Not unlike the 2016 Major League Baseball season, the current offseason has been a roller coaster ride for Mets fans. There was the disappointment that the team blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning of the final World Series game, followed by the joy of looking back at a surprisingly successful pennant run, and then the despair that the Mets might not be willing to spend the necessary resources to mount a defense of that pennant.
Finally, the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year deal, signaling to all challengers that if they want the 2016 National League title, they should know who to look for.
"We've got to go back,'' said manager Terry Collins to reporters earlier this week, "Let's win it all.''
The team that was once laughed at for aspiring to win 90 games is setting its sights on the ultimate prize. Traditional contenders like the Cardinals and Dodgers are still as powerful as ever, and new threats like the Diamondbacks and maybe even the Marlins are emerging. Still, the Mets are looking good with their deep lineup and unrivaled pitching staff.
"You create your own expectations. How are we going to go about doing that? I'll tell you exactly how: We're not changing it up much, but we've got to run the bases this much better, we have to strike out this much less, play a little more defense in the World Series.
"You got to have those expectations. If you are afraid of it, you are in the wrong sport. You talk about goals in baseball, there is no bigger goal, and until you get to the World Series, you don't really understand how much fun it is."
Is Collins putting a target on his club's back? Raising the bar too high? Does it really matter? The skipper is just as excited about the coming season as the fans are. He has a strong team behind him, and he realizes that anything less than a return to the Fall Classic will be a disappointment. No amount of managing expectations is going to change that.