Obama will not be at Opening Day

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In case you care about such things:

The White House and the Washington Nationals say President Barack Obama is skipping the season opener, despite a standing invitation for the first fan to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

What is there, a war on? Oh, yeah. Well, I suppose there is.

Look, I’m going to level with you: if I were President, most of my energy in the job would be to get free crap that no one else can get. I’d be throwing out first pitches to the point where teams would start feeling awkward and trying to make excuses for me not to come. I’d be calling command performances by bands who haven’t played together in years (“Well, Mr. Biafra, I don’t care if your spoken-word tour has sold out coffee shops all over the Pacific northwest. I want you, Ray and the others setting up in the Rose Garden and playing “Holiday in Cambodia” by Friday, or else you’re all getting audited”).

Maybe this isn’t the kind of president America wants. But it’s the kind of president America needs. Because life was a lot more fun back in the 90s when our nation was preoccupied with silly b.s. most of the time and fewer people were getting bombed.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.