From the financial pitfalls of their owners to the aberrant behavior of their former closer and impending departure of their franchise shortstop, the conversations New York Mets fans were having last year were largely unpleasant. Fast forward to 2012, a small step ahead in time but a giant leap in terms of the way fans are currently viewing this team.
There’s a lot of baseball to be played and nothing has been won yet, but it’s worth noting that the conversation in Mets land has changed. We’re not talking about the players that departed or the ones that are hurt. I mean I know Jason Bay is on the DL but I really don’t care when he’s coming back. I know K-Rod is still pitching but I could care less where. I’m sure Jose Reyes is doing well but I don’t check his stats or wonder how well we’d be doing with him.
We’re no longer counting the number of games played without throwing a no-hitter, instead we’re wondering who will do it next. We don’t have to hear others talk about the Mets overhyping their own prospects, instead, guys like Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey are letting their performances in the minors do the talking and Kirk Nieuwenhuis is putting together a fine rookie campaign.
And we’re not talking about trade partners for the deadline and which veterans will bring back which prospects. I’m sure Colorado or Atlanta would unload some fine prospects for David Wright, but that’s not the discussion. Instead, we’re talking about #5 chasing the club’s second consecutive batting title and players like R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana being mentioned in the early season Cy Young conversations. We are talking about the New York Mets contending for a division title.
What Johan Santana did Friday night was historic as it provided fans with a sense of relief and a belief that this year, things are going to be different. What Dickey did yesterday was make us stand up and pound our chest. Mets fans no longer seem to be thinking about a .500 season or a shot at the wildcard. With the way these guys are pitching and Wright’s performance at the plate, doubters are quickly becoming believers and a division title is hardly a pipe dream.
Now tell me, is this the script you would have written for this team heading into the season? I’m not sure anyone can answer ‘yes’ to that question, but the conversation has changed and maybe that’s what makes this year so awesome.
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