Honestly, with the amount of negativity floating above every move the Mets make or do not make, you would think the Mets are heading into the season with the roster of the Washington Nationals or Pittsburgh Pirates. It feels like the opening scene to Major League where the fans of the Indians state in many colorful ways how much the fictional team will stink.
But, anyone with any kind of objectivity has to understand that this just isn't the case with the 2010 Mets. Yes, the Mets managed to lose to an inferior team in the 2006 playoffs. They collapsed in 2007 and 2008, and suffered an injury-plagued 2009 season that would make an NFL team cringe, but none of that has anything to do with this year.
Mets fans have a habit of believing the whole world is against them because they share a city with the Yankees. As a Mets fan, you can't even worry about that. Just look at your own team.
Yes, Reyes begins the season on the DL along with fellow star Carlos Beltran. The "here we go again" mentality can be tangibly felt on the faces and in the voices of Mets fans making themselves heard on the local radio airwaves. They want Reyes to play now and don't want to wait the week for him to return.
They want the young players like Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis to take the field as starters. They want every free agent signed. They hang on every spring training statistic as they judge the starting pitching. They are even angry that it appears Mike Jacobs will be batting fourth on opening day!
They are overanalyzing everything and every single item related to the team is drawing ire. Every player move is questioned, every managerial decision will be second-guessed.
In short, April feels like September. I can't even imagine what an opening day loss will feel like.
But come on New York, you guys are supposed to be "savvy baseball fans." The Mets were in first place in May of last year, and where did it get them? You need to relax. It's April. Rushing players to return from injury is what got the Mets in trouble in the first place. Mets fans need to relearn patience.
Look at the overall roster. This team is not that bad. It boasts one of the best starters in baseball in Johan Santana. Fans are questioning starters No. 2-5. Yes, Oliver Perez is questionable, and John Maine has not been able to stay healthy for a complete season since 2007. Pelfrey has struggled a bit this spring, and Niese appears shaky as a fifth-starter. However, these are the questions every team faces going into the season.
Again, sharing the city with the Yankees, Met fans look at the five all-stars the Yankees trot out, and react with jealousy and fear.
But, it is not the Yankees that the Mets are competing with; it is the rest of baseball. The Mets starting staff is not that bad. Are they aces? No, but again, no starter wins all his starts. All five in the Mets staff have the ability to win more than half of their decisions and that puts you right in the thick of things as far as the playoff race is concerned.
Now, to the lineup. Again, fans are overreacting to the minor setbacks of Beltran and Reyes. Reyes will be back in one week and has nothing physically wrong with his body. The thyroid issue is under control, and he has no structural damage. There will be no "tweaks" no "tears" no "setbacks;" he will play and play well this season.
Beltran did a very intelligent thing. Instead of rehabbing and playing hurt all season, he went for the surgery. He will be out a month, which Mets fans feel like is an eternity, but it is the same month he would have missed two to three games at a time as "days off" due to his balky knee.
Jason Bay is a major star, Francouer is a solid pro, Castillo is not the disaster Mets fans think he is, and David Wright will rebound with real players around him.
The bench is solid, the bullpen is good enough. This is not a 65-win team folks. This isn't Pittsburgh or Washington. The Mets will be right there this year and will have an opportunity at the playoffs which most teams can't say for themselves going into a baseball season.
Plus, Ya Gotta Believe!