Usually, thankful and Mets don’t belong in the same sentence as a fan, even more so recently, but this year felt different. Most of the time cheering for this team feels more like a curse than a blessing but after this past season we are in a generous and festive mood, or perhaps we started a bit early on the Thanksgiving adult beverages. Either way here are some Metsy things that the staff is thankful for this year.
Sometimes it is the little and unexpected things that make us the most appreciative. Our own minor league expert Steve Sypa was very pleased that the entire minor league system for the Mets was finally all on Eastern Standard Time. This development took far too long but the Triple-A team moving to Syracuse made things alot easier for everyone involved, including our prospect writers.
Simply trying should not seem like a novel concept, but with so few baseball teams actually going for it, the Mets became the outlier when they did try to compete last season. This led to the acquisition of Marcus Stroman who was a charged lightning bolt of fun putting a spark into the late-season run. Finally getting meaningful baseball itself was a nice change of pace for Vas Drimalitis who was grateful for exciting baseball after so many years of being in the doldrums and playing out the string.
Todd Frazier can be a bit of a polarizing figure to fans. His season had as many ups and downs as the Coney Island Cyclone but off the field he brought big Jersey energy to the team. He is currently feuding with Toms River turkeys and Liam Murphy appreciates all the “Jerseyness” that Frazier represents.
Our commenter extraordinaire and moderator MF4D didn’t mince words when she said she is thrilled that Mickey Callaway is gone this offseason. No other words needed.
Finally, perhaps the most important return of the year, as Daily Farm Report alumnus Daniel Convery pointed out, was Ron Darling. We all felt for Ron when it was revealed he was battling cancer but he eventually returned to the booth and he didn’t miss a beat. His return was a good sign that he was doing well and it was a reminder that he is an integral part of the SNY booth. We have been incredibly blessed with both a TV booth and, for the most part, a radio booth that could make even the worst game entertaining.
The main course for any Thanksgiving meal is usually an overabundance of goodness. There is something for every palate to enjoy and oftentimes a second helping is necessary. That too sums up the 2019 Mets.
It became a recurring theme among the staff at AAHQ that this was a special group of players who were easy to root for. A different hero or personality came through on a near nightly basis leaving fans coming back for more.
Jack McLoone summed our feelings up the best:
Baseball, and sports in general, tend to constantly remind you that its athletes are not often as nice as you believe or want them to be. This is true of life in general. But the 2019 Mets, folks, were a truly loveable bunch of guys who had fun playing baseball and were easy to love, whether the team was good or bad. After one of the lone blemishes against “easy to root for” players got traded (he tried to fight a reporter and his name rhymes with Trashmon Garabageas), it’s hard to point at any single Met from 2019 and not root for them. Sure, Edwin Diaz was frustrating to watch, but he also clearly took his struggles to heart. Wilson Ramos can’t catch a baseball, but his own surprise at his hitting streak and embracing of the Buffalo nickname was great. Of course you have Dom Smith and Brandon Nimmo and Marcus Stroman and Robinson Cano, four of the most outwardly happy and excited players baseball has to offer. And that’s leaving out the biggest personality of them all, Pete Alonso, who has embraced Mets fans as much as they have him. Special mention goes to J.D. Davis and his ever enjoyable facial expressions. Obviously Jacob deGrom exists in his own plane of delightfulness, and Noah Syndergaard will be beloved by most, even if the front office tries to make us hate him. Anyway, you get the point. Having a team that you could love in large part due to the players’ personalities, not despite them, made all the highs just that much better, and made the lows almost tolerable. And for that, I am thankful.
The two Mets stars that are currently earning accolades around the league also shined the brightest in our eyes. Pete Alonso and Jacob deGrom make even the most pessimistic fan take comfort in the fact that sometimes when the stars align this organization can get it right.
Maggie Wiggin- “I’m so grateful that Pete Alonso’s power doesn’t end when his at bat does. It has been a joy having him on this team and getting to watch him play amazin’ baseball every day. But more than expected and more meaningful is what he brings off the field. From endless support for his teammates to genuine and friendly public appearances and of course his confidence and determination in bringing together the team with cleats to honor 9/11, he is looking more and more like just the right man to take up David Wright’s mantle. He’s turned into an incredible leader in just a few months and it’s easy to see him steering this team the right way for a long time. Thank you, Polar Bear Pete, thank you for being you.”
Pete Alonso is obviously a star and stole much of the spotlight, but not to be overshadowed by the ebullient rookie was Jacob deGrom. The reigning Cy Young winner put together yet another special season which two of our beloved moderators delighted in. LaRomaBella is thankful, that despite all the recognition, deGrom is still deGrom and somehow hasn’t gotten “caught up in the whirlwind media circus that is New York”. And while he was a joy to watch every five days, MF4D is especially grateful for the peace of mind knowing he is ours for years to come.
Beyond the team’s two brightest stars there is a whole constellation of others that together make something great. There is a nice core here with Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, and Noah Syndergaard that combined should make a solid foundation to compete for the next few seasons.
Nate Gismot- “Thankful for this team’s core, both because they’re good and fun, and because of the fact that my kid’s early baseball memories will be populated by Pete Alonso, Jacob deGrom et al. which is pretty wonderful.”
Every good team needs good complimentary pieces and for the Mets that was Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis. Their future remains cloudy with the team, but on a personal level, they will be dearly missed if they find themselves on different teams next season. Despite being sidelined for a good chunk of the season, Smith was still clearly visible cheering on his teammates despite needing a scooter to get around, and Davis was a rare breed where his bat actually got better after being traded to the Mets. He also contributed a whole host of glorious facial expressions that made up for his lack of defensive abilities. Shine on you crazy diamond.
Leaving room for dessert even after a full meal adds an extra layer of sweetness to any long day. So too is the community here at Amazin’ Avenue that can make any season that much more sweet.
I am thankful that this year two things happened: I moved back to the New York City metropolitan area and A Pod of Their Own was born. Both of those things have brought me even closer to this wonderful community of fans and made my love for the Mets even stronger. I am thankful to Amazin’ Avenue for believing in the show and giving it a platform to grow into something beyond what I ever imagined. I am thankful for my co-hosts, Linda and Maggie. I am thankful for the entire writing staff and community at Amazin’ Avenue, who have become people I can’t imagine my life without. Seeing the turnout and the support at our Dollars 4 Dingers fundraiser filled my heart with a joy that is beyond words and was a manifestation of everything I have to be thankful for when it comes to the Mets community.
At the risk of being overly saccharine, this community of Mets fans is what I’m most grateful for. No matter what highs and lows (mostly the latter) that this franchise endures, getting to experience it and discuss it with a group of awesome fans who share this intense passion - including several people who have become dear friends - is always a gift and a privilege.
I’m most thankful for the Amazin’ Avenue staff. I often say that this isn’t anyone’s day job, which is and likely always will still be true. That the writers and podcasters here are able to do such high-quality work while also handling everything else that they do on a daily basis is impressive, and we quite simply wouldn’t have a site or a community without each and every one of them.