3-0 is wonderful but I’m not ready to get jiggy with it just yet. Put aside that the last three days were the best we’ve seen in Flushing in a while there were some subtle changes that I saw with this Mets team the first three games of 2012 that could make this season better than most of us thought.
When Kirk Nieuwenhuis made his Major League debut on Saturday, the Mets fielded a starting nine that was composed of seven home grown players. The only two “outsiders” were Jason Bay (who was a homegrown put once removed so I won’t count him here) and Robert Allen Dickey (a review of his outstanding book will be posted here soon) everyone else were born and raised, New York Mets.
Think back Mets fans to years of when there weren’t any “growing up Mets” in the everyday lineup, just a bunch of mercenary’s who came to Flushing for the Maddoff greenbacks. Winning? Who cares about winning just make sure that big seven figure check is in my hands the 15th and 30th of the month. It was that way of building a team that resulted in losing ways and the fan base having a hard time rooting for the Mets. Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez were as hated as any Mets player not named Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilia or Richie Hebner. Carlos Beltran, one of the best players to ever wear a Mets uniform, was never embraced by the fan base, some still held a grudge that he contacted the Bronx Bastards before signing a Mets contract on the bottom line and others just never cottoned to the right fielder because he made his bones in Kansas City and Houston. He wasn’t an authentic Met.
You’ve seen how many Mets fans were upset over Jose Reyes leaving the Mets to join the Fish and their Commie-loving manager Ozzie “Little El Jefe” Guillen, as the crying was over the Reyes being a Met his whole baseball life. That’s why this 2012 Mets team is the kind of team we’ve always wanted, players who have come up the minor leagues ranks together, a team that truly likes one and other and is cohesive bunch with an all for one, one for all mindset.
I know there are some who feel the word “chemistry” is not just over used but meaningless when it comes to sports teams, and I totally disagree with that mindset. The fact that the majority of this Mets team has rode buses together, shared some really bad fast food at all hours of the night and grew up in the system is not something to discard. Think of how it felt to be Kirk Nieuwenhuis, you’re called up to the big leagues, your dream come true and sure your nervous but when you walk into the clubhouse there are so many familiar faces, guys who’ve played with in the minors who you know and trust will make your transition from prospect to big leaguer so much smoother than if there were a bunch of grizzled red ass vets (ask Gregg Jefferies or Lastings Milledge what that was like) who see you as a threat to their jobs.
It’s why this Mets team will be one of the easiest Mets teams to root for in awhile. Of course we know as great as a 3-0 record is, they could drop 2 of the nest three or 4 of the next 6, but watching this team play these three games and how they interact together as a team, the bad stretches that every team goes through in a grueling 162 season may not be as catastrophic as in years past, because these Mets have each other’s backs.