By Mike Steffanos
I was sitting in my living room watching the Mets drop last night's game to the Rockies when it occurred to me that the optimism I had at the start of the season was gone. As I sit here writing this the Mets are 5 games under .500. That's not an insurmountable mountain to climb, but they really seem more like the last place team that the standings show them to be than the plucky wild card contender many of us hoped to see.
Back in March at the end of spring training I was hoping for a season reminiscent of the 2005 campaign. If you compare the roster of that club to this one I think this club might have a slight edge in talent, but that club managed to be a compelling watch deep into the season while this year's version just continues to slip into torpid irrelevance.
2005 felt like the start of something, but 2011 feels more like an end. Contending clubs circle like buzzards waiting for the blue light to come on. Mets tickets are losing value faster than penny stocks did in the late 80s. It's just not fun to root for this club right now, even when they do manage to string a couple of wins together.
When I look back to 2005 and compare it to now, what I miss the most is that sense of excitement and possibilities. I miss optimism. And most of all, I miss Pedro Martinez.
His last three years in New York featured lots of injuries and 48 mostly forgettable starts, but the 31 times Pedro took the mound in 2005 were all special occasions. Pedro Martinez made a Mets game on SNY must-see TV that year. Even my Lisa, who rarely will sit through an entire game on television, would watch every inning that Pedro was on the mound.
Under any accepted metric of player value you might use Pedro Martinez' signing did not represent a good value in return for the dollars the Mets invested. I understand that intellectually, but emotionally as I search for any reason to find this year's Mets at all compelling I wish to God there was something to look forward to that bore even the slightest resemblance to one of those 31 special occasions from six years ago.
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Sorry for the couple of weeks without posting. I've been job hunting and trying to get some other things done, and the time just got away from me. It's probably going to be a little hit and miss with posting for a while, but I'm going to try to follow my original plan and post a couple of times a week. I promise not to let more than a week go by without at least checking in.