Friday, April 17, 2015

You're wrong, Michael Kay: Why the Yankees' struggles are not just about this year

Here we are, nine games into the season. The Yankees have gone 1-2 in each of its first three series of the year, putting them at 3-6 -- and in last place. Meanwhile, the Red Sox (6-3) and the Mets (7-3) are in first place. Yikes!

So Yankee GM Brian Cashman was doing damage control yesterday, giving multiple interviews to the media to set the subject of the reporters' off-day articles. I noticed in particular this comment to Newsday's Erik Boland:
 "We have fumbled, whether it's running the bases, defense, starting pitching, the bullpen," he said by phone. "All of it in some form or fashion has factored in the six losses."
How about hitting, Bri? Maybe the lack of hitting might have something to do with the sorry state of the team? You know, the thing that was an issue *last* year?

I also do find it hilarious that Cashman, who has used Alex Rodriguez as the bright shiny object to distract the media for years, is now doing his best to distract the media from bringing up the obvious: that the team's best all-around hitter is the 39-year-old DH with two bad hips who Cashman didn't want on the roster!

Then there is Michael Kay, who was battling with Yankee fans yesterday on Twitter, defending the team that he ultimately draws a paycheck from:
A Yankee fan who pointed out that the money for Robinson Cano could have easily been found by not signing Stephen Drew, Chris Capuano, and Chase Headley got this response:

To which I said:

Kay also criticized Yankee fans for being upset with the state of the team, since they won a World Series six years ago. He even brought up the Cubs in his argument!

Of course, Kay is framing this in the best possible way for the Yankees. One World Series championship in 14 years, with sky-high payroll and ticket prices, and the so-called Core Four in their prime. One World Series appearance in the last decade, the same as the Houston Astros. I broke down the numbers a few months ago, and they are not pretty.

Yes, it's only nine games this year. (But you know darn well that the Yankees were 8-1, Kay and Cashman would be crowing about it!)  However, this team was not improved from last year, with the exception of A-Rod's bat being back in the lineup. And last year's team was worse than the 2013 team, which also didn't make the playoffs. But if we groan about the Yankees, the team's TV broadcaster brings up numbers from the 1990s and the Cubs to try to shut people up, and sez Yankee fans are "disgraceful" for being concerned. Oh, please.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Same old, same old: Brian Cashman looks silly after getting ripped off (again) by Dave Dombrowski

The New York Post's Joel Sherman wrote an excellent column yesterday about how it looks like Yankees GM Brian (Fredo) Cashman was again "fleeced" by Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski. I have been banging this drum for years, and now Sherman is making his own noise in his Post column. He went through all the times that Dombrowski has gotten the better of Cashman, going back to when the Tigers GM was GM for the Florida Marlins, Here are the dopey things Cashman has done with Dombrowski as a trading partner:

  • Traded Mike Lowell to Florida and got nothing good in return.
  • Gave up Ted Lilly for Jeff Weaver.
  • Traded Gary Sheffield to Detroit and got nothing good in return.
  • Traded Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy for Curtis Granderson in a three-way deal. Detroit got Jackson and Max Scherzer in that deal. Granderson was good, but ultimately, the trade still favored Detroit.
  • Traded Shane Greene in a three-way deal for the immortal Didi Gregorius. 
Sherman points out that Greene has been great with Detroit -- in his first two starts, he went eight innings each time and has yet to give up an earned run. Meanwhile, Gregorius has been notorious -- notoriously awful, that is. Between the bad hitting, worse fielding, and dumb baserunning, he is a hot mess so far.

Also, as Sherman writes, Greene was very poised as a Yankee pitcher last year, while Didi seems overwhelmed by the New York spotlight. (And those knuckleheaded Yankee fans chanting "Der-ek Jet-er" at him aren't exactly helping!)

Granted, as Sherman notes, it is still very early. But geez, at a certain point, when does Cashman realize that Dombrowski owns him? Even fantasy baseball players eventually figure out which competitors will outsmart them!

