As a diehard Met fan, like everyone knows that I am, Thursday provided a little slice of life.
The sun was shining, even though the weather reports said it was cold and raining.
The birds were chirping, even though none were spotted.
The coffee was piping hot, smelled good and tasted even better _ and I don't even drink coffee.
The world was right again, because Matt Harvey took the mound for the Mets. It was Harvey Day and our ace pitcher didn't disappoint, throwing six shutout innings, striking out nine, helping the Mets get a huge win over Steven Strasberg and the dreaded Washington Nationals.
Harvey hadn't taken the mound for the Mets in 19 long months. During that time, it was nice to see the development of Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler (now hurt) and watch the effectiveness of the ageless beauty Bartolo Colon.
But they weren't the ace of the Mets' staff. Harvey always had that distinction, much like Tom Seaver did in the 1960s and 70s and Doc Gooden did in the 1980s. To an extent, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana had it briefly.
When those aforementioned pitchers took the hill, you knew the Mets had a good chance of winning. The world stopped spinning on its axis when Tom Terrific had the baseball in his hand and he was dragging that right leg, getting that knee dirty. Everything was just fine in 1985, when Gooden was high kicking and unleashing his Lord Charles curveball to the tune of 24-4.
That year, regardless of whatever you were doing, you stopped to watch Doc perform. Nothing else mattered. If you were out and about, you made sure you got home to see Gooden. Perhaps you even went to Shea to be part of the "K Corner." But the world was just fine when Doc had the baseball.
That's the way Thursday felt when Harvey made his triumphant return to the hill and pitched like he was never gone. Sure, there were some brief struggles early on, but the bottom line was six scoreless innings and a win over the divisional rival.
There was this sense of relief, like a boulder was lifted off my back. We had an ace again, that sense of security that comes when the ace takes the mound. It makes everything in the world right again.
Yes, it was indeed a happy Harvey Day and we'll get another Harvey Day in five days. And then five days after that. Because he's our ace, our No. 1, our king of the hill.
Matt Harvey is back and that makes everything right.
I don't understand all the fuss that was made about Tiger Woods making his return at the Masters.
After all, he is Tiger Woods. He's won that tournament and the green jacket that comes with it four times. He's an absolute icon in the sport, despite what his status is now.
So what's all the hubbub about him making his return to competitive golf in Augusta? Doesn't he deserve the opportunity to do whatever he pleases?
I have always been fascinated with the way the general public treats Tiger. You either like him or you totally despise him.
I know he's had a tough go of it over the last five years or so, both off the course (mostly) and on it. His off-the-course perception has taken a giant hit because of all his indiscretions and affairs. There was a time when you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing Tiger endorsing some product or another. Those days are gone. There are no more Tiger commercials. Frankly, he did that to himself and is paying the price.
But if he wants to step away for a month because he doesn't feel like he could be competitive, that's his right. If he wants to come back and play Augusta and spent the par-3 tournament with his kids as his caddie, that's his right as well.
With the umpteen tournaments and the many majors that he's won, Tiger has earned that right to do what he wants.
And if he wants to play middle-of-the-road golf and battle to make the cut at Augusta, that's his right as well.
His resume on the course speaks for itself.
Woods has been an absolutely spectacular personality since his days as a toddler swinging for Mike Douglas. He will always continue to dominate our attention because of his once-impeccable popularity. The game of golf frankly owes a lot to Tiger Woods, because he helped in a way to save the sport and in fact make it more accessible to others.
Throw out what he did off the course. He's still paying the fiddler for those mistakes.
But as a golfer and golfer alone, Tiger Woods has earned the right to play in whatever tournament he likes at whatever level he achieves. If he's not the same brilliant golfer, then so be it. But he should be allowed to play the Masters, a place where he once dominated, if he so chooses.
And who are we, the outsiders, to judge that right?
The winter weather was absolutely unbearable and simply won't end. The car thermometer read 43 degrees when I returned home from physical therapy at lunch time. And yes, it's April 10. Ridiculous.
With that in mind, it's time for the NJSIAA to seriously consider pushing the spring season's opening day back to April 15 from April 1, where it now stands.
It simply makes no sense to have teenaged kids out in this wicked weather, trying to compete. Chances are that we're going to get a serious arm injury or two out of baseball players who simply cannot warm up. If that's the case, then what good is having a baseball season at all?
Starting the season on April 15 and ending it during the first week of June, with the state playoffs then to follow, makes too much sense for New Jersey. Who cares if the season runs into the first weeks of June? Some say because some schools are already done for the summer by then. So what makes it wrong for those kids to compete in high school sports after they graduate? Who made that rule?
Have the practices begin in the first week of March, then the season begin April 15 and play until June makes too much sense.
Now here's to hoping that the NJSIAA agrees and changes the dates for the 2016 season. Because what has transpired over the first 10 days of this season has been nothing short of brutal.
You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com, where there is a special tribute to the late Dave Minsavage of Hanover Park, the long-time baseball coach who died Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.