So we just got through the heart of the holiday season and my basic feeling is, “Whew, I’m glad that’s over.”
Not that I don’t love my family, folks!
It’s just, you know.
I was thinking about my brother John this morning. A good man, he passed away about five years back. Most families have a variation of “Brother John.” He’s the family member who you aren’t sure if he’s going to get it together to buy Christmas presents or not. Some years he did; other years, yeah, not so much. One year I remember when he drove up from Virginia for the holidays and it was obvious that he purchased all the gifts at a highway rest stop. Nothing was wrapped. I got a jar of dry roasted peanuts. Somebody else got a couple of magazines. That kind of thing. I’m serious. John was a little crazy, and he had the papers to prove it.
I tell that story because it seems to me that’s the current situation with the Mets. We’re all still gathered around for the holidays, wondering when “Crazy Uncle Sandy” will arrive, and it’s 50-50 whether he went shopping this year or not. We’re not even sure he’ll show up, or if he’s been drinking, locked up in prison, or whatever.
I know the Big Narrative out there in the mass media — and, sadly, in some of the blogs — is that the Mets are spending this year. I must have a busted calculator, because it’s not adding up for me. At least not yet. For now, I’m seeing a team that has lowered the payroll and it is downright bizarre that the story has become, “Look at the Mets! They are spending again!”
Again: Not according to accepted mathematical formulas.
Regardless of our analysis of the tea leaves, we simply don’t know how this offseason is going to wind up.
That’s the lesson with Crazy Uncle Sandy. Nobody waits out the market like Sandy Alderson. He is the Prince of Patience. He moves according to his own timetable. I give the Mets GM credit. Much of his approach is based on an astute and practical understanding of the Mets lowly place in the pecking order. We have to wait for the big cats to eat first. Then we move in for meat scraps and bones.
Is Sandy Alderson done?
The bullpen looks potentially disastrous right now. It’s all spare parts, a ball-point pen, two paper clips, and a rubber band — as if Sandy is going to go MacGyver on this thing — and it might work, and it might not.
Yet there’s a real scenario where we look up and, lo, there’s Stephen Drew at SS, batting leadoff. Or we find ourselves holding a bag of dry roasted nuts, saying, “Um, and Merry Christmas to you, too!”
We might not get anything at all.
These days, we’re sailing in the doldrums. A boat on the windless water. One thing I personally find myself unable to do is write a blog post discussing the pros and cons of Duda and Satin and Davis at first base. What’s to become of Wilmer Flores? I don’t even want to read those posts anymore. It’s all been said.
And besides . . . you never know with Crazy Uncle Sandy. He might surprise us this year.
The Mets’ off-season is thisclose to being remarkably successful. They need an extra move here, a minor move there. Maybe old Ebenezer himself, miserly Fred Wilpon, will loosen the purse strings and surprise us with extra spending.
Where things stand now, however, is an off-season that looks suspiciously close to savvy public relations. The appearance of change. A paint job, but no meaningful structural improvements.
I’m wishing, and hoping. One thing I’ve learned is that Sandy Alderson will do things in his own way, on his own time. I’ll hold my opinion until all the facts are on the table.
Yet I’m half-expecting more peanuts. That’s why I always bring plenty of beer to these gatherings. Peanuts go great with beer.