It didn't have to be this way for the New York Mets and their fans.
Not in one of the newer, most beautiful ballparks in the game. Not in the greatest city in the world. Not now that the Wilpons are free of the Bernie Madoff disaster. Not in a season in which the eyes of the entire baseball world will be on the New York Mets in July when they play host to the Midsummer Classic.
Indeed, it didn't have to be this way. It shouldn't be this way. Still, despite what could have been an offseason in which Mets fans could see the team taking their first steps toward contention since 2008, there is only more rebuilding and more disappointment—which will surely lead to more losing in 2013.
When writing, I like to think that I stay objective when talking about the Mets, so much so that their terrible on-field product and poor management has led me to write about them less and less over the past few seasons. It feels like every piece written about this team is redundant, since to put it bluntly, there are only so many ways to say that a team stinks.
Still, every so often the fan in me comes out, and I am unable to maintain my objectivity. This is one of those times.
As I sit here waiting for my children to get up and open their gifts on Christmas morning, with the hope that I was able to get them everything they've wished for throughout the year, I realize that the one thing I really want more than anything will not happen once again.
Over the past few years, all I have wanted is for the Mets to be playing meaningful games in September. I don't even think about the World Series or playoffs anymore, and quite frankly, although the Mets' late-season breakdowns have caused me misery in the past, I'm at the point where I'd even take a good old-fashioned September collapse.
My wish is the same for 2013, but I know that there's no way it's going to come true. Not when the Mets traded away reigning Cy Young Award-winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto. Not when the team currently rosters the absolute worst outfield I've ever seen. Not when the talk of the free agents the team is currently pursuing includes Carl Pavano and Grady Sizemore. Not when Fred Wilpon continues to encourage Sandy Alderson to run the team like the GM did in Oakland.
Maybe this rebuilding will one day pay off. Then again, anyone who remembers the days between the trade of Tom Seaver and the arrival of Keith Hernandez, or the period between Bobby Bonilla and Mike Piazza, or all those days spent waiting for the arrival of Generation K can tell you, there's always a chance it won't. Maybe for the long term, the Mets are now being run the right way. Still, this will not help me, or any other Mets fan, in 2013.
This Christmas, I'll still wish for the Mets to be contenders in 2013, even though I'm sure that the Mets' season will be over by the time Citi Field hosts the 2013 All-Star Game.