It's usually the weather that forces the baseball poet among us to get lyrical this time of year. "Pitchers and Catchers" – three words, five syllables that conjure up all the good things about the great old game: green grass and blue sky, temps in the high 70s and low 80s, live BP and PFP and all the other abbreviations that do The ice melts around the corners of our soul.
But the weather was a few ticks warmer this winter than usual. The snow was largely someone else's problem. And yet, for this fraction of New York baseball fans who paint their hearts orange and blue, there has rarely been another year in which pitchers and catchers have been expected to be more than just longing.
The Mets have to play baseball.
Because only if you play baseball – and play it well, better than it has been played by the Mets since 2016 – can the turbulent past weeks finally be left behind. Look, the Mets' support always meant inviting a little bit of chaos into your life, along with the heartburn and heartache team's bookend specialties. In this sense, this winter was no different from so many others.
But in a different sense?
Let's put it this way: It was at the beginning of last month when our baseball crew here at The Post published the story that Yoenis Cespedes had suffered a seasonal shock last year at his Florida ranch because he was attacked by a wild boar.
Let's repeat the last part again: He was attacked by a wild boar.
That would be enough for most teams. That would be the story that runs all the way through to jugs and catches and beyond, the fact that, on the one hand, one of the best players on the team was willing to pay a whole bunch of cash for unauthorized gimmicks outside the field, and on the other … HE WAS ATTACKED BY A WILD BOAR !!!!
But if the Mets' pitcher and catcher reports to Port St. Lucie – in the complex that is now called Clover Park and is located on Piazza Drive – from Monday, the incident with Cespedes / Pig will be no higher than the third-most absurd Point where it's about the Mets.
No. 1 with a bullet will of course be the never ending story about the team's sale and the never ending musical question: “If you had a disposable income of $ 2.5 billion you would she Can you let Jeff Wilpon figure out how to spend it while you cheerfully sit on the sidelines? "
The managerial situation is right behind it. I have tried for years to convince Mets fans that they are not followed by a dark cloud, that no curse, smallpox, or hex infects their team's DNA and that they have actually benefited from perhaps the most notable two baseball wonders of all time over the years 1969 and 1986 …
However, this is hard to sell for a fan who has just seen three managers who have lost their jobs due to the scandal surrounding the signs. Two of them wander into the sunset, comforted by the colorful rings of the World Series on their fingers. The other, Carlos Beltran, never made an Intrasquad game for the Mets, let alone a championship game.
So yes, the Mets need the baseball part of the program to start as soon as possible. Mets fans have to be annoyed about other things: Can Jacob Dreitorf deGrom? Can Edwin Diaz remember how to get bats out? Can Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil approximate their 2019 all-star season? Can Michael Conforto finally put together the MVP season that Mets fans have been waiting for? Can Robinson Cano recover from a season that is below average? Can Cespedes Jump Back? being attacked by a wild boar …
Is Luis Rojas ready for the challenge of managing in New York City?
"The boys want to do it," Rojas told Kevin Kernan of the post earlier this week. Most of the years it would sound just like most managers do before spring training. Only in this case is it a sacred mantra and a more sacred mission. The Mets want to get this going. The fans want it to start.
Pitchers and catchers?
Oh yeah. This year is more of a curious ideal than ever. This time it's a safe haven.