As Faith and Fear in Flushing points out, yesterday was the (Mets) Baseball Equinox. That magical time of year when the start of the baseball season is closer than the end of the last season. It’s time to look forward. It’s only 42 (ish, no official date yet) days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 13th.
It’s unlikely the entire roster will be clear when that day arrives, or even set in stone on Opening Day. The Mets aren’t likely to be revealed as a powerhouse out of camp, or be picked by many to even mak
e the playoffs. Like many teams that go into the season with players with potential, players with talent, and players that need to stay healthy, it’s a fresh start and a fresh chance to change the narrative.
This isn’t a franchise that’s praying and hoping it’s latest batch of draft picks turns out to be superstars that they can control for years and actually compete. The Mets are an under-performing team that finished around .500 last year. They’ve been cast as injury-prone, washed-up, creaky, soft, or just simply not that good. As Sandy Alderson fills out the roster, and the Mets report for Spring Training and start showing us what they can do, they’ll have a chance to start changing what they’ve been type-cast as.
Carlos Beltran can hit the season healthy, and prove that a combination of time and his knee-brace can keep him on the field and performing all year long. David Wright can take the mantle of captain, whether officially or unofficially, and lead this team. Ike Davis and Jon Niese, among other 2010 rookies, can take that next step forward and become better major league baseball players. R.A. Dickey can assert that he’s a burgeoning knucklerballer, not a one-year wonder. The Mets can start rewriting their story as a well-run, hard-working team of talent rather than the usual mess they’re portrayed as. It’ll take some effort and success and maybe even luck to start getting the reporters and fans to see this cast of characters as a new team. Still, the foundation is there. The Mets have a new general manager and manager that the media would love to cast as saviors. They’ll be falling over themselves to to explain how Collin’s fiery leadership is leading to wins and success on the field. They’ll praise Alderson’s construction of the bench, or the bullpen, or his choice at 2B as brilliant.
It’s 2011 and we’re closer to the new season than the old one. Baseball is around the corner and the Mets have nowhere to go but up. There are still acquisitions to happen, and jobs to be won, but when the season starts we’ll have a lot to cheer about.