A quote by Terry Collins “I don’t want these guys ever to come in that clubhouse where they’re not expected to win the game,” conflicts with what many fans feel; That the Mets aren’t expected to do anything this year.
The thing is, they ARE expected to do stuff this year. Win games, play hard and play baseball. No professional organization goes into a season, particularly the staff in the clubhouse, with the attitude that it’s a throwaway year. Terry Collins expects the Mets to win. David Wright expects the Mets to win. Maybe they have their reservations about the likelihood of them finishing first when all the chips fall, but until they do they’ll be trying their hardest and doing their best. They certainly don’t believe it’s a done deal that they can’t win anything.
This is the best quality of Terry Collins in that he doesn’t let anyone play the woe is me card. He demands effort and hard work from his players and I think that leads to a good clubhouse and a positive atmosphere. He’s not making excuses and not making decisions with anything but how to win as many games as possible in mind.
Since the Mets don’t do this, it’s silly for fans to suggest they should. No one should bring Harvey up immediately after he’s had two good minor league starts in April just to see how he looks in the majors. They shouldn’t shut guys down for the first hang nail or muscle twinge because it’s a rebuilding year and it’s better to be safe than sorry. They shouldn’t just let Andres Torres play out the string to keep Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ arbitration clock from starting if he’s the best option for the Mets. Sandy Alderson is not making moves solely with the hope that his acquisition will lead to a greater return on investment when he trades him in July. That’s not to say he’s not cognizant of the option, particularly for guys like Frank Francisco, but to think that was his main motivation in signing him is misreading the situation completely. There’s a big difference in building a flexible roster that gives him lots of options and playing the MLB free agent market like it’s Wall Street. The Mets roster is not actually a NASDAQ ticker.
This does not excuse failure either. It’ll be easy to dismiss the Mets after a game they lose with the comment, “They aren’t good anyway”, but there is no reason to ever excuse failure. Terry Collins certainly isn’t going to accept that as an excuse for a poor stretch of games, so why should we? To view the entire season as some sort of strategic set-up for 2013 and 2014 takes all the actual joy of watching baseball and gives it the importance of a Spring Training game. There is a reason why the awards aren’t given on paper before the season after all; no one really knows what’s going to happen. Rather than prematurely write off 2012 and analyze everything and everyone based on their value in 2013 and beyond, watch the games and enjoy the ride. If ultimately the ride doesn’t take you to the heights you want by the time it ends, you’ll still be able to get on again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that..