The week leading up to Opening Day for the New York Mets was cause for some panic. The team was about to trade Dominic Smith in a questionable move after already learning they’d be without Jacob deGrom for at least two months.
As if that wasn’t rough enough, Max Scherzer wasn’t ready for Opening Day due to a hamstring hiccup. Brandon Nimmo had a stiff neck. Tylor Megill would have to start the first game of the year with Starling Marte in right field rather than the position he was originally signed to play, center field.
Despite this, the Mets won their first three games of the year against the Washington Nationals. The beanball war in D.C. caused a few brief injury scares as well, but the Mets came out unharmed and a little bit closer for it. Comradery is already building strong and they haven’t even played a game at Citi Field yet.
The Mets have already overcome some early adversity and should come away stronger because of it
Although the deGrom news still stings, Scherzer looks ready to go and so do Megill and Chris Bassitt. We’ll soon see if Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker can join them.
The Mets are hitting with runners in scoring position. Their pitching has done exactly what was expected or better. Everything is clicking. It’s not just because the Nationals are bad. The Mets are looking good, too.
Most promising of all, the culture of the team has reached a level of “positive vibes only.” Buck Showalter has already become an absolute Mets legend with the way he defended his players when the Nationals pitchers confused human heads for home plate. One look says it all.
The Mets were rumored to have some behind-the-scenes issues last year which helped lead to their late-season collapse. However much of it is true will never be known but it did seem that there was a lack of leadership. Aaron Loup and Jeff McNeil even said so.
This year, not so much.
The team has Scherzer in the locker room. He is about as much of a leader as you can get. He spent the winter representing the Player’s Union and has been well-respected for a long time. Other additions they made provide the team with a no-nonsense attitude. Showalter is the most important addition, of course. He wasn’t about to come out of his cushier gigs to come manage a team and let some kids walk all over him.
How long will these positive vibes last? In a 162-game season, there will be down times. The Mets are going to lose. A chair may get thrown.
Right now, through fat lips and bruises, all of the vibes around this ball club are positive.