While others would have preferred that we focus on a Wilpon/Picard trial to get our Mets fill this season, I spent the better part of the offseason trying to keep your eyes in between the foul lines because it felt right, but also because it looked like something special was beginning to brew.
In January I said, “If Johan Santana pitches reasonably well and gives us 20 starts this season, the Mets might be able to make some noise”.
One of the big keys to how successful this season would be for the Mets was the further development of left-hander Jon Niese. When rumors abounded this winter that he was on the trading block, my tirade was furious. I said, “It’s not written in stone, but we may have a pitcher here who is read to take the next step in his evolution and become a top of the rotation pitcher”.
Of course my biggest concern and most likely yours as well, was the development of shortstop Ruben Tejada. Is it safe to give the “all clear” sign yet? Not only is he replacing an icon at the position, but he is quickly legitimizing his status as the team’s best option at the leadoff spot. I’m sure even the saberists will agree with me on that. What’s not to like about a .412 OBP and leading the team in hits and doubles?
Then there’s David Wright, I couldn’t help laughing at all the polls, all the angst, and all the mocking that went on as soon as it was announced that Wright would be in the lineup yesterday. I posted something positive about it and decided I needed to walk away and not let it effect my enthusiasm that Wright would avoid the DL. I posted that the Mets were 4-0 with Wright in the lineup and didn’t go back on Twitter until he hit his home run to which I simply tweeted, Nuff Said! Oh, by the way, make that 5-0 with Wright in the lineup.
There were a few things I was banking on this season as you saw in my 2012 Mets Preview; R.A. Dickey and Lucas Duda. I knew Dickey would be the rock of the rotation and provide us with consistency we needed. Our own Ed Leyro did a nice job citing his string of 14 quality starts in a row dating back to last season. Duda of course was the source of many a debate especially when many on our staff pegged him as a lock for a 30 homer season. Three down, 27 to go.
I’m not trying to gloat, because nobody knows better than myself that much of what I’ve written this offseason was really wishful thinking. I’m usually pretty balanced in my Mets fandom. But all that negativity about bankruptcy, lower attendance, terrible farm system, crappy players, and even alleging the owners were involved in criminal activity, forced me into a position to take the extreme opposite position to the lunatic fringe and embrace this team with all of my might and all of my soul.
I did it for myself and I did it for my readers who were getting blitzed by all the negativity out there as well.
The great thing about this winter for me, was that it allowed me to fall in love with this team all over again. I looked for the positives all winter long and I found plenty of them hidden underneath the muck and mire. Now while this 6-2 start may feel nice to some, it feels out-freaking-incredible to me. I am ecstatic. I feel like a kid again and that I’m back in 1973 when I fell in love with Seaver, Koosman, Matlack, McGraw and Staub. Only those names have now been replaced with Santana, Dickey, Niese, Wright and Tejada.
So when my cousin asked me last night, “You don’t really believe the Mets are this good, do you?” Without hesitation I replied, “Yes I do… Yes I do believe.”