It is amazing, Spring Training is right around the corner, literally. The Super Bowl has come and gone. New York Mets pitchers and catchers report to St. Lucie, FL this week. Baseball is back.
It’s the second week of February. Every year, this is the time baseball fans know that they made it through another harsh winter and look forward to warmer weather, green grass, new leaves sprouting, and flowers blooming. Yes, New York Mets pitchers and catchers report this week with the rest of the players following thereafter.
It’s here! It’s here! Spring Training in Florida and Arizona is here!
The sound of gloves popping and cleats scratching on concrete floors of the dugout. The cracking sound of a piece of lumber making contact with a baseball as fans and players alike ooh and ahh at the ball taking off like a rocket at Cape Canaveral.
New faces in new uniforms. Some teams improved, others traded their present players for longterm goals. The Mook goes Hollywood, Anthony Rendon leaves DC for Disneyland and Nolan Arenado wants out of the Rocky Mountain High.
The Mets lost Zack Wheeler to the Phillies but signed long-time Mets fan and former American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello. To add to the Amazins pitching staff is former St. Louis Cardinal, Michael Wacha. I can see Fozzie Bears in the stands and Mets fans chanting Wacha, Wacha, Wacha! Sorry, Michael.
Let’s not forget the Mets Christmas present to their fans. The signing was rumored but not expected. Then comes an announcement that the New York Mets signed veteran free agent setup man Dellin Betances to go with retaining the services of Brad Brach.
And at last year’s trade deadline, the Mets added Long Island native and Steven Matz‘s childhood baseball adversary Marcus Stroman to soften the blow of Wheeler’s departure. A full year of Stroman should provide good pitching and a passion Mets fans have wanted to see.
In the outfield, New York picked up Jake Marisnick, more for his defense than his bat, from the Houston Astros. Former Mets manager, Carlos Beltran believes he can be another hidden gem like J.D. Davis. Judging from his offensive numbers, it’s unlikely he was part of the sign-stealing scandal.
Add Yoenis Cespedes to back into the fold in his contract year, at a reduced salary, and the New York Mets may have a formidable offensive lineup. Provided La Potencia has given up on his version of “Running with the Boar.”
Rumors swirled the Mets were interested in trading for Starling Marte and Francisco Lindor but after they were burned with the Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano deal, they declined to put a hand over the fire a second time.
The Mets were sold, then not sold. They had a manager, then they did not have a manager. Then hired another manager, someone who they always had in their system.
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But with all the drama, the Mets have patiently plugged in players that fit the new “Mets Way.” A culture put into place by GM Brodie Van Wagenen, that emphasizes the need for strong leadership, fundamentals, accountability, team play, and analytics. Amazins fans hope this will be the culture players buy into and create a sense of excellence.
Last season, the Mets gained a polar bear and a squirrel to go with Thor and the deGrominator? Where else can a polar bear play in the summer with a squirrel? Only at Citi Field.
So Spring Training is right around the corner. New expectations and goals are set. The NFL season is done and baseball takes center stage. Winter is almost over. Baseball is back!