As this is my first post to this blog, I'll briefly introduce myself and then delve right into the pertinent subject matter. I'm a 34 year old married father of two boys who are 2 years and 2 months old. At this point they are fortunately too young to have been burdened by years of disappointment and mediocrity (as a Mets fan). My birthday is October 26th (no cards please) so I am born for the World Series and got the best present for my 7th birthday when the Mets closed out the '86 series. As most 7 year old boys do I slept through it not truly understanding why my Dad felt the need to run out into the street late that evening to celebrate, but I digress.
As Spring Training 2014 progresses we as fans are once again left with innumerable questions surrounding this roster. There are seemingly more holes than a New York City street after this terrible winter but hope seems to abound in Mets camp.
Will Ike or Duda be the first baseman? Will Tejada find his form? Will Chris Young rebound? Can Granderson hit home runs in a real MLB ballpark? Will Colon eat all the hot dogs before Opening Day?
On the positive side the Mets are pitching rich in a league that starves for quality starters. Here's hoping Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard fair better than Wilson, Isringhausen and Pulsipher. The Mets have been wise to let most of these prospects let their pitching speak for itself by not having an all out media blitz about what could be the best starting rotation top to bottom in baseball in a few short years.
However, the Mets GM and owner have set the bar at 90 wins and the captain agrees. That's fine by me as I would rather have a team with a positive attitude and a goal oriented approach as opposed to the murky, mellifluous comments of the last three years. What irks me about these comments is the negative play they get on the radio, in the newspapers and online. Mets fans are fickle, myself included, and we run to the gate and make the stadium shake during October but also ensure said stadium is empty in July when all hope is lost. We will argue, bitch and moan that whatever the front office says is a load of crap and they can't honestly believe that this team is capable of 90 wins. Mike Francesa will turn his arrogance meter up to its highest level and reassure you that the Mets are lucky to win 75 games this year.
While I disagree, mostly because the team lost Wright for 50 games, lost Harvey for the last month and half and traded away Marlon Byrd, which I believe would have accounted for 5 more wins and a 79-83 record, leading to a more positive vibe moving forward.
All this being said what truly matters is wins, real ones, starting March 31st. Gil Hodges was angered when reporters laughed about the Mets losing in the late 60's, stormed off, came back and in no uncertain terms made sure they knew he didn't find losing funny. This incarnation of the Mets needs to assume that attitude and prove everyone wrong on the field, not in Spring Training, not in the papers or on the airwaves. Promises mean little when they aren't backed up. As a scientist I rely on hypotheses with tangible data to either prove or disprove the theory laid out at the onset. My hypothesis for this year, all things being equal and the Mets staying relatively healthy, is an 80 win season, marked steps forward for some younger players with a trade or two to bolster the offense and bullpen. This should lead to the positive feeling that was sucked out of Citi Field following a visit from Tommy John. 2014 is 1984 all over again. Time to make good on those promises Mr. Alderson.