Great Expectations: Just Never from Spring Training

Spring training officially started today, which was a nice counterweight to getting dumped by my girlfriend (keep your violins in their cases ’cause I’m used to it). Late February into March coincides with the winter blahs (except for those of you lucky enough to be in Florida already previewing our 2009 Mets-To-Be), and all baseball fans great expectations that mark the beginning of each new season, unless of course you happen to pull for the Royals.

While I get very excited about the training, the early reports about who has showed up, all of the fellows we fret about but who boast to the reporters that “I feel great” or “I’m definitely at 100%”  or “Last year’s the past, and we’ve got a tremendous club going into the year”…, and those 25 games when we might beat Braves 14-3, but then lose to the Rangers 17-9, younger fans should understand that spring training is just that. Basically, with the exception of a few younger players or some desperate re-treads, no established players are out there for any reason other than to get in shape in time for the Big Show. Remember: daisies work harder to come up in spring training than the players do.

Recall that last year many of us–okay present company included–got pretty jazzed about the excellent play of one Angel Pagan. Injury grossly shortened his “big year”. And don’t forget how abysmal Mike Pelfrey looked in spring outing after spring outing. Yeah, like it mattered.

The most important thing to hope for is that the big cheeses of your team do not get injured. At least this year we don’t have to be on pins and needles worrying about El Duque’s toe, Martinez’s shoulder, or Alou’s groin and quadriceps. Sheesh! As long as Church wears a motorcycle helmet at all times we should be okay.

Yes, we want to see a torrid time at the plate for Murph and some good pitching by the likes of Niese and Redding, just don’t think it is going to translate into regular season success because there’s no guarantee of that. I’m happy to watch David go 0 for 30 if he’s going to hit .330 in April.

As Mets fan, we really have one goal and one goal only for 2009–get to October, and then we can discuss our third world championship, and, no, I’m not talking about baseball in Honduras in November! The only real importance of spring training is to prepare yourselves physically and mentally for the grind of the ensuing six, er, make that, seven months.

Let’s Go Mets!