The Audacity of Hope

By Taryn “the Coop” Cooper

I’ve often said that if a Mets fan has nothing else, they have the ability to believe.  To believe in the best case scenario, to believe in the team, even when there’s not much to believe in.

For the past few years, the team hasn’t given us a lot to believe in.  They were told repeatedly that they weren’t “that good,” certain players had to “carry the team,” and others were just collateral.

Yet when the Wilpon ownership had their financial problems, we believed that it wouldn’t hurt the team (it hasn’t exactly…yet…their last GM did enough of that, actually).  And when people predicted that the team would lose 90 games, we came back and said – hey, if everyone is healthy, we’ll WIN 90 games!  When Carlos Beltran started smacking the heck out of the ball, we thought two things: a) he’s raising his trade value or b) he might finally be giving us the season of a lifetime.  When Jose Reyes started the year off with a bang, we didn’t flinch, knowing full well he was capable of this.

All we’ve wanted this season was for the team to be over .500.  Just one damn game.  And it seemed a threshold that the team couldn’t pass.  Each time they hit the even-steven point, they’d go on a losing streak, or have a tough time getting back to that line.

As of last night, the Mets are now two games over .500.  To some, this is equivalent to having a ticker tape parade!  For me, I could care less.  Yeah, of course I’m happy that they have an “officially” winning record.  But to be honest, I hadn’t been paying much attention to their standings.  Wanna know why?

Because it’s July.  Okay, fine.  It’s June.  But you get the point.  It took the Mets this long to get to this point.  Proving that slow and steady could potentially win the race (there’s that hope again).

See, I’ve been suffering from Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder (PTMD) since 2007.  There are several moments in Mets history, recently, that causes us to cringe, shrug, roll our eyes or smack our damn heads.  (For those of you who understand that, Kiners Korner is running a Notorious Mets List including front office, managers and players of all time, so you can participate in relieving yourself of PTMD as well)

Anyway, I’ve seen the Mets basically say “Hey the division is ours” to battling the last day of the season for a playoff spot to dash all our hopes.  I’ve seen them “make” the World Series before a pitch has even been thrown in the season or count their chickens with certain prospects or players that never amounted to much.

Am I encouraged they made it to .500 and now “over?”  Of course I am.

Is it the be-all end-all?  No, but it’s a start.  Just remember, a winning streak just starts with one game, and they have a four game winning streak so…

But the real hopeful part comes to us within a few weeks, with the trading deadline.  Stories have suggested that the Mets have the audacity to be buyers, not sellers as previously thought…but in order to accumulate, one must speculate.  So besides the draft that took place a few weeks ago, this could theoretically separate the men from the boys or in this case, Sandy Alderson’s team from Omar Minaya’s team.

Omar Minaya was not known for his trading prowess and he was also rather known for overvaluing his own talent on hand than realizing a good trade.  I don’t envy Alderson’s position right now: he’s under pressure to trade Carlos Beltran, to cut ties with Francisco Rodriguez…oh and have I mentioned that Jose Reyes is a free agent at the end of this year?

But I don’t fear the situation, I embrace it.  I’ve seen far too many disappointing years as a fan in recent years to discount the team’s play right now, but I can’t solely hang my hat on it.

When it’s September we’ll see if there’s a pennant race, a wild card or just a role as “spoiler.”  But to me, that in and of itself is “hopeful,” since the last few years the season has been over by mid-July.

It’s far from over.  But buckle up kids.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride in the meantime.  I’m hopeful, though, we will have fun till then. Like a roller coaster.

But let’s hope it doesn’t get all Terror of Tower on us.

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