Cinderella tried on her slippers, bracketbusters saw their shadows and the action was fast and furious on the first full day of March Metness  Thursday. Sixteen games, four in each region, were played, setting the matchups for Saturday that will determine half of the Rick Sweet 16.
Friday will see the rest of the Don Aase round unfurl. But that’s for later. For now, here are Thursday’s results.
Let’s Go Mets (1) vs Mercury Mets (16)
Let’s Go Mets was loud and strong from the start. It need only have cleared its throat. Mercury Mets thought the game took place in the future. Should there be a rematch in 2021, they’ll be ready. But not yet. Let’s Go Mets gave its fans everything to cheer about in a romp.
Sidd Finch (8) vs Mojo Risin’ (9)
Finch’s 168-MPH fastball had the ’99 Mets rallying cry in a slump right there toward the end, but George Plimpton’s creation proved a paper lion once Mojo rose for good. Mojo Risin’ takes on top-seeded Let’s Go Mets on Saturday.
Jane Jarvis (5) vs It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over (12)
As Yogi started sizing up the chances of his 1973 prognostication, he started to lose his way. And when Jane Jarvis tickled the Thomas Organ for a spry version of “The Mexican Hat Dance,” it was over.
Black Cat (4) vs Mike Vail (13)
The famous feline who spooked the ’69 Cubs into definitive freefall was a heavy favorite to take on the ultimate flash in the Met pan. But Vail hit his first 23 shots and the black cat got distracted and traded Rusty Staub. Those who had the four-legged creature going far in their brackets should have known better than to trust one of those damn things. Vail, the first upset winner in the 2007 March Metness tournament, will try to maintain his momentum against Jane Jarvis next.
The 7 Train (1) vs Cliffdweller (16)
Wes Westrum muttering about the latest one-run loss did not go over well, not with the 7 Train rumbling past. “Ohmigod, wasn’t that awful?” he commented before giving way to Salty Parker to finish the first-round defeat.
K Korner (8) vs In Ten Years… (9)
Dwight Gooden’s loyalists were looking good for the long-term, waving their strikeout signs in 1985. However, Casey Stengel’s pronouncement that, much like Greg Goossen, Doc was 20 and in ten years had a chance to be 30 proved to be prescient. Gooden was suspended from baseball for all of 1995. In Ten Years… waits only ’til the weekend for a showdown with the 7 Train.
Outta Here! (5) vs Basement Bertha (12)
Gary Cohen’s home run call is sure and true. Bill Gallo’s Met-loving character has seen better days. Many of them. She’s OUTTA HERE! The O.H. advances.
Grand Slam Single (4) vs Bleach (13)
Was there anything worse in the fetid summer of 1993 than Vince Coleman exploding firecrackers in a little girl’s direction in the Dodger Stadium parking lot while Bobby Bonilla cackled nearby? Probably not, but it was the appearance of a child’s toy water rifle filled with Clorox and directed at reporters by Bret Saberhagen that seemed to push the ’93 Mets clearly over the top as one of the worst assemblages of baseball-playing human beings ever. Or under the bottom, if you like. This representative misdeed from that dread-soaked season was seen as an upset candidate given what it had in common with the Grand Slam Single, namely that both the 1993 Mets and Robin Ventura quit running before they were supposed to. But in Ventura’s case, it was charming. Grand Slam Single shows down with its flagship voice Saturday for the right to go to the Rick Sweet 16.
Shoe Polish Ball (6) vs Cow-Bell Man (11)
Not only did Gil Hodges come out of the dugout to convince umpire Lou DiMuro of the righteousness of his protest that Dave McNally’s pitch indeed glanced off Cleon Jones’ shoe, but he was able to have the Cow-Bell Man sit down for an entire inning, thus allowing patrons in the mezzanine to enjoy part of a game unimpeded by his self-styled cheerleading. Shoe Polish Ball rolls on in unhyphenated fashion.
The Franchise (3) vs Lazy Mary (14)
A potential singalong showdown was short-circuited when the best nickname in Mets history stepped out of the dugout and waved its cap to an adoring throng in the seventh-inning stretch, The Franchise making everybody forget about Lazy Mary before the lyrics went from Italian to English. Tom Seaver’s grandest and most appropriate identity tangles Saturday with the Shoe Polish Ball.
Baseball Like It Oughta Be (7) vs The Worst Team Money Could Buy (10)
The Mets’ most forceful slogan was determined to outlast the chronicle of their most shameful season. All the money in the world can’t buy what oughta be. It couldn’t even buy 71 wins. Bob Klapisch and John Harper wrote a helluva book, but they go down to an ad man’s brevity.
Meet The Mets (2) vs 40-120 (15)
When the world met the Mets, they posted the worst yet most memorable record in team history. It still stands. As does another memorable record, no matter how often it is desecrated by new versions. Sadly, you can only meet the 1962 Mets for so long before the .250 winning percentage gets to you. Playing to a 40-120 level got the ’62 club eliminated in August. Meet The Mets plays on against Baseball Like It Oughta Be come Saturday.
Kahn’s Hot Dogs (6) vs Jack Lang (11)
The quintessential Shea Stadium food item versus the quintessential Mets beat writer. Mr. Lang passed away earlier this year, but even if this original Met scribe were still pounding out those ledes, it would cost less to buy his paper than it would to buy a hot dog at Shea. Kahn’s already lost the concession to Nathan’s. Now it loses to Lang.
Kiner’s Korner (3) vs Tomatoes In The Bullpen (14)
Two venerable stalwarts of the Shea scene in the spotlight here. The tomatoes grew for many years over the right field fence under the loving care of bullpen coach Joe Pignatano. Kiner, meanwhile, became famous for what he did under the stadium after the game. The tomatoes continued to blossom even as Ralph’s show faded from view. But then Kiner’s Korner returned for a couple of campaigns. The tomatoes haven’t been seen lately. But Ralph has. It was surprisingly close for a 3-vs-14 contest, but Kiner’s Korner proved the slightly hardier perennial. It will be Jack Lang and Kiner’s Korner in a Saturday faceoff. The winner will interview the star of the game.
The Odd Couple (7) vs Jimmy Qualls (10)
Oscar Madison covered Mets games and wore Mets caps in the movies and on television. In between, Jimmy Qualls broke Mets hearts. Madison missed a triple play. Qualls made Tom Seaver miss a perfect game. He is a symbol of the no-hitter that got away, the holiest of holy grails in all of Metsdom. The Odd Couple series was as New York as it got in the 1970s, but alas, it — unlike its cinematic forebear — was filmed on a Hollywood soundstage. Qualls, ironically, does what ’69 Cub Antichrist The Black Cat couldn’t: survive and advance.
Buckner (2) vs Dairylea (15)
There was time when clipping coupons off of Dairylea milk cartons could earn you free passes for the Mets. Bill Buckner, however, provided the ultimate get out of jail card for the Mets. Thus, it’s a battle of ex-Cubs, Buckner and Qualls, on Saturday, albeit partially by way of Boston gray.