Opening day should be declared a holiday for baseball fans. It is a day filled with happiness and hope springs eternal for the upcoming season. Baseball fans identify Opening Day as the true start of Spring.
Think about it, when else does every team have an equal chance to go to the playoffs. At this point no team has bloomed yet and their potential is yet to be seen. Everyone is literally on an equal playing field 0-0, with no games under their belts. Fans are excited to see if their team will bloom into a beautiful rose or if their team will yield a stink bush. The whole league is tied in first place.
So today, you expected the Mets to be looking at the season through their proverbial blue and orange glasses. The team is relatively healthy and ready to go.
“If you look on paper on who we got,” said Mets new third baseman Todd Frazier. “We have a good lineup, top to bottom. We have a really good club and a good opportunity here and we need to go out and perform.”
It is important for fans to stay cautiously optimistic. Before we stamp the Mets a shoe in for October we must remember they have to stay healthy, especially on the mound. Right now, the rotation of Matt Harvey and Steven Matz looks promising. They are finally pain free. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom are starting off in top form. All of this can change in a New York Minute considering how injuries have plagued the Mets in the recent past.
If the Mets can contain and keep injuries to a minimum they can be contenders for a Wild Card or even a division win.
However, we learned last year, this is a big IF.
So far, though, all of the buds seem to be ready to bloom at Citi Field. Yoenis Cespedes may have let the cat out of the bag, saying Michael Conforto will be back early next week. This is great news considering that Conforto was expected to be out for at least a month. It seems Conforto will only have to miss five games.
Since Cespedes is paid to drive in runs and hasn’t taken over as the team trainer we will just have to wait and see.
Maybe this is a sign of things to come. Mickey Callaway is like a breath of fresh air himself and is breathing some new life into his players. He is well liked in the dugout and his youthful enthusiasm seems to have rejuvenated the players for a fresh season start. He has an easy rapport with players.
“I got a chance to get together with Mickey a couple of times this Spring Training,” Cespedes said. “He’s pretty young and he thinks the way players think.”
“He shows great communication everyone,” Frazier said. “I think he has done a great job with that.”
All of this means Callaway is expected to win. The new manager says he will be “cautiously aggressive” in the dugout, but more importantly he is going to “have the players play the game the right way.” If that means they will be fundamentally sound, then it’s a big step forward.
Yet, there are no awards for winning on Opening Day. The Mets know this will be a marathon. It’s just Game 1 of 162 and after an off day on Friday, the race continues.
On paper this is a good club. The Mets should be over .500 and in the hunt for October. No one could have imagined the Mets magical season of 2015 and a World Series bid. For now it is fun to think about the prospect of where this team, if it remains healthy, can go this year.
All of this makes the Mets at the very least, interesting. Where they go from there is anyone’s guess.
For now, hope will continue to Spring eternal. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the seeds planted will yield a healthy and productive season.
It should be a fun ride.