Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Baseball is Back! - Sort of... [J. Mark English]

At least Spring Training baseball is back. Today the New York Mets take the field against the Detroit Tigers. Its a bitter sweet match-up since they should have played the Tigers in the World Series last year. Be that as it may, they will be on the grass, with sun out, and the hopes of spring at their back.

The New York Yankees will play their first exhibition game tomorrow at 1:15 pm against the Minnesota Twins.

Pretty soon we'll be talking about opening day, which right around the corner.

More on the Mets from Marty Noble:

The Mets wanted the World Series. Oh, how they wanted the World Series. And they weren't going to be choosey about it. Tell 'em where and when, and they'd show up. They didn't care about the "who" they said. And they knew the "why" of it.

"With the kind of season we had, the World Series was where we felt we belonged," Jose Valentin said.

Tucked away, though, the Mets did have a preference; unspoken as it was. No team ever publicly chooses a postseason opponent. It's not diplomatic, and the PC world in which the game now is played, tact ranks up there with a high OPS.

All that aside, the Mets favored playing the Tigers. Once the Yankees were eliminated and, to some degree, because it was the Tigers who ended the Yankees' season, the Mets wanted to play the American League team that captured the imagination of the country -- even if it didn't capture a division championship.

More on the Yankees from Bryan Hoch:

On a recent afternoon at Legends Field, Don Mattingly was perched behind the Yankees' batting cage as four of the team's top hitters ripped drives around the ballpark.

To the untrained eye, the swings looked crisp, tight and absolutely right. But not to Mattingly, who assembled the group behind the plate and broke down each swing with unfettered accuracy.

Lesson learned, Mattingly clapped his hands together and stretched out his arms as if to say, "See?" And as Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Doug Mientkiewicz and Alex Rodriguez nodded and scattered, another Mattingly mini-clinic was complete.

Mattingly may have been promoted to become Joe Torre's bench coach this season, ceding his duties as hitting coach to Kevin Long, but he can't resist the urge to chip in with a few pointers for his love of hitting.

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