These aren’t the days of the Casey Stengel Mets, when the ‘Ol Professor wanted to prove to his former employer that turning 70 wasn’t the cardinal sin to show him the door.
Nor are these the days of the George Steinbrenner Yankees, who took every exhibition loss to the Mets much harder than a regular season loss to the Orioles or Blue Jays.
These days relations between the Mets and Yankees are rather cordial. Brian Cashman has a very good relationship with Omar Minaya and Brodie Van Wagenen, and the two clubs may share the same market, but are hardly the rivals the fans make them out to be.
So these last two exhibition games as a tune-up to this 60-game season is more something of convenience rather than the Mayor’s Trophy games of decades past.
And over the last two games, we saw these games for what they were, games that don’t count in the standings and were played like nothing was on the line.
Yes for those scoring at home – and frankly that’s where everyone was watching these games – the Yankees swept the home-and-home set with the Mets, 9-3 and 6-0. The Yankees look ready to go for Thursday’s opener in Washington, while the Mets still have some work to do.
And watching tonight’s game, made the cynic in me think the Mets lineup was in mid-season form as they managed only three hits in the Bronx tonight. Mets bats were as silent as the ballpark, while the Yankees thundered like the planes at LaGuardia with five homers tonight.
The good news for the Mets is that none of this counts and you worry about it today, mainly because it’s the only baseball anyone has seen in New York since last October.
So no need to ring the panic alarm yet. There will be a time in the next few weeks or month, but today is not it. The Yankees are the Yankees and look like one of the best teams in baseball. The Mets on the other hand need things to go their way to win.
However, the will be no “it’s early” part of this season and the Mets should use these last two games as a wakeup call, knowing how urgent this season will be. A couple of losses like this to Atlanta next weekend and the alarm will be rung and there will be no honeymoon for manager Luis Rojas, whp is already getting questioned by batting Robinson Cano third.
“The profile is there to hit in the middle, having done it so much before,” Rojas said of Cano. “He’s shown up in great shape and his bat is where I think we’ll all feel comfortable that he’s gonna deliver for us.”
Maybe it’s because he missed eight days of camp and Rojas wants him to get ready for the season or maybe he’s forced to do it, because Cano is Van Wagenen’s prized acquisition last year and a deal looking worse and worse on his resume.
Perhaps all of this changes in a week. We will see. The good news today was that Jacob deGrom looked healthy in a sim game is seems ready to go on Friday. Anyone on the Mets would trade two meaningless Yankee losses for that good news.
Now we have seen how the game is going to be played during the pandemic era. And even though it seemed kind of weird at times, it’s still baseball.
And it was better to have baseball back in action here in New York, even without fans in the stand and the piped in sounds.
It just felt right to have these games on.
Even if they were only exhibition.