Behold the power of spring training

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Moses Green is a longtime reader (and occasional proofreader) of mine.  He’s also a Mets fan, and had the opportunity to take in a Mets spring training game there the other day.  He waxed crazy-effusive:

Quick spring training note:  visited Port St. Lucie with a buddy while driving home to CT from Miami.  Got to the Mets-Nats game there at the Mets’ facility at 11 a.m. for a 1:05 p.m. start with the car and coolers all packed.  Tailgating you say?  Why no – sunscreen and straight in to watch batting practice.

I really just wanted to give you a quick rave about the Mets’ training facility down there – we were able to walk all around in between the various practice fields and watch an instructional league practice game in progress.  The game was poorly attended IMO, and I was hoping if nothing else you could pass this along to your followers:  If you’re a Mets fan with the financial resources and ability to go down there and stay for a week during spring training, you must do this.  I don’t even like the Mets and I had an amazing time.  I paid $20, got to do all that, and then sit 15 feet from David Wright during a baseball game.

I was really moved down there, just talking to people in bars and restaurants, reading the news, at just how hard Florida was hit by the Recession and how very little the Recovery has begun down there.  It occurred to me that there were a lot of parallels between Port St. Lucie and the Mets organization (and by extension, Mets fans) – you’re talking about an area and a team that have gone through really tough times lately, with more of the same on the horizon.  Visiting a beautiful spot and spending some tourist money in a stricken area to support your team seams like the perfect panacea for Port St. Lucie, the Mets, and Mets fans alike.

The Mets may not be great this year. The Treasure Coast economy may be even worse.  And, in my opinion anyway, Tradition Field probably falls near the low-end of the spring training facility rankings.  But the joint was spewing and inspiring optimism the other day, the way no place besides a spring training ballpark truly can. How can you not love that?

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Reds 10, Braves 4: The good news: the game went on despite the bad forecast I was worried about yesterday. The bad news: I still didn’t go because (a) I am still sick with the crap I had over the weekend; and (b) in light of that it didn’t seem like a great idea to take a 200-mile, drugged-up round trip with the possibility of sitting in rain delays and getting back home after midnight to see it. So, bad news: I missed my first big league game of the season. Good news: I took more NyQuil and went to bed at 9:30 and slept until after 6, so maybe I’m on the mend. Not that most of you care about that. What you do care about is that Atlanta jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then the wheels fell off with the Reds tying it up on a two-run Scott Schebler homer in the fifth and then scoring five in the sixth, with Jesse Winker‘s bases-loaded single putting them ahead for good. Schebler would later single in another run. Jim Riggleman gets his first win as Reds manager. The game was played in front of the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park in nine years — 9,463 — so maybe everyone else was home taking NyQuil too.

Yankees 14, Twins 1: Miguel Andujar homered and doubled, Giancarlo Stanton went 4-for-4 with a homer and Didi Gregorius hit a grand slam. Gleyber Torres got his first big league hit. Paul Molitor brought in outfielder Ryan LaMarre to pitch in the eighth and Tyler Austin hit a two-run homer off of him on his four-RBI night. One of them nights, I guess. Andujar is 15-for-29 with eight doubles, a triple and three home runs in his last seven games. That’s hot, my friends.

Indians 2, Orioles 1: Kevin Gausman pitched well — allowing only two runs on four hits over eight innings, including one inning in which he struck out the side in nine pitches — but Carlos Carrasco pitched better, allowing one run on six hits in seven and a third. Yonder Alonso‘s two-run homer in the second was Gausman’s only mistake, but it was a big enough mistake to give the Indians the win.

Athletics 9. Rangers 4: Marcus Semien led off the ninth inning with the game tied at 3. His homer gave the A’s the lead and his teammates piled on five more runs, all with two outs, off of Ranger relievers Kevin Jepsen and Jesse Chavez. Oakland has won seven of eight games and is now 12-11. Not bad for the consensus last place team in the AL West.

White Sox 10, Mariners 4: The White Sox had been losing badly and losing big of late, so putting up seven runs in the first two innings had to make them feel better, at least for one day. They started the game with seven straight hits. Jose Abreu hit two homers and had four hits in all, and six other Pale Hose had an RBI each. Yoan Moncada went 3-for-5 and scored three times.

Angels 2, Astros 0Tyler Skaggs tossed seven shutout innings and Justin Anderson and Keynan Middleton each blanked Houston for a frame to complete the shutout. A Kole Calhoun RBI single and a Justin Upton RBI double was all the scoring the Halos needed. The loss snapped Houston’s six-game winning streak.

Padres 13, Rockies 5: San Diego jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first but it was 4-4 after the bottom half of the inning. The Rockies scored once in the third but the Padres put up nine in the seventh, and that is usually too much to overcome, even in Coors Field. Carlos Asuaje homered and drove in four, Wil Myers had four hits and drove in two and Franchy Cordero, Cory Spangenberg and Matt Szczur each drove in a couple as well.

Dodgers 2, Marlins 1: Welcome to the big leagues, Walker Buehler. The Dodgers prospect made his big league debut and shut out the Marlins for five innings, striking out five while struggling a bit with his command. He didn’t get the win because Jaime Garcia was pretty stingy, allowing only one run over six, but Enrique Hernandez homered in the fourth and Cody Bellinger hit a sac fly in the eighth to give the Dodgers the win. The Dodgers remain hot, moving to 11-10 with their seventh win in eight games.

Giants 4, Nationals 2: The Giants beat the Nats thanks in part to a Mac Williamson two-run homer that flew 464 feet and another run he knocked in via a fielder’s choice. Buster Posey also singled in a run. All the Nats could muster on offense was a pair of sac flies. They were supposed to run away with the NL East but they’re in fourth place, 5.5 games out. It’s early, but no, that’s not what you want.