The Good, Bad and Ugly of Baseball's First Weekend

The Mets are up and the Yanks are down after the first three games

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Duda and the Mets hit the ground running.

    Sometime in the first few days of every baseball season, we find ourselves in need of a reminder not to read too much into the first few beats of a season that lasts a really long time.

    After the endless offseason, it's hard not to get a little carried away by the return of baseball. That's true in a regular season, but it is especially true after the first weekend of the 2012 campaign thanks to the bizarro world results of the Mets and Yankees.

    The Mets are 3-0 to create a lot of smiles around a city that was fairly convinced that the best thing about this year was going to be the fact that it ended. The Yankees are 0-3 after a sweep at the hands of a Rays team that might just wind up being a much bigger thorn in their side than the Red Sox team that is finding out fried chicken and beer weren't the reason why the team collapsed last season.

    These things are likely to change over the next 159 games, but it's worth taking a moment to appreciate the strange wonderfulness of the first three contests. We'll do it by breaking out a format normally reserved for the football season and celebrating the good, bad and ugly of the first baseball weekend of 2012.

    GOOD: There are people who didn't think the Mets would sweep a series all season, let alone the opening series of the year, so it is something worth enjoying even as you acknowledge that they probably won't win 159 more games this season. The myriad problems with the franchise kept everyone from getting properly excited about this season, but three straight wins to open things makes it easier to feel good about baseball life.

    BAD: Andres Torres' injury was pretty much the only negative from the opening trio of games for the Mets and it is one that could be a negative even with Kirk Nieuwenhuis hitting the ground running. The Mets need someone getting on base at the top of the order and that person isn't clear if Torres is out.

    UGLY: There is nothing quite as soul-crushing as fan and media reaction to the Yankees losing a few games in a row. So far we've gotten questions about Mariano Rivera being done, allegations that Hiroki Kuroda can't pitch, lamentations about how George Steinbrenner would have never stood for this and assorted other nonsense born of the myopia of the entitled. 

    UGLY: That said, Joe Girardi had a seriously awful weekend that made it hard to believe he's getting paid to do the same job as Joe Maddon, who shifted his lineup and fielders to win every battle over the first three games. Girardi intentionally walked a hitter in the first inning of the first game of the season -- leading to a much deserved grand slam -- and then walked two more in the bottom of the ninth to help Rivera blow a save to give an emphatically negative answer to anyone wondering if more time in the job would make Girardi more comfortable doing it.

    GOOD: Jon Niese and Lucas Duda were both part of our wishlist for the 2012 season, so it made us feel pretty smart to see both men deliver right off the bat. Duda homered twice on Saturday and Niese became the latest Met to flirt with a no-hitter that will probably never come for a pitcher wearing that uniform.

    BAD: Blaming Girardi is fun and something you can do in just about every loss, but the Yankees could have made this weekend much easier on themselves if they got a couple more hits with runners on base. They were just 5-of-25 with runners in scoring position this weekend, numbers that make it easy to understand how they lost three times.

    GOOD: The Mets are celebrating their 50th anniversary by rolling prices back to 1962 levels on Wednesday. That means it'll be just $2.50 to see Johan Santana against Stephen Strasburg which would have been a bargain even if it took place in the Polo Grounds.

    GOOD: We're ending on a pair of high notes for the Yankees because, seriously, there's nothing to panic about in regard to this team. Enjoy the fact that the Red Sox are 0-3 as well and then take note of the fact that the last Yankee team to lose their first three games went on to win 114 of the next 159.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.