Call it a "sign" of the times.

Take a look at this picture. Are you as outraged as I was? Maybe "outrage" is too strong a term. I did shake my head though and ask aloud "Who do they think they are fooling?" When did they find time to make the sign?

Lawmakers signed the $140 billion election-year budget on Tuesday (April Fool's Day btw) and touted the fourth straight on-time budget in New York State history in over 40 years, which actually should be on-time every year. I have lived my life on deadlines or faced the consequences. It shouldn't be applauded. There they were, behind the table with the big banner - or printed board - with the nifty "Grandslam" logo on it. I bet folks in Cooperstown were happy.

Are you telling me, and the rest of the taxpayers in New York, that you didn't already have that sign made up and the late night negotiations before the midnight March 31 deadline were all a big show? C'mon.

Now, before I go any further, despite the programming on this station, I should tell you that I am a news/sports person. I am not registered as a Republican or a Democrat. I consider myself independent, vote both sides of the aisle, and feel that's the best way to do my job. (To each their own for news people, but that's my view.)

Now, back to the "Grandslam." Did someone in the communications office have breakfast at a Denny's? This ploy is as transparent to me as the banner is opaque. Having a logo graphic for the TV screens is one thing, what does that cost?

But to waste time and money to have a banner printed up and unveiled only hours after the supposed "burning the midnight oil" budget is done is laughable, don't you think? How much did it cost? And if you are going to tell us that it WAS printed AFTER the budget was agreed upon, surely you paid someone overtime to design it and see that it was printed and proper in the wee hours of Tuesday. Did I mention that was April Fool's Day?

Oh, and I understand the whole baseball Opening Day metaphor, but sports fans will tell you a couple of things. First, there were several opening days this year for Major League Baseball, which made baseball fans nuts, and it was held on the Yankees "opening night" in Houston, a day after the Mets opened at home and lost in 10 innings. So the Mets are second-fiddle, again? Well, Mayor Bill DeBlasio did throw out the first pitch and he's a Red Sox fan.

Also, did the Governor send someone out Tuesday morning to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy a few baseballs to sign? But please, someone down at the Capitol tell them that a grand slam is one home run with the bases loaded, not four home runs over four years. I understand the "four" analogy but it's not a grand slam. Maybe they should have gone to IHOP and called it the "Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity®" budget. That would have been easier for voters to swallow.

-John Craig