For all the baseball history in New York City, something is happening on opening day 2013 that's never happened before: The New York Yankees and the New York Mets begin their seasons on the same day at the same time in their home stadiums, less than 10 miles apart from each other.
That factoid is according to Elias Sports Bureau, via a New York Times story that digs into the "scheduling quirk" that's happening April 1. First pitches are five minutes apart -- 1:05 p.m. for the Mets and 1:10 p.m. for the Yanks. Makes you wonder if anybody's going to be working in the city that day.
Two New York teams have opened their seasons at home on the same day before. The last time was in 1956, according to the Times story, but the circumstances were different. Back then, it was the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. There were three teams in NYC in those days, making it a bit more common.
Nowadays, baseball aims to avoid intracity scheduling conflicts:
“Nobody is particularly happy about it,” said Katy Feeney, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for scheduling and club relations. “But it’s unlikely to happen again anytime soon.”
Normally, the Yankees and the Mets do not play at home at the same time, on opening day or otherwise. There have been the occasional series when both have played in New York at the same time, including last season.
What's to blame for this opening day occurrence? Would you believe the All-Star Game, which is at the Mets' Citi Field this year?
The Mets-Yankees situation was also caused by a change in the date of the All-Star Game, which is normally the second Tuesday in July. This season it is scheduled for July 16, the third Tuesday of the month, and when every other factor was taken into account, the only way to make it all work was to have the Mets and the Yankees play at home on the same day, Feeney said.
That All-Star Game, always causing trouble.
If you're wondering: The Yankees play the rival Boston Red Sox on opening day, while the Mets face the San Diego Padres. Hardcore baseball fans, of course, will choose the two time-tested rivals as the better game. But there's a case to be made for watching the Mets play the Padres.
It is, after all, April Fools' Day.
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