I really hope Sherman's column is a sign of things to come with the New York media when it comes to Brian Cashman. They can't blame this season on injuries, and everybody important is healthy -- but just not very good. Except for Alex Rodriguez, that is. You know, they player they have tried to marginalize, ignore, and treat shoddily all year! So much for Cashman's baseball acumen. He really is the Fredo of GMs -- thinks he's smart, but isn't.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Here's how you can run in remembrance of a fallen firefighter -- and fellow Yankee fan

Lt. Gordon "Matt" Ambelas
Lt. Gordon "Matt" Ambelas was a New York City firefighter who lived in my Staten Island neighborhood. While I didn't know him personally, my friend Margaret did. In fact, she introduced him to his wife, Nanette. Margaret's husband is also a firefighter, and knew Matt from work. Margaret knew Nanette at the hospital the two women both worked at -- Margaret as a nurse, and Nanette as an ultrasound technician. Anyhow, Margaret played matchmaker, and Matt and Nanette fell in love, got married, and had two daughters. 

Sadly, Lt. Ambelas died in the line of duty on July 5, 2014 when searching for victims in a Coney Island apartment fire. (The apartment was inhabited by a hoarder who wasn't at home at the time, and apparently the place was piled so high with junk that it was hard to see if anyone was in there.)

Lt. Ambelas was a real hero. He worked at Ground Zero after 9/11, and he had also participated in multiple rescues over the years. In fact, he had recently been honored for saving a young boy's life who was trapped in a metal gate. 

He was also a family man who cherished his wife and children. And in his spare time, he was a big Yankees and Jets fan.

In honor of Lt. Ambelas' life, Margaret has organized Matt's Race, a 5K in honor of his life. The race is happening this Sunday, April 19 at 10 a.m. in Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island. 

The Staten Island Athletic Club -- the running club Margaret and I belong to -- is co-sponsoring the event, along with the FDNY's Engine 161/Ladder 81 and Engine 211/Ladder 119. The pre-entry race fee is $20. It is $25 if you pay on the day of the race. And the money raised from Matt's Race will go to help the FDNY Widows and Children Fund. Also, there will be awards given to runners in a variety of age categories. Click here for a race application. 

Anyhow, I don't know how many of our readers are runners, but it would be great if some fellow Yankee fans could run the race Sunday in honor of our fellow Yankee fan. If you can't run, walk the race! Also, I would appreciate it if you could please share this post with your friends, to let them know about the race.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Back in the New York Groove: Trying out the Verizon Ellipsis 8 tablet at the Mets' Opening Day

Last week, Squawker Jon and I received an invitation from the good folks at Verizon for one of us to attend the Mets home opener at Citi Field, and try out one of their new products -- a tablet computer.  But since Jon was unable to attend, I went behind enemy lines to go to the game! I got to sit in one of the ballpark's suites, had free food and adult beverages, and got to watch baseball on a beautiful day. I also am getting to try out Verizon's Ellipsis 8 tablet for the next few weeks, which is pretty cool in and of itself.
We were in Verizon's suite, which is one of the swanky Sterling Suites. 

The ballpark at about noon.
So I put on my Citi Field All-Star Game shirt (I bought it after that game in honor of Mariano Rivera's farewell at the event!) and showed up at Shea Citi Field. I wanted to pull a Superman and wear a Yankee shirt under a buttoned shirt, but Squawker Jon thought that would be bad form!

Also, I have Verizon FIOS at home, and am very happy with them, so I was eager to try this tablet. And I used the tablet to take these pictures during the game, and I also have some observations about the Mets (and the Ellipsis 8) to share:

Best gift bag gift ever!
And yes, that is Matt Harvey's autograph!
Given that the Mets' seasons for this decade have been like this famous Family Guy joke -- "Here's the first pitch/And the season's over" -- today's game has to be a thrill for Mets fans. They drew their biggest crowd ever at Citi Field.

And even this Yankee fan can notice that there is a real buzz going on with the Mets this year. I remember what it was like in the mid 1980s, when the Yankees were on the decline, and the Mets were on the rise. History may be repeating itself. Mets fans are getting their swagger back.

Anyhow, I joined bloggers from Mets Chronicle and Mets Merized Online at the game, and we met some very nice people from Verizon, who showed me cool features on the tablet.

