Finally, after a long and brutally cold winter in New York, baseball is upon us. That means the Mets will begin their 50th season and attempt to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The last four seasons have ended in bitter disappointment and the last two were really horrible. With a bunch of injuries and front office issues, the Mets will begin 2011 with a brand new regime.
That doesn't mean everything will start off perfectly as already some players are injured. There's of course the continuing saga of Carlos Beltran and his knee issues, and now Jason Bay will most likely start the season on the disabled list with an intercostal strain in his left rib cage. Not that it's as big of a deal, but reliever Jason Isringhausen developed an elbow injury and therefore was not placed on the 25-man roster heading north. The Mets are already without ace Johan Santana for a few months.
At the same time, they did bring in some pitching and have a little bit of depth in the outfield to replace Bay in the short-term.
If the Mets want to make the playoffs, and a lot will have to go right with the Phillies and Braves in the division, what will they have to do? Is pitching the absolute biggest key or will they rely heavily on their offense? How much of a factor will the bullpen be, especially with the loss of Pedro Feliciano?
Here are five things the Mets must do this season to return to the playoffs.