Today: Jun 25, 2024

Sports Commentary: Mets have possibility of surprising doubters

Pat Longobardi, Sports Writer:
After an off-season of constant negative attention and financial talks, the New York Mets finally begin the 2011 season with new faces and a new reason to put together a positive season.
The new regime began with a new general manager, Sandy Alderson, and a new manager, Terry Collins. These are two guys who have enough major league experience that could be exactly what can pull this team out of their funk. Collins, former manager with the Houston Astros and Anaheim Angels, and a recent coordinator with the Mets, is the type of leader this team needs, and are familiar with. Collins is known for that fiery style to push players to be better.
Players like shortstop Jose Reyes and outfielder Carlos Beltran have a lot to prove this season, since they are in contract years. Jason Bay going on the disabled list is not a great way to start the season after ending last season with a concussion.
After seeing the Mets lose players into a season, I would rather lose a player early than lose them for the long run.
The pitching staff is as deep as I can remember, compared to past years. Johan Santana out until at least July is a huge setback. I hope this does not turn into last season. As the Mets were winning the National League Wild Card at the All-Star break, Beltran’s comeback was a crucial blow to the team’s chemistry. I think Santana will be handled better and carefully. Santana’s production will be a goal if the Mets are in contention.
I am just happy the vibe is much better where I can actually watch baseball, and then see where the team goes. The Mets and their fans need to put aside off- the-field events, such as the Ponzi scheme, and just play and get as much support as possible.
The Mets need to protect home field advantage. Last season, they were dominant at home in the first half, but then became average. I have not seen many walk-off wins at home since Citi Field opened. Recently, the Mets have been a first half team. In the second half, they self-destruct with bad baseball and no answers. A new regime will hopefully get that positive energy back.
The biggest factor the Mets need to defeat are themselves.
This year, I want answers. If there is a problem, fix it. Do not let it prolong 162 games. Sports Illustrated picked the Mets to finish fifth in the National League East. That is an insult. Right now, I like the Mets to finish second, behind Philadelphia. I think addressing there was a problem with a new look was a definite start in the right direction. Sports Illustrated picked them to win in 2009, which turned out to be the injury-plagued season. Going into this season with low expectations gives the Mets a good opportunity to surprise many people.

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