The New York Mets haven't acquired a single player since the season ended, they haven't found out that all is well with Johan Santana's left arm and the clubhouse manager appears to have been running a sports book when he wasn't folding uniforms, yet the sun still shines brighter over Flushing at this hour than it has in many years.
Sandy Alderson's hiring as general manager is looking more and more like a watershed moment in the history of the organization. His own resume was reason enough to believe that better days were coming for the Mets, but the way he is stocking the front office with bright, creative minds with experience running their own teams should be making the suffering fans of the Amazins giddy with excitement about what's coming down the road.
Simply having J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta, hired on Monday, as assistants to Alderson doesn't guarantee the Mets are going to win 90 games in each of the next three years. Nor does it mean that the Mets will be parading up Broadway before the next Presidential election. All it means is that the Mets, after years of disorganization and dysfunction in the executive suite, have created a structure that puts an emphasis on evaluating talent based on every available piece of information and doing it in a way that creates an organizational mindset that is followed from Rookie League all the way to Citi Field.
Too often in the past the Mets have been about the short play that focuses on making big headlines in an attempt to win now without any thought given to creating an organization that is successful year after year. That kind of system can bear the occasional piece of fruit, but more often it leaves you in the place they've lived for the last two years when an understocked system struggles to put even average players on the field because you've sacrificed all depth for a few frontline players who broke down.
The only way you change that is by changing the way you go about doing business every single day and that's the biggest thing to like about what Alderson has done since taking over the team. It doesn't make them the best front office in the major leagues and it might not make them a winner anytime soon, but it was absolutely essential to making the Mets the kind of franchise that they should have always been trying to be.
That they haven't been that kind of franchise can be laid at the feet of their ownership which has not allowed true baseball men to run the baseball operations in a very long time. We can't completely eliminate the chance that this will continue to be a problem in the future, but we can feel pretty good about it.
It's hard to imagine Alderson would leave a good job in the league office to have Jeff Wilpon looking over his shoulder, and harder to imagine that the Mets boss thinks he can keep getting away with that behavior. The sheer magnitude of the recent embarrassment has had a real effect on the Mets' brand, reputation and bottom line, and the Wilpons know that they are seen as them enemy. Giving Alderson the stage is good for the team and it is good for business.
Finally, a silver lining to the last few years of pain for Mets fans.