It’s finally here. After 50 some odd inches of snow and the invasion of the Polar Vortex into our bones and vocabulary (ever since Hurricane Irene the meteorology community have gone pure ape shit over storms. Every time there is heavy rain or snow it’s the end of the world as these “look at me” wann a be television stars love scaring the shit out of us. I can’t wait until the potential deadly heat wave hits NYC in August) we have arrived at Opening Day of the 2014 MLB season.
Opening Day used to be a solemn baseball holiday. The Cincinnati Reds were afford the right to be the first team to play in honor of the Red Legs being the oldest franchise in baseball. That ended when MLB pimped the rights to Opening Day to ESPN who in turn used Sunday night as opening night. Then MLB 14 years ago today had the Mets and Cubs open in Tokyo (raise your hand if you were up at 5AM watching that opening day game. Remember Benny Agbayani’s Grand Slam in the 11th inning? How about the Cubs starter that day, Kyle Farnsworth?) now this season we had the Dodgers and Diamondbacks go to Australia to open the season, then come back to the states for more exhibition games and then have the Dodgers and Padres re-open the season again tonight on ESPN. WHEW!!! It was so much easier years ago.
But for us Mets fans tomorrow is our opening day, our first day to see our heroes in action with real ammo in 2014. Not much has changed from last year’s team; the club still has holes at first base, shortstop and in the owner’s pockets. Sandy Alderson has proclaimed this year’s edition a 90 win baseball team, a nice mind set and one I like but let’s be pragmatic here anything north of 81 wins would be cause for jubilation.
The 25 man roster was declared after the second loss in a row to the Toronto Blue Jays up in Montreal and there was just one surprise, Jenry Mejia beating out Daisuke Matsuzaka for the 5th starters spot in the rotation. The surprise being that it was the right move. Sure Dice-K had a terrific spring but he doesn’t have the talent and trade value that Jenry Mejia has. Not only has Mejia pitched lights out this spring to earned the job but he is one beautiful trade chip who could bring the solid ML shortstop or consistent power hitting first baseman this team desperately needs.
I’d be a whole lot more confident in the bullpen if I had seen Bobby Parnell regain his velocity and the command he mastered last season before the bulging disk in his neck cut short his season. I like what I see from Jureys Famila and Carlos Torres is right now the most underrated player on this Mets roster. Gonzalez German throws hard, throws strikes but at times loses command of the strike zone which in turn becomes base on balls. If he cuts down the walks then he will be an asset late in games. Papa Grande is a crap shoot. Scott Rice and Scott Lanan round out the portside of the pen.
If I have any criticism of how Sandy Alderson has put together his rosters the past years, it’s not having even a league average bullpen. The bullpen will be the difference between a winning season and a losing one for the Mets. The last 2-3 years the bullpen has rip the heart out of this team as nothing deflates a ball club like relievers blowing late game leads.