PHILADELPHIA – To tell the truth, there has been a lot missing from the Mets this year.
It started off with too much arrogance and too much expectation after two years in the playoffs.
Then finally, too many injuries, which robbed the Mets of their talent.
But more than that, the 2017 Mets were missing that youthful exuberance, which comes from young players and rookies and spreads like wildfire in the clubhouse.
Sure, Michael Conforto was on the club, but he came up two years ago and played in a World Series. He went through bad streaks last season, only to come out stronger this year. In short, he’s a veteran.
Like every other veteran on the Mets, they played as it was their job. Win or lose there was always a paycheck at the end of the week, so it didn’t matter the result.
Sure, they didn’t like to lose, but too many times in this lost season, these Mets gave up every time the pitching imploded.
Tonight, it was different. With both super rookies Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith in the lineup, the Mets played like baseball was fun again and fought back for a 7-6 win against the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.
Smith smiled and played a solid first base, and went 1-3 with his first big league single, while Rosario put the Mets ahead for good in the ninth inning with his first Major League homer.
“(Rosario) is still very aggressive and played great,” said manager Terry Collins. “He sits and listens and he’s been very good.”
Smith did look nervous out there looked very tentative at the plate during his first at bat, but that will fade as he gets used to the big leagues. But in the field, he looked solid.
“The balls at first base, he’s real, real good,” Collins said.
It helped that Smith had a seeing eye single in the fourth. “There was a sense of relief,” he said. “The first one is the hardest one to get. To do it in my first game, it gets it out of the way.”
And onto bigger and better things. Like Rosario, who hasn’t been setting the world on fire with his bat, but still breathed life into this club. And tonight, was able to get his first homer.
“I’ve been seeing it all year,” Smith said. “Now everyone will see it, since the games are on television.”
Rosario is fitting in as is Smith. They are best friends and it will probably help both rookies to go through these experiences together.
As it obviously helps the rest of the Mets. Last season, the Yankees made the same choice, selling off their veterans and going with the younger players and now the team is in the playoff hunt and for years, the Cardinals seemed to bring up one rookie after another to inject some youth into the club, propelling them to the players.
Now the Mets are doing the same.
Collins said the veterans are playing for contracts, but many of them won’t be here next season. Having a youthful surge may drive them these last seven weeks of the season.
We saw it today as the Rosario and Smith era started. It’s obviously too late to save the 2017 season, but both rookies will be a big part of this club next season as the Mets look to rebound from the lost year.
Youth has been missing from this club all season. Now it has it and let’s hope it rubs off on the rest of the players.