It’s getaway day today (4/26) and the Mets are looking to sweep the Marlins before heading to Colorado, even as we speak. The lineup looks like this:
There’s a good reason if you get the feeling that this grouping has a distinct Buffalo/New Orleans/Tidewater tinge to it. This is the first time in 41 years that the Mets have fielded a completely homegrown lineup.
I mentioned earlier that I went to my first game of the year last Friday. What I failed to mention was the feeling in and around the ballpark that night. It was different than in years past. There wasn’t the feeling that good news was merely a prelude to disaster. It was a good night to be at the ballpark and while a win would be nice, it wouldn’t be a referendum on our existence if it didn’t happen (It didn’t). The clouds seemed to have parted. The glum fatalism that has engulfed the place since the gates first opened in 2009 was mysteriously, miraculously muted. I wouldn’t say it’s completely gone yet, but it was no longer the prevailing color. The atmosphere was closer to 1985 than 2010. Maybe the closer, blue walls have something to do with it. Maybe the smallish, hearty band of us pulled together and mitigated the pall – in response to the San Francisco rooters, chirpy to the brink of obnoxiousness.
My money’s on the fact that the majority of the guys on the field came up through the Mets’ system. These are players we’ve been hearing about for years. These are players we’ve been watching with cautious optimism, peering down into the bushes to do so. These are guys some of us have been pinning our hopes on since Shea shuttered at the end of ’08. They’re growing up as we are. We’re monitoring their maturity, their readiness and steadiness. We’re finally seeing some of them tested on the field of battle, with the cream of the pasture still to come – I’m looking at you Matt Harvey, Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia.
Say what you might about the Omar Minaya regime – and Lord knows I have – but he stocked some nifty little players during his tenure, it turns out. Now what remains is to do is wait, watch and revel in what rewards they may provide. Or not. The good news is that Sandy Alderson suffers from no Omaresque myopia regarding other aspects of the team and he’s plain-spoken about what should come next. He harbors no illusion about his team’s position in the success cycle and is more interested in enhancing the bedrock on which any organization is built than on fighting the last war – his bullpen romance of the winter notwithstanding. It’s pretty exciting.
And for those of you wondering, that homegrown lineup that Gil Hodges ran out there on September 24, 1971 looked like this:
Ted Martinez – 2B
Bud Harrelson – SS
John Milner — LF
Ed Kranepool – 1B
Mike Jorgensen – CF
Ken Singleton – RF
Duffy Dyer – C
Tim Foli – 3B
Jerry Koosman – P
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