I would like to think I am an even keeled guy; much like Livan Hernandez is when he pitches. Gary Cohen always says, "you can never tell if Livan is pitching a shutout of if he's down 10 runs because he's always calm."
I pride myself on always looking at both sides of the story, never jumping to conclusions.
I am not a person who is superstitious or believes in "what comes around goes around." I also happen to be a die-hard Mets fan. As anyone can surmise up to this point, this is where my conflict lies.
I will be honest with you. I wake up every morning and the first thing I think about while brushing my teeth is whether the Mets won or lost the previous night. I think about the all important "could've-should've-would'ves" of the game. I don't let it get me down with a bad loss and I don't let it get me too excited where I start to think of "Mets: 2009 World Series Champs" banners flying around.
When I'm watching the game sitting on my sofa, I will move to the other side of the sofa if I think it will affect the Mets hitting with runners in scoring position.
During the 2006 playoffs, I refused to finish my dinner until after the eighth inning. Every time I did so resulted in a Mets victory. Now this is coming from a sound, rational individual who doesn't believe in superstition. Except when it comes to the Mets.
It's been well documented what Mets fans have endured since 2006. It takes an endless supply of tums, patience (from the individual and not to mention their significant others) to watch this team game in and game out. We always have a sense of "what can go wrong will go wrong" with this team. I guess that protects us from the eventual heartbreak the team will give us with every bad loss.
Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with that, since not every team can have sustained success for decades like the New York Yankees. But to every die-hard Mets fan, 2009 was supposed to be different. Shea Stadium's bad "karma" is gone and hopefully left in the parking lot. The bullpen has been fixed with the addition of Putz and K-Rod. Luis Castillo had a great spring training and there was an overall good feeling for the team this year.
But then something happened.
Within a short span, the Mets lost Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes to injury. Oliver Perez remained on permanent Mr. Hyde mode and then was discovered he had a knee injury. Ryan Church finally fessed up to a hamstring injury. Brian Schneider went on the DL. Heck, even reserves to the reserves started pulling up lame.
Here's where the paranoia of Mets fans takes effect. One week after sweeping the Nats and taking three out of four from the Giants with this depleted lineup, Mets fans were on cloud nine, and nothing could stop us. Then the Dodgers swept the Mets and played a tough three game set against the Marlins.
Now the Mets have lost two disappointing games to the ever-scrappy-against-the-Mets Pittsburgh Pirates. The sky has fallen for us die-hards. Everywhere I go now, I hear "What is Omar Minaya doing? Why aren't the Mets making a trade for a 1B, OF or Pitcher? Oh the Mets stink (usually this is coming from Yankee fans who feel the need to rub it in) When did Fred Wilpon become such a cheapo?"
It's no secret that the Mets are sporting a spring training lineup that has bused three hours to play in Kissimmee and left its regulars in Port. St. Lucie. To every die-hard it seems like the division is lost, there's no hope and that Minaya is only going to get another washed up, old Latino player that has either a) been released by another team or b) played in Mexico/Japan the previous year or c) has been retired and is trying to make a comeback.
Much to my wife's disdain, a few of my die-hard Mets fan buddies (including myself) like to text each other during the game as well as any updates during the day. I guess you can call it a "t-log or a text-logging."
Sure, we can end up sending as much as 100 texts per game to each other, but up until recently it has acted as a support group to cope with the next disappointment or near disaster.
Yes, there have always been pessimistic overtones with the group, but we always gave credit where credit is due and were ecstatic with each victory (even more so with the dramatic ones). For myself, it's just gotten to way out of hand.
Everyone predicts a loss even before the game starts. Everyone predicts when the next time David Wright is going to strike out or hit into a double play, especially at Citi Field. Everyone predicts Schneider's next ground ball to the second baseman. Everyone predicts the usual one home run that Santana now gives up per game.
Everyone is complaining how a team like Atlanta can basically trade a bunch of baseballs and one slightly used home plate for Nate McClouth, yet the Mets are standing still and doing nothing. Everyone is moaning how the Yankees have All-Stars at every position and will probably never lose another game again (even though they DID lose to the Texas Rangers last night...shocking).
I just couldn't take it anymore. Am I the only die hard Mets fan left who has hope? Am I the only one left who ENJOYS watching the game? As I told them, why watch the game if you're just going to trash the team, expect the worst and think they aren't going to be at least competitive in the NL East? I mean, it's only June 4! If the Phillies, Mets and Yogi back in 1973 have taught us anything, it's that "It ain't over till its over."
I give this 2009 squad a lot of credit. They don't have the horses in the lineup, yet they never quit. Maybe it's why I am still patient with this team?
They have gotten great pitching in the month of May and timely hitting. Sure, as my t-log group has pointed out many times, the Mets don't know what a home run is anymore, yet they still manage to score runs. It also helps that they have faced the likes of the Nationals, Marlins and Pirates.
My biggest fear now is that these reserves are being asked to step outside their roles. How can this lineup continue to manufacture runs when it looks like Sheffield is about to collapse any second and Wright continuing to strike out at an alarming rate? When are we going to stop relying on the likes of Valdez and Ramon Martinez? When is Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado going to come back? Is Jerry playing mind games with Daniel Murphy and his .256 average? When will Carlos Beltran stop giving percentages on his health and return to the lineup? Will Fernando Martinez go the way of Alex Ochoa, Lastings Milledge, Alex Escobar, Ryan Thompson and Jay Payton?
The Mets fan in me braces for(and expects)the worst. The rest of me says enjoy the ride because it's going to be great.