By Mike Steffanos
I have a friend who's a Red Sox fan, so that allows me to put my disappointment over the last couple of games into some perspective. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be a prohibitive favorite to make the playoffs and still be winless six game into the season.
But still, I'm disappointed with how the last two games in Philly went, particularly Thursday's rubber match. It reminded me a little too much of last season.
Nothing I have seen in the first 6 games of the season has changed my mind about what I thought going in: the Mets are a .500 team with a chance to do a little better if things roll their way.
While I do expect the starting pitching to be somewhat better than they were overall these past few days, I suspect this road trip is a rather accurate preview of what we will see this season.
.500 may be the essence of mediocrity, but .500 teams rarely play mediocre ball. They go through stretches like games 2, 3 and 4 where they look really good. Then, just when you think you may have underestimated them, they stink the joint out for a stretch. If you felt like you were on a see-saw this first week of the season you might want to get used to the feeling.
I've watched a lot of different Mets clubs over the past four decades. Some were really good, many were really bad, and I've also seen more than my share of fair-to-middling editions.
Sometimes these teams are disappointments. The 2001 Mets come to mind: 82 wins, 80 losses and the elevator was most definitely headed down, eventually bringing Bobby Valentine and then Steve Phillips down, too.
At other times these teams are on the way up. The 2005 Mets were 83-79, but that was a 12-win improvement on the previous year. That elevator was going up, even if the ride proved to be all too short. Omar Minaya proved to be the wrong hand at the controls.
It's much harder to say which direction this bunch is headed. There have been positives and negatives all winter and spring. There have been reasons for hope and reasons for worry. Everything seems to fall into that win, lose, win, lose, win, lose vibe.
Many in the press want to present the cup as half empty. I still see it as half full. It's not really where I want to be as a fan -- I'd much prefer to be rooting for a real contender. But it's a better place than we were at a year ago, and for now -- for right now, at least -- it's enough.