The suite was just to the left of home plate, and was pretty plush. Being in a suite really is the sweet life. There is a Mets employee who waits on you hand and foot, bringing you your drinks and catering to your needs.

The food was pretty tasty -- Pat LaFrieda's grilled skirt steak with salsa verde, chicken tenders with dipping sauce, Pat LaFrieda cheeseburger sliders, and two types of French fries. We also got cookies for dessert.

And we each got a Verizon backpack, which contained a Mets cap, some Verizon promotional items, Big League Chew, and an autographed Matt Harvey baseball! I couldn't believe it when I saw that in the bag! (Squawker Jon has already claimed the Harvey ball as his price for letting me have the ticket.)

The weather was beautiful, and it was exciting to see all the Opening Day to-do. We got to see the new big screen scoreboard, and watch and hear all the intros. The Phillies who got the loudest boos were Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Jonathan Papelbon (I joined in the boos for him!)
Pat LaFrieda cheeseburger sliders and fries
The seat I had was phenomenal!

The Grandyman is one of the photos on the walls outside the suite.

Matt Harvey, of course, was the Met who got the biggest ovation, with David Wright a close second. Harvey, of course, is full of swagger, and makes the Mets more exciting than they have been in years. Jacob deGrom showed why he won Rookie of the Year with his excellent pitching.

The 7 Line Army was out in full force in center field, and they even did a roll call for Mets players! (Speaking of them, do you know they have bought three sections of seats in Yankee Stadium for the Subway Series? Crazy!)

There was also a touching tribute before the game to the two NYPD officers who were slain, which had me teary-eyed. Very moving.

I hadn't been to an Opening Day for any team in many years. The last time I tried to go, in April 2004, for the Yankees home opener, I got stuck in traffic so bad that I literally never got to the game! So it was fun to be at an Opening Day, even if it wasn't for my team!

During the game, Edgardo Alfonzo came by to say hello and pose for pictures. So I met him and got an autographed baseball from him. Very nice guy -- looks like he is still young enough to play!

Shocker! I was caught hobnobbing with Mr. Met!
But don't worry. I am still a Yankee fan!
I also got to hang out with  Mr. Met. Longtime Squawkers fans know about the soft spot I have for mascots -- when I ran the All-Star 5K, I made sure I high-fived the mascots when I saw them at the starting line. And I once jumped off a food line at Shea Stadium when I spotted Mr. Met, so I was very excited to see him today, and to get my picture taken with him (and shake his hand!) Don't judge. (Although some of my Facebook friends have!)

The crowd stayed to the end, and seemed pretty excited. It seemed like people were even singing for Billy Joel's "Piano Man." After the Mets won, the PA system played "Back in the New York Groove" song.

After the game, I saw the SNY booth, and fans standing around and watching the broadcasters. I also spotted Coffee the dog again, posing for photos with Mets fans.

Throughout the game, I used the tablet to take pictures. The Verizon Ellipsis 8 is a pretty cool tablet. I am a power user of portable electronics, and I have at least a 90-minute commute each way to and from Manhattan for my day job. So I have used an iPhone, and iPad, and a Kindle to kill time. I have to say that I think the Ellipsis 8 tablet is perfect for commuting. It is a good size -- bigger than a smartphone, but smaller than an iPad.

The Verizon Ellipsis 8 --
it is an ideal tablet for surfing the web
during a long commute!
The Verizon 4G LTE is pretty fast, and you can connect almost anywhere. Also, the battery life is much better than my iPhone, which can run out of juice just going from Manhattan to Staten Island! I get to use the tablet on loan for the next few weeks, and I am really going to be sad to see it go -- it is very easy to figure out how to use, even without reading the directions!

In all, it was a pretty cool day. Thanks to Verizon for a memorable time! There is a real feel of what Pat Riley calls "the innocent climb" -- you can feel that this Mets team is getting fans excited, and could be really something. When Mets fans become completely insufferable again, though, I will know that the Mets are for real! (Although Squawker Jon is always kind of insufferable!)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pay the man: Why the Yankees will have to pay out A-Rod's milestones

I think it is hilarious, in a way, that the Yankees are so dead set against paying out Alex Rodriguez's milestones in the contract that they signed, that they don't want to see that he is about the only interesting thing going in Yankeeland these days. Oh, and by the way, he can still play well, which is more than I say for some of their other high-paid players.

