The Lakewood BlueClaws begin their 14th season on the road Thursday night in Savannah, Georgia and their 25-man roster will include pitcher Mark Leiter Jr, a former Toms River North standout who pitched very well over the final two weeks of last season with the BlueClaws.

Mark Leiter Jr. (Lakewood BlueClaws)

The 23-year old played at NJIT before being drafted in the 22nd round by the Phillies last June.  Leiter is the son of former major league pitcher Mark Leiter, who spent two of his 11 big league seasons with the Phillies.  The elder Leiter and his brother Al were both high school stars at Central Regional.

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Whether you’re a big fan or not certainly we can agree that baseball of all the major pro sports is one steeped in tradition and was part of the fabric of America long before football, basketball and hockey.

However in another example of greed our “national pastime” has turned its back on a tradition that did not need tweaking.  As bad as it was that they opened the season last weekend in Australia with a two-game series between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks they then featured the Dodgers again Sunday Night in the North American season opener.

So Los Angeles has already played three games before 27 of the 30 teams have played even one.  I liked the way it used to be when the Cincinnati Reds hosted the season opener and then everyone else played the next day.

Opening Day at Citi Field (Elsa/Getty Images)

By the way the Mets open the 2014 season at home this afternoon against the Washington Nationals, who many are predicting to make it to the World Series come October.  The Phillies open on the road in Texas against the Rangers in an interleague season opener, another change I don’t like.  Meanwhile the Yankees, loaded with history and nostalgia don’t open until Tuesday night in of all places Houston.  What’s wrong with this picture?

The weekends are supposed to be when I catch up on some of the sleep I did not get during the week but that plan was dealt a major blow Saturday night.  After the NCAA Tournament games ended I noticed that the Godfather trilogy was being shown on one of the premium channels so there I was watching the Corleone Family for hours until I finally fell asleep around 3:30am, just before Andy Garcia became Don of the family in Godfather III.

Like is often the case they should have stopped after Godfather II, partly because I would have given me a couple of more hours of sleep.