Marcus Stroman, beyond his pitching acumen, reinforces a fledging winning culture on the Mets. Wild Card? Don’t count them out yet…
Marcus Stroman is a New York Met. Let that sink in. And when it does, realize that everything about the Mets has changed.
The arrival of Stroman has nothing to do with the seven-game win streak entering play on Friday that has pulled the team to within two games of the .500 mark and back in the National League Wild Card Race. It has nothing to do with Jeff McNeil‘s charge to a batting title or Pete Alonso‘s assault on the home run record for rookies. And it has nothing to do with watching Robinson Cano‘s career wind down into oblivion.
Instead, Stroman has everything to do with introducing and fermenting an elusive but necessary element to the Mets. Found in every major league team that breeds success, it’s called a winning culture.
Listen and watch here for just one minute and forty-four seconds, and ask yourself if you’ve ever seen anything before like Marcus Stroman – the person – wearing a Mets uniform.
Marcus Stroman – A Breath Of Fresh Air
It is all about Marcus Stroman, the person. To be sure, he will pitch every fifth day for the New York Mets. Adding to an already illustrious band of brothers led by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, Stroman puts the finishing touch on a 1-2-3 punch equal to most and better than many. But it’s more than that.
Marcus Stroman provides the Mets with an identity, which has been an ongoing theme and goal Brodie Van Wagenen sees as lacking in the Mets organization. Confident, but not arrogant. Loud, but not intrusive, Stroman has the “touch” to bridge the gap between a cerebral and staid deGrom and the effusiveness of a Brandon Nimmo.
To put it another way, Marcus Stroman will serve as a magnet in the Mets clubhouse. Players will gravitate towards him, and he will welcome them with a contagious smile and a “Let’s go get ’em” spirit.
Already, Steven Matz, a long-time friend and competitor of Stroman during their days playing travel ball on Long Island, is gushing with optimism about the opportunity to reunite with Stroman as a teammate. As someone who disappoints as often as he thrives on the mound, often resistant to coaching, Steven Matz needs this connection with a peer.
In the same way, we can expect to see Noah Syndergaard rise to a new level of competitiveness. As Stroman, and he engages in a battle for the unofficial title as the number two starter on the Mets staff.
When a player puts himself out there as Marcus Stroman is inclined to do, there is always the risk that quick assessments are made. Often those judgments are negative. Manny Ramirez, for instance, will always be “misunderstood.” Jim Bouton will always be a “traitor.” Reggie Jackson, a “blowhard.” And so on.
Such seemed to be the case with Stroman during his time in Toronto. For instance, even his so-called “exit interview” caused a stir of controversy and unrest about the player and person the Mets were getting.
More likely though, the incident in Toronto had more to do with Stroman’s intense desire to get to New York as quickly as possible and to begin a new phase of his baseball career and personal life.
The Yankees were his first choice. But as chance would have it, Brodie Van Wagenen executed the coup of the trade deadline mini-season. When he and the Mets swooped in with stealth and precision to bring Marcus Stroman to Queens instead of the Bronx.
Yes, Marcus Stroman is a New York Met. Let that sink in.
The face of the team is about to change. Swagger, confidence, and an internal desire to win are all part of the Stroman persona. Pete Alonso now has a buddy eschewing the same “we’re in this to win it” refrain.
And Stroman might even win a few games for the Mets…