Five games in, not only have the 2015 Yankees been playing miserably so far (so much for that great defense, eh?) but they are a snoozer of a team, especially against the Red Sox. Yes, I know it's early, and perhaps their bats will get better, but they just aren't very compelling to watch. Brett Gardner -- nice player. Very good player. Not a superstar, as Fred Wilpon would say. A-Rod is pretty much their only compelling personality.

Anyhow, the New York Daily News' Bill Madden, the court stenographer for the Yankee front office, announced the other day that the Yankees still intend on fighting paying him any of the $30 million in milestone money that they owe him. Not the $6M for tying Willie Mays, nothing -- they intend on fighting all of it.

Madden, who once claimed that A-Rod would never play again (click for a list of his many wrong-headed predictions), writes:
According to a source familiar with the agreement, signed in 2007 after Rodriguez agreed to re-up with the Yankees, it is up to the club to declare A-Rod’s accomplishments “milestones,” which they will not do. “They say the records are tainted,” the source said, “and therefore they’re not milestones that can be marketed.”
Madden then writes about how A-Rod could take the issue to arbitration, but thinks he would not want to:
According to the source, the Yankees would then have to show an arbitrator they acted in good faith in declining to pay the bonuses. The timing of a hearing would be up to Rodriguez and the union, although it is unlikely they would want to schedule it in the middle of the season. “The steroids stuff will all come up again,” said the source. “It’s doubtful he wants that.”
First of all, I would like to see the actual wording of this contract. I don't think the Yankees can unilaterally decide something is or isn't a milestone. After all, MLB, unlike college football, doesn't erase milestones. Whatever you think of Barry Bonds, he holds the all-time home run record.

Second, the players' union will fight hard here, due to the precedent involved. Look at how Angels' owner Arte Moreno is licking his chops, hoping to void Josh Hamilton's contract because the most famous MLB recovering drug addict of all time had a relapse. Think the players' union wants to have the Yankees win here? No way.

Third, about the person who told Madden: “The steroids stuff will all come up again,” said the source. “It’s doubtful he wants that.” If Madden actually were still a journalist, and not that court stenographer for the Yankees, he would think about who has more to lose here: A-Rod or the Yankees.

Everybody knows what A-Rod did. Heck, his steroid habits have been written endlessly in books and newspapers. But what we still don't know for sure is how much the Yankees knew about Rodriguez juicing. What if Rodriguez has evidence that they knew (and given that his alleged nickname in early years was b*tch t*ts, and given how many juicers the team had over the years, it's pretty clear they knew the signs of a PED user)? How are they going to explain that?

Fourth, I would like to know what the t-shirt sales for A-Rod are like. How does he rank this year compared to the rest of the team? How many of the #Forg1v3 shirts has Bald Vinny sold? When Rodriguez gets close to 660, will ticket sales and ratings increase? All of these things can and will be used when it comes to talking about how the Yankees can market A-Rod's homer milestones.

I noticed that the New York Times wrote a less inflammatory article on the issue, issuing what appeared to be a trial balloon of having MLB step in and negotiate a settlement, with having A-Rod make some sort of donation to charity with at least some of the money. To which I say, it's Alex's money, fair and square. Pay the man, Yankees, and be done with it.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Boston strong: My thoughts on the Boston Marathon bombing verdict

Two years ago this month, Squawker Jon and I were at Citi Field to see Matt Harvey vs. Stephen Strasburg face off (read Jon's recap here.) During the game, the ballpark was abuzz not just by Harvey dominating the game, but by the news that the second Boston Marathon suspect had been caught. We chanted "USA! USA!" along with the crowd over the news.

The Mets' PA system played Boston-themed songs between innings, which I was fine with but I drew the line at the "Sweet Caroline" singalong! Here's a clip from of the reactions around MLB ballparks to the news:

At that game, Mets fans also chanted "Harvey's better" after he beat Strasburg. Two years later, in his first MLB game after Tommy John surgery, Harvey beat Strabsurg again, and Mets fans in Washington got to chant "Harvey's better" one more time.

