Finding the Bright Side for the Mets

It's not all bad news in Queens

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Mar 25, 2011  |  Updated 9:45 AM EDT
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Finding the Bright Side for the Mets

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The hits don't seem to stop coming for the Mets.

The Times has yet another report on the nightmarish financial state of the franchise on Friday. It says the team is losing money hand over fist, something that can't come as much of a shock to anyone who has been following the flow of news on this front during the offseason.

Taken alongside injured pitchers, underwhelming second basemen and other roster indignities, this quasi-bombshell is probably just another reason for some Mets fans to play ostrich. Sticking your head in the sand and waiting until the season comes to an end has a certain appeal, but that's not going to do it for everyone.

People want reasons to watch their favorite team and they want reasons to feel excited about the baseball season to come, even if the Mets are the apple of their eyes. Those people should take heart, because it isn't all ominous music and terrifying spreadsheets in Queens. There are actual reasons to feel good about the 2011 season.

David Wright tops the list. The third baseman may have chosen the wrong time to become the face of the franchise, but there's no denying that he wears it well. He bounced back nicely from his lost 2009 season last year and shows no signs of returning to the wayward ways of that campaign.

He's not perfect and his strikeouts will again give some people a reason to be angry, but he'll give the Mets production on the field and professionalism off of it. That's always worthwhile, but it might be more worthwhile than ever this summer.

Hardy souls should also take heart in the fact that this is a contract year for a bunch of Mets. It will mean a better balance sheet a year from now and it will also mean great motivation for players trying to find their next big pay day. Carlos Beltran's desire for that contract can't trump his physical infirmities, but it does mean he's going to keep trying.

Those departing players will be replaced by products of a farm system that's starting to bear some fruit. It isn't a pipeline of future all-stars, perhaps, but there are plenty of useful players like Josh Thole, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis coming up to the big leagues.

The organization's depth is getting better and better, which should mean that there are no more seasons that take on the appearance of a death march because the team doesn't have enough players to make it home.

And we'll leave on the hopeful note that some of those players who are working their way up or some that are trying to recapture their careers will become favorites of the masses the way R.A. Dickey did last season. Baseball seasons, even the bleakest ones, produce unexpected joys from a variety of places.

That will happen for the Mets this season and it will be enjoyable because, if only for a fleeting moment, it will allow you to forget all the negatives for a return to the simple joy of the game.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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