New York Mets: Take a Cue From the NCAA Tournament and Just Play the Games
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If there was ever a moral reason to watch sports, and not just purely for entertainment value, it is to teach you that anything can happen and there is a reason why we don't just select the winner. Watching the NCAA Tournament every year reminds me of this when you see teams like George Mason, Butler, and now VCU this year beat opponents the "experts" say they never had a chance against.
Listening to Mike Francesa while driving in the car (I'll still never know why I do this to myself) people are saying you are insane if you think the Mets will have any success this year and are writing them off before the season begins. Are they the best team in baseball, league, or even division? No. At least not on paper, but how often does the best team actually win?
The Mets have their holes I won't even try to deny that. With their ace Johan Santana out for most of the season and a chance to be the whole year if there are any setbacks their rotation is a huge question mark. The most proven guy in the rotation is Mike Pelfrey and he is even still erratic. You just never know what you are going to get. A sophomore pitcher is the team's number two starter, a knuckleballer the number three, and two guys in the second year of rehab after major surgery round out the rotation. It sounds like the rotation of a last place team, but another solid season from Big Pelf, an improvement off a nice rookie campaign, more magic from R.A. Dickey, and one of the reclamation projects panning out makes this a very nice rotation.
Do you think the Mets have any chance at a wild card birth?
I don't think it would be that much of a stretch to say this rotation winds up exceeding expectations with the personalities of each pitcher. It is a rotation filled with gamers who have done nothing, but prove doubters wrong for their whole career (outside of Pelfrey) so what's to stop them now. My prediction is the rotation actually keeps the offense in most games this season and gives them an opportunity to win every game.
All-Star third baseman David Wright, All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, All-Star outfielder Jason Bay and All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran have all had their fair share of problems recently, but it just goes to show what type of talent is in this lineup. Bay who was awful last year was coming off back-to-back 30 homer seasons and is having a great spring, Reyes quietly had a very solid season last year and is in a walk year, when Beltran is healthy he hits that part is never in question, and Wright finally seems to be getting his power stroke back.
Not to mention Angel Pagan who should have been an All-Star last year and has some new confidence predicting he will steal more bags than Reyes, a former league leader in steals. Throw in Ike Davis who was nothing short of solid in his rookie season and you can see an offense that can put up runs. A lot of faith is being placed in the health of players (Bay, Beltran, even Reyes) and young players (Davis, Josh Thole, Brad Emaus/2nd baseman), but I just don't see how you can completely write off a lineup that has as much potential as this one.
As with every team, this is not even close to a perfect team but it is far from the last place team people are calling them. With the new philosophies of Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins who's to say they will not inject a new energy in this team that has seemed to be the only thing lacking in previous years causing their infamous collapses?
What I am trying to say is no one knows how this team is going to perform because it is very different from the Mets teams of years past. Call me a very optimistic Mets' fan but I see a team that if things go right have every chance to contend. Just imagine a team 4 games or less back to only have their ace come back mid-season and inject new vigor to the team.
Let's just play the games and decide the outcome on the field before writing a team off before the season even starts.
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