Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yo, Meathead!

I know, I know, it’s been a while. But we do what we must to survive.…

So—been enough drama for you already, Mets fans? I mean, I know I expected them to be good, but who could ever predict the kind of soap opera that’s surrounded the team almost from the get-go?

First, they were bad. Then they suddenly got hot—super-hot—winning seven in a row and 12 out of the first 15 in May before coming down to earth hard against L.A. Since being swept in four games by the Dodgers (panic in the streets!), they’ve won six of their last eight, including today’s beating by the Marlins, in which the Mets lost 7–3.

So what’s the deal? Contender or pretender?

Right now, a lot of the Mets firepower is playing hurt or on the disabled list. Somehow, the Amazin’s have won a few on grit and spirit, withstanding stints by Brian Schneider, Carlos Delgado, and Jose Reyes to the DL—although it’s true that they played three against the doormat Nationals this past week that they swept.

Oliver Perez has been a letdown, going first to the bullpen and then to the DL. The Mets sure could use another starter! Thank goodness it’s practically a lock that they win every time Johan Santana takes the mound. The guy is a machine!

Another story has been Carlos Beltran, who has been putting up great numbers despite playing hurt (.352 with 31 RBI so far—not bad!). Mets fans have been waiting for Beltran to assume more of a leadership role on the team—now, is Beltran finally getting ready to step up?

Same goes for David Wright. Is he ready to become the team leader management envisioned when they took him aboard so long ago? I keep hearing from “sources” that Delgado was the team leader (coulda fooled me!), and now that he’s sidelined, these other guys will feel more comfortable stepping up. Give me a break!

This is Beltran’s fifth season with the Mets! And Wright has been a major-leaguer with the Mets for six seasons now! They are only just now feeling comfortable exerting leadership because Delgado is down? I know there’s a pecking order and all, but can’t SOMEONE else lead besides Delgado? He’s a great player—don’t get me wrong. But he leads by example more than anything, and the Mets need a leader with a bit of fire—a bit more fire than Delgado.

Whoever is the leader supplying the “edge” that GM Omar Minaya said is lacking, there can be no denying the Mets’ entertainment value this year. First, you have a team that was ignominiously dumped from postseason qualification on the last day of the season twice in a row—a team with a totally rebuilt bullpen, shoring up a grievous weakness from last year.

Next, you have a manager under scrutiny who knows he better have some success with this team, or else.

Throw in a new ballpark with oodles of new places for the ball to go—giving the Mets oodles of chances to use video replay to aid them in winning their games.

And let’s not forget injuries to key players, despite which the Mets have still found a way to keep on rolling. Even with all the injured, the Mets have managed to win enough games to be tied for first as this is being written. How about that Omir Santos! The Mets’ catcher spot remains a point of intrigue as we head into June.

I say that if the Mets can return to full strength, and those who were injured can play above expectations, the Orange and Blue will be right in the thick of things come October. The Mets look strong enough to hang with Philly all season—it’s entirely conceivable that their overcoming adversity during the season will give them the mental toughness to hold it together down the stretch, rather than folding like a house of cards, as they did the last two seasons.

Good luck, Mets fans! Keep the antacid handy!

1 comment:

Ed Attanasio said...

Don't worry, Meat. The Mets will be there when it matters. I see them comfortably in first place by the end of June, especially since now that the Phillies' pen is toast. Hey, and thanks for the wonderful card. Thank Laurice too.