When Pedro Martinez came to the Mets in 2005, he brought with him sheer pandemonium.
We mets fans had suffered extreme mediocrity at best since their World Series loss in 2000. When Pedro came he changed all of that, not just because of his immense talent, but because of his prescence, the energy he brought back to Shea.
The first year they were good, showing signs of promise. The next year, they were the class of the National League, losing in 7 games to the Cardinals in the NLCS (without Pedro) with help of fellow free agent signings Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner, Paul LoDuca, made possible by Pedro.
But last year, some of the gloom came back. The Mets blew a 7 game lead on September 12, something it had never been done before. Mets nation was in a state of shock. Nobody could believe it.
Then, the gloom ended. A new savior had arrived, this time, it was Johan Santana. Aquired in a trade for Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey, and Phil Humber, Santana may bring even more to the mets than Pedro did three years earlier. Pedro has only had one productive year as a Met. Johan Santana is in his prime, and has a few years left of being the best pitcher in baseball. So not only does he now contribute an energy lift to the Mets, he contributes a ton of quality pitching performances.
But the quality of his pitching will be judged on March 31st when he toes the rubber on opening day against florida. The energy in the mets comunity can be seen right now. I saw first hand his effect when I went to Mets spring training camp in Port St. Lucie.
In february, before games started, I went to tradition field for 3 days to watch the mets warmup for the season, and hopefully get a few autographs. That I did (I even got Santana's!!!) but the best part was observing the feeling of my fellow Mets fans. There was a feeling of relief from everyone there, including the players, steming from the chance that Santana gave us to move on and forget about the troubles of last year.
The impact that a star player like Johan can have on a team and its followers streches far beyond his ability to win games. The important thing that Santana has brought is healing. He has brought us hope.