Friday, April 30, 2021

We Didn't Sign up for This

I had a hectic week with some personal stuff, so I decided to take a step back from the blog for a few days rather than half-assing it. Not that the New York Mets have been particularly scintillating at any point this season, but those two games against the Red Sox left me with absolutely no regrets about missing them. Two games against the underbelly of the Sox rotation that resulted in a single run for the New Yorkers? That's the very definition of must-not-see tv to me. Seriously, it would have like I got sucked into a time warp and was enduring the offense of those Mets teams from the 70s all over again.

I've been working to maintain my own patience when it comes to the 2021 Mets, and it hasn't been easy. It's up to every fan individually how they want to handle things. I won't attempt to tell you what to do. I still think there's a good team here, and they're going to start showing that soon, but it's starting to get frustrating waiting for something good to happen. I'm not a fan of booing players on your own team, particularly early in the season, but I get it. The Mets invested a lot of money in Francisco Lindor, but the club and we as fans have invested a lot of our hopes into the man, too. We want him to be a leader that takes our team to the next level, but he's not going to be able to do that job if he's looking like Mario Mendoza at the plate.

I have a personal intolerance for bad offensive teams. I watched just about every televised Mets game when I was a kid. Before the roof fell in on the team and they were still competitive, they missed the playoffs year after year because they couldn't consistently score enough runs to support their pitching. That was the entire first half of the seventies in a nutshell. The adjustment that the Mets ownership made for the second half of the decade was in not having good pitching, either. You didn't have to feel bad about losing so many close games any longer.

Of course, it's one thing seeing a team struggle to score runs when they lack talented hitters. It's quite another thing when there is talent on the roster, but it's just not showing night after night. If there is one big concern I've had about the offense for the last couple of years, it's that they're very dependent on hitting home runs to score. With only 15 homers in the first 19 games, it's not a huge surprise that the Mets offense struggles to string enough hits together to manufacture runs. I think a long-term goal of those running the club might be to diversify offensively some more and be a little less prone to striking out.

I'm grateful that the Mets have pitched well enough during this early-season hitting slump to stay close to .500. Fortunately, no team is running away with the division now. There's still plenty of time to turn the season around. If the Mets play well for a couple of weeks, these first 19 games can fade rather quickly into the memory hole. But it's fair to question whether the Mets are ready to take that important step from being a perennial also-ran to contending. It takes more than just building a better roster to take that step. There's a level of consistency required that takes a lot of energy and discipline to maintain.

For now, I'm just looking for baby steps. I want to see an offensive breakout that lasts for more than just a game or two. If the club plays well in a series, I'd like to see the momentum carried over into the next series. At least for me, the 2021 season feels disjointed and tentative. 19 games in, I really don't have the feeling that I know this team any better than I did back on April 1.

Anyway, I'm back. The craziness in my life has settled down enough for me to turn my attention back to the New York Mets. For my sake and for everyone who roots for this bunch, I'm sincerely hoping that they're ready to give all of us some baseball that's worth watching. Either way, I'll be back to talk about all of it.

Please stay safe, be well, and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos.

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