Buddha said life is suffering. Nietzsche added that survival is finding meaning in the suffering. These ideas seem like the perfect place to begin my final thoughts on the New York Mets’ Opening Day. Looking beyond the heartbreaking loss and the fresh memory of what it feels like when a 100,000 lungfuls of oxygen are instantly sucked out of an open-air stadium, there are positives to take moving forward.
David Wright kicked off what I believe will be an MVP-level campaign with a blast, going 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Juan Lagares jacked a dramatic homer of his own on the way to scoring three runs. Jeremy Brown reminded fans of what he could do while Jose Valverde showed us a glimpse of what he used to be. Eric Young, Jr. deftly avoided going 0-for-5, even if the game had to end for him to accomplish the feat.
For fans, especially Mets fans, oftentimes the individual performances will have to be enough. This is a very unbalanced ball club that GM Sandy Alderson has constructed. Despite being handed a top-flight farm system more than two years ago and making a couple of no-brainer trades to improve it, Alderson still has us waiting ‘till next year.
The problem with next year, just like the problem with this year and the year before that, is that ligaments snap. You can’t predict when an ankle is going to twist, or the exact moment in space-time where a misplaced fastball will break your best player’s wrist. You have to expect uncertainty and you also have to be prepared to deal with it.
If Alderson thinks he can blow off the Mets’ 2014 troubles because he’s banking on Matt Harvey making everything alright in 2015, then the outcome of Monday’s game was a total waste. If he’s on the phones right now looking to overhaul half the roster using all the juicy trade chips in his back pocket, then at least he’s finally learning, and we can work with that. Don’t ever wait until next year; nothing is guaranteed except the present.
The thing about meaning is that it’s the opposite of truth; you’ll find it anywhere you look hard enough. Game 1 can mean anything you want it to mean, but the truth is that this Mets team is deeply flawed. Worse than the motley collection of players is the attitude droning from above, the one that says, “Forget the fans,” and, “Hey, we signed Curtis Granderson” from the alternate sides of its mouth.
The energy you project means everything, that’s the truth, and the Mets’ brass are masters at manufacturing bad karma.
So I can’t get too upset over any single game; I am prepared for the galaxy of uncertainty principles that the Mets let determine their fate. For me, the meaning of Opening Day was I got to take a friend, a life-long Mets fan, to his first Opening Day game. The outcome of the game really didn’t matter, only that the game was played at all.
Maybe we lose too much of that simple joy getting caught up in numbers and records and title counts; no one started loving baseball because their team’s GM made a shrewd draft pick late in the seventh round. We love baseball because it brings us together, it teaches us everything we need to know about ourselves and a little bit about the universe as well. If the team you love happens to be the worst thing since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, well, I still think that’s a good trade.
This is going to be a great year, win, lose or Mets.