I'm not here to offer predictions for the baseball season - it's too early for that. I will say that 2008 is looking to me like a must-win season for the Mets. If they don't win this year, I think it might be a while. If they do win this year, I think they might be able to defend a title in their new park. But I'll explain that logic later on in the year.
While we're on the subject of the new park:
I think it's a fair assessment to say that I've driven past the Citi Field construction about 20-25 times without taking a picture for the blog. Each time, I tell The Wife, "Argh! We forgot to take a picture. We have to do it on the way back!" And then we forget. We either flat-out forget, or don't have the camera ready in time, or something stands in the way. But this Christmas trip, we did have the camera ready, and took a few shots. Photography credit goes to The Wife.
We therefore have our first thing to look for in 2008 - the last year of Shea, and the completion of Citi Field. The shell of the new stadium is becoming more and more visible, and the outer buildings (what I imagine will be offices and such) are taking shape (you can see that to the right of the construction, to the left of Shea).
Now, the new Yankee Stadium is nearing completion, too...and they are just as far along as the Mets are. I drove by there on a trip to Jersey a few weeks ago, and was surprised at how far they've come (the Bronx is not as much of a drive-through area for me as is the area where Shea is - five minutes from my parents' house). I think the new stadium in the Bronx is going to do wonders for that area.
But that's another thing to look forward to in 2008 - I totally forgot about this until I saw the logo and merchandise advertised in a MLB catalog:
Of course, I wish the game were at Shea, but I like that it is in New York. Perhaps, being in the summer, when I have no school and am more than available, I can work out a trip down there, and perhaps some sort of ticket. It might make up for the fact that I entirely missed the Boston All Star atmosphere the summer before I permanently moved here.
There's another minor thing that took place over the baseball off-season that you might not have noticed, and I haven't had a chance to include it here yet.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are no longer the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They've dropped the "Devil", therefore becoming just the Tampa Bay Rays. I think they've also adopted a new mascot - a more recognizable "Ray" than the one they already have.
Hopefully, 2008 will be a good year for Mets fans. There's one added bonus, which you can think about anytime you write out the date. My uncle mentioned to me this weekend that he couldn't wait for 1955, when in school he could write Joe DiMaggio's number every time he wrote the date (I guess writing '5' '5'). I always think of dates in terms of consecutive numbers, or repeat numbers - so I would have been looking forward to 6/7/08, or 8/8/08. But now I realize, this is the "Year of Gary Carter" - #8.