Optimism vs. Realism

An article by posted on April 1, 2010

There is a big battle going on in the Mets blogosphere. Not only on blogs or Facebook or Twitter, but even bars and anywhere you’ll find Mets fans. Some fans just want their points heard and don’t care what anyone else has to say. Some like and appreciate the dialogue and are open to hearing other views. Some Met fans just like to complain, and even if the team had a 56-1 record, they would moan about that one loss. It’s just a fact of life. Different people. Different opinions. Different perspectives. That’s one of the things that makes sports so captivating and engaging

This spring, there is a tug of war going on between the diehard Mets fans on both sides of the proverbial fence. Some say they are optimists and see the Mets as post season contenders, while others say they are realists and consider the upcoming season to be a bust. The battle between Optimism and Realism has begun to take on a life of its own.

For the purpose of full understanding, the word ‘Optimism’ means: a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.

Conversely, the word Realism’ means: interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc;  the tendency to view or represent things as they really are.

I don’t tend to take spring training numbers too seriously because of the many things that are going on behind the numbers themselves; adjusting arm slots, new batting stances, adding secondary pitches, coming back from injuries. The Mets starters have given up 65 total runs in 76.2 innings. I admit that this does not ring confidently in most Met fans’ ears especially after last season. But at what point do we look toward the 162 games in front of us in a matter of days? One of the big arguments is that fans are looking at these pitchers in ST and not seeing anything change from last year. One can’t have it both ways. Either you see validity and importance in the ST numbers or you look to the regular season as the numbers that count.

Deal or no deal? Would you feel more at ease if the “Big Three” shut down every batter they face but then when they face continuous ML-ready competition, they gave up meatballs constantly? Or would you prefer them to do what they have done this spring and then when the Opening Day bell rings, they compete? The tough part about this scenario is that we don’t see the fullness of the picture. They are still playing Spring Training games. Not one regular season game that counts has been played yet. From what I hear, Jerry and Omar don’t even know for sure who will be in the bullpen, or the starting roster, barring a few exceptions. That’s still to be determined. The fact that Niese is being discussed on March 30th as the possible #3 starter, then Maine discussed as the #2 on March 31st, the claiming of Manny Acosta from waivers, and the impending return of Henry Owens says to me that they are still scrambling to make changes to the makeup of the team. So how serious can we judge the total picture in March? C’mon, how many of you knew with no doubt that Green and Parnell would be heading to Buffalo? If you’re honest, most of us had no idea. You heard how the Mets raved about them and you figured them a lock, too.

Optimism is what the Met fans see in the potential of guys like Mejia, Takahashi, a renewed and healthy Reyes and Beltran, the newly acquired Jay-Bay, a revitalized D-Wright, and young bats like Chris Carter, Ike Davis, F-Mart, Russ Adams, and Ruben Tejada. The optimists are looking at what they have and expect a favorable outcome, such as a Wild Card berth and higher than the much-projected 4th place finish in the NL East. Realism is those concerned with what is actually there. They represent the things that are actually there. But the realists’ scope is a small sample set because all they can see is ST performances against mainly minor league competition. Is this enough to make the realists’ case for a Mets team that is not good enough for the postseason? Is any other data or information needed before making a final determination?

Reality is when you look at the Mets, you see a team with a winning ST record. Why doesn’t that excite the realist? Real numbers, real results. Wins. The reason why the fans that consider themselves realists and say that the Mets current team has no chance and they will be in 4th place at season’s end is because they don’t see the full picture. My intended point is that the realists can’t possibly win this war over optimism until the battle is actually over. I will even revert back to a comment I made and still make today. Give the “Big Three” 20 games into the regular season before we determine what is real. Let’s say Friday, April 30th to be exact. This should give them approximately three starts a piece. We don’t need much more than that to see if what we have is a mirage which will culminate into a 4th place finish and another disappointing season or if what we have, with the implemented changes, is a real chance at contention in the East and possibly into the playoffs.

Optimists, realists, the floor is yours. Keep it clean and respectful. Make your points. Share your opinions. As far as I’m concerned, the war belongs to the optimists until and perhaps after April 30th for that matchup against the Phillies.By then, all of our starters would have registered three starts each and we will know at that point, if the Optimists or the Realists got it right.

Ultimately, I just want our Mets to compete and to realize their full potential; A World Championship back in the City That Never Sleeps. Orange and Blue Till I Die.

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