It's all even in the beginning. Every team starts with a clean slate and hope fills the morning spring air as the calendar hits April. As the flowers bloom, so do expectations for your favorite team.
Then sometime around May you find your team right in the thick of things and possibly being in 1st place like the New York Mets. It's the false hope that kills. The inevitable is bound to happen and reality will kick back in by the All Star break. The Mets finished with a (74 - 88) record in 2012. Obviously not playoff worthy.
However there were a few bright spots for the Metropolitans last year. It took the Mets 50 years to finally throw a no hitter and I can't think of any current Met I'd rather see accomplish that feat than Johan Santana. But it was another pitcher that took the baseball world by surprise.
An old, lost and forgotten knuckle ball pitcher that looks like the man who mows your lawn. Nevertheless R.A. Dickey, or as I like to call him (E.R.A. Dickey) won the Cy Young award at the ripe old age of 38. On a team without run support and having to battle late in games, Dickey still managed to win 20 games while only losing 6. He put up an excellent 2.73 ERA with 5 complete games and 3 shut outs. Oh wait a minute - he's not on the team anymore.
As a matter of a fact there will be some new faces namely in the pitching rotation which has management, players and fans very excited. Names like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler have Mets fans all amped up for 2013. Then add in our ace, Johan Santana and Johnathan Niese who has become one of the Mets most reliable and favorable arms. Dillon Gee will be the 4th starter and Matt Harvey who has showed he can play in the big leagues will likely be the 5th starter.
The young fire baller Zack Wheeler is sure to join the squad sometime early thins season. But before we get too excited and start believing that we could be "Amazin" again, let's take a look at our opening day line up. Spoiler alert - Jason Bay is not in it.
Pitcher: Johan Santana (contingent upon injury)
Catcher: John Buck (journey from behind the plate)
1st Base: Ike Davis (very slow start in 2012, must play better early)
2nd Base: Daniel Murphy (the kid can hit but he can't play any position on the field)
3rd Base: David Wright (the man signed big $$ to be face of the franchise - now he must pay up)
SS: Ruben Tejada (well there is some potential there, he can play a little ball)
LF: Lucas Duda (no doubt the man has pop in his bat, he just needs to make contact
CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (he did show some potential early last season hitting well over .300 but injuries played a significant part in his downfall.
RF: Mike Baxter ( you most likely never heard of him and once the season gets going you'll probably never hear about him)
Okay so it's painfully obvious the New York Mets have a below average ball club. They are very young and inexperienced. Our ace pitcher Johan Santana is a threat to get injured every time he takes the mound. You can say the same thing about off-season acquisition Shawn Marcum who goes on the DL religiously.
But hey, there is a possibility. Small ball is coming back due to the steroid era in baseball seemingly coming to a close or at the very least stabilized. The San Francisco Giants haven't been a hitting team since the days of Barry Bonds. And even then the Giants couldn't take home the ultimate prize. That is until they got great pitching and young healthy team players. San Francisco has won the World Series 2 of the last 3 seasons. without the use of the of the long ball. As a matter of a fact the Giants and Major League Baseball caught Melky Cabrera using PED's and was ultimately suspended for the rest of the season.
The point is that if you have good pitching and play smart offensive baseball then you have a chance to win. The Rays, The A's, The Phillies and other teams like that rely on great pitching and manufacturing just enough runs to win the game. Maybe the Mets fit this category. The again, maybe not.
If I were a Mets fan, and I am, I wouldn't take the "division is ours, we're going to the world series and winning it all" approach. This is a season for Mets fans to evaluate the young talent we have and take look at what some of these studs can do. Some names to look out for during the New York Mets 2013 campaign.
Cather - Travis d'Arnaud
Pitcher - Noah Syndergaard
3rd Base/Utility - Wilmer Flores
It's gonna be another tough year my fellow Mets fans. But some of the guys on the 2013 team may be holding a World Series Trophy come 2015!