to beat. The Marlins are amazing."

But at least one person was ready to make a bold prediction.

"I'm predicting a subway series. It's going to go down to the seventh game, ninth inning, the last out, and…New York will win," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg before entering the stadium to help kick off the season.