Over the years, Mets360 followers have labeled MattyMets here an eternal optimist. It’s funny because that’s not a label my close friends or family would ever use to describe me. I’m thoughtful, sensitive and moody, true to my astrological sign (pisces). In keeping with that theme, I’m also loyal to a fault. I’ve always stood up for my friends in times of need and stood by years after they let me down. Disappointment can be heartbreaking. And so, it makes perfect sense that, for as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a devoted Mets fan.

There have been some years when I know the Mets are going to stink. Like in 2014 when Dillon Gee was our opening day starter. Or 2005 when Doug Mientkiewicz was our opening day first baseman. The mid-90s teams with Rico Brogna and Butch Huskey were certainly not teams worth wagering on. Nor were the moribund teams of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Pat Zachry! Steve Henderson! Elliott Maddox! John Stearns!

Most years, I tune into game one with the notion that the Mets are in first place. We haven’t lost yet, right? The long season lies ahead and a lot can go right. The rookies look fast on the bases and in the field in spring training. The new free agent is going to earn his paycheck and make it in New York. The veterans are going to stay healthy. This is the year that third or fourth year player that hasn’t quite lived up to the hype figures it all out. We’ve got MVP candidates and Cy Young candidates and maybe even the next Rookie of the Year.

The 2015 Mets surprised me and performed a lot better than I ever could have dreamed. This blue moon occurrence happens when a cavalry of young guns all arrive and pan out in unison. Since then, I’ve pegged every Mets team as a bona fide contender.

The 2016 team squeaked into the playoffs on a wild card. Noah Syndergaard pitched the game of his life and Curtis Granderson made the catch of his life. But no one could lay a bat on Madison Bumgarner and Jeurys Familia gave up a most unlikely game-ending, heart-breaking home run to someone named Conor Gillaspie. I was there and it hurt, deeply.

In 2017, the Mets confidently brought back most of the same crew, but, one-by-one the pitchers all went down. In 2018, the Mets brought in reinforcements and I was certain we’d get back to the playoffs. This time it was our hitters that couldn’t stay healthy. A tough stretch in May and June when half our team was on the disabled list (that’s what they called it back in 2018) railroaded our season.

This year, a new general manager has taken a novel approach. Our team is still built around our strong rotation, but now they’re supported by a sturdy and deep bullpen. And our lineup is supported by a deep bench, that is supported by veteran reserves stashed in AAA for emergencies. Injuries should not derail the 2019 season, even though our best hitter is expected to miss at least half the year.

Our rotation is one of the best around and our bullpen should be nearly as good. Our lineup is an interesting mix of kids and veterans with a handful of exciting players on the cusp of stardom. Our defense looks a little suspect, and our division is strong, but there’s something about this team that spells winner. I think this is a playoff year.

13 comments on “An optimistic Mets fan

  • BK

    The only thing keeping me from sharing your optimism is the dogfight that the NL East will be. But I hope you’re right.

  • Chris F

    Hope springs eternal, especially when the Mets are tied for first place in March. I appreciate your optimism Matt, unfortunately the Mets record year after year does not live up to your heart-felt passion. Im easy to be labeled Debbie Downer, but I aim for being able love the Mets as a fan but comment on things as objectively as I can. This time every year there is hope, of which we have in brimming over volumes. Lets hope the team somehow lives up to it with this incarnation of the team. Until the end of May, Im not sure we will know just where this team sits. April is too cold we are told and no one plays good until its sweaty outside.

  • David Klein

    Think they’re a third place team and one of the reason is I wasn’t high on Steven Matz coming into the season coming off of a injury prone(what else is new?) terrible 2017 season and a mediocre 2018 where he was worth under 1 win above replacement and saw his walk rate and homer rate go up. Matz looks more and more like a late career Jon Niese and is probably a average #5 starter no better than most non tanking teams fifth starter. This is why I wanted the Mets to give Lugo a chance to start with his hellacious curve ball or sign someone like Gio. The Mets top three guys in the rotation are elite, but with five inning pitchers in Matz and Vargas the back of the rotation is super weak. This is not a response to today’s start it’s just a fact

    • MattyMets

      David – I still don’t know what to make of Steven Matz. Today he was tossing batting practice. Maybe he was trying something out? He’s still young and has good stuf and historically, a lot of lefties have been late bloomers so I wouldn’t write him off yet. Reminds me of Al Leiter in that sense.

  • footballhead

    Regarding Matz (lack) of performance today; most likely something came up wrong with him and we’ll hear about it in a couple of days. This wouldn’t be the first time for one of the Mets pitchers to not be ready by opening day (Wheeler last year). I really don’t know why this front office isn’t bringing in one of the available starters (like Gio), who still don’t have a contract. I agree with David that the Mets are a 3rd place team….maybe a win or so off 2nd, and a loss or so from 4th again. Just not enough speed and defense for a playoff bound team. All we know, is that the Marlins will be last again. I hope I’m wrong, but I see this team winning 84-87 games, and that won’t do it in the NL East.

    • Chris F

      I think that is spot on at this point in the season.

    • Mike Walczak

      Realistically you are probably right, 84-87 wins. They need another starter.

  • Mike Walczak

    You forgot George Theodore, Bruce Boisclair & Bob Apodaca.

    John Stearns was actually a good catcher.

    Yeah, I have hope too, even when they were bad because baseball is a funny game and you never know what can happen over 162 games.

    Gio and Keuchel are still out there. You guys are right, the back end if the rotation could sink them.

  • TJ

    Matz and Vargas are very shaky and hard to predict. My hope is that the Mets have a short leash for both.

  • TexasGusCC

    I have to come around on Matz, and not because of the results today. It was quite interesting how the Nats hit 7 bombs with the wind blowing out and the Mets hit none as of the sixth inning when I couldn’t watch anymore. Hellickson was junk balling them to death and Matz has no idea where his pitches are going. Yes, he throws it over the plate, but as Darling has told us many times, being wild in the zone is worse than being wild out of the zone. You can survive being wild out of the zone, but when you consistently miss your target and put it on a tee, it’s not the wind’s fault. Matz is looking more and more like a late inning reliever. When you are in your fifth season and you haven’t pitched a full year nor are you consistent, no one knows when or if, he will put it together.

  • Edwin Pena

    I am same as Matt, optimistic Met fan, especially when I have my two other major sports teams “tanking” for goodness sake (Knicks, Dolphins). I wish the Mets would hurry and sign Gio Gonzalez before the Yanks swoop in now that they have a top starter hurt. Gio would help a ton. I agree with the previous writers here that both Matz and Vargas are so iffy, and could / would really tax the bullpen throughout the year, making what looks like a strength (BP) a weakness. I see the Mets hovering around 1st and 2nd, but those damn Phils could be a new Big Red Machine. My hope is that the Mets keep in contention and that Cespy returns and gets the team a boost in August and Sept to make a run at the division, if not a WC, and win that this time. If the Mets can do that, watch out. No one wants to face their top 3 starters in the playoffs !

    • Brian Joura

      Dolphins have been under .500 13 of the last 15 years – that’s even worse than the Mets! I don’t believe they’re tanking – they’re just bad.

      And my Knicks will finish sub .500 for the 16th time in 18 years. But for the first time, they actually are tanking. So … improvement?

  • NYM6986

    I too am an eternal optimist. If we stay healthy we make the playoffs. I know it’s a big if but that’s the reality. If the kids – Conforto, Nimmo, and Rosario pick up where they left off last season we will be much better than people think. We have a catcher who can both hit and throw out runners and a very strong pen. Our bench, in a few weeks, will be as strong as most. So keep the faith everyone.

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