Let me be the last to say, I am so happy we are in the month of March.
After a brutal month of February with the cold and the snow, we are inching closer and closer to spring. And with spring in mind, it brings up thoughts of baseball.
It is fascinating to look at the faces of the respective New York teams. For the Yankees, it is the return of Alex Rodriguez. He is a lightning rod in terms of interest. Either you love him or hate him, but he always draws a reaction. To steal a WWE term, A-Rod has "heat."
For the Mets, it is the return of their young dominant ace, Matt Harvey. He captured the imagination of this city and Major League Baseball in 2013. The only thing that overshadows his confidence, is his nasty fastball and pinpoint control.
When you look at both A-Rod and Harvey, it symbolizes the direction of both franchises as well. Alex Rodriguez: a once dominant player who captivated the imagination of the baseball fan across the country. That was the Yankees, as well. They were, at one point, a dominant franchise whose postseason trips could be counted on. In this city, it was death, taxes and Yankees October baseball.
That is no longer the case. After making the postseason in 17-of-18 years and winning five World Series', the Yankees have missed the playoffs the last two seasons. Both the Yankees and Rodriguez are flawed, for sure. But they need each other now more than ever. Rodriguez keeps the Yankees in the headlines and as of now, he is the biggest draw on a team made up of players whose best years are in the past.
The Mets meanwhile? They are hopeful. There is a belief that the Mets have the right pieces in place to improve off their 79-win season a year ago. They are hopeful that Harvey will help lead the way.
It is rare when a much hyped pitcher not only lives up to expectations, but exceeds them. Harvey is that cat. He has the swagger and confidence and the stuff to lead the Mets out of the darkness and into the light of relevance. Of course, the Mets have not had any sort of relevance in this city in six long years. Harvey looks to lead a staff with Zack Wheeler and JacobdeGrom into wild card contention in 2015.
Harvey represents change, plain and simple. Rodriguez represents dormancy. Two franchises in a baseball starved city that look like they are heading in opposite directions. The Mets will spend when they win. The Yankees continue to spend to try and win. The Yankees routinely celebrate past players and glories, handing out plaques and retiring numbers like it is going out of style. It makes sense to celebrate the past, when the future looks bleak.
On the other hand, the Mets barely recognize their past. Heck, they built a stadium that is a celebration of the Brooklyn Dodgers. But their future looks bright.
Built around transformative power arms, they have something that money can’t buy easily: promise and hope.