(Long Island, NY) Baseball in New York. It’s as old as the game itself. Gotham rules America’s Pastime in the Golden Age of baseball, cornering the market with the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. Even when the landscape changed in the wild 1960’s with the departure of the Dodgers and Giants and the arrival of the New York Mets. No matter what has happened over the years, it is a given that at least one of these clubs will garner headlines and our attention.
The current season is barely a week old and already fans are screaming. The boos for Carlos Beltran and the ‘MVP’ chants for young David Wright by the Flushing Faithful. The panic-mode being set in the Bronx because of a slow start out west by the Bombers. The ‘song’ controversy. It has sure been an interesting beginning.
April showers are still falling. Wait for May flowers? Not in this town. If A-Rod doesn’t drive in every man on base, someone is bound to call ‘the FAN’ and chastise him for not being a ‘real’ Yankee. Jorge Julio didn’t even have a chance to blow a game before he was serenaded with a chorus of boos during pre-game introductions on opening day at Shea Stadium. But in true New York fashion, he didn’t let down the predictions by stinking up the joint in his first two outings.
Nothing stays out of the limelight over here. For better or worse. The Yankees pitching, the concern going into the season has been fine. Their bats seemed to have been stuck on Eastern Time in the middle games on the opening trip. Once they get home and kick off the home schedule against the Kansas City Royals, things should start falling into place. Folks may say not to take a team such as KC lightly, that they made off season improvements. But remember that one of those improvements was signing first baseman Doug Mantkiewicz, and Met fans know what he (doesn’t) bring to the table.
The Metropolitans took 2 of 3 from the Washington Nationals to begin 2006, and minus one high fastball from closer Billy Wagner, would have swept the series. They then took two from the AAA-caliber Florida Marlins (one game rescheduled due to a rain-out.) Not an easy final game in getting a hard-fought win in a game their nemesis, Dontrelle Willis, started and pitched well. They scratched out a run in the bottom of the ninth versus the Marlins’ bullpen on a sacrifice fly by the aforementioned Wright, who had all three RBI’s in the 3-2 victory.
Where do both teams go from here? Well, that’s why they play the games. There will be many ups and downs along the way. Many calls to the sports talk hosts playing GM saying that Barry Zito and Roger Clemens are needed to salvage the season before it’s lost. I give it a week or two. Impatience is a virtue when you love our teams.