Category Archives: crucial series

CENTER STAGE TODAY – THE CUBS AND WRIGLEY FIELD

With no disrespect to the New York Mets and what promises to be an electric Citi Field,  the centerj of the baseball universe today has to be Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs. Opened in 1914, this venue (along with Fenway Park and the old Yankee Stadium) stands as a Mecca for baseball fans – including myself in 2009 – across America. Even today, after the “lights came on” few years ago, a Friday afternoon game at Wrigley is reason to leave work early and bask in the bleachers Sun on Addison Street.

For Cubs fans, today is also a day to bask in the setting sun of a 96 game winning season (the third best in baseball) and to welcome home a team that carries with them a hope and a prayer that this just might be the season when all doubts spanning numerous decades are cast aside – and a long awaited Championship comes to the Southside of Chicago.

Excitement and drama of this kind draws itself from a long history that dates back to 1876 when the Cubs became an original franchise of the National League. Interestingly, they were known in those days as the Chicago White Stockings (not to be confused with the White Sox), not taking the name of the Cubs until 1902. And yes, the last World Series won by the Cubs was in 1945 – a drought long enough to span the years of the team’s oldest fans.

But today, all that changes or it at least moves to the back of everyone’s mind as Jake Arietta takes the ball  to face the St. Louis Cardinals, a team much different from the Cubs. For while the Cubs field a team stacked with very young home grown talent, the Cardinals present a team of veterans who have a storied history behind them with the second most Championships (only the Yankees have more) to face the hottest pitcher in baseball today. 

It doesn’t get better than this. The steel beams erected more than a century ago will be rocking and shaking at Wrigley today. You couldn’t tell a better baseball story than the the one being played out in Chicago this afternoon.

 

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“MATT THE BRAT” – EPISODE THREE – THE TEAM MOVES ON – WITHOUT HIM

So, finally the real picture comes into focus. Matt Harvey took the mound last night facing the Nationals in a crucial game going 5.1 innings and giving up seven runs leaving the Mets with an almost impossible task ahead of them to win e game. And yet, they do exactly that….images-1win the game and increase their lead over the Nationals with Jacob DeGrom taking the hill tonight.

With the events of the past several days in mind, there’s a lesson to be learned for Met fans, but especially for Matt Harvey. It’s simple, the Mets don’t really need you.

They’ve got this. And no matter how far they carry this thing through the playoffs, last night they proved that they are a team that can win in spite of you. No doubt, the animosity towards you has waned in the clubhouse, as well it should because if not for the ill timed “advice” of Scott Boras, this would have been “just one of those starts” over the course of a long season. 

So again, this only proves (once again) that no one man is bigger than the TEAM when it comes to a winning formula. And despite the words and actions of Mr. Harvey, the Mets are gelling…..and it would be a good time for their self proclaimed star to climb aboard.

Tonight,the real ace of the staff Jacob DeGrom – (my opinion)  takes the mound and looks to cement the season for the Mets. Matt Harvey, take notice……..the New York stage is not quite yours yet.

“MATT THE BRAT” – EPISODE TWO – THE FLIP FLOP

I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up. Today, just one day after holding court in the Mets dugout with his woe is me act and indicating that he sided more with his agent than his team, Matt The Brat published one of those “I take it back” statements on Derek Jeter’s website (how ironic is that) telling all of Metland and baseball that all is well and “I’ll be pitching in October – no matter what”.

Except it does matter. In fact it matters a lot. They say that timing is everything. For the Mets, this Harvey/Boras fiasco couldn’t have come at a worse time. images-48Beginning today, the Mets begin a critical four game series against the Nationals – in Washington. Their lead has been cut to 4 games including the all important loss column by the (finally) resurgent Nats. Met fans are blinking and wondering…..is this the beginning of yet another late season collapse……..and if the team blinks……..it could easily happen.

For Terry Collins, who is fighting for his baseball life, everything hangs in the balance over the next few weeks. Like the Mets Brass, he has to be images-32images-23scratching his head and saying to himself……..”Do I/we really need this now, Matt?” (photo above). But in fact and being the man that he is, what he actually told Harvey is “Just go out there Tuesday night and pitch like you are capable of doing”. Significantly, it was also no coincidence that David Wright made a point of sitting with Harvey in the dugout during last night’s painful loss to the lowly Marlins.

In 2019, Matt Harvey will become a free agent entering the market with the potential to sign a Scherzer like contract at nearly 30 years of age. Hopefully, by that time owners and general managers will have come to their senses about long term contracts (Note: Scherzer is a mere .500 pitcher this year). Nevertheless, he will be in for a significant pay day. 

It can be said that the only thing holding Matt Harvey back from that is Matt Harvey. With fame that he seems to thrive on and fortune comes responsibility.

This is especially true in New York where the spotlight shines brightly. Sometime soon, he will need to grasp that concept and grow up and into it. He boldly associates himself with Derek Jeter every chance he gets….fine……no problem……but how about BEING like Derek…..and not the immature person you were when you thought it was funny to pose (below) giving the finger from your hospital bed. New York City doesn’t give itself away easily and that’s a lesson Mr. Harvey needs to learn quickly. His image already has been tarnished, but it is repairable IF he performs on the mound. Because with that (think Alex Rodriguez), New York can also be a very forgiving town.

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey

Note: In case you missed Episode One, here’s a link………

https://scontursi.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/matt-the-brat-a-big-pain-in-the-mets-brass/