Room for improvement

How do you follow-up a season in which you reached the World Series for the first time in 15 years?

Why, you win the World Series, of course.

Hold on there, Mets fan.

Well, the old saw Hope Springs Eternal was coined for baseball fans, was it not?

Hover over any photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.

The long season starts in Kansas City on April 3, against the Royals, the American League toughie that beat my Mets last fall for the big prize. For now, though, I can turn my wide-screen to SNY and see the green fields of Florida as my favorite players work out the kinks of winter.

The pieces are in place.

Yoenis Cespedes signed an interesting and alluring contract drawn up general manager Sandy Alderson, a multi-year pact matching that of others offered the big-hitting free agent, but front-loaded and allowing the player to opt out after this season if he again over-achieves, so he can check his worth in the off-season again.

Bartolo Colon signed up again, in his 40s and ready to start on the mound until young arm Zach Wheeler is ready in July to return from his Tommy John surgery. In the postseason, Colon showed how ornery and effective he is coming out of the bullpen. He came back, he said, because he enjoys New York and the Mets organization, much the same as Cespedes’ sentiments.

Alderson also added second baseman Neil Walker from Pittsburgh in a trade and free agent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, reshaping the middle infield.

As for player losses, sturdy lefty pitcher Jonathon Niese went to the Pirates for Walker, and career Met and National League Championship hero Daniel Murphy left as a free agent for the NL East rival Washington Nationals. May he continue to be a Cub killer for them.

It’s a long season, indeed. And I’m already ready for it to begin.

What are you warming up for this spring, and why? If you ever considered yourself a free agent in anything in life, what decision did you make? If you feel like you ever “traded” without your knowledge or consent, what were the circumstances?

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17 thoughts on “Room for improvement

  1. I heard Ron Darling on a recent Mets Spring Training game say that the Mets pitching is so deep and so strong that they have players way down in the minors who might be starters on other big league teams and I thought, “Don’t be so greedy, Mets … ” Enjoy your season, the Mets look great and strong and fun again this year … maybe the Orioles will find some pitchers somewhere so we can meet in October. 🙂

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    • I carry that soft spot in my heart for the Birds from my U of Maryland days and years living in Greenbelt thereafter, going to games following Cal Jr. and mates at Memorial Stadium, TBB, so it would be quite stirring for a follow-up to that 1969 World Series matchup, in many ways. 🙂

      And you can never, ever be too greedy in regards to pitching, when an arm can blow on any given pitch these days.

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      • I have tried too. But I can never get that distinct checkerboard pattern. I wonder if they put the mower on different settings? Of course they probably have a much better mower than the ones that can be purchased at Lowes.

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      • I can actually shed some light on that Mark, believe it or not. Where I boarded some years ago, the family owned and managed golf courses. There were two young lads between 22 and 25 living at home who worked the golf courses and helped manage. We used to drink together and one of the family sore spots was the lawn at home – no one wanted to mow it after spending the whole day mowing at work. Anyway, the boys were doing their chemical training – a LOT of chemicals are used on golf course grass. In the summer I used to go to the courses sometimes with the guys and ride around on a gator while they mowed. They used to put that cross hatch pattern on the greens. It looks so cool I asked why they didn’t use it at home. The boys explained that to get that look the grass has to be much shorter than is healthy for it. It has to be watered a lot to keep from burning the roots (something banned in the heat of summer for residences). On top of that, it makes the grass very susceptible to diseases. It has to be treated regularly and as needed with different chemicals to maintain that green color. These chemicals are illegal in Canada for citizens or residences and can only be used by trained professionals on commercial property with a permit. Even the storage of these chemicals requires a permit and special storage facilities on site.

        In a nutshell that is why you don’t ever see that cross hatch pattern on residential properties, even the most expensive.

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  2. Mark: apparently you didn’t get the memo–this is the Red Sox’ year. If you’re up for an ’86 rematch I’ll spot you another 2nd place finish! Sorry, couldn’t resist. Just happy to see baseball back!

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