Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
Since the invention of Facebook, I've pretty much been one of those 'sports guys' who every April show my support for my favorite baseball team with some random go Mets post. And, consequently, every year I get a response which depicts that all too familiar Family Guy episode with Stewie and those fellow Mets fans giving up on the season after the first pitch. Well, anyway, those same videos were circling around Facebook and twitterverse again this year. However, a funny thing happened along the way. The Mets won their customary opening day game, but they have gone on to win more then almost any other Mets team has done since their inception. And the Mets fans have embraced the hate and laughed right back.
After heartache, followed by 6 years of losing, the Mets have jumped out of the gate in 2015. And the winning just seems different. We can say the pitching is as we expected, but who expected that Wheeler would not be out there? Who would have thought that Harvey would already be Harvey again. And who expected a healthy Niese to have a sub 2.00 ERA after 3 starts, and Colon to win his first 3 starts?
There's simply a new feel to this team. Over the past few years, we've begun to know about the rebuilding of the farm system. But we also noticed how slow that rebuilding would be when Sandy and Co. Starting using all of their 1st round picks and other high round selections on high school kids. So it was up to trades and free agent signings to fill in the gaps throughout the 25 man and look to field a competitive team. We've seen some of the swings and misses, and the scores in this area when it came to guys like Jason Bay, Chris Young and Marlon Byrd. But again, 2015 is now different.
There are more veteran additions to the team. Grandy is in year 2 of a huge contract, and an ongoing sub .200 average to go with it it seems. And Cuddyer sure seems to hit a whole bunch of ground balls, and strikes out a lot all of sudden. But for some reason it doesn't matter. Grandy is leading the league in walks, and some of those ground balls have scored timely runs. Again, this is a new team, a new dawn, a new day, and new way of Mets baseball.
As the injuries have mounted, we have all seemingly noticed the depth, stability and positive decision making from the front office during this first month. They include:
Front office decision to not trade any of the young arms
Perhaps there are all kinds of conspiracy theories about why the Mets didn't sell the farm for a Tulo type player. Perhaps Wheeler's kinda secret elbow issues prevented him from being traded. Same goes for Syndergaard and his...... well whatever he's got going on and the assurance that he's fine. Either way, they headed to spring with all hands(arms) on deck, and they ended up needing every one of them to start the year, and beyond in 2015.
Front office decision to bat Granderson leadoff
He went from cleanup hitting failure to leadoff, and not many seemed happy. And, again, he's still not 'hitting where they ain't' out there, but he's getting on base it seems like all the time. And, whether he scores or not, he's getting those opposing pitch counts high, and he's getting those opposing pitchers to pitch from the stretch often. Sounds like a pretty decent place setter to me.
Front office stuck with Wilmer Flores at SS
How's that working out the past week? Big hit Wilmer apparently enjoys tying games up and hitting lasers as needed to spark this offense whenever it gets off to a sluggish start, where the 2014 Mets usually stayed on way to a shutout or 2-1 loss every other game.
A Rookie getting ABs???
When TDA went down, I admit I was immediately thinking and assuming the Mets would simply call up journeyman and seemingly veteran-ish catcher Monell to fill in for the month or so ahead. However, the new Mets and their front office summoned Kevin Plawecki, and then anointed him the number 1 everyday starter immediately, which again kinda ended up being a laugh in the face to dopes like me who expected otherwise.
This team is now what it is expected to be, a contender. And should be a contender for years to come. I remember a few years ago when the Yankees seemingly lost half their 25 man roster to injuries, and yet just seemed to play .500 baseball or better anyway, because they are the Yankees. Well, this is now how we might perceive the Mets. No matter the injuries, the Mets have sustained through depth and successful decision making. Even when the captain went down, the Mets called up a ridiculously hot hitter in Campbell, and again instead of assuming that old Terry would immediately sit and freeze the hot hitter, he threw him right out there to start, and has continued to do so, and Campbell has gone on to get on base Grandylike, and has seemingly scores a run almost every other at bat the past week or so.
Its a new day for Mets baseball. And, like he Yankees I mentioned earlier, the Mets will actually start getting some guys back too, and hopefully healthy. David Wright will certainly get his way back into shape. He's worked too hard to wait for this moment to shine for a winning team. TDA, for all the injury history talk, can't do anything about getting hit on the hand. All he can do is come back, pre all star break, and get his swing back in plenty of time for the playoff run.
Perhaps Colon and Niese will finally show some letup (I'm writing this even before Thursday game sooooooo) but the Mets and their depth have Syndergaard, Matz and Montero itching to be in the rotation anyway, and the next man up mentality has worked just fine thank you this month, so why not keep that going.
Its obviously a LONG season, but this is a still a new atmosphere in Mets universe. And, in case you haven't noticed, there's a few minor league players and their respective affiliates playing pretty darn good ball themselves, and they are looking more and stacked with talent, kinda old and really young, at each level. This team is ready for the revival. And since most of the loyal and crazy die hard fans haven't gone anywhere anyway, you can bet that the crowds will be absolutely rockin come late summer and into the fall.
Go Mets !