It’s so much fun reading the New York tabloid newspapers, the Daily News and the Post. Forever the sky is falling, everyday, around all there teams.
The Mets come to town to face the Padres with a loaded pitching staff, booming bats, and having accomplished what those tabloid guys said was impposble, just two short years ago, make the franchise relevant again.
The Mets roll in with a (17-8) record, having won 13-of-16. This after last year’s enormous run to the postseason, and arrival, ahead-of-schedule, to play in the World Series.
To read the tabloids the last two years, ‘woe is us’. They didn’t like Sandy Alderson’s GM-leadership. They didn’t like ownership cutting the payroll from the 130M range into the 90M bracket. The Mets were no longer a free agent player, therefore no longer relevant, to be on the back pages of the papers. And there was the Wilpon family, and its ties to imprisoned Bernie Madoff, and whether Sterling Equitites had the resources, to run the team after what happened on Wall Street.
So the Mets come together. Their bright young pitching staff arrives simultaneously. Older veterans hit, younger newcomers learn to hit. And the beleaguered General Manager boldly makes free agent deals and trades.
Voila, woe-be-gone. The Mets were in the World Series, and look where they are now a month into this new season.
Alderson and his people knew what they were doing. Investing in pitching, in the farm system. And what a job in the draft.
Matt Harvey was a first round pick, who carried the team for a year and a half, and had to come back from elbow surgery.
Jacob deGrom came fast, after being a 9th round draft pick.
Noah Syndegaard was a lst round pick, who came in a trade with Toronto.
Zack Wheeler was a number 1-who came from the Giants, and is on the comeback trail from surgery.
Steven Matz was a 2nd round pick and is a fixture in that rotation.
In the everyday lineup, outfielder Mike Conforto was a lst round pick. Catcher Kevin Plawecki was a late lst round comp pick. Luca Duda grew up on the job after being taken in the 7th round. David Wright, last of the old guard, was a lst round pick.
Of course there are stars from other teams. Curtis Granderson came across the street from the Yankees and is rock solid. And Yoenis Cespedes, supposed to be a 1-year pennant race rental last year, has found a home and signed a multi-year deal.
Even in the undrafted world they scored well. Closer Jervys Familia was not drafted, but signed to a free agent contract. Ditto for young outfielder Juan Lares, and shortstop Wilmer Flores.
It’s a pretty good team, a team that has come together, survived surgeries, a bad drug suspension, and is really a team with its future ahead of it. Much different than the team crosstown, the Yankees.
So as the Padres play the Mets in this four game homestand this weekend, maybe San Diego, instead of hating all things New York, should take notes, on how Alderson and his manager Terry Collins have made this come together.
Even the New York tabloids have to be impressed. The sky isn’t falling, at least not over Citi Field, not over the Mets.