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Justin Birnbaum

Monday Ramblings: 11 Reasons To Smile About the Mets in 2017

If I’m going to be completely honest with you, I agonized over writing this column. I had originally planned to write something close to a tribute to Carlos Beltran and how it’s a shame that his most iconic moment with the Mets was a point of negativity. However, nothing came to fruition and here I am running out of time to finish what is supposed to be a weekly Monday column.

Well, as the lovely Wendy Rhoades suggested on last night’s episode of Billions, when nothing you do seems to be working, pivot 180 degrees. Trashing the Beltran idea, I opted to come up with something completely different for the first edition of my Monday Ramblings column. As a big fan of The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, I’ve been reading his first book, Now I Can Die In Peace, where I read a similar column as a primer to the 1999 Boston Red Sox. So, here’s 11 Reasons To Smile About the Mets in 2017, in no particular order.

  1. THORRRRR! – “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” Since the moment I saw that picture of Syndergaard working out in a Thor costume, any Thor or Avengers movie gets me jacked up about baseball season. After adding 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, Syndergaard could very well challenge Chris Hemsworth to a trial by combat and win for the role of Thor in all future Marvel movies, that is if he’s not too busy winning the Cy Young.
  2. The Five Aces Are Finally “Healthy” – It’s been a two year wait, but we finally have the opportunity to break Spring Training and see a pitching rotation comprised of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler. However, it’s tough to say what the Mets will really get out of Wheeler since he hasn’t pitched in two years and will be subject to an innings limit. You kind of also have to hope for the best with Harvey, deGrom, and Matz since they’re all coming off injuries. At least we have a nice insurance policy in Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo.
  3. Hammered Jay Bruce – Please, please, please let the Mets have another champagne celebration with Jay Bruce on the team, so I can have another moment like this. My favorite GIF of all-time. 
  4. Michael Conforto Shouldn’t Suck This Year – I really did not expect Conforto to bottom out the way he did last year. Not after how important he was the 2015 pennant run. But here we are. He’s entering his third year and at this point, there’s really no excuse for him to suck. He’s over the rookie jitters, which he never had, and the sophomore slump, which he took to a whole new level, so I am optimistic about Conforto’s 2017. In just three Spring Training games, that optimism seems to be well placed considering Conforto has slugged two home runs in seven at-bats, one of which coming off a lefty.
  5. Make Way For the Young Guns – I think one of the most exciting things about 2017 is that touted prospect Amed Rosario is expected to crack the Majors. An international signing from 2012, Rosario has climbed up the minor league ladder, establishing himself as a potential franchise player at shortstop. Even though Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes are on the Big League roster, a strong performance from Rosario in Las Vegas could easily displace the two veterans. The other prospect on the rise is first baseman Dominic Smith. Smith was drafted in 2013, but had been criticized due to his lack of power in the minor leagues. That all changed last year in Binghamton, where Smith slugged 14 home runs, more than all other years of his minor league career combined. Since Lucas Duda is dealing with back and hip issues, not to mention being on the wrong side of 30, there’s a good possibility Smith gets a shot in Flushing this season.
  6. Mets Twitter – Looking for a group of cynical, like-minded people on Twitter for some entertainment? Look no further than Mets Twitter. At the center of it all? My personal favorite, Steve Schreiber (@_MisterMet), who is arguably one of the top-ten best trolls on the internet. P.S. He is not actually green Rickey Henderson.
  7. Ces’ Is Playing Less Golf – It seems like the two main injuries Cespedes has had during his time with the Mets have been self-inflicted. First, you have his moment of weakness where he decided to golf during the FRICKIN’ WORLD SERIES and screwed up his shoulder. Side note, in what realm of possibility did this seem like a good idea? Then, in April of 2016 he decided to jump into the stands chasing a foul ball that he had no business going after.

    Moral of the story, I think the $110 million dollar man has learned his lesson. Not only did he play less golf this offseason, but he spent a good portion of time working out with Mike Barwis (the team’s senior advisor of strength and conditioning) in Port St. Lucie.
  8. Eric Campbell is No Longer on the Roster – This is pretty self explanatory.
  9. The Chance To Make History – Believe or not, in 55 years the Mets have only made the postseason in consecutive years twice (1999-2000, 2015-2016). What they have never done, is make it three years in a row. With a team this talented, I think there is a good chance they finally break the mold.
  10. Party Like It’s 2006 – At some point this year, David Wright and Jose Reyes should be on the field together. If that doesn’t make you feel nostalgic, then I’m not sure anything will. Wright, Reyes, and a contending Mets team? Let’s just hope it doesn’t end on a called third strike this time.
  11. Tebowmania – I’m not quite sure how you go from batting .194 in the Arizona Fall League to smacking nine BP home runs on your first day of Spring Training, but with Tebow nothing surprises me. If by some miracle he ends up on the Big League roster then you pretty just have to conclude that other, more powerful, forces are at work. If all else fails, I’m sure Tim Tebow will provide enough headlines for us to be satisfied in 2017. In Tebow we trust.

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