Opening Day…It’s Almost Here.

Collective Anticipation

This past Sunday at church, a dear friend excitedly shook my hand and simply said…”It’s almost here”. That was all that needed to be said. Opening Day is almost here. He happens to be a jubilant Cubs fan (He has carry over joy) and has waited patiently for the new campaign to begin. We all have the teams we live and die with, but as we approach baseball season, all that matters is that we are BASEBALL fans. We are all connected by the exuberance of Opening Day. As the season quickly fades into the first week, our focus will realign with our allegiance and our team fandom will matter again. But, right now, we head toward our special day as a baseball starved horde that needs the game to return.

Nothing Else Matters…Just Opening Day

  • Stress on the job…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • School got you down…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Car has the shakes…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Nor’easter Stella…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Significant other doesn’t quite get it…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Money woes…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Democrat…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Republican…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Other…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Email hacked…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Cracked phone screen…Opening Day…It’s almost here.
  • No phone screen…Opening Day…It’s almost here.
  • No Phone…Opening Day…It’s almost here.

    Opening Day

    My first Opening Day at Shea. It happened to be Tom Glavine’s first game as a Met. It went horribly wrong.

I always seem to come across the following excerpt of literary genius at the end of the baseball season when the chill rains come and we face the fall alone. Not this year. As baseball season approaches let us enjoy the part of the writing that references spring and summer because if we were to take a snapshot right now…that is where we are.

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”  (A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti)

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Matt Harvey and 2017

April 19, 2013

Do you remember where you were on the evening of April 19, 2013? I was taking part in my daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner. That was the same evening that Matt Harvey of the New York Mets faced off against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. The New York Mets won the highly anticipated game by a score of 7 to 1. On that evening Met fans chanted Harvey’s better! Harvey’s better! As Met fans, we were all in. We had a pitcher with confidence, heart, and attitude. I want to see fight in the ball players I cheer for. The ’86 Mets had it and we relished the effort. On the night of April 19, 2013, you could feel something extraordinary emanating from the Citifield mound.

Much has happened

That night seems so long ago. I am a Matt Harvey fan. I still get amped on “Harvey Day” but, of late, it is quickly tempered. What has occurred between April 19, 2013 and now is more than should happen to any young pitcher. Much of it, he can only blame himself but…. two major surgeries stand out. They reconstructed his pitching elbow and he had a RIB removed. Can we expect the Matt Harvey of that night four years ago? I don’t know. I want to believe he is giving himself every chance to be the best pitcher he can be.

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey–Bullpen

Matt Harvey

Harvey Day In Pittsburgh. The 7 Line Army invaded the upper deck.

Matt was involved in an innings count controversy leading up to the 2015 World Series run. He has said and done things that have effected his favor with Met fans. Some of what he has said has bothered me. I have concern for his ability to reconnect with Met fans. But it all comes down to his performance on the mound. His supporting cast of pitchers is unlike anything we have seen in a long time as Met fans. Matt can be a vital cog of the 2017 season by staying healthy and staying within himself. Does he need to throw 96-99 MPH? No. We have other fellows who will be taking care of that.

The 2017 Mets ball club needs a leader who can show toughness and confidence when the breaks are going against them during the long season. Matt is battle tested in so many ways and it is time for him to use all he has learned, in all areas, and put it together for his team.

Bart will be missed.

The entire pitching staff, including Matt, should be years ahead because of their time with Bartolo Colon.

Matt Harvey-Game 5

Game 5 of the 2015 World Series is an enigma. It hurts. So much happened during that game from, both, the players and coaches standpoint. Mistakes were made.

Matt Harvey in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

The one thing I will always choose to remember from that game is the FIGHT and WILL Matt Harvey showed on that night. It was a chilling performance for eight innings. I want to believe that is the Matt Harvey we will see in 2017.

Fashion models, fast cars, cigarettes, uncomfortable interviews, missed practices. It really doesn’t matter. For the next eight months Matt will be a pitcher for the New York Mets. Our New York Mets. If he does what he knows he can do and what we all think he can do, the results could be historic for the New York Mets as a franchise. When he is on the mound, I believe, there is not a more competitive player in the game. I choose to believe in Matt Harvey. He is a New York Met and I cheer for them.

New Casey Stengel Book Brings Insight and Laughs

Casey Stengel has been gone for over 40 years but thanks to Marty Appel’s latest work, “Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character”, (Penguin Random House-March 28, 2017) we have the opportunity to visit with a baseball icon and understand him on a very personal level.

Stengel had historic success as New York Yankee Manager. Pictured w/ Mickey Mantle.

Casey Stengel

On the cover of SI. He was the first manager of the New York Mets.

It is an in-depth and enjoyable ride that takes us from 1890’s Kansas City through his glory days in New York City which paved his way to Cooperstown.


Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel was so much more than a fine ballplayer and Hall of Fame manager. He was a successful banker, oil well investor, and speaker. We are privy to Casey when he was joyous and triumphant and we also see Casey when he was frustrated, distraught, and hurt. Our journey allows us to visit with him in the dugout, clubhouse, restaurants, hotel bars, and during transitional moments in his life. Casey and his relationships take center stage. Of special note are the New York Yankee beat writers that he called “my writers”.

Casey Stengel

With his wife, Edna. 1971

Casey Stengel was one of the most beloved and recognized man in baseball because his appeal was so broad. Advertisers were always eager to have Casey pitch their product. Men, women, children, young and old, everybody wanted to be around him. And that suited Casey just fine as he loved people and cultivating relationships. The relationships developed during his lifetime were brought to life in this book. We learn much about the man in the way he treated others. If you happened across Casey’s path, you would have a story to tell the rest of your life.

 A Baseball Lifer

“Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character” allows us to see Stengel as a man who was blessed with drive, determination, and a love for the game. Though well-known for his “Stengelese“, Marty reminds us that he should also be remembered as one of the great minds of the game. His professional career spanned from 1910 to 1965. His years as New York Yankee manager were legendary. Casey drew generation after generation to the ballpark with his baseball savvy, persona and charm.

1921 W551 Strip Card.

Casey Stengel

Statue in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It really does look like him.

There will be plenty of laughs and smiles, but you will be surprised by the broad swath of emotions that will churn as you delight in this book . Marty Appel worked for the Yankees for ten years and produced Yankee games on WPIX. It is a tremendous effort and will be available on March 28, 2017.

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