Kudos to whoever’s brilliant idea it was to make the public care as much about two movies released on the same day. When was the last time this happened? You cannot aimlessly scroll through social media on the toilet without seeing some sort of reference to Barbie or Oppenheimer. You can’t even read about the New York Mets without the films being referenced.
The opposition of the two films, between the happy-go-lucky shades of pink in Barbie to the brooding dystopian colorization in Oppenheimer, offers some variety. Much like many past Mets seasons, there are two extremes. Every season where they’ve collapsed started off at the Malibu Beach House. Usually midseason or later, the atomic bomb drops.
This year’s season followed a familiar pattern with the Enola Gay hovering overhead in June. Oppenheimer tried to become the destroyer of the Mets’ world at the end of the first half. Some better performances of late could offer up at least a few dance parties on the beach before 2023 is through.
Never mind the movies, what can the Mets offer us through the end of 2023?
The MLB trade deadline is headlining the headlines. There isn’t a topic baseball fans are more interested in right now. Shohei Ohtani’s home run chase is a nice little story we’ll focus on in two weeks, maybe. Until the trade deadline comes and goes, it’s all Mets fans and everyone else will want to pay attention to.
The Mets are one of the more unknown clubs when it comes to how they’ll tackle the objective of doing what’s best for the franchise. Mets trade rumors have already pointed toward subtraction and it’s the likeliest ending for them anyway. It doesn’t take a physicist (a job Robert Oppenheimer and Barbie have both had) to understand the odds of the Mets making a run at the playoffs are slim.
Even if there is a trade deadline sale, the Mets have something to offer us. It starts by playing but the kids. This includes Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio whom they’ve been allergic to for much of the year. There is no reason why Vientos shouldn’t be playing 5 days a week minimum after the trade deadline. Mauricio, who is a realistic candidate to have a spot on next year’s Opening Day roster, must get a promotion of his own, too.
Aside from more Baby Mets joining the group, continued success from players we know will be back in 2024 is a must. Promising performances from Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are a must. Pete Alonso climbing out of what has essentially become a season-long slump is another.
Single player accomplishment will be in the spotlight. Francisco Alvarez’s chase for 30 home runs is the best individual achievement to watch for. There’s no Jeff McNeil battle for a batting title or a Francisco Lindor MVP war to rage. Kodai Senga on the Rookie of the Year ballot could be something.
Finally, there are those smaller pieces to watch out for. Does a guy like Grant Hartwig win a bullpen spot early? Can the club acquire an under-the-radar piece in a trade to help round out the bullpen further?
July wasn’t the month any of us anticipated we’d begin to think about next year. It is what it is. We might have to settle with being happy enough to experience only a Fat Man drop on the Mets in June if we can avoid the Little Boy in the second half.