If I were to rank the biggest off-season week in the history of Shea Stadium, this past week would be number one.
I expected the Mets would try to steal some headlines from the Giants by introducing Johan Santana on Monday, but in reality, we all know you can't compete with a Super Bowl championship. So Monday and Tuesday were out, as far as the Mets were concerned.
But the Mets made the most out of the short week.
On Wednesday, it was cliche-o-rama, with Johan Santana, as the Mets introduced their new ace, who will wear number 57, and who knows the team will take it "one game at a time", and they're going out there "to have fun". You've heard it all before - everything he said had been said many, many times before.
As much as Johan was an unexpected surprise these past few weeks, the Mets made the big announcement I've been expecting for a long time -
Billy Joel will perform the last concert at Shea Stadium. It's not when I thought it would be - "Last Play at Shea" will be held on Wednesday, July 16th, which is the day after the All Star Game, which I keep forgetting will also be in New York (at Yankee Stadium). Tickets go on sale in a week - I have to be there. Everyone in my family will be on some sort of phone trying to get tickets....I guarantee it. I also guarantee that during the concert, Billy Joel will make some sort of reference to the previous acts who performed at Shea, including the Beatles, and will probably pay them homage by covering a number of different groups' songs.
The only thing that will make this year at Shea better is closing it down with a World Series championship. How great would it be if the National League is able to pull out the All Star Game win in Yankee Stadium, granting the Mets home field advantage in the World Series, against whoever, allowing the Mets to win a World Series at home, in the last game at Shea, in Game 6 or 7 of the World Series? (I'll answer my own question: It would be awesome, but I'm not getting ahead of myself....the past two years the World Series was my expectation, and we all know both years fell well short. And I sure would love a World Series sweep - if it takes the Mets winning it on the road, I'll be OK with that.)
BEDARD TO SEATTLE: You probably remember that Erik Bedard is one of my favorite players in baseball these days. You might be shocked by what I'm about to say. First of all, it seems like Seattle gave up an awful lot for him - 5 players in exchange for Bedard. He's very good - but even the Mets got Santana for less. (I know nothing about the prospects - but 5 for 1 is a deal for a special type of player...and I'm not sure that's Bedard.) Now, I like Bedard a lot. But I get a bad feeling about him now going to the American League West. Don't get me wrong -I'll be rooting for him, and I'm actually excited that every fifth day I'll have a reason to watch the 10pm games....but I'm not sure he'll have as much success as he did in Baltimore.
COMING SOON: This e-mail has prompted me to lay out a schedule for the next few days (it also includes a clever play on words involving the name of the blog):
Enough football and baseball. Where the heck is the five-part NASCAR preview to run under the headline 200 Miles (per hour) from the Citi?
Sincerely, Dave in Brighton"
First of all, it's just one part - but we're just two days away - it'll be posted Sunday night, a week ahead of the Daytona 500. Saturday will be a piece unrelated to any sport in particular, and then Monday night will begin about a month-long preview of the Mets. And pretty much all baseball all the time from there on out.