Time Now For Balls and Bats, Not Brickbats

After experiencing my first offseason following a site such as MMO, I have arrived at the belief that what is said in the offseason, should stay in the offseason. Especially now, days before spring training begins in earnest for the 2014 New York Mets.

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When Joe D. gave me an opportunity to write a few articles about the Mets, it came with what I thought was implied instructions. The offseason is a time for vigorous debate (to say the least!), and MMO welcomed articles that expressed a range of content, be it pro or con or somewhere more centric in the middle. The offseason was a time for diehard Mets fans to express how they felt about the current state of the Mets. Let’s face it. Whether writing for, posting comments on, or simply reading the articles and posts without comment, we are, in our diversity, quintessential Mets fans. For me, the offseason between 2013 and 2014 has been alternately interesting, challenging, fun, frustrating, invigorating, exasperating, and, yes, instructive and informative.

True Mets fans don’t shut it down for 3 months and resume being a Mets fan in February, and I thank Joe D. for his tireless work in making MMO become part of my everyday life now as I drink my morning coffee and catch up on all the articles and, time permitting, some of the posts.

While my MMO articles have clearly shown a bent in one direction, the comments that dissented were valuable in as much as I would prefer balance, rather than dogmatic polarity. In some cases, I have re-evaluated a position or two, and moved more centric — the emphasis on farm system development is one, for instance, even if I still believe revenue is being diverted to pay down the massive debt of the Wilpons and this is merely a divine by-product, a plausibly defensible default position. How else does one reconcile the contradiction inherent in this grand rebuilding position foisted upon us, when potential roadblocks are already being erected in the way of our most promising prospects (Flores, Lagares, Familia, Mejia and even Montero) by marginal veterans in nobody’s championship plan? On the other hand, there is a second wave of young, high ceiling pitching coming to this team (Harvey and Wheeler the first wave), and perhaps a wave after that one. This bodes very well for the Mets.

Yet whether you love the moves the GM has made, or loath most of them, as I do; whether you think there’s a plan in place rather than a reactionary slide into the abyss called a rebuilding plan by default; whether you want Drew or not; and whether you hope that your fellow poster you have engaged with in a thread of contentious posts is wrong once the Mets play for real — this much is true:

We are loyal Mets fans.

wright springIn a small special way its a silent oath one takes when he or she becomes a devoted fan of anything, an unwritten pact, or as Bruce Springsteen sang, its the ‘ties that bind us’.

We are bound inexorably as Mets fans — yes, for better or (mostly) worse … except for two very magical, eternally memorable seasons, each of which had some measure of ‘miracle’ attached to them.

Mets fans may not have quantity, but we certainly have quality. The 1969 Mets remain the ‘miracle’ standard in my opinion, perhaps in all professional sports. And Game 6 of the World Series in 1986 … there has not been an inning in baseball history packed with as much ‘miracle’ as the bottom of the 10th was for Mets fans. I can still watch the tape of that inning and still not believe the string of events that would unfold. As a Mets fan, I will not go to my grave empty handed.

So no one will be rooting harder for Chris Young, or Bartolo Colon than I will, although I think both are mistakes (Colon can pitch, win some games, but I would prefer not having to enable the PED use by rooting for him to be successful in, well, cheating. Nothing dogmatic or moralistic at all; I simply find it repugnant).

But I do not, can not, and will not wish them failure to prove out an opinion I hold or to sustain a point. Its counterintuitive to being a fan, a true fan, and I refuse at any time, be it only a millisecond, to root against anybody wearing a Mets uniform, ever.

Hope does spring eternal, and spring training in baseball is a very special time — its no different today at 58 for me, than it was at 8. Yes, we all know logically every team isn’t winning the World Series this year. There will be many teams that fail to even reach .500. Some will surprise and delight, and some will fall and bring misery. And that is the incredible beauty of baseball, of any sporting enterprise, really. There will always be the 1969 Mets, the 1980 US Olympic victory, the 10th inning of Game 6 in 1986.

So while the Mets break out the bats and balls, its time for me to put away the sharp pen and brickbats and be what I am — a true, diehard Mets fan. I can be nothing else. There’s always next off-season. See you then!