We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 baseball season… for some reason, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays get the honor of playing the very first game at 1:10 p.m. The marquee match-up of the day pits the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs against their St. Louis rivals at 8:35 p.m. (I doubt I will manage to stay up to watch the end of it.)
The game I’ve been looking forward to since Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets last October 5th will happen on Monday as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets kick off their 2017 campaigns. The Braves will be better as they begin their first year in a new stadium (let’s hope they’re still using it by the time the local taxpayers finish footing the bill.)
I’m whittling away the list of current and former Mets players who are not represented in my autographed baseball card collection. Recent additions to my collection have brought it down to 99.
Jerry Blevins – relief pitcher, 2015-present
To play to baseball’s fetish for filling bullpens with left-handed specialists, Mets GM Sandy Alderson traded outfield prospect Matt den Dekker to the Washington Nationals at the end of spring training in 2015 to get Jerry Blevins. He pitched just five innings in the major leagues that year, thanks to suffering a broken bone in his seventh appearance of the the season and then re-fracturing it when he slipped and fell in August. He was effective last season, but seemed miscast – given the opportunity, Blevins was generally effective against right-handed hitters as well as lefties. Time will tell how Terry Collins chooses to use Blevins in 2017. I purchased this rookie signature card for $2.15 from COMC.com.
Former New York Mets outfielder Lastings Milledge signed a contract to play for the Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers this season. While Milledge spent 115 games with New York, 171 with Pittsburgh, 145 with Washington and two with the Chicago White Sox, he played in 255 games for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.