By Joyce Mandelkern
I can't believe I am actually going to type this, but...nobody panic. I realize it is difficult to control the impulse to do just that, given the army of men the Mets have left on base, our recent history, and the media frenzy surrounding our lack of "clutchness", but I beg you - DO NOT PANIC! I promise, I will tell you when it is time to panic.
Instead, let's try something different. Let's look at the positives. We are 12 games into the season. We have won some games we would definitely have lost last year, because our bullpen is greatly improved. That is a BIG positive. We are getting men on base. That is a positive. We just need to work on getting them to score. Santana is phenomenal. The good Ollie is very good. Livan is very serviceable and will keep us in a game. Maine should only improve and once Big Pelf feels better we will be good to go. I think I will list the starting rotation as a somewhat/semi positive. Defensively, left field needs a little work, but we knew that and I'm afraid to even talk about you-know-who at second base that is playing so well that I don't want to jinx it. So while defense has cost us two games, I do see it tightening up over the long haul. Oh, and so far, I really like Omir Santos. A catcher who can hit, run, and throw! A positive!!
Look, this is silly. We all see what has been happening. The point is that it is way too early in the season to get crazy. We have been in every game. Personally, I would like to see Manuel be a little more aggressive. I would put on the hit and run, I would start the runners, and I'm not sure I understand where he is playing whom when. But hey, he's the manager. And I'm still on a high that we are Willie-free. Jerry didn't have the team together for all of spring training, so I'll give him a little more time to get them all on the same page. And they kind of sprung Gary Sheffield on him at the last minute - try to figure that out on the fly!
I hear everyone taking about the Marlins being this year's Rays. They can pitch and they can hit, but they can't play defense and they have no bullpen. And we all know what happens when you have no bullpen. Does anyone besides me remember when we got off to a really hot start only to play .500 ball the rest of the way? So we shall see.
And now for the cliché part of the post - pennants are not won or lost in April. Yes, I know that the last two seasons we lost the division by one game and yes, I don't want to fall too far behind in the division and have to dig out of a deep hole, but I don't think we have to worry about that yet. So can we all just take a deep breath and relax a little? I know how frustrating it is to watch this team, and I know we are worried because of what we have been through the last two seasons, but don't give in to the panic and the worry. It is not how you start, it is how you finish. Think of it this way, maybe we're getting all our ya-ya's out now, instead of September. Now, wouldn't that be nice?