I cannot be the only person smiling like a dork as I clicked through the Mets spring training Facebook album today. And it certainly wasn’t because of the views of warm weather as a snowstorm descended on the south.
Spring Training, though not official until Saturday when pitchers and catchers are required to report, has finally arrived. For the Mets, there are plenty of story lines to work themselves out starting in Port St. Lucie.
Who’s on first?
On my podcast debut a few weeks back, I mentioned I’m most looking forward to seeing how the roster plays out. We have a log jam of players at a few different positions and while I have some favorites to fill those spots, one of the greatest parts as a reporter or fan is seeing how the situation plays itself out. Yes, I want Ike Davis starting every game, but I most want a first baseman and power hitter who can get the job done. If Davis can’t do that, then I’ll be glad the situation is fairly settled with runs on the board.
It was nice to see Davis and captain David Wright smiling and hanging out together today. Understandably, the off-season trade rumors were aired in the open like a banner behind a plane. Davis’ dad didn’t like it, but that’s the way it goes however rough and brutal it might be. Davis needs to put that behind him, or instead use it as motivation to prove he’ll be the guy the Mets always thought he could be. Baseball is a mind game; if you’re not in the right mindset you’re certainly not going to be worth much in the batter’s box.
Tisk, tisk, Tejada
I get it, the baseball off-season is short and the regular season can drag onward, taking a player away from his family. But Ruben Tejada is fighting for a job. Or, should consider himself to be doing so. He’s young and hasn’t proven to be a phenomenal catch. He’s no superstar. (Mets fans don’t want a guy acting like one even if he were.) While there’s no clear person to come in and take his spot and it doesn’t look as if Sandy Alderson is going to bring someone in for it, Tejada should be doing every single little thing he can to give the organization a reason not to replace him.
He plays arguably the most significant position in the infield and hasn’t made the best impression on an organization that will accept practically anything. Tejada has flashes of brilliance and Alderson seemed happy he was willing to go to fitness camp. Yet, we saw Davis in spring training early. David Wright was there, E.J. Young, Josh Satin … the list goes on. The little things count the most as one starts a career and sports are no different. Unless he has a fantastic reason for waiting to show, Tejada should be in camp despite not being obligated to be there. It’s disappointing he’s not.
Remember Jeremy Hefner? A little lost in our uproar over Matt Harvey’s Tommy John surgery is the fact Hefner is recovering from the same thing. The pitcher underwent surgery in August and according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, he’s unsure he’ll play in the majors this year. It’ll be interesting to see if Hef and Harvey have any significant impact on each other as they rehab the same injury.
Sorry, I fell asleep writing that title head just thinking about last season’s long games.
Obviously, we all exaggerate to make a point. Obviously, Dice-K taking 55 pitches doesn’t take four hours. That doesn’t mean I won’t make the joke, though.
Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Mets debut was brutal, but it did get better. He had a 10.95 ERA in his first three starts, then a 1.37 ERA in the next four. He’s on a minor league contract and could prove worthy enough in spring training to take the fifth starter spot. Last year, we simply needed him to eat innings as we grounded into another fruitless end of the season. This year, if he falters we have a steady farm system to bring up. Hey, it’s all about 2015 anyway.
For now, in 2014, we have enough story lines to follow. There are so many I can’t even begin to contain my excitement.
It’s finally spring.
Despite what the snow in Charlotte, N.C. leads you to believe.