I know we fans of the New York Mets have a reputation of “oh woe is me” and have morphed into a village of Chicken Little’s but I would hope those of that ilk would just emerge from their fall out shelters to look around the New York sports landscape for a moment and see if they can try to see what has transpired over the three months.
Fans of the NY Football Giants were ready to scream for John Mara to blow this team up and start over from the head coach to the defensive secondary, everyone must go the fans demanded. What happened? The head coach closed ranks with his team and the players stopped listening to the fans, an extremely smart move by the way, and a Salsa dancing wide receiver and an Elite QB hooked up for a 99 yard TD pass/catch TD against their loud mouth co-tenants, that to a man in the Giants organization say is what catapulted them to winning the Super Bowl. That play, that game gave the Giants confidence.
The NY Rangers are playing some of the best hockey Rangers fans have seen in many a year. They are led by many great players, but one player stands out on this team as he is the last line of defense, goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. There is no goaltender on the planet that is better than the King and in every interview he gives he just oozes confidence and he never forgets to reinforce to the interviewer the confidence he has in his teammates. Right now the confidence of the NY Rangers and Rangers fans is flowing like tap water.
Here is the best example of how confidence in oneself can bring a whole team together for greater good. I don’t think there is a New Yorker breathing air that doesn’t know who Jeremy Lin is. The story of Lin is as inspiring as any we’ve seen around here in ages, Lin went to Harvard, not drafted, signed with his hometown team the Golden State Warriors who in turn waived him. He was then claimed by the Houston Rockets who also put him on waivers and then he landed with the Knicks who claimed him out of desperation of having no one to run the point. What I wonder, went through Lin’s mind after two teams released him and the third team he’d joined in a month let him sit at the end of the bench only looking to use him if something catastrophic were to occur like two of the teams superstars being out of the lineup for a length of time or the team losing and playing like they have no clue how to play team basketball or a coach in fear of getting fired figuring I have one last attempt here to save my ass and my teams season . All these scenarios occurred and Lin got his chance and we all know how that has turned out. Would you say that Lin’s confidence in himself and his ability to play basketball never waned as others refused to believe in him as he believed in himself? No one plays at the level Lin is playing at now who does not possess supreme confidence in themselves.
That brings me to the Mets and a portion of the fan base. Many fans are so focused on the financial situation of the Skill Sets and I won’t lie I’m intrigued about it to, to a point. The players are starting to migrate to Pt. St. Lonesome to begin spring training and to get ready for the 2012 season. As far as I’m concerned my worries over Fred and Uncle Saul’s money woes now take a back seat (once the court case is heard and verdict comes down I’ll worry about it) it’s time to concentrate on pitching, hitting, defense and confidence.
My hope is that what Daniel Murphy said to me last month at the Thurman Munson Dinner is true, that the negativity of the media and fan base does not permeate through the clubhouse door. I have to hope that Terry Collins, in his second year as Mets manager, has a good read on his team and can instill confidence in them. I mentioned in a previous post, that I felt Collins knows he can’t bullshit his team, t the NL East is going to be difficult but what Collins has to do is instill the confidence in his players that (a) they are major league baseball players, just like the ones who play for the Phillies, Braves, Nationals and Marlins and (b) all the people who say you can’t win (fans and media) are clueless assholes who never had the balls to compete in anything. This is a huge test for Collins but what he has going for him is most of players in this camp know him and vice versa so he should know how to motivate them and make sure their confidence level stays high.
Again it all goes back to confidence if David Wright and Jason Bay can gain their confidence back at the plate with the help of more hitting favorable field dimensions, if Lucas Duda can become confident in his ability and accept that he belongs in the big leagues, if Jon Niese can make that leap from what can he be too he’s arrived, if Daniel Murphy shows self-confidence at second base and if Big Plef, the guy who needs a mega dose of self-assurance can finally get his talent to translate to what it was that made him a number one draft pick then the Mets could add themselves a chapter to the this great New York Sports season.
It would also help if some of the fan base adjusted their attitudes as well, so step up, those you need a pat on the ass line up to the left, ones who need a kick in the ass, to the right.