It was difficult to leave today’s Terry Collins press conference not feeling confident about the direction of the Mets. So I didn’t.
These days, with some Mets fans so upset over the past few seasons, whenever you agree with a decision the team makes or something someone from the front office says, someone will pop up and accuse you of “drinking the Kool-Aid.”
But here’s the thing: What if you like the way the Kool-Aid tastes?
Today, Sandy Alderson several times stressed Terry Collins’ experience in player development and familiarity with the young players in the Mets’ system as factors in his hiring. Alderson even used the term “sustainability,” a favorite of term of mine to describe the benefits of building a winner from within.
Collins, for his part, called the Mets’ current crop of young players “the finest group of young men” he has met in baseball. He emphasized that he wants players to continue getting better even at the Major League level and to establish better lines of communication with all 25 players on his roster, the front office and the Minor League managers.
When pressed about the rough end to his tenure in Anaheim, he said, “It was a huge learning experience…. I did a bad job managing the clubhouse. I will guarantee you it will not happen here.”
Collins even mentioned speaking to Carlos Beltran about how badly Beltran wants to win, and said he had no problem with Jose Reyes’ celebrations as long as they didn’t get him drilled.
And look: Words are only words, and Collins spewed a ton of them, so maybe I was just hearing what I wanted to hear. But what I picked up, and kept picking up, were the right words, over and over again. Sure, maybe Collins and Alderson are just saying they want to create a sustainable winner and compete in 2011 and beyond, providing the press good copy to buy them time while they conspire to keep the Mets’ mired in the basement of the National League East.
But I doubt it. It is yet to be determined if they’ll have any success, but it certainly sounds like they have a better idea of what success demands than their predecessors. There was nothing like, “I’m in the starting pitcher market,” or “hey, f@#$ everything, let’s make our best prospect a mop-up guy.”
Maybe I’m being too optimistic. Maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, though whatever this is seems a whole lot more nutritious. It’s like green tea sweetened with just a touch of lemonade, my favorite beverage (order it by name — the Ted Berg) and the same stuff I’ve been enjoying and serving for years now.
And though it’s too soon to really know, it sure seems like the drink is more likely spiked with winning baseball than cyanide.