This picture pretty much sums up the last time we saw the Mets. It captures the disappointment of the moment - Carlos Beltran having just looked at strike three with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 of the NLCS. (I don't care how tough of a curveball Adam Wainwright throws...I maintain that with the salary Beltran is making, you take the bat off of your shoulder. I could have watched that curve fall in for strike three, and I'm not making 17 million a year.)
So that leads us to "When We Last Left The Mets...", a new game that will help part of another day pass as we head towards Opening Day:
(I won't repeat it, so each of the following statements begins with...)
WHEN WE LAST LEFT THE METS.....
...(and perhaps this is the most telling indication of how long it's been)....I had a newborn daughter. The Baby will be 6 months old on Opening Day. She can't wait for Sunday night.
....Pedro Martinez* was injured. Pedro* is still recovering from said injury.
...Aaron Heilman wanted to start but was coming out of the bullpen. Not much new there.
....The Mets rotation was Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez, John Maine, and Oliver Perez. That was in the post-season. The rotation is exactly the same now, but with Mike Pelfrey the number five guy.
...The Mets had a sidearming righty coming out of the bullpen. They still do, though it's someone else - Joe Smith for Chad Bradford.
....The Mets had a washed-up former lefty starter doing wonderful work in long relief. The Mets now have a washed-up former righty starter taking over that role - hopefully Aaron Sele can do as well as Darren Oliver did. (Although Sele has Scott Erickson written all over him.)
...The Mets had an aging slugger in left field prone to injury, hitting from the left side of the plate. The Mets now have an aging slugger in left field prone to injury and hitting from the right side of the plate.
...The Mets had two young superstars on the left side of the infield. No change there. (Though David Wright needs to pace himself better to be fresher come October, and Jose Reyes can't try too hard in the post-season - he got into his old habits in October, and popped the ball up like he used to. He didn't perform like he did in the 2006 regular season.)
...The Mets didn't have a reliable second baseman. They still don't.
A lot has changed (mostly faces), but a lot remains the same this year. Perhaps most importantly remaining the same are the expectations - the fans expect great things. I don't think it's a bad thing that the Mets are opening up in St. Louis this year, where the Cardinals will be raising the banner in front of the team they defeated en route to that unlikely championship. Hopefully it will stick in the Mets' craw until they are raising their own banner in April of 2008.
-The pitcher I hinted at the other day (see post below) that I think is going to have a great season is Randy Wolf. He's with Los Angeles, great pitcher's park, and he has had the arm surgery which will make him more mechanically sound. The Dodgers are going to be very good - maybe the best in the league.
-Still no fantasy games up on mlb.com. I'll keep you posted so that you can join the leagues that I create.
-I haven't talked about it much (haven't written much), but the Mets have not had a good spring training. I know that doesn't mean much...but it'd be nice if they entered the season feeling good about themselves.
-Looks like the first Mets game I will be attending this year will be Friday, April 20th against Atlanta. That's the Friday of April break, the weekend before we go back to school.
-Also, The Wife has planned our summer trip. She thinks we can get away with driving to Ohio with The Baby, so we're hitting Cincinnati (against Milwaukee...on Frank Robinson Bobblehead Night - I can't tell you how excited I am about that), and Cleveland, who will be playing The Wife's BoSox.
-Just saw this on the internet...Interestingly, involving former Mets all around. The Marlins traded Yusmeiro Petit (former hot prospect in the Mets organization, involved in the Carlos Delgado trade) to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Jorge Julio and cash. Seems like a high price for the Marlins....but Petit's numbers weren't so great last year, maybe they're giving up on him.