I don't need any more coal.
The precarious financial situation paralyzing the New York Mets has provided more than enough black gold to keep all of Metsopotamia warm for decades. If there were ever a time to reward the weary fans with some Christmas cheer, this year would be it.
It turned out the 2011 Hump was really just the tip of an iceberg which could sink the team's postseason aspirations for years to come. We already watched Jose Reyes flee to the Miami Marlins and most recently Carlos Beltran to the St. Louis Cardinals. We don't expect to see much of Johan Santana in 2012, and don't know if we want to see any of Jason Bay in the interim. But hey, the bullpen's looking pretty good!
The previous management has made us grow accustomed to finding new presents under the tree on a yearly basis, from Mike Hampton to Beltran to Bay and everyone in between. It's a bad habit we need to shake, but that hardly means we don't need any gifts this year.
So on behalf of Mets fans everywhere, here's a plea for a few nice things for Mets fans to find under their tree come Sunday:
- The Bottom. Ever since Mets fans learned the name of Bernie Madoff, we've watched the ownership's finances flounder in a downward spiral with no end in sight. I know it's likely past the point where the Wilpons could voluntarily sell and presume that they'll only go if the club is pried from their cold, dead hands by MLB or bankruptcy. But it would be nice to reach the point where it actually couldn't get worse. It would help to not see Sandy Alderson constantly revise the payroll projections because the team's diminishing finances force him. I don't know if Mets fans really want to know what rock bottom looks like, but I do know we're all exhausted from being in free fall for so long.
- A Home for Daniel Murphy. There's a lot to like about Murphy, whose coming off a solid year and showing a bit of power at the plate. I'd just like him more if he could stay healthy enough to give us a real sample of his defensive capabilities at second base. His bat looks even better there than the other spots the Mets have stuck him, but he hasn't been good enough defensively to definitively fill in a hole on the diamond. Second base might very well be his last shot at becoming a starter instead of a super sub, but I hope he sticks here instead of at a new home in another ballpark someday.
- A Bucked Trend for Bay. We all know what Jason Bay accomplished before Omar Minaya signed him in his last foray into free agency as Mets general manager. Unfortunately, we also know what he's done since -- two subpar seasons with a complete disappearance of his power. The redesigned walls at Citi Field will hopefully help that a bit, but two seasons of futility is a heck of a sample size and I'd really rather not see it get to three in fear of seeing another player get the Oliver Perez treatment.
- The Anti-Ollie. Speaking of Perez, could you make sure Mike Pelfrey doesn't end up that way, either? I've given up hope that the Mets' 2011 Opening Day starter will ever resemble an All Star on the mound, but could we knock it off with the epic implosions for the guy? He's not doing anything wildly different except alternating years in which he ponies up fly balls, but we keep hearing about some magical second pitch or his sinking fastball not sinking or GEEZ... IS HE AGGRAVATING OR WHAT?!?
- A No Hitter. If 2012 turns out to be the rebuilding year that no one in the Mets' marketing department wants us to think it is, we're going to be rooting for individual achievements as much as we pray for the team's success. Rooting for Reyes winning the batting title made September baseball in Flushing a bit more worthwhile, but there's one achievement we want more than that and that, deep down, no Mets fan wants to miss. Wouldn't it be great if the R.A. Dickey knuckleball was perfect for a night, or Jon Niese put an exclamation point on a breakout season with a no-no? Come on, Santa. We're due.
- A Banner Day on Banner Day. I get that Banner Day has felt at times like a cause célèbre for Mets bloggers on a slow news day, but it really can be a great thing if done well. There is a charm in seeing fans expressing themselves with signs draped around the ballpark or carried through the stands, even if it might look like an elementary school art show to some. It was the running commentary at Shea Stadium once, and could make for it once again at Citi Field if the fans who pleaded for it so vociferously actually show up and make it a day to remember with a marked-up bed sheet and a professed love of the Mets.
- A New Name on the Marquee. We keep hearing about the promising prospects of the likes of Matt Harvey or Jeurys Familia, but it would be nice to see one of them stop plying their trade at Binghamton or Buffalo and start plowing through the Majors with reckless abandon. I'm not saying they should be rushed or put on the spot, but there'll be ample opportunities to experiment with a near-ready prospect at the Major League level this season if guys we pencil in to the Opening Day lineup can't hack it or stay healthy long term. Wouldn't it be great if this is the year Fernando Martinez finally puts it together, or Reese Havens stays healthy long enough to take the second base job for good?
- A World Series Trophy. If you don't ask, you'll never get it.
Thanks, Santa. Safe travels up and down all those chimneys this weekend, and pace yourself with those cookies. And if you could also give a look to the wish list or revisions to mine left below in the comments, I'd appreciate that, too.
Give our regards to the Missus. Happy Holidays!