The Mets are gradually coming into their own. Removed from any realistic chance of making the playoffs, the pressure is off, and the fun is back…
The Mets are regularly drawing crowds of 30-35,000 fans on their current homestand. This is not an accident. The team is playing a good brand of baseball, though the standings don’t reflect much of a change. The “Kids” are a welcome sight, complete with nicknames like Polar Bear and The Squirrel. The fun is back. And win or lose, that’s all that should matter.
Sometimes, myself included, we take these things too seriously. We dream our dreams, and we fight our nightmares as the team we follow doesn’t measure up to expectations – both theirs and ours. But in the end, it’s the middle of summer, and there’s a team at Citi Field that’s entertaining to watch.
Thrills and spills? Not quite. But every fifth day, the Mets send one of the premier pitchers in the game today out there in the name of Jacob deGrom. Pete Alonso sends rockets into the night sky with all of the youthful exuberance of a young man possessed with fulfilling greatness.
Jeff McNeil, the Engine That Could, turns up in the middle of everything the Mets do well. A hitting machine which reminds of Pete Rose. Not afraid to publicly display his humanness, McNeil pleads with his wife to adopt a puppy – and she does! McNeil “gets” what this all bout.
Mickey Callaway, the manager we love to hate, finds himself too. Relaxed more than ever before, he sees today and tomorrow, not yesterday. Callaway believes in his players, and he’s taken to ignoring the front office as much as he can. He, too, is a man coming into his own.
Turmoil still exists, especially the events surrounding the Trade Deadline this Wednesday. Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and Jason Vargas may have pitched their last game wearing a Mets uniform. Maybe not.
Uncertainty is always part of professional baseball. And it remains to be seen if Brodie Van Wagenen can redirect his team from the errors he made during the offseason. He has to get this one right.
J.D. Davis, Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith are quietly but very efficiently weaving their way into a Mets team filled with role players to complement the All-Stars on the team. This is no small occurrence. Todd Frazier (for the moment at least) and Robinson Cano continue to bring a veteran presence to the team, with Cano especially serving as a mentor for Rosario. The young shortstop is (by the way – check his offensive stats) rapidly developing into the player the Mets touted him to be.
Mets: No Need To Get Giddy But…
My interface with Mets fans over the years tells me they are a unique breed in baseball. They want to win – yes. But they’ll always love their “Metsies”, no matter what circumstances the team finds itself in. That says something, and it certainly draws a line in the sand when comparing Mets fans to their counterparts in the Bronx and elsewhere – where winning is everything.
Baseball, on a summer day in August or a September night on the cusp of Fall, need not be an all-out struggle, typical of the kind we see on a Sunday NFL game, filled with blitzes, bombs, Sudden Death, and head-crushing hits.
All we ask for, and I believe I speak for most fans of baseball (and in this case, the Mets) is to be entertained. To have a portion of our day devoted to “nothing” – like a Seinfield episode. Away from the Meuller Report and Jeffrey Epstein.
Since the All-Star break, this Mets team is providing the spirit of that desire to simply relax and enjoy a ballgame. They field a pretty good team these days. Most significantly, though, the team is competitive and fun to watch. Even Keith Hernandez is more animated these days during the SNY TV telecasts.
Nothing to get giddy about – but surely a reason to stay close to the Mets over the next two months. And after all, it’s only 207 days till Spring Training 2020 begins…