Before signing with the Mets, Wilson Ramos knew exactly how tough it was to play in the NL East. And it isn't because he was traded from the Rays to the Phillies at the trade deadline last season.
Ramos played six seasons with the Nationals from 2011-2016, and was an All-Star in his final season with the team before heading to Tampa in 2017. So, when the PA announcer called out his name during the Opening Day ceremony at Nationals Park on Thursday afternoon, the Nats faithful showered him with cheers.
"I liked playing here," Ramos told The Post's Mike Puma. "There is nothing better than you come on the field and you feel that support from the fans. I played six good years here, the fans gave me great support, so they make me feel very good every time I come back here."
Though Ramos appreciated the support, his sole purpose was to call pitches to get Washington's hitters out. And he had the reigning NL Cy Young award winner, Jacob deGrom, to do it with. DeGrom got into a little trouble throughout the game, but nothing came of it as he and Ramos were on the same page to escape danger.
"That is what I try to do, help those guys, but they have the ball," Ramos said. "They have the decision, and that is what I told them: 'You have the ball and you have the decision. If you don't want to throw that pitch, let me know, and we will do another thing.' But those guys have been throwing very good, they trust me and I am very happy for them."
DeGrom isn't the only Cy Young winner Ramos has had the pleasure of catching. In fact, deGrom's opponent in Max Scherzer, who also put on a great, 7 2/3 innings performance despite taking the loss, was tossing to Ramos in 2016 during his Cy Young run.
"Both pitchers are really good," Ramos said. "They throw the ball really good and with guys like that you don't have that much to do."
Scherzer may still be on the Nats, but the team has changed a lot since Ramos was featured on it. Washington is trusting in their youngsters like Juan Soto and Victor Robles to be productive in a lineup that still touts veterans like Ryan Zimmermann and Anthony Rendon. It's that change that has Ramos hitting the film room to study up on the neophytes.
"Right now there is a lot of young players that I don't know yet and I have to start studying those young guys," Ramos said. "The old guys played when I first came up to the big leagues, I played a long time against them, but the new guys I have to know more about them. That is why I have to go to the video room and study all those guys."
No matter the division opponent, though, Ramos is ready to call his best game behind the plate and produce at the plate as well. In his Mets debut, Ramos went 1-for-4 at the dish.