Mets building one piece at a time

This past off season was mired in small moves. The Mets didn’t make the large splash everyone had hoped. Even GM Sandy Alderson admitted he had his eyes set on bigger fish but had to eventually resign himself to the fact that the current roster would have to suffice. Names like Justin Upton and Michael Bourn were the hot topics for the last few months. Fans and media, alike, were a bit dismayed at the failure of the Mets to pull the trigger.

It is with that backdrop that the team took to the field over the weekend to begin the Spring Training schedule. The largest buzz was centered around phenom prospect Zack Wheeler, but lesser buzz was given to what the outfield would look like. Kirk Nieuwenhuis started the preseason with a single and Ruben Tejada drove him in with a rare home run.

New free agent acquisition Marlon Byrd doubled off of Stephen Strasburg in his very first at bat. The Mets would score two runs against their ace in that first frame. They eventually took the first game beating the defending NL East winners 5-3. Wheeler went two impressive innings. The initial moment clearly got the better of him as he threw a wild pitch, but he would strike out batters back-to-back to get out of the jam.

All in all, the team looked stronger than most had anticipated. Granted, it was merely the very first game of Spring Training and there is another six months or so to go before we can all deem this season a success or a failure, but it showed promise. The Mets gave us a glimpse, albeit a small one, but a glimpse nonetheless. When thinking about the Mets in 2013, I am reminded of an old country song by Johnny Cash called “One Piece at a Time“.

In it, Cash sings about a automobile factory worker who longs on having the car of his dreams. The worker spends the next several years smuggling out parts for it and reassembling them at home. While the final result is not exactly what he had in mind, it was purely custom made. He used parts from all different makes and model years, thus, making his car the most unique even known.

Let’s not be in a hurry to see the car entered into the next Daytona 500. Instead, let’s realize that good things, things that are worth showing off, take time. They have to be meticulously assembled. One piece at a time.

9 comments for “Mets building one piece at a time

  1. Joe Vasile
    February 26, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Great article. I like to think of this season as 1983. They might not be very good this year, but all the pieces are falling into place nicely and things are going according to plan. Next year they should be able to contend, then if they add another piece or two, they should be well on their way to annual playoff contention, provided Zach Wheeler doesn’t develop a cocaine problem.

    • Frank
      February 26, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Thank you for the comment Joe. Agree completely. They are on the cusp of being good for a long time. We just have to keep holding on a little longer.

  2. February 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I was at last night’s game and it was a lot of fun. This is my first trip to Florida, and coming from 12″ of snow in Maine, quite amazing.

    Some observations. Please keep in mind these are simple, one game observations only:

    1. McHugh looked sharp and confident.
    2. Travis D’ looked comfortable behind the plate, including with the sidewinder pitching.
    3. Wilmer Flores looked so smooth at second, but a bit hesitant at the plate.
    4. Ike Davis’ home run was fun, but he looked rough on curves.
    5. Matt Den Dekker’s catch was sensational. The crowd gave out quite a groan when replay was interrupted the first showing.
    6. Cowgill seems to have a type of energy that is fun to watch. He brought attention to the game and seemed to increase tension.
    7. John Buck wants to be here and it shows. Body language-wise, he is going about business with real zest.

    We had hoped to get David Wright’s autograph for my 11 year old son. David was polite, fun and signed his hat and glove, and made sure to give back the pen. Jenrys and Buck were both very polite to fans, like David.

    Wright acted as if the fans were paying his salary by signing his paychecks. He was refreshing.

    The crowd has sooooooo many New Yorkers! “Hey, yo, you from Massapequa?” The snow birds told stories of the 69 Mets and were thoroughly enjoyable.

    An older man signed autographs; he was, maybe, Glen Sather?? That was my guess.

    • Frank
      February 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Peter, thank you for sharing those special memories. Great observations. Particularly about the energy that Cowgill brings. I believe this team has the right mindset to make some strides this year. I’ve heard that about Wright before too. One of the most underrated characteristics in athletes today: humility. It’s refreshing.

  3. February 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I just got back from Tradition Field and bought 4 more tickets. We are in the very first row at the Mets bullpen. Look for us tomorrow if you are watching TV.

    The tix are on the railing of the bullpen, aisle seat, so you’ll likely see us.

    1. Me: short, fat, unseemly, unfortunate looking, but smiling
    2. Wife, Heather very pretty. Don’t look too long. :)
    3. Daughter, Christina, 13, beautiful, with camera around her neck.
    4. Son, Sean Patrick 11 Beaming ear to ear, wearing Mets hat, glove, Mets t-shirt and so polite that the players can’t refuse him.

  4. February 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Frank,

    something else…

    Near here is a pizza parlor, and, I kid you not, the owner moved here 6 years ago from NYC, and I engaged him about the game until he said in my Maine’s wife’s presence, “Fuggetaboutit!” regarding Matt Den Dekker’s catch.

    The pizza was real NY pizza; something that cannot be found in Maine.

    It feels like a NY reunion of sorts, here. Port St Lucie is filled with Met fans from New York and Long Island. The people here are in better shape than me, with folks in their 60′s and 70′s walking or cycling with strong, tanned legs. The conversation about all things Mets was terrific.

    Living in Maine the last decade, I miss the knowledge of NY fans. Even as my very Maine wife listens to NY broadcasts of Mets and Ranger games, she is amazed at how much deeper NY announcers and NY fans run. The average NY fan knows so much more about his team, stats, history, and anecdotes than the New England counterparts (they HATE the Yankees here…no such animosity against the Mets).

    Stories about the ’69 Mets and the ’86 Mets were great fun; especially with the wisdom of the elderly…they really know how to spin a yarn.

    • Metsense
      February 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Peter, thanks for sharing. I’m glad your family is having a great time, wish I were there. Also being a transplant I could taste that real NY pizza in my mind.

  5. Brian
    February 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Whatever combination of outfeilders we run out there in 2013 from our current roster will be better than making a bad move like Bourne for 5 years 60 million. I am excited about the peice by peice assembly that is going on. I am excited about the trades that Alderson has made and that the Mets were not the team getting fleeced. We have a solid direction. It will take time and peice by peice the Mets will get there.

  6. Name
    February 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Alderson had a chance last year to get out of the car outta the shop and actually drive it around, and it wouldn’t have cost him more than a few spare parts that probably weren’t going to be on the end result of the car anyways, but instead he kept on to those spare parts.

    The car doesn’t have to be perfect in order to drive it around! As long as it will run and running it out won’t do any long term damage, there’s nothing wrong with take the car out for a spin!

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