Mets Fans: Listen Up – This Year Is Different And Here’s Why

Mets Contributions From Everywhere (Photo: Bleacher Report)

The Mets looked good opening the 2019 season against the Nationals. They looked good last year too until the bottom fell out. That was then, this is now…

The Mets looked good even when they lost the series finale against the Washington Nationals on a walk-off home run off Justin Wilson in the final inning. Just before, though, the Mets had pushed across three runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning to tie the score. The Mets never quit.

You can say it’s early in the season, but this is a Mets team that has been “together” now for several months, including all those relentless preseason games. The team endured the pre-opening to the season with a travel schedule from hell, fractious statements from Noah Syndergaard (didn’t last long though), and they still opened up with two straight against Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals one-two punch.

Naysayers will no doubt say the Mets are a team bound to self-combust – because their says they will. Injuries will occur and Brodie Van Wagenen will have no replacements, just like Sandy Alderson didn’t last season. And that may be why talks are still active with free agents Dallas Keuchel and (a longer possibility) Craig Kimbrel.

But teams have been known to play an entire season without injuries to key players. For example, last year the Houston Astros, a near-championship team went thru the entire 2018 season with the second-fewest injuries of any team. The Mets? You guessed it. Only the Angels ranked higher in days lost to injuries.

Good teams play through injuries, though. And sometimes, replacements come from everywhere, both internally and externally. The Mets, for instance, have been stubborn regarding using Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman in a starting role, but who’s to say that either could be plugged in as the season evolves and dictates?

Peter Alonso, New York Mets Photo Credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Peter Alonso, New York Mets Photo Credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

For Mets fans, it’s more than about the long history of injuries which have afflicted the Mets recently. But, this team is unique in other ways. For one, they have Jeff McNeill, a professional hitter, for a full season. And two, there’s Pete Alonso, affectionately christened by Mets Fans (actually, it was Noah Syndergaard) as “Polar Bear”, who is already creating a stir in the lineup. Amed Rosario is another year older, stronger, and close to his mentor, Robinson Cano, who himself looks to be on a quest to reclaim his status in New York City.

The one-two-three starting pitching, unlike last season, is stellar and proven. Remember, Jacob deGrom was far removed from a Cy Young and Noah Syndergaard was only weeks away from losing time on the Injured List from a self-induced injury, and Zack Wheeler was pitching in Las Vegas.

New York Mets Fans - The Faithful Photo Credit: The Daily Stache
New York Mets Fans – The Faithful Photo Credit: The Daily Stache

And we could on. Sandy Alderson, at this time last season, was pre-occupied with an oncoming life-threatening illness. Michael Conforto was here in spirit, but hardly in body, as he rushed to come back from surgery, and Jeff McNeill was a nobody flying off the radar…

As Mets fans recall, the team jumped off to an 11-2 start last season. But how many fans believed it was genuine and something that would last? Most sat by waiting for the other shoe to drop, which it did. This season, it’s different in that if the Mets repeat a good start, it won’t be a surprise. The team is better this season and, therefore, they’ve moved the expectations bar up a notch.

Mickey Callaway can be seen stepping it up in his second season as manager, too. He’s had some public advice for Steven Matz, basically telling Matz to stop pussy-footing around and to throw the ball with some authority. Which is the same lesson Wheeler needed to learn before he became the pitcher he is today…

As we know, a few games do not make a season. But we have seen enough to at least know this much. The Mets not only have better personnel, but they also have better focus from game to game. And more significantly, the 25 players in that clubhouse are not sitting by idly waiting for the other shoe to drop…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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