If The Mets and Highlanders Are Both Going To Play in NYC On Opening Day Why Play Each Other ?

For some strange reason MLB has decided to have the Mets and Highlanders open the 2013 season at home on the same day and at the same time.  Ridiculous!  Can you imagine the scene at Grand Central Station with fans crisscrossing to the 4 and 7 trains?  Not to mention the added personnel the City of New York will have to put on in the form of police, EMT’s and traffic agents along with the MTA who will have to keep folks on overtime to work the platforms and dispatch. Both teams playing at 1 PM on April 1st was the ultimate Aprils Fool’s joke perpetrated by MLB on NYC baseball fans.

What infuriates me more about this scheduling faux pas is there was an obvious solution; the Mets and Highlanders should have opened the 2013 season against each other.

I’m not a fan of Inter-League play but starting this season, with the Astros exiled to the American League West, MLB now consists of two balanced leagues of 15 team’s apiece. That means every day, there will be an inter-league game played. No more two fortnights of strictly inter-league play, nope, everyday you’ll see AL vs. NL; in fact the Cincinnati Reds will open up at home on April 1st against the LA Angels.  So much for the “traditional” baseball season opener.

From the looks of the attendance figures I seem to be in the minority when it comes to the annual Mets-Highlanders contests, I’ve felt the novelty has worn off and it’s mostly the casual” I got tickets from my uncles-neighbors-cousin who works for JP Morgan Chase-kind of crowd but I think a Mets-Highlanders opening season series would be fabulous .

Think about an opening day Mets-Highlanders tangle for a moment. Both sets of fans have been hibernating during this stormy fall and winter. Both fan bases stare at their WRIGHT 5 jersey’s and JETER 2 jerseys while putting on long underwear as they head out to shovel snow?  Think about the buildup to this opening day to the point that $63 bucks for Promenade seats would be swooped up in minutes.  You wouldn’t as a Mets fan, venture up to the South Bronx for an opening day showdown with the Highlanders then head back to Citi Field for a Mets opening day? Two opening days in one season? Oh Hell yeah!!!!!

In fact since every day is an Inter-League game is the law of the land, every year should be Mets-Highlanders on opening day. Alternate the opening day game each year between Flushing and the South Bronx. Two games at Citi then two games at Highlanders Stadium and vice versa.  Fold into that fan friendly attractions for both sets of fans around the city to celebrate the return of baseball which is also the return of spring and warm weather, a total rebirth of the spirit of fans and all New Yorkers.

Sure you could have a snow storm on April 1 but you could also have a 75 degree day as well. April weather in NYC is a crap shoot. The average temps are 61 degrees for a high and 44 degrees for a low, which makes night games in April nuts. But four day games spilt between Citi Field and Highlanders Stadium to start the season is perfect.

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Hey Dan Warthen, Babe Ruth’s Dead

You figured Matt Harvey would have a rough start here or there as he adjusts to life in the big leagues where unlike Triple A mistakes end up over an outfield fence. But Harvey, who is seen as a bit of a pitching savant, should be able to make the adjustments, if the mixed messages he hears don’t make him crazy.

For some strange reason Dan Warthen and Terry Collins love the breaking ball which is ok unless you forget all pitchers are not alike. Bobby Ojeda on the pre-game show on SNY yesterday seemed to send a cryptic message that Warthen’ approach is not the best for Harvey. Ojeda repeated that manta that Harvey is a power pitcher and he should stay working as a power pitcher and not worry about throwing off speed  and breaking pitches so much. Ojeda seemed to hint that the Harvey is a bit of a revelation as a good old fashion hard throwing starting pitcher.

My big concern with Harvey is that Dan Warthen is going to try to make him something he isn’t, a finesse pitcher.  It’s the biggest knock on Warthen, he has made this Mets staff into a bunch of nibblers instead of going with a more aggressive approach. When was the last time a Mets pitcher threw up an in on a hitter?  That approach is fine if you have a stable of Glavine-Maddox-esque pitchers but the Mets have some very hard throwers who should have better results than they do, especially in the bullpen.

Parnell hits 100 mph on the radar gun and sits at a consistent 95 mph. Josh Edgin hits 95 as does Frank Frank and Manny Acosta.sSo with electric arms such as these why is the Mets bullpen so bad? Could it be the approach taught by Dan Warthen? I think so. The Mets bullpen has a 4.26 BB/9IP rate which is only second to worst to the Cubs who have a close to 5 walks per 9IP rate. Why with a pen of hard throwers do Mets relievers have such a high walk rate, I’d have to say it’s the approach set by Warthen of nibble, nibble, nibble instead of attack, attack, attack.

Pitching is deception trying to keep the batter off balance.  I don’t think Warthen’s approach to pitching is effective in doing that. When was the last time we’ve seen a Mets pitcher go up the ladder on a hitter? How many times have you screamed at your TV set when the 7-8-9 batters reach base on a walk on off speed and breaking pitches  that miss the outside of the plate when challenging the batter should be the plan?

Terry Collins has been a loyal supporter of Dan Warthen and his teachings but I know I’m not alone wondering how Warthen was kept on staff after the purge of personnel of the Minaya era. With the ineffectiveness of the bullpen and the very valuable arms coming through the Mets farm system, it is paramount of Sandy Alderson to find a pitching coach who not only can relate and help the growth of these young arms but he also needs a pitching coach to change the mindset of many on this staff to pitch aggressively. The approach that is in play now is not working and needs to be eradicated.

 

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ELECTION NIGHT RECAP-SORRY NO METS NEWS HERE

Besides having to run some early morning errands, the events of last night’s election still has me in it’s grip as I read the stories and watch the pundits talk about the historic night. I know I get myself  in some hot water when I go on a political rant here but I’ll just say this. Yes I am very happy with the Obama win and I am extremely proud of my fellow citizens for coming out in record numbers to vote. I am also touched by the very eloquent speech that John McCain made during his concession. This was not an election where you could say you despise the other candidate as I have the utmost respect for Senator McCain for his duty and sacrifice he has given to the country. I will say that he does stand out as a true patriot in a party full of phonies and it was the two-bit chicken hawks in the Republican and Conservative Parties that did him in in his run for the Presidency. McCain is a much better man and American than the Cheney’s Rowe’s and the repulsive duo of Sean Hanattiy and Rush Limbaugh of the Right Wing World.

 

When the Iraqi War was first waged and we found out that the government lied to us and the Congress I wanted to know where were the young people of the nation and why weren’t they venting their outrage to this war. Well, I guess they waited for the next election as the 18-25 year olds came out like never before and that to me was the greatest legacy of the election that young people of this country ,the folks who will be making policy in the future, embraced the Obama candidacy and worked hard to get him elected. Bravo to you.

 

Again we showed the world why we are the Super Power of the Earth. Not just because we have the best weapons and the bravest soldiers but because we have the most intelligence, heart and compassion than any other country in the world. For some strange reason while watching the 270 electoral votes go up on the screen and seeing people in Times Square and Grant Park hugging and crying and celebrating I thought about September 11 2001. Sometimes I feel I think about that day too much but it’s a day I’ll never forget and  Ground Zero is so close to my office so I’m reminded every day but I just thought how on that day we Americans were stunned, shocked and devastated by what happened and then last  night watching President-Elect Obama make his acceptance speech and telling us that he will do what he can but he needs the American people to help him it looks as if the country is back on track and headed in the right direction.

 

I know a lot of you were not Obama supporters but please take the words of John McCain to heart when he said no matter who you backed in this election we are all Americans and we have to do what’s right for America. The rest of the world is celebrating as well, America is Back, Better Than Ever!

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