If Omar Minaya ran a 7-Eleven...
Hard to top Mets Extra’s headline regarding the outlook for the 2010 New York Mets: To Mediocrity, and Beyond!
A .500 season seems like all we have to hope for. Maybe we’ll put up a fight for third, but the Marlins shouldn’t be what scares Mets fans. The idea of looking up at the fourth-place Nationals in a few months is my primary fear.
It’s a shame, too. A team with David Wright, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran shouldn’t ever fear the cellar. Perhaps my pessimism is a bit exaggerated, but after the McDowell’s Law (2nd graf) of last season, I’m well aware that anything can happen. As long as anything includes only really bad things like season-ending injuries.
Take a look at the Mets' Opening Day starting lineup. Keep in mind that a team’s starting lineup – I know this sounds obvious – is comprised of its nine best players, and, well, here:
1. SS Alex Cora
2. 2B Luis Castillo
3. 3B David Wright
4. 1B Mike Jacobs
5. LF Jason Bay
6. CF Gary Matthews Jr.
7. RF Jeff Francoeur
8. C Rod Barajas
9. SP Johan Santana
In other words:
5. Pretty good
9. Hits better than 1, 2, 4, 6-8 (but then again, so could a well-motivated plant)
That’s seven automatic outs every time we cycle through the lineup. You know how in baseball, the goal of the offense is to score runs? This lineup scoffs at such conventional wisdom. “Watch as we pile up the wins by actively refusing to get on base!”
The league average on-base percentage is .330-.335, with .300 being terrible and .370 being very good. So in this day and age, when even ESPN has accepted the validity of OBP enough to include it in its Sunday Night Baseball programming, would someone please explain to me this: WHY THE BALLS IS ALEX CORA AND HIS GODAWFUL .295 OBP LEADING OFF?
Batting Alex Cora first pretty much translates to Jerry Manuel saying “We would like to start out every game already having one out. Yes, I know we only get three per inning and outs are extremely valuable and one shouldn’t go around giving them away willy-nilly, but hey, go fuck yourself, logic.”
Up next is the notorious soft-popup-behind-3rd machine Luis Castillo, who actually had a stellar 2009 OBP of .387. Why he isn’t batting first is unclear other than that it would make sense, though maybe Jerry Manuel got a little freaked out by Luis’s running style, which could be described as “Johnny From ‘The Wire,’ Only More Retarded-Looking.”
Okay, enough doom and gloom, for the moment. Before long, the Mets will get Beltran and Reyes back, and they will be dramatically better. At that point the top of the lineup will look like this:
1. Jose Reyes
2. Luis Castillo
3. Carlos Beltran
4. David Wright
5. Jason Bay
Which is actually damn impressive. Even with the bag of dicks hitting behind them, that fivesome is gonna produce some runs. Unfortunately, unless Johan’s pitching, it probably won’t be enough. (I wonder how many 3- or 4-game losing streaks Johan will be called upon to stop this year. My bet is 100.)
All joking aside, it’s Opening Day, which is as close as I get these days to how I felt on Christmas as a kid. Hope springs eternal, as they say, and although I’m sure watching the Mets “play baseball” this year will probably take an extra year off my life, I know I’ll be rushing home for every game, rooting my hardest for Alex Cora and Jeff (“Frenchy”) Francoeur and Oliver (“Fucking”) Perez, even as Side Bar and I try to one-up each other on who can most creatively slander their families.
It’s gonna be a long season, but hey, it’s baseball. Anyone want to go to a game this week?