Winter season is fast approaching. Soon, most Mets fans living in the New York metropolitan area will be dealing with bone-chilling temperatures, exorbitant heating bills and slush that chews up and spits out the best winter boots.
So this is as good a time as any to think warm thoughts. Think about palm trees swaying in the breeze as you achieve the perfect tan with a cool drink by your side on a pristine beach. If that’s not enough for your senses, how about a three-game series between the Mets and the Marlins?
According to an article by Joe Frisaro of mlb.com, the Mets might be heading down to Puerto Rico for the summer. The Marlins have confirmed that they are looking into playing a three-game series against the Mets in San Juan next season.
The most likely dates for Los Mets to take a road trip to San Juan would be June 28-30, which would be a Monday to Wednesday series. Although the Mets play two other road series against the Marlins, the four-game series in May would be an unlikely choice for relocation to Puerto Rico because the Marlins would be returning from a six-game road trip in Washington and Chicago, followed by a two-game series in Florida before leaving for St. Louis. Their frequent flyer miles would benefit from such a move, but the players would not.
The Mets also play a two-game series against Florida on September 21 and 22, but the brevity of the series and perhaps the proximity to the end of the season might eliminate these games as potential San Juan contests. That leaves the June series as the most likely option for relocation to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan.
If you recall, the Mets played a total of seven games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium from 2003-2004, when the Montreal Expos were using the stadium as their second home. The Mets were swept by Montreal in a four-game series there in 2003, but were able to win two out of three games against the Expos the following season.
Playing the games in June would certainly benefit Carlos Beltran, as the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy is set to open in July and these games would bring more exposure to the academy. However, the schedule shows that although this would be fine for Beltran, it might not be what’s best for the team.
The Mets are set to conclude a homestand on June 27 with an interleague day game against the Twins. If the series is moved to Puerto Rico, they’d have to travel to San Juan to play the very next night. After the series ends on June 30, the Mets would have to fly to Washington to play the Nationals on July 1, meaning the Mets wouldn’t get a day off between any of these series.
It’s good that Major League Baseball is trying to expand the game, but they need to plan this better so that these series aren’t detrimental to the players. No team wants to travel thousands of miles without days off. It’s unfair to the players and unfair to the fans who pay their way into the ballpark. The possible change of venue would tire out most players and these fans who don’t get to see major league baseball much should expect to see the players at their best, not at their groggiest.
Let’s hope the next time the Lords of Baseball decide to move games outside the continental United States, they either do it before the schedules are finalized or they pick teams that have days off to better prepare for such a trip.