What I’m trying to figure out is whether this was a particularly boring offseason or whether all offseasons are this boring and you just forget about it from year to year.
Do you remember any of it? I remember wondering if there was any free agent pitching, realizing that there wasn’t much besides Matsuzaka and Zito, wondering if the Mets were going to bid for them, watching the Mets bid for them but not enough but it was no big deal because they went for too much anyway. Then there was wondering who the fifth starter was going to be and was Milledge going to make the actual roster and was Wright really going to bat second. Duaner Sanchez made some trouble and then he got hurt. Jimmy Rollins said “nyah, nyah.” We said “nyah, nyah” back. Help me. Is there anything I’m forgetting? Was there anything else? Was this worth the amount of time you’ve spent thinking about it over the last five months?
Now that the season is ready to start, just about everybody is saying exactly the same thing. The Mets are favored but they’re not going to run away with it like they did last year. The Mets may even be better, but the division is going to be tougher. It’s all going to depend on how good the pitching is. Like, duh. People get paid to say this? I’d say it for free. Hey, wait, I am saying it for free.
So what do I have to say at the start of the season? Thank God. I couldn’t have stood another month of this. I don’t know what is going to happen this season. I know that I have my sense of it right now, but I know that in only one week, just one week, there will be some major fundamental changes in my sense of it. Is there a point in making a prediction based on a careful study of scouting reports and statistics? Have careful studies of scouting reports and statistics yielded reliable predictions in the past? There’s your answer.
I predict an interesting season. I predict that baseball will be as unpredictable as ever. I’m really going to enjoy watching to see if Wright and Reyes have actually reached their cruising altitude or if they have even higher to climb. I’m so excited about Mike Pelfrey. Nothing is more fun than hoping for the emergence of a pitching superstar. Will Oliver Perez become one of the great comeback stories? Inconsistently, I am praying for the return of Green’s power swing and I want Lastings Milledge to become everything I could dream for him. Please let him stay. In my gut, I feel that there is something truly amazing and surprising in this young man. Will the Mets have all the fun that they had last year plus more? Will the fans have all the fun they had last year plus more? If there’s a disaster, how will we all react? There’s a big story here that unfolds over many years. We are smack in the middle of it. We are in the moment, in a particularly promising sweet and gorgeous moment, in a story that has had a lot of bare patches.
I look at the roster. There it is. My team. I like the way it looks. I feel like a baby duck just hatched from its egg. I am going to follow it.
Outside it is sunny and warm and grey. There are pine cones all over my lawn. Here are the first crocuses. Tomorrow, on a cold night in the heart of the country, the big beast will begin to wake up. We’ll climb onto its back and we won’t come back down until the last cold evening in October. It could be a rough ride. It could be a beautiful ride. It’ll be interesting. I’m ready. Everybody get up onto its back. Hold on tight. Let’s go.