Who needs Punxsatawney Phil?

I prefer my predictive tools in pack form.

So there I was in Target on February 2, gazing at all manner of configurations of the new 2012 Topps baseball cards. I grabbed a 72-card pack, a couple of racks, and a few wax packs.

By my reckoning, if I unwrapped a meager selection of Mets in this first sampling, winter would continue for another six months.

Hell, last year I pulled nothing but a Lucas Duda in my first batch, and winter lasted until, oh, late September or so.

But I figured if I could pull a decent selection of Mets, it would mean an early spring.

Well I’m happy to report that I received a veritable bounty of Mets– 10, to be precise.

Duda was among them, along with Bobby Parnell, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, and a bunch of others.

But I think this R.A. Dickey best represents my current Mets mood. It is a cool photo of R.A. shortly after release, shot from a slightly elevated angle to capture perfectly the “yaaarrggghh” look on his face. The back of the card informs us that this is R.A. “[flinging]” the only “hybrid” knuckleball in MLB.

And this is all a pretty precise distillation of what I expect from the 2012 Mets.

I realize that the team is hamstrung by its finances and a bit of a talent deficit, and faces a Himalayan task in the year ahead. But I’m confident that they’ll be out there wearing their “yaaarrggghh” faces and throwing their weird little pitches. They might only ever flirt with .500, but I trust they’ll do so with grit, spirit, and style.

So get ready for an early spring, fellow Mets’ fans. It might even last all summer long…

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