Here we are, the day that hope springs eternal even for Mets fans, Opening Day. It’s the day where Gary, Ron, and Keith come back into our lives, the Mets (usually) win, and our dreams run wild.
This off-season Mets management did everything possible to make me as unenthusiastic and pessimistic as possible for this season. Bryce Harper was sitting there begging the Mets to sign him and management said things like “nah, we have Brandon Nimmo we good,” or “we can’t afford to sign him” but then turned around and spent entirely too much money on a 36 year old second baseman. They’re a win-now team without a win-now plan.
New GM Brodie van Wagenen said all the right things, especially when talking about how the Mets used to be built on “ifs” and how they were trying to avoid that. It was exciting to hear but this team is still built on “ifs!”
And yet, here we are, opening day and suddenly I find myself buying into all those ifs!
If Vargas pitches like he did in the second half of the year.
If Steven Matz stays healthy.
If Wheeler maintains his form.
If Conforto makes the leap this year.
If Ramos and Cano hit to the back of their baseball card.
If the bullpen just doesn’t suck.
If Juan Lagares hits just a little bit (just kidding, we know Lagares isn’t hitting for shit).
If Cespedes comes back with two months left.
That’s a good baseball team! That’s a real good baseball team! Forget the fact that the rotation is really only four deep, or that the Mets bench is pretty weak, or that there are good free agent depth pieces STILL OUT THERE. None of that matters! If the Mets stay healthy they’re good!
I mean, look at this lineup
That’s a deep lineup! (There are reports that Pete Alonso will actually bat second followed by Cano, Conforto, and Ramos. I hate that lineup. Absolutely hate it. I love Michael Conforto but until he makes the leap, he’s not your cleanup hitter. Michael Conforto batting fifth gives you a ton of depth in your lineup. Conforto – as of now – batting cleanup weakens it).
There’s no question the Mets went out and got better this off-season. The only issue is did they do enough to surpass the other teams in their division? The Nationals lost Harper but are still very good. The Phillies went out and got Bryce Harper. It’s hard to say the Mets even with all their moves are any better than the third best team in the division right now.
But that’s why they play the games. That’s why we hope. Because if this team does find itself in the playoffs, no one wants to face a team with a DeGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz rotation. With those guys on the hill, the Mets can take anyone. They just have to score runs.
Opening Day springs that feeling of hope in all of us. Hope that maybe this is the year, maybe this is the year it doesn’t end in heartbreak. The Shawshank Redemption has two great quotes about hope:
“Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”
“Remember Red, Hope is a good thing. Maybe even the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”
There’s only one more question now, which one will it be? Let’s go Mets!