Spring training is getting closer, and hope springs eternal as the days get closer.

What would this time of year be without some comments from a Phillies or Mets player to stoke the fire?

While this is tepid by comparison to Jimmy Rollins' "Team to Beat" assertions of the past, Mets outfielder Angel Pagan said the Mets have a chance against the Phillies.

"If we have health, we can give them a fight," Pagan told the New York Daily News. "Everyone is counting on Philadelphia, but they have to do it. I got my money on my team, bro. I love challenges and that's why I'm looking forward to it. I believe in surprises."

The Mets have changed managers and general managers in the offseason. "It's a different atmosphere, a new start and that's what we're looking for," Pagan said. "We're looking for a better year than last year and to be in the playoffs."


The Phillies will face the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 15 in the annual Civil Rights Game, Major League Baseball announced. Game time is 2 p.m.

This will be the fifth annual event that began in Memphis in 2007 with an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians.

The game is part of a 4-day event to pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights. Players will wear throwback uniforms from the Negro Leagues, along with pregame ceremonies recognizing the 2011 MLB Beacon Award recipients and on-field civil rights-themed musical performances. The awards are for those whose lives are emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement.