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Hope Springs for Mets…

New Look Outfield?
Photo via
New Look Outfield? Photo via

New Look Outfield?
Photo via

It’s happening again. You KNOW better. You KNOW that one shouldn’t allow it to happen. Yet, it does. You hear of old players with “new” bodies. Sucker. Young arms popping mitts and turning heads. Fleeced. Veterans imparting all their experience and wisdom to the most promising of the prospects. Sap.

Spring fever is the air again, and, despite all historical evidence that points to the folly of elevated levels of optimism and the rose-colored hue of my Mets glasses, I’m infected once again.

Back in December of 2010, I declared my trust in our then-new GM Sandy Alderson. Vibes were good. There was a plan. A highly-intelligent baseball mind was at the helm. Order would be restored. Realistic fans knew the path. It would be long. There would be much more pain to suffer before the tide could or would turn. Even early in 2012, I continued to acknowledge (if not embrace) that road that had to be followed.

Let me get this out of the way. I know the Mets are going to suck for awhile, and I’m fine with that. It’s how it has to be. This is what rebuilding looks like. As mentioned time and again, my faith in Sandy Alderson is unwavering. Waiting until 2014 for relevancy is a cross I’m willing and able to bear.

Well, here we are my friends. Year Four of what I always accepted and understood to be — realistically — a four-year plan. Here we are in 2014. Forget about Madoff. Ignore the Wilpons. Enough bemoaning the hits and misses and even the at times unfathomable “luck” of Matt Harvey’s injured arm. Here we are in 2014, and it’s time to be competitive…and better than that. The hall pass has expired. Today, the Interwebs were abuzz as media ran with a report that Sandy Alderson referenced 90 wins as a benchmark for the 2014 season to Mets brass. Good. I hope he’s right. Because the time has come.

Now, back to Spring Fever. It’s here because it always comes around this time year. No matter what the lineup cards and roster sheets say. But with the backdrop of Sandy and year four, it’s coming on strong. Perhaps out of necessity and/or desperation. Yet, there are signs of hope? Major league arms that offer the chance for the staff to be a strength. Young pieces and smart (TBD) scrap-heapers that could line up hard throwers with strikeout stuff in the ‘Pen. A liability that, if one allows oneself to see that glass half-full, could be a real strength?

An outfield with players who belong in the outfield and could be an excellent defensive unit. A real, everyday catcher that should be around for a bit…and might even be able to hit? There are other glimmers. Shiny objects. Moments that make you wonder. If he regains form…if he continues to develop…if those two could combine…if he emerges…there are still WAY too many ifs. Yet, this year the if’s can produce a real result. In the past, we’ve been making if + if + if = success when, let’s face it, even all the if’s still added up to a joke of a team.

So, here we are again. There is hope There are no title delusions. But there is hope. Hope for true competitiveness all season long. Hope for winning. Hope for relevance. It’s time. You’ve been working on the deck for years. These are the cards. Make them work or improve your hand as you play it out.

Anything less than a winning season is a catastrophic failure. The culmination of a plan that did not work. It’s time to dream. Time to hope. It’s February. And even though the calendar hasn’t even technically flipped to “spring,” the scent is in the air. Hope springs. It ain’t eternal, but it’s here…for now. And that feels pretty good.

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