Apr 05

Why Syndergaard Retaliation Was Off From The Start

Updated after Syndergaard’s performance Wednesday afternoon.

Not for a second did I buy into the idea the Royals planned retaliation against the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard for his buzz job past Alcides Escobar in Game 3 of last year’s World Series. Escobar has a reputation of going after the first pitch, and Syndergaard didn’t want him digging in and getting too comfortable.

SYNDERGAARD: Old School pitcher. (Getty)

SYNDERGAARD: Old School pitcher. (Getty)

The Royals did a lot of screaming from the dugout, and after the game Syndergaard said if they had a problem with him they knew where to find him, which is 60 feet, 6 inches, from the plate.

That was another brushback pitch.

Syndergaard brushed back the Royals entirely in Tuesday’s 2-0 stuffing as he struck out nine in six innings.

The game’s turning point came in the first inning when Escobar tripled to lead off, but Syndergaard responded by striking out the next three. It seemed whenever Syndergaard was in any trouble, he responded with heat. He struck out Kendrys Morales to end the sixth with a runner in scoring position.

Syndergaard was locked in all day, much the way he was focused when he faced Escobar in the World Series.

In March, a Newsday report stated the Royals were planning payback, which was off on two counts: 1) Escobar wasn’t hit, so there was nothing to retaliate against, and 2) if the Royals did have it in for Syndergaard, they certainly wouldn’t be dumb enough to announce it ahead of time.

Syndergaard recently said as much: “I don’t think they’re too fond of me, but as far as retaliation goes, I really don’t know what they’re going to retaliate against. All I did was establish the inner part of the plate. So I don’t know what this whole retaliation talk is all about. But it’s going to be an interesting time. … I simply threw a pitch on the inside corner. Elevated. A purpose pitch. I don’t really see how any retaliation could be made.”

It was during spring training. It was a slow news day. And, it was an interesting, juicy thought. But it simply didn’t make sense.

I’ll tell you why there is a buzz about this story. What Syndergaard did, trying to establish the inside part of the plate, is an old school concept, something people these days can’t grasp. Catchers get run over and hard slides take out infielders, so rules have to be changed.

Bryce Harper, a marvelous talent, but also clueless at times, said baseball needs life and has no problems with players expressing themselves with bat flips and celebrations. Another generation would respond to a bat flip with a knockdown pitch, something the current generation doesn’t understand.

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Apr 05

April 5, Mets’ Lineup At Kansas City

We have Noah Syndergaard going against former Met Chris Young this afternoon in Kansas City.

Here is lineup for the Mets:

METS

Curtis Granderson, RF: Had great at-bat in the opener.

David Wright , 3B: Went an 0-for-4 in opener. I’m not giving up on him.

Yoenis Cespedes, CF: Let’s see if the “human” can do something positive today.

Lucas Duda, 1B: Had two-run single Sunday night.

Neil Walker, 2B: Drove in Mets’ third run Sunday.

Michael Conforto, DH: Reached base four times in opener.

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS: Thought he’d hit lower.

Travis d’Arnaud, C: Surprised to see him this low in order.

Alejandro De Aza, LF: Like that Collins is using him early.

Syndergaard, RHP: I’d be shocked if there was any retaliation.

ON DECK: Not buying retaliation theme. 

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Apr 05

Where Did Opening Day Go?

We all know Major League Baseball scuttled tradition years ago, but did it have to do away with common sense, also?

At one time, baseball owned the first week of April with Opening Day, with the season traditionally starting in Washington and Cincinnati – the nation’s capital and the city of the sport’s oldest franchise. Those traditions made baseball unique. That disappeared awhile ago, but baseball still had the sense to open up after the NCAA Championship game.

However, the National Football League wrestled the concept of Opening Day away from baseball with the scheduling of the Super Bowl champion the Thursday before the first weekend. But, even before then Major League Baseball started doing screwy things that ruined how special Opening Day is … or was. Both the Mets and Yankees opened the regular season in Japan, then returned to the United States to play exhibition games. That’s beyond stupid.

Then it started opening games on Sunday night between the Final Four and the Championship game. But, with the nation’s attention focused on basketball, does this really make sense?

Ideally, Opening Day should be on the Tuesday after the hoops game, when, as Johnny Bench recently said, it could be a de facto national holiday with baseball owning the attention of the national sporting world.

However, in addition to the starting date, the scheduling of the teams has been far from ideal.

You all know how I feel about interleague play, but really on Opening Day? It is absurd, and for no other reason the high probability of poor weather postponing games.

If not the opener, then the rest of the series makes re-scheduling a rainout difficult because the team won’t come back. And, that argument applies to more than interleague games. Too many times teams make only one visit to a city because of the unbalanced schedule caused by interleague play.

Given that, does it make sense to have two cold-weather teams, such as Boston and Cleveland (which was postponed Monday) play each other? For that matter, why have two dome teams (Toronto played at Tampa Bay) or two warm-weather teams, such as the Dodgers and Padres, playing each other out of the gate?

I realize warm-weather and dome teams don’t want to schedule high-draw teams such as the Yankees, Mets, Cubs and Red Sox early in the season because they want to save those games for later in the summer.

However, it doesn’t have to be every year.

What makes the most sense is to schedule within the division because if those games are rained out they are easier to re-schedule because a team will make two more trips to that town.

Look, I understand it will never be the way it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better.

Of the 15 opening series, there were only five divisional match-ups, and two of them included Dodgers-Padres and Blue Jays-Rays.

This is just not smart. It seems that not being smart is one tradition Major League Baseball will not abandon.

ON DECK: No way Royals will retaliate against Syndergaard.

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Apr 05

Mets Today: April 5

The Mets will be going after their first victory of the season after losing Sunday night. Noah Syndergaard gets the ball against former Met Chris Young.

Before previewing the game, I’ll have the following:

* A piece on where the tradition of Opening Day went.

* The issue raised during spring training on if the Royals are planning to retaliate against Syndergaard for his brushback pitch during the World Series.

* I’ll also have a wrap of the game.

ON DECK: Where did Opening Day Go?

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Apr 05

Today In Mets’ History: Trade For Rusty Staub

On this date in 1972, the Mets acquired one of the most popular players in franchise history when they traded outfielder Ken Singleton and infielders Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen to Montreal for All-Star right fielder Rusty Staub.

STAUB: Mets favorite. (Topps)

STAUB: Mets favorite. (Topps)

Injuries limited Staub to just 66 games that season, but he played a significant role in leading the Mets to the World Series in 1973. An enduring image from that postseason is Staub injuring his shoulder after running into an outfield wall and not being able to throw.

A six-time All-Star, Staub played 23 years in the Major Leagues, with nine of them with the Mets, in which he hit .276 with 75 homers and 399 RBI. Staub didn’t reach the All-Star Game with the Mets, but did so with Houston, Montreal and Detroit.

Staub retired with 2,716 hits (292 homers) and a .279 average.

ON DECK: Mets Today. Blog doings.

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