It’s a long offseason. A damn long offseason. Let’s for a moment pretend that I usually practice a steadfast abstention from obscenity, just so that “damn” means something, because if anything deserves the sternest of rebukes, obscenity included, it’s the length of this godforsaken offseason.
The offseason, in its simplest terms, can be summed up thusly: the fact that Alex Guerrero, a player who prior to visiting www.mlbtraderumors.com a minute ago I had never heard of, is on the verge of a deal with the Chunichi Dragons, a team about which I haven’t the slightest idea, is front page news. Who cares about Alex Guerrero? Who cares about the Chunichi Dragons?
But really, the question should be put a different way — who doesn’t?
We all care about Alex Guerrero, or at least some form of him. Joe McEwing brings smiles to our faces. Alex Cora makes us wince as we remember the Jerry Manuel days, bad contracts and bad uniforms and all. Chris Woodward takes us back to our earliest days as a fan, to the time we went to the game at Shea for a friend’s birthday and got there early and saw Omar Minaya in the parking lot, then a friend told us that they’d seen Chris Woodward himself.
Change a few letters around and swap out some mediocre stats for an identically mediocre set of numbers, and how different are any of these guys from Alex Guerrero? Here’s the difference: they played for us, he didn’t. But one of these days, someone will come around who did. We’ll see Daniel Herrera signing with the Long Island Ducks (hell, he may play for them already, as all forgettable former Mets seem to do), or Nick Evans striking a deal with the Yomiuri Giants, and it will do nothing if not remind us of how quickly time passes, because it seems just yesterday that Nick Evans was interchangeable with Daniel Murphy, and Daniel Herrera was the crazy reliever with the long hair who was actually pretty good.
And that thought of time passing brings us back, all to quickly to the offseason, which we wish would pass faster. If the offseason could pass as quickly as the minor league careers of Anderson Hernandez and Victor Diaz, the world, I believe we can agree, would be vastly improved.
But it doesn’t, which means the offseason passes exactly as fast as it does and no faster, or in other words, too damn slowly. The offseason passes about as slowly as anything can, or in other words, only slightly faster than Wilmer Flores rounding third. Only slightly. Now that’s saying something.
It’s November 25th. It’s been slightly more than three weeks since baseball season ended. You don’t need to pause in distress to exclaim that it can’t have been only three weeks because it feels more like three months, because I already agree. The current calendar year will end in five weeks. After that, it will only be January, which will take four and a half weeks of its own to end, and then February will start, which will be a good sign because it will signal the approach of Pitchers and Catchers, but also not quite so good in that it will mean we’ve still got eight or nine weeks until the season starts. Count it up; that’s eighteen weeks, give or take. It’s not even Winter yet.
Or, you could just sum up how long this infernal offseason seems to take as Keith would: a prolonged jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez, followed by a sigh that expresses more emotions than I could ever hope to capture with strokes of the pen.
This may be the worst part of the offseason, the days we’re forcing our way through right now. Baseball season is farther away than it will be until next winter, for one thing. That’s not so much as a feature of these days as a vague definition of temporality in general, but it’s true in a grander sense. In March, we’ll be closer. Way closer. Hell, I’d settle for January right now. Just bring us baseball.
But even worse than the gap in time between today and April 3rd is the isolation that comes with the latter days of November, when the season has already largely faded from memory, and there’s nothing ahead but snow. It’s tough, right now, to feel any connection to the Mets, past, present, or future, and connection to the Mets, during the offseason, is pretty much what sustains us. We — and by “we,” I mean fans who remember what they were doing when Duaner Sanchez got in his cab accident — don’t have much to look for right now. The season is behind, we’ve got a whole lot of nothing ahead, and right now, there’s just not enough Mets happening.
Well, at least, it seems that way. And I’m not about to offer up some secret Mets events, so it may well be true. But while there may not be much going on, there’s always something, or at least, something can always be made. For even the most casual of fans, it’s not the hardest thing in the world to make like Reyes and bunt your way on, steal second, move to third on a groundout, come home on a sac fly, and whaddaya know, you’ve made something out of nothing. Which is all you can do, when it comes to passing the offseason without losing some semblance of sanity.
See what I did there? The topic was passing the offseason, and suddenly I was off and running (pun) with a Jose Reyes metaphor, and before you knew it you were (or at least I was) distracted by memories, whether from 2006 or 2016, of Reyes legging out triples and bunting for hits and stealing base after base. Maybe you — if you’re like me — googled some highlights, and relived the good old days of Reyes and Wright, kings of New York, for a while, and tomorrow, and this week, and next, instead of being bogged down by thoughts of how freaking long (sorry to keep reminding you, but it can’t be avoided) this offseason is, you’ll think of Jose Reyes sliding into third and gesturing in celebration to the dugout, and you’ll remember how fast things can move when we just let them move.
So that’s how you pass the offseason. Mets, Mets, Mets. More Mets. Everything Mets.
It’s late November and between now and baseball season, there are 130+ days and a mountain of work and uncertainty? David Wright career highlights, let’s watch ‘em.
It seems like happiness is impossible while this frigid hell of an offseason continues? Here, I’ll google “Brandon Nimmo Smile.”
The offseason will never end, so we might as well pack it in and give up? Here’s Asdrubal Cabrera’s walk-off three run homer from that crazy game against the Marlins. “Outta here! Outta here!” You don’t hear that too often.
The offseason can only get us down if we let it, and easy as it is to let it, we don’t have to. Rather, we can hang around long after the offseason should have knocked us out. We can stay strong and relive the season until we’re blue in the face and say to the offseason, we’re here to stay.
And let’s be honest — we’re fans of the 2016 Mets, who were, as we all know, 60-62, then went 27-13, secured a playoff spot, and came within a few lucky bounces of a trip to the NLDS and quite possibly beyond. We’re fans of the ya-gotta-believers of 1973 and the Miracle Mets of ’69. Is there anything we’re better at than sticking around long after we’re told that we should leave?
We’ll beat it. We’ll get through it. Offseasons haven’t beaten us yet, and coming off a season that saw us produce one of the most resilient, determined Mets teams in living memory, they certainly won’t start now.