I spent last week on Lanai, a beautiful and remote Hawaiian Island. Sports, for the most part, was far from my mind. To say that is a rarity for me, is a major understatement. Still weeks from Opening Day, I considered it an opportunity to relax before the frenzy of another baseball season began.
Wearing my Ike Davis shirt the last morning, I was approached by an individual asking if I was an Ike Davis’ fan. We immediately struck up a conversation and realized we were both diehard Mets’ fans. He was a 15-game season ticket holder and we would both be attending Opening Day this year.
Suddenly whisked back to the baseball world, we started discussing the Mets and the upcoming season. As the conversation wore on, we both agreed the tide needed to start turning for this franchise soon. After returning home, I continued to think about the discussion and noticed Joel Sherman’s column in the NY Post, in which he calls this season Sandy Alderson’s final mulligan. The conversation I had with the fan in Hawaii was directly related.
He agreed that things needed to change soon for the Mets but didn’t feel that would occur with the Wilpons still owning the team. I found myself taking a more positive approach – that with the likes of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, the future was bright. However, I added that the direction of this team did need to start turning this season, leading to an offseason where Alderson finally opens up the wallets, all en route to at least a semi-competitive team in 2014. Later on, I realized that in essence I was saying this is Alderson’s final mulligan.
And the 2013 season should be Alderson’s final mulligan. However, take it a step further. Since Alderson took over in 2010, the debate regarding the direction and quality of his approach has raged at Citi Field, sports bars and on sports radio. This is the year when we can finally at least start to answer that question Do the young pitchers and prospects continue to develop? Does Alderson add a couple players for the outfield? Does he begin spending some money at the Winter Meetings this offseason?
That question will definitely be answered in 2014 and beyond. However, by this time next season, I think we’ll have a much better idea of whether the Alderson is plan is working or not. And the question at that time will be, “Can you see this team being competitive this season (2014)?