There have been many seasons like this for the Jets lately, a concept thought impossible back in the days when Rich Kotite was aimlessly roaming the sidelines. Many seasons where the expectations were extrememly high during the dog days of August training camp. Unfortunately, all of them have ended with spectacular collapse. Leon Johnson's halfback option from hell. Vinny Testaverde's exploding achilles. Al Groh's collapse and escape. Chad Pennington's broken hand. Chad Pennington's rotator cuff. Doug Brien. And now, on the latest Sunday of discontent, 2005's hope ends with this quote from Dick Enberg after the Chargers sacked the Jets throwback quarterback:
Well, to Testaverde's credit, he didn't fumble the ball.When progress is a 42 year old quarterback holding on to the football as he's being pummeled behind an offensive line seemingly drawn out of a hat, well that's when you know it's time to start preparing for the NFL Draft, because your season is toast. No Shedd's Spread, no Country Crock, no Polaner's All Fruit, just toast. Dry...burnt...toast. (Apologies to Elvis Patterson.)
I mention this because when I flash forward to Port St. Lucie in February of 2006, I sense that expectations are going to be similarly high for the New York Mets. And with the team on the field currently, and the acquisitions that Omar Minaya is sure to make, that's the way it should be. Expectations should be high. Yeah, there were 2001's expectations coming off a World Series appearance. And there was also 2002 with Robby Alomar on board. But depending on the way the free agent market shakes out, the expectations coming into 2006 might match the expectations going into a season 20 years earlier. And you know what happened then.
But you know good and well that if anything can happen in a sixteen game season, think of what can happen in an extra large season...ten times sixteen with two more thrown in. A squeeze play from the same hell as the halfback option in the red zone...a Jose Reyes exploding achilles...a Willie Randolph late season collapse, and an exodus back to the Yankees perhaps...a broken hand here, a rotator cuff there...Billy Wagner becomes Doug Brien...perhaps Rick Reed will be watching the Mets from his couch in West Virginia as five Met pitchers go down with arm injuries during the same game, and he decides to call Herm Edw...er, uh, Willie Randolph and tell him that he's available for whatever the team needs...and there's Rick Reed on the mound five days later throwing batting practice to the St. Louis Cardinals during a nationally televised game.
And before you know it Fran Healy is on the Mets network with his own lowered expectations:
Well to Reed's credit, he kept that ball in the ballpark as three runs scored instead of four.So if I were you all, I'd keep those expectations in the shoe box until at least the preseason physicals are passed.