Morning Briefing: Don't fret, Nats leaving


FIRST PITCH: One more game.

The Washington Nationals have owned the New York Mets at Citi Field this year -- and last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. But at least after Sunday afternoon, the Nats won't be back in New York until Opening Day next year.

Maybe the Mets can even split this four-game weekend series with the Nationals. Remember, the Mets won Friday night, ending Washington's 12-game Citi Field win streak.

Jonathon Niese (8-10, 3.59) starts Sunday's 1:10 p.m. series finale, with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (11-5, 2.93) going for the Nationals.

Sunday's news reports:

Zack Wheeler's string of good starts ended with Saturday's 10-3 loss to Washington. Read game stories in the Post, Daily News, Record and MLB.com.

• Nobody believes the Mets will spend big this winter. But will they even spend small? Columnist Joel Sherman of the Post says he's not asking for much. He just doesn't want general manager Sandy Alderson to tell us that he wants "to get to the top of the Empire State Building [without using] the elevator or stairs." Seems like a reasonable request.

• Mets fans love the idea that Wally Backman will join the team for a week as a coach, but columnist Filip Bondy of the Daily News wonders if this is the right week to be adding a guy with domestic abuse issues in his past.

• Plenty of closers celebrate after saves, but Terry Collins thought Jenrry Mejia's "fisherman" act Friday might have been a little over the top. Collins talked to Mejia about toning it down. Read more in the Post and Newsday. Columnist Anthony McCarron of the Daily News wonders why near the end of a season that has generated little excitement, the Mets want to stop their closer from having fun.

• As one ballpark elevator operator told Tim Rohan of the Times, Citi Field has been "a ghost town" through much of the season, and especially this past week. And now the Mets are dealing with a discrimination lawsuit from a former ticket sales executive.

Vic Black, just off the disabled list with a neck problem, now has the Mets worried about his shoulder. Read more in Newsday.

From the bloggers: Faith and Fear thought the Nationals' fireworks display outstripped the one the Mets presented postgame. ... Blogging Mets looks at Collins' place in Mets managerial history.

BIRTHDAYS: Dave Hillman, who finished his career with the 1962 Mets, turns 87 today . . . Chad Bradford is 40 . . . Mike Draper is 48 . . . Harry Parker was born on this day in 1947.


YOU'RE UP: Does Jenrry Mejia's "fisherman" act bother you?