Dreaming of Spring and Zack Wheeler

cartoon-sun-hiIt’s been a brutal winter here in New York. There has not been any one big storm, no crazy 20-plus-inch blizzard. Instead, it snows about four times a week, and when it isn’t snowing the temperature is Alaskan. This has made me wistful for the years where a big storm or two is the problem. 2014 has been the Chinese water torture winter. And recently I began to wonder if it would break me. Even the usual uplifting rite of passage, pitchers and catchers arriving for Spring Training, had little effect on me. Outside my window there remained immense piles of snow, and breathing the air beyond that window was to risk pneumonia. The pictures from Florida on my TV never felt more distant and out of place.

But then, yesterday a wonderful thing happened. Up in the sky a bright yellow object returned. With it came warmth, actual warmth. Snow melted and I could finally see patches of grass on my lawn. It was kind of green, just as I remembered it. And just like that the idea of spring, and baseball, became real for me again.

As I hit the yard and took a deep, deep breath of non-arctic air I started thinking, hey wait a second there are going to be actual games later this week. From there I began daydreaming about a lot of things, ending up with a question for myself.

Who is the one player I’m most pumped up about this year?

And me being me, I didn’t have to think about that too hard. It’s Zack Wheeler.

zack wheeler

I cut my teeth on the Mets of Seaver, Koosman, Ryan, Gentry, Matlack, etc. Of all the things I love about the game, I love watching power pitching the most. Just last year, Matt Harvey was a reminder of how much fun dominant pitching can be. A year later there is no Harvey, a blow to all Mets fans. But there is still Wheeler. Zack showed in 100 innings in 2013 the type of electric stuff to be that type of guy. Not just a winning pitcher, but an entertaining pitcher. The type that makes you pay full attention to the game.

After this winter, I’m more than ready to pay attention to baseball again.

For now I’m going back outside again to look at that patch of grass.

Patch of grass

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13 comments

  1. Michael Geus says:

    A Happy Birthday today to Ron Hunt.

  2. Eric says:

    I for one look forward to the development of our younger guys to see what they can bring to the club. I just hope Terry finally gives them the breathing room (and playing time) to develop.

    And life would be so much more enjoyable if the Mets can find a resolution at first base. How much better would you feel going into ST if the FO had been bold and creative, and signed Abreu? I know that I would have given this offseason an “A”.

    Have a great day.

    • Michael Geus says:

      I loved the idea of an Abreu signing, which never seemed to be considered. It will be interesting to see how he does this year.

  3. ERAFF says:

    OK—if there’s an ERIC here, I, sticking to Eraff

  4. I am disappointed by the road blocks placed in front of Juan Lagares, a player the organization simply doesn’t value. I looked forward to seeing him develop. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fit the mold.

  5. ERAFF says:

    Wheeler— I expect him to pitch similar to last year, with some bumps and some high spots. “Like Harvey Did” is a very high bar target….and I believe there’s some pressure to do that.

    I’m getting attached to the idea that we’ll be seeing more than a handful of hopefuls, especially during the back end of the year. I’m interested to see Mejia Healthy…Puello withing striking distance….obviously Syndergaard and Montero, at some point…even some of the big, strong BP arms—Famiglia

    This year’s “team maker” is d’Arnaud. a “starting point” of 700-725 ops with 125 games and 30-35 xbh would be very solid, achievable and a “floor” for him and the team.

  6. Michael Geus says:

    A small distinction for me is the guys I am most pumped up to see do not have to be new or have any intrigue.

    Santana fit that bill for me until his injury, as an example. Reyes too.

    Piazza at one time, Seaver, of course. Harvey had become that type of guy. I love Wright, but have never seen him as exciting.

    Wheeler, with that 98 mph fastball, fits the bill for me. A guy like Niese never will, no matter how well he does. It’s a style thing.

    Wheeler might have it and this team could use that. Winning is the most exciting thing, but exciting players are fun too.

  7. RAFF says:

    The way I have it broken down is as follows:
    1)Guys we’re counting on: D’Arnaud, Wheeler, CYoung, Grandy, Colon
    2) Guys we’re hoping for: Ike, Lagares, Mejia, Tejada
    3) Gs were wondering about: Puello Flores
    3) Guys we’re dreaming about: Syndy, Montero

    • I think if you changed it from “we’re” to “I’m,” then maybe you’ve got something.

      • RAFF says:

        There is no I in team , Professor. That goes for baseball and blogging. So, I appreciate your help. While you’re toying with “edits” of my answer to the implied question : “What I AM looking forward to”- Why not bring it to total perfection and make it “past-tense” – like yours.

  8. Michael Geus says:

    Without taking sides, I remind all to take a look at that cartoon of the sun at the top of the post.

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