Guess What? The Mets Still Play Baseball

Camp opens in Port St. Lucie after another long offseason

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011  |  Updated 4:15 PM EDT
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Guess What? The Mets Still Play Baseball

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Donald Trump, Jason Isringhausen and Oliver Perez.

Everything you need to know about the current state of the Mets can be gleaned from the fact that those three names are connected to the team in stories around the start of camp in Port St. Lucie. On the most hopeful day of the baseball season, this unlikely trio is what the Mets have to cling to in an attempt to find a ray of light at the end of a tunnel that just seems to keep going and going.

Trump took a break from kinda, sorta running for President to tell the Times that he's called Fred Wilpon and offered himself up as the team's white knight. He says he's interested in becoming the team's majority owner, not something the Wilpons claim to be seeking and not something that's possible given Trump's involvement with casinos. We're not sure how that will help the campaign, although voters would have to be impressed if he could build a winner out of a team that's been so thoroughly disappointing in recent years. But then his opponents might just drop the New Jersey Generals bomb and paint Trump in a less flattering light.

Isringhausen, a walking reminder of just how rarely things work out for the Mets, stopped by camp to audition for a spot with the team. He last pitched in the major leagues with the Rays in 2009 and spent last year trying to make it back from his third Tommy John surgery. Before that and before his strong years with the A's and Cardinals, Isringhausen was a member of the vaunted Generation K with fellow Mets pitching prospects Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson. None of the three panned out in Queens, but maybe it was just 16 years too early.

Even with all of his baggage, you could probably find more Mets fans willing to believe in Isringhausen than in Perez. That didn't stop the lefty from being the subject of one of spring training's annual rites: the profile that proclaims some struggling player is in great shape and poised for a big comeback season.

Write that about Jason Bay or Daniel Murphy or even Francisco Rodriguez and you'll find some buyers. On a sunny, chilly February day, you're willing to believe in things. But Perez? Joel Sherman of the Post was dead right when he said the only story anyone should write about Perez is one about his release from the Mets.  

Perez is the embodiment of everything that's been wrong with the Mets. Pitching him otherwise is dishonest and a bit insulting to those who still look to the Mets for happiness.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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