For weeks now I have been watching and following the New York Mets very closely and I have been struggling to get excited about this team as we shortly kick-off the 2018 season. I have been looking for something to light the fire.
Up to now, all I was coming up with is that it looks and feels like the same old Mets. The core players are mostly the same. Sure they have added Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez and Jason Vargas but, I’m sorry to say, these guys really do not excite me. Can they stay healthy? That continues to be a big question for the team and a topic of conversation that has, frankly, just worn me out.
But late last night it came to me as I was getting ready for bed. It is all in the ball. Yes, the ball. Sometimes the toughest questions have the simplest answers. Without the ball there are no games. The ball is essential to “America’s Game”, would you not agree?
Well, I have a special ball. One that was given to me three years ago as a gift by someone I had befriended while in Port St. Lucie. I doubt it is the only one of its kind but I am sure there are not many like it. This ball is the answer I have been looking for to get me pumped for this season.
Matz, Harvey, Syndergaard Photo: nypost.com
My ball is signed by Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. Yes, all on the same ball. The “Big 5” as they were nicknamed three years back. As we know, injuries have plagued the group up to now. We will finally have a chance to see if all the hype over the past few years has any truth to it as this group makes up the 2018 starting rotation.
My special ball becomes more and more valuable if this group stays together and leads this team to victories. Maybe even to a .500 record and, with a few gifts from the baseball gods, maybe even to the playoffs.
How great would it be to see deGrom and Syndergaard pitch at All-Star levels? If they both come through with around 18 wins this season, the value of the ball starts to tweak up.
Can Harvey regain his old stuff and confidence? I will gladly take the old Harvey half the time. That will certainly increase the value some more.
Last and key, please, baseball gods, keep Matz and Wheeler healthy most of the season. I am being realistic by asking for only most of the season, I do not want to be greedy. If these two guys hang around till the end of the season, only missing a start here and there but reaching their potential, and the Mets are in the playoff hunt, my ball might be mentioned in the same sentence with Amazon stock.
Let’s realize it is not just left to the Big 5 to do their jobs. We need the other twenty to do the same. Everyone has to chip in day in and day out. Given the opportunity, guys are going to have to make the most of the situations to drive in runs, throw out base runners and hold down leads when called upon. If this happens, my ball reaches its full potential in value.
Amed Rosario Photo: nj.com
How about Amed Rosario in the running for NL Rookie of the Year? Michael Conforto playing like an All Star once he returns from injury? And Jeurys Familia earning the NL Comeback Player of the Year? It this happens, my ball becomes very, very special. Maybe even magical.
I am starting to feel it. I am fired up. I found it. I have the big reason to root on the Amazin’s in 2018.
Josh Edgin, thank you once again.
Featured Photo Courtesy: Rich Bauer