So what if the bullpen wasn't cemented until the last spring training game.
So what if Mike Jacobs, who wasn't a lock for the Opening Day roster a week ago is now the cleanup hitter.
So what if Jenrry Mejia is merely the latest prospect rushed through the system despite the decree that things were going to be different 'round here.
So what if outside of Jason Bay the team is still same ol' same ol'.
So what if Snoop Manuel is still the manager.
So what if Omar Minaya is still the GM.
So what if the Wilpons still grip this team like a vice drenched in flop sweat and shame.
Baseball season is here.
And here's how I look at it: Unless the top-level talent performs above and beyond their best performances so as to cover up the mistakes of the rest of the rosters ... unless the newfound clubhouse chemistry really makes the difference between winning and losing ... unless Oliver Perez forgets he's Oliver Perez ... it's most likely going to be a tough grind of a season. I emphasize "most likely" because anything can happen. We learned this last season.
But why stress? Why worry about all that now? It's Opening Day. The Mets are tied for first. They're serving lasagna bolognese at Citi Field. Life is good.
As far as the season goes, I believe it was Alex Cora who told Dustin Pedroia the following when Pedroia was experiencing some flight fright:
"If we die, we die."Most likely, this season will have casualties. Maybe Minaya. Maybe Manuel. Maybe both. Maybe our collective sanity. Who knows? But make no mistake: The lowered expectations that this team has will make all the bitching, moaning, and complaining fun again.
There will be bitching.
There will be moaning.
There will be complaining.
That's all I can guarantee for 2010. Win total? I had 91 last season and was only off by about twenty. So I'm staying away from picking a number. Instead, I'm going all Range Game and saying that this team could go anywhere from 78-86 wins. I'm counting on a full season from Jose Reyes, a bounce back season from David Wright, a nice season from Jason Bay, and Johan Santana being the 2008 Johan Santana.
I'm not counting on Oliver Perez doing anything. I'm not counting on Jenrry Mejia to fool hitters past a month. I'm not counting on Sean Green to turn into Chad Bradford.
Everything else, I can only hope for. I hope Jeff Francoeur keeps smiling, keeps hitting, and keeps his K's to a minimum. I hope Mike Jacobs can return to the production of his Florida days. I hope that Carlos Beltran's return means something more than a two month audition for a playoff team that plays somewhere other than Flushing. I'm hoping Ike Davis and Fernando Martinez tear up Buffalo until September. I'm hoping that Bobby Parnell learns a cutter. I'm hoping Ryota Igarashi puts spring behind him. I'm hoping Mike Pelfrey bounces back like I think he will. I'm hoping Hisanori Takahashi is nothing like Ken Takahashi. I'm hoping John Maine keeps his puking to a minimum. I'm hoping Jon Niese grows up. I'm hoping Angel Pagan remembers how to get from first to home. I'm hoping Gary Matthews Jr. is slightly more than adequate. I'm hoping Frank Catalanotto was as good an idea now as he would have been five years ago. I'm hoping Pedro Feliciano continues to strike out Ryan Howard and Chase Utley with regularity. I'm hoping Frankie Rodriguez doesn't give up another grand slam to Justin Maxwell. I hope we see Chris Carter. I hope we see Daniel Murphy. I hope Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco are as defensively able as advertised. I hope those two knock some sense into the pitching staff.
Yes, I have a lot of hope this season.
But if we die, we die. As long as we die big.
And if we die, I hope somebody brings punch to the Apology Day party I'm throwing.