As one of the only rational Mets fans left, I just had to vent to you re: a line from Danny Knobler on sportsline.com this morning regarding the state of Mets camp: “It has been that kind of spring, a spring where most of the news is bad, and even the good news doesn’t feel that good.” Is it only me, or has the mainstream media just stopped trying? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Madoff and Johan. I get it. In my view, this spring has been overwhelmingly positive. New front office, new manager, nice young talent, low expectations.
– Greg, via email.
These are trying times for Mets fans. Pick up any paper, click to 90% of Mets blogs, listen to any sports talk radio, and everything is doom and gloom. Wilpon this, Madoff that, MLB loans, fire sales, short ticket lines, shut-down aces, looming injuries, Luis Hernandez.
Noise, noise, noise.
Thing is: How much of what we read is true? How much of it matters to the Mets’ success? Every negative story is met almost immediately with an equally negative counter-story, rendering it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions.
Do we yet have any actual evidence that the Wilpons’ finances have affected the Mets’ roster any more than the failures of the last front office did? Why would a lack of walk-up ticket sales mean anything other than that fans would rather buy online than brave the cold? How can anyone — Johan Santana included — hope to understand and accurately interpret every blip in the long, hazy timeline of recovery from major shoulder surgery? Why would a Major League Baseball team hand a starting job to a middle infielder with a career Triple-A OPS below .600?
And mostly: Who cares?
Maybe you do. Sometimes I do. Some of this stuff seems really important. But sift through the layers of nonsense and winnow out the actual incontrovertible facts and you’ll wind up unsatisfied. We love having terrors to fear and bugaboos to blame, but the most frightening thing to me is how many conclusions we draw from so little substance.
That’s because, I am almost certain, little of substance is happening. Grapefruit League results are meaningless. The Mets have one everyday position to fill, one regular with a nagging injury, and a couple of decisions to make about the pitching staff. That’s really it. They have no real reason to need to settle any of it until March 31. But there are blogs and papers and airwaves to fill, so everyone runs wild with even the tiniest morsel of information, however sketchy. And the Mets have suffered through two straight losing seasons, so all of it is interpreted as negative.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. A shiny beaming, glistening, spectacular light. It is real, meaningful baseball, and it starts, for the Mets, on April 1.
Some of the sideshows will continue thereafter, for sure. Santana certainly will not be recovered by then, and maybe not Beltran either. The Wilpons will still be embroiled in a lawsuit.
But who knows? My bet is if the Mets actually win some games, it will be a lot easier to tune out the noise.