And two years later, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect caught that night, was found guilty of all 30 charges against him related to his part in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Despite my hatred for the Red Sox and the Patriots, I am totally Boston strong when it comes to this issue. The one time in my life I ever cheered for David Ortiz was when he gave the "this is our bleeping city" speech.

Also, the summer after the 2013 marathon, I got into running, so I feel even more solidarity on this. I never experienced road races before this bombing, so I am only used to the security measures in place now at New York Road Runners races and elsewhere -- the clear bags for personal possessions, the barriers at the finish line, etc. Jon was waiting for me at the end of a Central Park road race, and when he went to talk to me, security kept him away. That is the world we live in, thanks to this terrorist's mayhem.

And I am very much in favor of Tsaranev paying the ultimate price -- the death penalty -- for his monstrous act. After moving to the U.S. when he was a child, the murderer and his family received six figures worth of public assistance. And this is how he repaid the country and city that gave him all that, and let him become a U.S. citizen. He killed four and maimed over 250 people, and he needs to pay for what he did.

I really don't care whether his older brother did more planning or not. Dzhokhar is just as guilty, in my mind. They say that with Columbine, one of the killers was more of the mastermind than the other. But they both fully participated in mass murder, so they were both equally culpable.

Some well-meaning people say that keeping Dzhokhar alive, with the knowledge of what he did, is more punishment. I completely disagree. Somebody with a conscience may be burdened by this horrific acts. But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a sociopath. Not only did he plant a bomb at the marathon site where he knew little children were -- look at this photo of where he was in relation to the Richard family, but 23 minutes after the bombing, the biggest thought in his mind was not the magnitude of the Boston Marathon bombing, but what type of milk to buy at Whole Foods. Watch this video and tell me that this is somebody who would care about the suffering he caused.

I believe the death penalty should be reserved for truly monstrous acts, and I think what Tsaranev did at the Boston Marathon fits the bill. Also, if he lives, not only will he be in protective custody, but he will have his Free Jahar groupies as comfort to send him money and presents and treat him like a rock star. That can't be allowed to happen.

In closing, let me tip my Yankee cap to the people of Boston, and send my best wishes to those still suffering aftereffects from the bombing. As a Red Sox fan told me earlier this week, "Let's hope the only violence our cities see is the Sox and Yanks battling on the field!"

Contest: Rabble.TV giving you free jersey, alternative to Joe Buck

Squawker readers know how much certain baseball broadcasters drive me nuts. Now there is a solution to this issue: Rabble.TV. And to let our readers know about their new service, where you can mute the broadcasters and do your own squawking instead. Read on to learn about Rabble.TV and how you can win a free Yankees or Mets jersey!

 Know what’s pretty annoying? When the Yankees or Mets are the Fox National Game of the Week and we’re stuck with Joe Buck.

No more, baseball fans! Rabble.TV just launched its live audio streaming service and iOS app to give you alternative ways to listen to Yankees and Mets games this year. The games are broadcast by fellow passionate and (gasp!) knowledgeable fans just like you.

What’s even better is you can finally prove you’re better than Mr. Buck by broadcasting and commenting on games yourself. Having friends over during the games? Rabble.TV lets all of you comment, joke, jeer, and jest (think Mystery Science Theater 3000 for baseball).

So to celebrate Rabble’s launch and another season of Yanks and Mets baseball, we’re partnering with them to give one lucky fan a sweet jersey. The winner will get to choose any jersey priced at $79.95 or lower, including this sweet Doc Gooden throwback. (Jersey and sizes subject to availability on Fanatics.)

Here’s How to Enter to Win Your Free Jersey:

·         In the comments section below, give us your favorite, funniest, or most memorable Yankees or Mets opening day memory
·         We’ll select the best comment and contact the winner after Monday, April 13
·         Comments must be submitted by 11:59 ET on Sunday, April 12th

About Rabble.TV
·         Broadcast live Yankees and Mets games to listeners all over the world
·         Listen to passionate and humorous fan-created commentary on any TV show or sporting event
·         iOS mobile companion app lets baseball fans listen to games from anywhere, including those typically blacked out in your local market

·         You don’t need to audition for a broadcasting spot – just sign up and start Rabbling today

Is Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay the most picky eater of all time?

ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike were talking yesterday about people with weird eating habits. For example, when Mel Kiper Jr. eats pizza, he takes the cheese off it. So naturally, they had to bring Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay, a notoriously picky eater, into the discussion.

One of my brothers is a picky eater as well. He is a meat and potatoes (and barbecue) kind of guy, and won't eat much of anything else. But he looks like Anthony Bourdain compared to Michael Kay!

We have discussed Kay's limited palate here before. In fact, my most-read Subway Squawkers blog post ever is about Kay's food weirdness. One example from that article: when Kay and his wife Jodi Applegate went on a trip to Italy, they went on a hunt for chicken parmigiana, one of the few foods Kay will eat. (Chicken parm is not an authentic Italian meal; it is an Americanized version of Italian food.) Kay ended up losing weight on the trip, making him pretty much the only person to come home thinner after a trip to Italy. (An aside: my picky eater brother pretty much only ate pizza when he visited Italy!)

But that is just the beginning of Kay's food weirdness. As he told Mike and Mike, Kay has never eaten a condiment, or a banana, or fish, or an egg. (I hate eggs myself -- I find the smell and taste nauseating. But at least I have tried them!) He mostly eats steak and chicken, and will also eat bacon. He has never had a cup of coffee, although he does like the smell.

Kay will not eat salad dressing, or tomatoes, but will eat plain iceberg lettuce. (Boring!) If he eats a caprese salad, we will not eat the tomatoes, so he is basically eating a mozzarella salad. Since he is avoiding carbs, if he eats pizza, he skips the bread, and only eats the cheese, making him a perfect person to hang out with Kiper!

When Mike and Mike asked him why he wouldn't even try these things, he responded: "I've never really tried dog poop, and I know I won't like that." Huh? Not even the same thing at all. Except for eggs. Eggs are awful.

Also, while wife Jodi is a bit of a foodie and likes to try new restaurants, Kay doesn't. However, he does claim he can find food at any eatery, since "every restaurant has steak." First of all, that isn't really true. Second, steak at a diner or at one of those all-you-can eat buffet steakhouses is not exactly the same as steak at Peter Luger or at Smith and Wollensky. Quality counts, too!

After hearing all these food rules, Mike Greenberg dubbed Kay “the Babe Ruth of eating quirkiness.” And that was without even hearing about how Kay won't eat soup. He hates the slurping sound. Kay insisted that he wasn't OCD, though; just "quirky" about food.

Hmmmm. Given Kay's food hangups,  I wonder if he is the one behind the lousy food choices at Yankee Stadium. Would make about as much sense as anything else!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Generation BC: Bartolo Colon aces the opener

The Yankees are supposed to be the old team (first eight players in yesterday’s lineup were over 30), while the Mets have been rebuilding around young pitching. But it was soon to be 42-year-old Bartolo Colon who justified the Mets' controversial choice to make him the Opening Day starter.  Colon allowed three hits and one run in six innings, striking out eight, to lead the Mets over $210 million Max Scherzer and the heavy division favorite Nationals, 3-1.

In the sixth inning, it looked as if it might be an inauspicious opening day, since Scherzer had a no-hitter going. Imagine how Texas Ranger fans feel today, with Oakland's Sonny Gray taking a no-hitter into the eighth yesterday and winning, 8-0. But the Mets had Colon, and the Nationals had shortstop Ian Desmond making two errors that led to three unearned runs.

Imagine that - a shortstop helps blow the game with two errors and it wasn't Wilmer Flores. 

Adding to the age theme, the second-oldest pitcher on the Mets' roster, 37-year-old Buddy Carlyle, got the save. But Carlyle was only pressed into action because Jenrry Mejia was unavailable after feeling tightness in his right elbow. Mejia is getting an MRI today.  

Last year, Bobby Parnell blew the save on Opening Day, then was found to need Tommy John surgery and was done for the year.  Let's hope losing your closer to TJ on Opening Day is not becoming a new Mets' trend.  And considering that Mejia already had the surgery in 2011, the odds of him making a Harvey-like return would not be so good. 

