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Mets-Braves deserving of the hype
Series much bigger than overblown Yankees-Red Sox matchup
Good morning, all. I hope your week is off to a great start.
As I put this latest edition of the newsletter together, I am watching the Mets-Braves game. This is the start of a big, three-game series in Atlanta, as the Mets try to cool the oncharging defending World Champions. This may not be the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry - although I think that rivalry receives more hype from the networks and internet than it deserves - but there is more at stake in this series.
Unlike the Yankees, who have a 14-game lead over the Red Sox, entering Monday night’s action, the first place Mets have watched their once 10 1/2-game lead over the Braves dwindle to 1 1/2 games. Of the Mets 76 remaining games (counting Monday), 15 are against the Braves, roughly 20 percent of their schedule. Throw in the fact Travis d’Arnaud, once a Mets’ catching prospect, is now the Braves backstop and is going to the All-Star game and ex-Met Robinson Cano was acquired by the Braves from San Diego Sunday night and started at second for the Braves on Monday, and you have a rivalry. And adding to the intrigue, the Mets are on the hook for most of Cano’s $24M salary this season. Essentially New York is paying Cano to beat them. Now that’s a rivalry worth talking about, because something is on the line.
Any of the rubbish coming from the networks last week, hyping Yankees-Red Sox, was just that, rubbish. Can the Red Sox make up 14 games on the Yankees (New York’s lead over them has been as much as 16)? Anything is possible. Pitching staffs have a tendancy to break down in the second-half, and the Yankees starting staff has been more durable than any club has a right to expect. But the hype on display over the weekend, was like trying to pass off a four-door sedan as a luxury SUV. Was Yankees-Red Sox fun this weekend? Sure. But the Yanks did what they had to do, split a four-game series in a tough environment at the end of a long road trip. The hype should be saved for when it matters, when something is on the line. For the moment, the real hype belongs down south, where the Mets and Braves are playing an important mid-season series, with the Phillies attempting to make it a three-team race. Now that’s something worthy of the hype.
Now that’s leverage
Next week’s All-Star game will be at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. A fine time to pull off a strike, if you’re the concession workers at that ballpark, wouldn’t you say? The union representing suite attendants, cooks, bartenders and dishwashers, numbering 1,500 servers, voted Sunday night to strike at anytime. It will be interesting to witness how this all turns out, but like in real estate and romance, timing is everything and it would seem timing is on the side of the union. And the way the billionaire-Dodgers throw money around, you cannot blame those who flip the hamburgers from trying to snag a better deal.
Does the Big East know about this?
Remember when UConn men’s basketball dominated the Big East? Then when football all but evaporated from the Big East, the school bolted to the AAC, only to return to the Big East when the football program deflated. Well with schools now switching conferences faster than I switch channels when I have the remote, new UConn coach Jim Mora is apparently pitching the ACC to his football recruits.
Mike Anthony, the award-winning writer for Hearst Media in Connecticut, quoted recruit wideout Jackson Harper as saying Mora told him his goal is to join the ACC in a few years. It might be a good idea to win a football game first but if anybody can promote brighter days ahead, it’s Mora, whose resume includes NFL head coach and big time college coach at UCLA, a school that is part of the conference switching carosel. Just imagine, though, what the Big East honchos are thinking, after they bent over backwards to welcome UConn back to the fold two years ago.
Well that is it for today. Thank you for subscribing to the newsletter, be safe and have a terrific week.