It’s April, it’s spring and it’s time for baseball

Vincent Davis | 4/1/2016, 9:46 a.m.
The New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals brought last year’s Major League Baseball season to a close.
New York Mets/Citi Field/baseball Wikipedia

The New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals brought last year’s Major League Baseball season to a close. Together again, they will open the new one. The Mets, who lost the 2015 World Series to the Royals in five games, will be the Royals’ 2016 opening day opponent in Kansas City Sunday, when the Royals will raise their World Series championship flag before the start of the game. If that’s not irritating enough for the Mets and their fans, the Royals will present their players with their championship rings before the start of Game 2 of the two-game home stand, scheduled for Tuesday.

Pitcher Matt Harvey is expected to start on opening day against the Royals, although he had a health scare concerning blood clots and a bladder infection earlier this week.

“When you heard the word clot, it can send some shivers through your skin,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “Fortunately, it worked out all right. He feels good.” Collins plans to ready Harvey for Sunday. “He’s got medical clearance to do whatever he has to do and he’ll be ready to go.”

The Mets will open up Citi Field to raise their fifth pennant in their franchise history next Friday, April 8, for a six-game, six-day home stand against the Philadelphia Phillies for the first three games and the Florida Marlins the next three.

There are several interesting trends, or dynamics, that will have to be played out this season. First, can the Royals, the defending champions who lost the World Series in seven games to the San Francisco Giants in 2014, repeat this year? And can the Mets at least defend their position as the National League champions?

The Giants are also in this equation. They’ve won the World Series every other year since 2010 (2012 and 2014). Will they be contenders this season? And what about the Chicago Cubs? The Cubs, who won seven more games than the Mets (97-65) last year, 2015, also beat them each of the seven times that they played during the regular season. Amazingly, Chicago was swept by the Mets, 4-0, in the National League Championship series. Will Chicago’s adjustments make them just as good, or better, during the regular season? What about the post season, October and November? And how can you talk about the Mets and not mention their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees, whose fans will not hesitate to remind you that they’ve won 27 World Series and 40 American League pennants over the years?

The Yankees, 87-75 last season, haven’t won a championship or pennant since beating the Phillies in the 2009 World Series. Their first chip since defeating the Mets in 2000. They lost a one-game Wild Card playoff to the Houston Astros last year and will start their new season Monday at home in the Bronx against the Astros—a three-game series.

The Yanks are starting the season off amid controversy. Nearly a million homes surrounding the New York City tristate area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, will not be able to watch their games on television because of a dispute between the Yankees’ YES Network and Comcast, the cable provider, over fees. YES, one of the most expensive channels on cable systems, is seeking to raise their fee from $5.36 per month to approximately $6.00 per month per subscriber.