200 Miles From the Citi

February 13, 2011 1:00 AM

The Case For The Mets


Sunday Paper (Year 3, Volume VII)

Last year I picked the Mets to finish last in the National League East.

This year I haven't yet made my picks...but I'm not getting my hopes up too high.

(Despite the title of this post, this is an "argument" for the Mets, not a "case" as in "legal case".  We're taking a break from that depressing talk this week.)

But if I were to get my hopes up high, I might be able to make a case for the Mets.

I might be able to find a way where the Mets would win their division...or a wild card...or the World Series.

This is that case.

There's a lot of talk by the Mets as they report to Spring Training - even dating back into the off-season with information coming out about the Mets' financial troubles - that they're feeling a little angry at everyone overlooking them.  I always prefer my teams having a chip on their shoulder to being overwhelming favorites.  (But let's not rule out that latter option once in a while, teams, OK?  Please?  Sometime in my life?)

There's also the fact that Carlos Beltran is in a contract year.  I don't know what's harder to believe - that the 7-year contract Beltran signed is already expiring, or that the Mets have done so little in that time. That's a story for another time.  For now, I'll just say this - I think Beltran is going to have a huge year.  That's why he had his surgery last year and sacrificed last season - so he was ready to go for this season.  He's not coming back with the Mets - so the Mets had better take advantage of his having a huge year and ride him to success.  (Otherwise Beltran had better be unloaded at the trade deadline to a contender in exchange for a ton of prospects.)

Quietly the Mets have put together a decent pitching staff.  Now, it's not Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels.  But they're solid pitchers who might find a ton of success at Citi Field.  And if they can keep the Mets afloat, the team should be getting a big mid-season addition in the form of Johan Santana.  It's a little worrisome that the pitching staff is relying heavily on so many pitchers to have career years or big comebacks from injury...but Citi Field is the type of place where pitchers can find that type of success.  (I throw this caveat out as well - there's some video at this link that shows Chris Capuano warming up. He looks jacked.  Pitchers don't usually look like that...For someone who has battled injury, I hope he knows what he's doing. That's not really a pitcher's body.  For what that's worth.)

The Mets lineup is better than OK.  A healthy Jose Reyes makes a world of difference for the Mets, and...dare I say it....Jason Bay has to be better than last year.  There's a lot of young talent in the lineup - Ike Davis and Josh Thole will be in the lineup beginning on Opening Day this year, and David Wright is coming off another strong season.

It's not a sure thing that the Mets will have a good season - let alone a great one.  But it's the dawn of spring training. There's always a chance.

*You know Opening Day is a big deal for me...this year the Mets open in Florida on April 1st.  (The season opens this year on Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1.)  Usually Opening Day happens while I'm in school.  This year, yes, many teams will be opening while I'm in school.  But that Mets game?  Unless it gets moved for TV reasons or some such unforeseen circumstance, I'll be able to watch it - it's scheduled for 7pm!

*I thought Andy Pettitte was treated rather kindly when he retired last week, considering he admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs.  Yes, I know he says it was a one time thing for an injury, and no, I don't know that I'd rather see him chastised - I don't know how I want it to be handled. I just thought he was celebrated a bunch where others who have walked the same path have not been.  Funny, too, that this quote appeared in an article celebrating Pettitte last Sunday in the Boston Globe, and I found the quote quite damning, unintentional though that damning may be:

Giants general manager Brian Sabean was a Yankees executive when they signed Pettitte.  One thing that impressed Sabean was "how quickly he changed his body.  He was a chunky kid and he learned right away that being in top physical shape was going to be beneficial to his career.  He picked things up very quickly and at a young age he was very good.  He's had a great career."

*Have you watched much college basketball on ESPNU this season?  I saw this way back at the beginning of the season...maybe Thanksgiving break, maybe over Christmas.  I don't know.  But when ESPNU goes to commercial of a basketball game they have this spinning U that usually takes on the persona of the mascot of the team that's playing.  I like it a lot.  The one that stands out was Baylor when I was watching one of their games back whenever it was.  The U took on a Bear face.  I kept forgetting to mention it.  It's a neat little thing.

*Speaking of college there is just not a lot going on in sports right now that's catching my interest.  I'm doing some fantasy hockey that lets me keep tabs on the NHL, but not to the point where it's must-see TV for me...I just follow the scores mostly.  And I can only take so much regular season college basketball.  The tournament can't come soon enough - and even then, with all the changes this year, I don't know how excited I am for it.

*Boston University lost a late 2-1 lead in the Beanpot opener last week and lost to Boston College in overtime, in case you were desperately seeking a follow-up to last week's article.

*It's that time of year again, where I need to apologize for the lack of postings.  February-itis or something.  I'll have Sunday Papers for sure, but please keep checking back during the week as well - I will be posting occasionally.  Next week is February break, so I'll probably be back on track by then.  Until then, though, I'm getting my baseball previews ready.  Thanks for reading!

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