I don’t want to sound like I am harping as I just posted about this the other day, but this is clearly not 2010.
Everything that has been unwatchable about the Mets for the last 5 years, has been completely absent in the first 5 games of the 2011 season.
Like I stated in the previous post, I left the opening night of the season feeling “Here we go again”. Everything since then has felt completely new and different. Players hustling, taking the extra base, working at-bats, getting big outs, clean fielding, smart managerial decisions… Who is this team? None of these things were done with any type of consistency in the last 5 years. They would show flashes of these things, just enough to string me along. As a Mets fan, I am a human dichotomy, one part optimist, one part depressed pessimist.
Today, following last night’s hammering of Cole Hammels and the Phillies, I have every expectation that they will continue to play like this. I don’t think they will win every game. There is every possibility that they lose the next two games (Mike Pelfrey tonight, facing Roy Halladay Thursday). I don’t really care. Baseball is a long freaking season, there are going to be loses. What I cannot stand is watching sloppy, indecisive, poorly managed losses that should have been wins. Which is all we have had for years. The Mets only loss this season came not because Mike Pelfrey made a bad pitch against John Buck (it was part of it), but because Josh Johnson is a better pitcher, it is going to happen.
I do not have any misconceptions that this team will win 4 out of every 5, but they are a good team.
I think the biggest changes came at the top. This group of players is not all that different from the players that have been around the last few years. What has changed is that for the first time in as long as I can remember, the Mets have a smart, capable GM, who consistently delivers a clear, strong message and sets the tone for the entire organization. Omar Minaya was great at spending big money on free agents, and terrible with dissemination the message and communication. The Mets were a freakin’ circus the last few years. They couldn’t manage the roster without losing players like Darren O’Day to waivers. They couldn’t hold a press conference without accusing a beat writer of lobbying for a job. They couldn’t do seemingly anything right. I honestly think a lot of that has changed.
It will take the media and the rest of the country to change their opinions of this organization. They will focus on the Madoff thing. They will focus on Santana’s injury, and the losing of the past, and this and that. All the while, I honestly think the Mets will keep winning.
I keep saying it, this isn’t 2010 anymore.