May 27

Jon Niese Tries To Get It Right Against Yankees

The Mets did it right in how they honor the veterans this Memorial Day. If Major League Baseball doesn’t do it already – and I believe they might – all veterans should be allowed free admission to any regular season game they choose.

It is only a small way of saying thanks and showing respect for those who gave this country so much. Personally, I think any family who lost a member in a war should have tax-exempt status. They have already given more than their fair share.

NIESE: Tries to get it back tonight.

NIESE: Tries to get it back tonight.

But, that’s just me.

Growing up, Memorial Day meant parades, picnics and softball games. Today, I know it means a lot more.

Baseball is a Memorial Day tradition, especially the doubleheader. They don’t do them anymore because the owners want the two gates. However, on this day, and maybe also on July 4, I wish Major League Baseball would go back and honor not only the veterans, but all fans who have supported it for years, to give us back the traditional doubleheader.

So many of baseball’s great traditions have faded, from the uniqueness of the Opening Days in Cincinnati and Washington, to Sunday doubleheaders, to the diminishing of the All-Star Game and to interleague play.

Baseball has always been part of the fabric of our country – James Earl Jones’ Field of Dreams speech – and that includes the traditional holiday doubleheaders.

Just once, can’t the commissioner of this sport and its owners do something right for its fans and give us back the holiday doubleheader?

Of course, that wouldn’t work with Mets-Yankees, a gimmick that might be losing its steam. If both teams were competitive it could be different, but there are plenty of tickets available for the two Citi Field games against the Yankees.

The Mets won Sunday night to snap their third losing streak of the season of at least five games.

And, it is just May.

The Mets have Jon Niese and Matt Harvey going against the Yankees, which is their best. Niese is going through an awful stretch. The Opening Day starter and de facto ace with Johan Santana done, Niese won two of his first three starts, but it took him six starts before he won his third game.

Niese is on pace to pitch 186.1 innings, but for that workload he’ll go 10-17 with a 4.80 ERA.  Currently, hitters are batting .270 off him.

Harvey’s projected numbers are off the charts, but how long will it continue?

And, once he falters, who picks up the slack?

 

 

Jun 08

The Great Mets, Yankees And Fan Debate

I was debating what to write about Mets-Yankees this weekend and was coming up dry. I despise interleague play, but you already knew that. It is unfair, and I’ll get into that later.

I thought about writing this weekend being a make-or-break series for the Mets, but the other day I mentioned its importance as part of a longer stretch of games, and didn’t want to run those bases again. Afterall, it is only three games, and unless they were playing the Yankees the last weekend of the season to get into the playoffs, what is the use?

Basically, that last one is of several fundamental flaws of interleague play. I’d rather watch Mets-Padres, Mets-Reds or Mets-Nationals than Mets-Yankees. Afterall, those games somehow matter more when it comes to sorting out who gets into the playoffs.

I recently had surgery so I’m pretty much still confined to the house, and with daytime TV being one of the Eight Miserable Wonders of the World (however, I would like to see a re-run of the Odd Couple, Get Smart or WKRP in Cincinnati) I thought I’d scan the Internet.

Went on the ESPN site and started to read this article on whether who has it better, Mets or Yankees fans? Lame with no real answer. OK, if the criteria was World Series titles or Hall of Famers, it is no contest. There is none because the Mets have been around half as long as the Yankees.

Then again, what does a team’s success or failures have anything to do with its fans? It’s not like two neighbors deciding to join different country clubs, with one clearly having the better pool.

Everybody has their reasons why they cheer one team over another. When you start pulling for a team when you’re eight years old, I doubt history has much to do with it. There’s logistics, growing up in the same area as your team. Maybe it was a player you started to follow. It could be anything. Perhaps your father liked that team, so you did the same.

Then again, if your dad followed the Yankees, maybe you cheered for the Red Sox. Of course, those could be deeper issues.

There aren’t any stedfast rules to cheering, but here’s one that seems pretty safe: You can’t cheer for both the Yankees and Mets. I don’t put much stock into cheering for both because you cheer for New York. Much like you can’t pull for the Celtics and Lakers, or the Steelers and Ravens. It doesn’t seem right.

A Mets fan is a Mets fans for a myriad of reasons and you have your own reasons why you cheer for them. Same thing for being a Yankees fans. There are Yankees fans of all ages, and yes those of you started following them from 1995 on could get points off for being front runners. You do get bonus points if you saw Horace Clark played.

If you are a Mets fan, you know disappointment, but that doesn’t always translate to being a “deeper,” or “greater” fan. I never bought into the saying as being a “diehard,” or “long-suffering,” Mets fan. If you’re a true fan, you don’t die with your team because die denotes permanence.

True fans are those who hung around with the Celtics being blown out last night and chanting “Let’s go Celtics.” If was an inspiring moment. And, long-suffering doesn’t cut it, either, because while there’s disappointment, if you really suffered, you wouldn’t be a fan of that team in the first place.

Only a masochist would choose to suffer.

I don’t know how this season, or this weekend for that matter, will turn out. But, a third of the way through this summer being a fan of the Mets has been rewarding and fun.

And, I’m happy for you.