Well, at least it is for one Mets fan I could name.

Back in March, some clown wrote that this 2024 season would be a mystery, that we couldn’t really gauge how it would play out at that early juncture. The way this team was constructed, in the aftermath of the scorched-Earth summer of 2023, seemed odd. It looked and felt like a team in flux, without a real direction, other than a “not that” again reaction to 2023’s big spending — for which they are still paying. That was where they started from, in early March when hope, supposedly, springs eternal. That was before injuries to the starting pitching staff – an admittedly thin area to begin with – put them in hole to start the season. The commensurate strain on the bullpen, while not evident at first, has begun to show. The offense, whose numbers appear respectable has consistently come up short in big spots. To wit: the game yesterday (May 11), vs. the Atlanta Braves and attended by yours truly, featured zero New York hits until J.D. Martinez’s two-out-nobody-on first pitch homer in the ninth. The fact that a walk and another single brought Brett Baty to the plate representing the tying run did little to mollify the restive crowd, while we had to put up with the braying of the all-too-many Atlanta faithful in attendance.

These Mets can’t even get history right.

They came in with the thinnest margin for error imaginable. They’ve now basically erased it. This is similar to how Roger Angell described the Mets of the early ‘70s: “They are like a jeweled timepiece that works either perfectly, or not at all.” They currently find themselves two games below the .500 mark, nine games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies – whose fans also bray and are closer to local, in case you didn’t know – and seven games behind the Braves. I know, I know: there’s a lot of season left and you can’t make snap judgments on May 12, and yaddayaddayadda, but what we’re seeing ain’t great. It would be terrific if the Mets could somehow jump in and catch the vibe of the other teams still currently engaged in this town.

Hockey’s New York Rangers and the basketball Knicks are putting on some serious moves in their respective playoff series. The Rangers hold a 3-1 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL Eastern Conference semi-finals while the Knicks are up 2-1 over the Indiana Pacers in the same round, over in the NBA. These teams are seriously evoking the “Fun City” spirit of 1969, when the Mets, Knicks, and football Jets all came away with hugely unlikely Championships and the Rangers brought themselves back to respectability after years in a frozen wilderness. It’s tough to see the 2024 Mets getting a piece of that action right now. They just don’t appear to have the horses. It was thought that Martinez’s signing would give the offense a shot in the arm, as he worked to get himself ready after his extremely late Spring Training signing. He’s been here nearly a month, and his first homer came yesterday. The pitching, weakened by the absences of Kodai Senga, David Peterson and Tylor Megill has gotten two strong starts from phenom Christian Scott, though he was victimized by the longball in yesterday’s 4-1 loss. Sean Manaea and Luis Severino have been pleasant surprises, and the bullpen has been stalwart most of the year, but this is where the good news ends. It wouldn’t appear that this is good enough or close enough to contention to warrant bringing in reinforcements at the trade deadline: why deal off assets when you’re nowhere near close to running with the big boys – unless it’s to have a rerun of July/August 2023 and send away players like Manaea, Severino or, God forbid, Pete Alonso to further restock the farm system. As has been said elsewhere, the David Stearns/Steve Cohen brain trust has done a good job of tempering fans’ expectations and point them towards a brighter 2025. Promises, promises. Great for the overall health of the franchise, but in this moment, it kinda sucks. “Wait ‘til next year!” got the Dodgers exactly one Championship in Brooklyn. Waiting ‘til next year is great for the kids, but as more than a few fans age and the 38-year-long afterglow of 1986 dims considerably, some feel like they don’t have that kind of time. When will this year be next year again?

We all want to know.

I usually try end by pieces with a pithy one-liner like that, but today I will end with a quote form our favorite broadcaster, Ralph Kiner:

“Well, it’s Mother’s Day out here at Shea Stadium, so to all you mothers out there, Happy Birthday!”

4 comments on “Mets’ fans’ worst-case scenario for 2024 is playing to script

  • Mike W

    The realistic outcome for this team was about .500 give or take 5 games either way.

    So, why are we surprised? Alonso has continued his putrid hitting. If he ends up with 32 home runs, 75 RBIs and a .210 batting average, God Forbid that we keep him or sign him to a long term contract.

  • Alex

    How about 235,42 HRs,100 RBI? Do you sign him then?

    • Metstabolism

      The answer depends not on what Alonso does this year, but on what they believe he will do moving forward, and how long he will do it before fading. It also depends on how close they believe they are to serious, sustainable contention. Will they get there while Alonso is still close to his prime, or two years after he leaves it? If they’re close to contending, then give him the contract and accept his fading years as part of the cost of doing business. If its true that he reportedly wants eight years, and the Mets are just starting to contend as Alonso is fading, then his contract becomes a burden, rather than an acceptable cost, at the point when they need roster and cost flexibility to keep building on what they’d started.
      And it may also depend on the results of the Mets’ pursuit of Soto and Burnes.

  • NYM6986

    I still like signing Pete but I’m starting to be in the minority in our group. How many players in the league give you 40 HR and 100 plus RBI and field a good 1B? Not many. We then need to sign some other offensive players to make the lineup more dangerous since the kids down on the farm are not ready. I will stick to my 88 wins and the last wildcard spot especially with Alvarez, Senga, Megill and Peterson in the mend. Let’s not count on Soto crossing town from the Bronx. They will never let him go and if they got out bid in free agency then it would likely be from the Dodgers or Braves, where in any year they could win it all.

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