Helping your Metsfans friends through the Winter
Do you have a pal who is a Metsfan? Do they seem a bit distracted at work lately? Snap at you for no reason? Or maybe you found them one day, weeping quietly in a puddle of what can only be their own urine? I want to help you understand your buddy so you can really get to know them, or at least get them to clean up after themselves.
Winter is a rough time for a Metsfan. Not as rough as the actual season, but punishing just the same. You see, we got big dreams. This offseason, I think it is fair to say that, whether it is a creation of the media or our imaginations or both, we Metsfans now have the distinct feeling of Johan Santana or Bust. The papers tell us our team might have the inside track to acquiring the league's best pitcher. We want to believe our GM Omar Minaya is in the champagne room, and now it is just a question of how good a lap dance he will get, and how much he'll tip for the privilege.
If your friend can get entirely past their principled disgust at "giving up the farm," or emotional discomfort at kissing goodbye all the potential of a farm stud that they may (Carlos Gomez) or may not have (F-Mart) actually seen, and soberly assess the lay of the land, then they are a better fan than I. But if I was to have the ability, then my question would be, what are we risking here when we speak of the Great Santana?First, selling the farm can be predicted to handicap the team when it comes to making deals to fill important slots in the near future. Just where are those slots and are they the type of slots most likely to be filled with a midseason desperation trade (not the Mets or Omar's historical specialty by the way)? Fortunately (Wright, Reyes, Belty, mmm Castillo) or unfortunately (Schneinder) the following positions are filled for the foreseeable future: 3rd, ss, 2nd, CF, and catcher. I stick Church, Alou and Delgado in the"unproven (to be around much longer)" category and thus the corner spots and first base are in relative flux. If memory serves, unless age/injury finally catches up with all of them at the same time, the Mets have under contract a servicable bench, which you don't normally trade top prospects for anyhow. With a Santana and without the upper level of minor league starting pitching prospects, I think we'd be fine in the rotation department as long as Omar doesn't mind overpaying for Ollie soon. And relief, though GMs do sometimes wheel top prospects for bullpen guys, is both a problem solvable by tossing cash at it, and a total crap shoot. It says here that the Mets won't really need need top prospects in the near future. Their stars are young, their role players are ancient, and that doesn't look likely to change anytime soon. Omar can deal with any coming crisis on the minors while the Mets and Santana pile up the playoff victories.
Second, some knowledgable readers point out that the Mets are cursed and Mr. Santana could slip off the Shea mound on opening day and be lost for the season. If your friend has been a Metsfan for any length of time, they no doubt are shadowed by a vaguely cursed feeling. The shadow of risk will put any vaguely cursed person a bit on edge, so please excuse your friend at least a couple of unprovoked outbursts that seem wildly out sync with reality. Is acquiring Santana really risky? Well, I think Ballcrank sums it up nicely:
Santana's a high-risk proposition because he is a pitcher, but he's probably the least risky bet of any pitcher in the game.
This risk seems worth taking and what's more, we feel like we deserve it. Mets fans, already enjoying the privilages and dellusions of following a big market team, are increasingly egged on by the 24 hr blog cycle to covet the very best the MLB market has to offer. And the fact that the Mets have evolved from a bumbling-major-league-punchline-heartbreaker into a bumbling-perrenial-contender-heartstomper doesn't ease the pain of two consecutive years of unholy exits from the race to be world champs. Money is money, and with the (at least) 20% ticket price gouging already announced for next year, Metsfans can be forgiven for feeling like they already paid for this.The teams that win the World Series aren't always the ones that land the off-season's biggest fish. But sometimest they are. In closing, here's a few simple facts to help the uninitiated understand what their Metsfans pals are going through right now. We are zealots: unsatisfied by a dearth of postseason sucesses, and primed by capital-of-the-world media overload we are a blog crazy sports community whipping each other into more and more ridiculous levels of frenzy. The Mets haven't had the kind of real #1, dominant, heart-racing, spine-chilling hurler in their prime that makes any rotation look like a winner since we all pretended that grunting traitor Al L**ter was such a guy. Give us some candy.
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