No one bashes the Mets more than I do. That is a fact. My Mets' glass is always half-empty.
Lately, more and more fans and pundits have begun to feel the same way. The Mets are going nowhere, fast. All hope is lost. What is point of watching a team that continues to fall flat in every key situation?
Well, that's the reason why I'm picking the Mets for the NL playoffs this year. No one thinks they can win.
The past five seasons began with brimming optimism, only to be dashed by unprecedented, historic failures and decimating injuries. Fans have begun to temper their expectations.
That is why I believe the Mets can conduct a sneak attack on the National League. They have plenty of good players, and if healthy, they can beat anyone. If healthy...
The past several seasons have put Met fans through the proverbial mill. In 2006, they let a Cardinals team beat them on home runs by So Taguchi and Yadier Molina. What are the odds of those two players beating you with the long ball? I'm not sure, but it ranks up their with drowning deaths in the Sahara Desert.
In 2007, they blew a seven-game lead in the NL East with 17 games to play. In 2008, they lost a 3 1/2 game lead with 17 games to play. No team had ever done the former in the history of the game. The latter just salted up the wound.
But it was the 2009 season that crashed the Mets. In their first season at Citi Field, they could not properly ring in the new era due to unforeseen events.
Last season, the Mets suffered a rash of injuries not witnessed by any living being. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox claimed he had never seen anything like it. Others were baffled as well.
The on-field performance was dismal. Unnatural events were becoming the norm. Baserunning and fielding gaffes were common place. Second baseman Luis Castillo dropped a game-sealing pop-up vs the Yankees in the Bronx after the Mets had gone ahead against Mariano Rivera.
The Mets played the season with has-beens and rookies who were not ready for prime time at key positions. This year, with the exception of CF Carlos Beltran, the Mets will be at full-strength. In his place will be fan-favorite Angel Pagan, who is a .300-plus hitter at Citi-Field.
The Mets will benefit by having the services of Jose Reyes, Jeff Francouer, Jason Bay and David Wright for a full season. Beltran should be back by May. In 2009, Bay was in Boston, Francouer was in limbo for a time and the others spent months on the DL.
Carlos Delgado, the Mets' power-hitting first-baseman, was also shelved for most of the 2009 season. He will not be back, but the team was relying on him last year, which added to their misery.
The pitching staff saw a plague of injuries as well. Johan Santana was shut down in August. John Maine and Oliver Perez were practically ghosts, only starting 29 games between them and when they did pitch, it usually wasn't pretty.
Mike Pelfrey had a sophomore campaign that he'd like to forget (10-12, 5.03 with only 107 Ks in 184 innings). He's bound to pitch better this season.
Bucking trends and conventional wisdom is the method all great thinkers and success stories are based upon. With everyone and everything going against the Mets the past few seasons, I'm betting that this season we'll see a reversal.