At least the Mets' bullpen is in much better shape than it was a year ago. Last year, when the Mets lost their closer, they had to turn to Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth.

Speaking of the Mets' revamped bullpen, new Met Jerry Blevins pitched against the Mets in last year's opener and gave up a home run to David Wright.

Yesterday was a great day, but the Mejia situation puts a cloud over it. And if the worst fears are confirmed, the Mets will need to start trying to figure out why, even though TJ surgery is widespread these days, the Mets have far more cases than most other teams.

At least, Squawker Lisa, the Mets were not trotting out an Opening Day starter with a partially torn UCL who admits to reduced velocity.  What could possibly go wrong?

A rant: Why is Yankee Stadium ballpark food so bad, and Citi Field ballpark food so good?

We are now in Year 7 of new ballparks for the Yankees and Mets. The food at Citi Field, which was impressive to begin with -- Shake Shake, Blue Smoke, Catch of the Day, Box Frites, and El Verano Taqueria -- has gotten even better over the years, with new offerings each season. You can eat like a king at Citi Field, even if you are sitting in the cheap seats. 

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, they might as well serve soylent green, giving how awful the food choices are. Lobel's, which with its steak sandwich used to have one of the few edible choices in the ballpark, has really gone downhill. I got food poisoning from the sushi stand a few years back, so that's out. Parm is good, but they are hard to find if you don't know where they are. Brother Jimmy's is no Blue Smoke, and Johnny Rockets is no Shake Shack, and both places are known more for their restaurants' atmosphere than their food, anyway. I am not six years old, so the nacho helmet and unlimited popcorn bucket hold no appeal for me.

Fried macaroni and cheese on a burger? Disgusting.
Of course, if you are in the Yankees' Legends seats, you can eat like a king there, with the unlimited crab legs, shrimp, prime rib, and celebrity chefs. (A telling anecdote: the one time Squawker Jon and I got to sit in the Legends seats, we met guest chef Frank Pellegrino of Rao's and got to eat his great food. Yet Mets fans can now get to eat Rao's food without having to have the fanciest seats in the ballpark -- most seats are eligible to get into the Caesars Club where the stand is.)

New York City is the food capital of the world. Squawker Jon and I have been to many great eateries in the city over the years. I recently even got to meet Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson at the opening of his new rotisserie chicken place, Streetbird. So how is that the Mets can get so many big names in the food world -- Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, Josh Capon, Pat LaFreida, Dave Pasternack -- while the Yankees serve up swill like this horrible-looking "Bases Loaded Burger"? This abomination has fried macaroni and cheese on it. How thoroughly disgusting. Not to mention that the sandwich would be too unwieldy and messy to eat, unless they start handing out bibs like they do at lobster joints.

To add insult to injury, in New York City, a place famous for great pizza, the Mets have Two Boots pizza -- a fun choice -- while Yankees have Papa John's stands. Really? In a city with Lombardi's, Roberta's, Denino's, and a gazillion other pizza choices, they get Papa John's? What, Domino's wasn't available?

Meanwhile, Mets fans get delicious-looking items like these Rao's lemon chicken wings. The Mets folks do a great job at continually improving their food and drink choices (you can even get a Patron margarita at Citi Field!), while the Yankees seem content to serve up overpriced garbage and a lame beer selection.
Rao's lemon chicken wings look much more tasty. 

Aside from all the great restauranteurs in New York, there are so many food stand folks making interesting food these days. From Smorgasburg to Eataly to Hudson Eats to Le District to Berg'n to Madison Square Eats to all of the food trucks around, you can eat terrific food choices in the city made at food stands. You really would have to try to deliberately find bad food outlets to come up with the swill at Yankee Stadium.

Every time I write on this subject, people tell me I should bring in my own food to Yankee games. But why should I have to? Why can't the powers that be at Yankee Stadium get some decent food stands so that the masses, and not just the rich people, can have the choices that Mets fans do? 

A recent development sums up the contempt that Randy Levine et al have for us typical Yankee fans. There is now an app for your phone at Yankee Stadium, where you can order food to be delivered to your seat, a feature the Legends seats have had for years. But the app reportedly doesn't deliver food to the 400 level seats (the upper deck "cheap seats.") Figures.