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An Optimistic Met Fan

By Kevin Casey

As I sit here this evening in an extremely boring International Human Rights Class, I have caught my mind wandering with thoughts of the future. MLB '10 The Show coming out next week, graduation from law school in May, endless studying for the July Bar Exam, maybe one last vacation, and... METS BASEBALL! With tomorrow being the first full-team workout down in Port St. Lucie, Mets players, coaches, front office, and fans can finally begin to look ahead to the 2010 season and hopefully put the embarassment of 2009 behind them. Each year at this time, I am giddy and optimistic with thoughts of quality time with my brother at Citi Field, day games with the best woman in the world followed by a walk through Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, meaningful games in September, home playoff games, and my team hoisting a World Series Trophy over their head at the end of the season. My hopes are no different this year. Many people, myself included, questioned the Mets inactivity (outside of Jason Bay) this offseason. For many years, the Mets have suffered from Little Brother Syndrome and attempted to compete with the Yankees by overpaying for declining players and being stuck with them way beyond the end of their production. Omar & Co. could have made that same mistake this offseason, but they didn't. The Mets could have paid Joel Pineiro like a number 1 starter, but they didn't. The Mets could have offered Bengie Molina a second year and another $5-7 million, but they didn't. This free agent market was rather peculiar. There was the best of the best in Lackey/Holliday/Bay, then there was a tremendous drop in talent thereafter. The Mets stood their ground and their inaction was positive action. Besides Jason Bay, the Mets best signing this offseason could very well be one of the minor league deals reached with Mike Jacobs and Rod Barajas. This change and restraint displayed by the Mets has me hopeful that this season will follow suit and bring some much needed change to a fan base and organization that has suffered for far too long.

One thing that cannot be lost on Mets fans and the rest of the MLB is that the Mets were dealt a series of injuries that would have been the death blow to any team. Would the Yankees have won the World Series if they lost Jeter, Tex, A-Rod, and CC? I don't think so. The healthy return to form of Reyes, Beltran, and Santana will result in at least 15 more wins. Add Jason Bay to that and, at least on paper, the Mets have to be one of the National League favorites.

There are some concerns with this team; but then again, which team doesn't have any? I think the Mets' injury epidemic has run its course, and there is no way they will face what they did last year; is there? One concern the Mets have is first base. Will Daniel Murphy step up and prove he can be an everyday player? I don't think so. I don't even think he is the best first baseman on the team. In a fair competition Mike Jacobs would be the Opening Day starter, but the organization's love with Daniel Murphy will prevent such a fair competition. I am concerned about the 7th and 8th innings out of the bullpen as well. When Bobby Parnell is bad, he is horrible. Sean Green is not a very good or reliable pitcher. Can they bridge the gap from the starter to K-Rod? I don't know, but I am sure something will work. Could it be Irigashi(?)/Parnell? Maybe Meija gets called up? I don't know. Another concern is the starting rotation. Who will be the number 5? Nieve or Niese? It better not be Nelson Figueroa. Will Oliver Perez pitch like a pro or a little leaguer? Will Mike Pelfrey reach his potential and shake whatever demons plague him on the mound? Again, I don't know.

Despite these concerns, I am optimistic. Come April 5, 2010 the Mets are in first place; even if only for that one day. The Mets are going to enter the season with a formidable lineup and strong defense, but a shaky rotation; they are tailored to play at Citi Field. This might be the last chance the "core" gets to bring some hardware to Flushing. Each and every player knows that and I expect the Mets to show heart that they have not shown since 2006. Although it is only February (with more snow on the way tomorrow), before we know it, it's going to be July; 90-degree days, warm nights, the beach, and most of all ... Mets Baseball. LETS GO METS!

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