Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog penned a piece today on the Mets’ rising confidence, expressing his own optimism in the team’s hot start. MetsBlog commenters were not as gung-ho as Cerrone, and the most common response in the article’s poll, at over 51 percent, was “Ask me again in June.”
The fans’ caution when it comes to New York’s post-April prospects is justified. In three of the past five seasons, dating back to the Jerry Manuel era in 2010, the Mets have been solid in April, only to falter down the stretch. From 2010-2012, the team even had a winning record by the All-Star Break. The recent Mets have not been good at following up fans’ early optimism down the stretch, so it’s reasonable for them not to go all-in on the 2014 model until they see how it runs a few hundred miles later.
However, while it’s too soon to tell what will happen to the team by June, there are more signs for optimism in 2014 than there were in previous years. The Mets sport one of baseball’s top starting rotations, and that’s before Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard arrive this summer. The bullpen has been more consistent in the latter part of April. While the bats have been spotty, the law of averages says it has to come around at some point. Lack of offensive prowess may also be a coming trend across all of baseball, and the way Sandy Alderson has built the team puts them in a better place than many other teams in the National League.
Perhaps most importantly, though, by trying to downplay New York’s early surprising success, by shrugging off this April and going all Randy Quaid in Major League 2 on how it won’t last, Mets fans are completely missing the point of baseball. Baseball, and sports in general, are means of entertainment. They are supposed to be fun. Fun to play, to watch, to follow. By disowning everything short of winning a World Series, which 97 percent of major league teams fail to do every year, these fans are unnecessarily torturing themselves over a boy’s game. If one cannot have fun watching baseball, why bother?
The Mets could very well face another summer swoon; 74-88 could be just as likely as 88-74. But New York is playing well right now, and I intend to have fun watching them while it lasts. Give me three months of joy, three months of heartbreak, and six months of hope over 12 months of misery any day.