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High Noon at RFK

Mike SteffanosTuesday, April 11, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Actually, the game starts at one, but this is an important test for the Mets, who need to establish that they can win more games on the road this year. It's also an important test for rookie pitcher Brian Bannister, who has drawn the unenviable position of facing the Nats in front of a home crowd that will be screaming for blood every time a pitch makes it into the same zip code as a Washington hitter.

As I stated yesterday, I believe that it is crucial for Bannister to continue to pitch inside and not back down to the Nationals or their fans. It's a tough spot for a rookie to be in, but obviously, the Mets have confidence in Brian Bannister. Win or lose, pitch well or get pounded, Bannister needs to step up and pitch inside to set the tone for this team.

Daily News: Beanball Wars
Peter Botte discusses the threat of continued bad blood between the Mets and Nats during the 3-game series at RFK. Botte quotes Julio Franco that the Nets are determined not to let this be a distraction:

I can only speak for this ballclub, but we won't allow ourselves to be distracted over them. We're here for a reason and we're going to keep our focus on winning ballgames. We don't want anybody on the ballclub to get into a brawl or get suspended or get hurt. We've got to focus on what we started in spring training, which is going to the World Series and winning.

New York Post: Mets need to pick up their game on the road
Mark Hale quotes Willie Randolph on the obvious fact that the Mets must improve on their 35-46 road record from last year to be a legitimate contender this year:

If you're going to be a team that's going to go to the next level, you have to play better on the road. That's the way it's been over the history of the game. Most teams struggle on the road unless you're one of the top echelon teams. We hope to pick it up a little bit more and win our share, so we can have that confidence going on the road.

NY Sports Day: Stadium Holdup
Joe McDonald does a good job of summarizing the problems the Mets are having with some City Council Members from Queens holding up the tax-exempt bonds for the new stadium in an effort to hold up the Mets for more money to their community. One thing Joe points out that doesn't really get talked about enough is the simple fact that the Mets were willing to stay in a run-down area of Queens, refusing to play the game of extracting concessions from a city or town in exchange for building there.

Of course, this means nothing to council members looking to bring home some spoils to their constituents. In the Daily News, Michael Saul quotes Councilman Hiram Monserrate on his outrage at being offered a measly $200,000 for local sports programs for kids:

Shame on them if they think that's okay! Shame on them! Our kids are worth more. They have not - double underline, exclamation point - they have not done enough for my community or for the borough of Queens, and they need to.

And I thought my ex knew how to overplay the drama...

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