There's a proud history of signs providing a last burst of motivation to teams as they make their way onto the field. Notre Dame football players are reminded to play like champions and members of the Yankees are given cause to reflect on their pinstripes because of Joe DiMaggio's gratitude for his chance to wear them. Even the Raiders tout a commitment to excellence, although that's more claim than fact these days.
The Mets want a slice of that sweet action. Players making their way from the clubhouse to the field in Port St. Lucie see a sign on the wall reading "Prevention & Recovery" before springing into action. It doesn't quite rise to the level of Patton, but it's a pretty good message for a team that's hoping to prevent a repeat of what's happened the last three seasons while simultaneously recovering from those degradations.
There's a more literal way to approach the sign as well. The injuries that sank the 2009 Mets are clearly referenced in the new slogan and the message is being reinforced by the team's new Spring Training routine. They've canceled the camp-opening agility drills, because there's no better way to avoid injury than to avoid physical exertion.
We kid, but we do wonder how far the team is going to take this quest for prevention. Will baserunners still take an extra base when a ball rolls into the gap? It's smart baseball, but the risk of pulling a hamstring goes up exponentially when you speed up like that.
Don't expect to see any diving for balls in the field.
The sign does give some insight into the team's offseason decision making. Their reticence about acquiring a halfway decent catcher, for example, can be easily explained by watching a backstop take a foul ball to the foot, groin or anywhere else. That position is just an injury waiting to happen so any good preventive measure would indicate that there's no point bothering with having one at all.
You might ask yourself why the Mets didn't just invest a bit more money and effort into improving their medical staff, but that's a silly question. That's recovery, which should be rendered useless by the team's newfound focus on prevention. If you prevent, you need not recover and it costs a lot less to put up a pretty sign than it does to overhaul a team's medical and training staff. And, what's more, if injuries aren't prevented than it is on those selfish players and not on the team that made sure to remind them to prevent injuries.
It's genius stuff and it's pretty clear that the Mets are back on the right track. Start printing the "Prevention & Recovery" t-shirts, because this thing's about to take off.