I’M NOT BUYING THE NARRATIVE

I

Maybe I am getting old.

No, I am getting old. Maybe I am just getting soft as I get old. Or, maybe I have just watched enough baseball (50 years next season) that I have come to the conclusion that one loss in April does not destroy an entire season.

The New York Mets Opening Day loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-3, has been described as “typical Mets”  and “painfully familiar.

That’s not my interpretation. That is what the media and fans are saying on social media.

Personally, I am not buying that narrative — not for a second. One game, one loss, does not a season make.

Yes, the Mets were five outs away from another Opening Day win, but the bullpen failed. Yes, Jacob deGrom was his Cy Young caliber self, pitching six shoutout innings, allowing no runs and three hits. He threw 77 pitches (another subject for discussion). But the game came down to one-half inning of poor pitching and a significant defensive error.

As a result, the Mets are 0-1.

Deal with it. Take a bike ride. Go for a walk or run. Vent to a friend. Just go blow off some steam and get it out of your system before firth pitch tonight.

The 2021 New York Mets are a new thing. New owner. New GM. New players (Francisco Lindor, Trevor May, Kevin Pillar, James McCann, Aaron Loup, Jonathan Villar, etc. They are young, but experienced. They are new and hungry to win. They deserve a chance. They need encouragement.

Sidebar before we continue: The decision to remove Jacob deGrom after six innings and 77 pitches is getting a lot of traction in both the media and amongst the Mets fan base. Good decision? Bad decision? deGrom said: “I felt like that was the right decision.” This is the nature of the modern game, using younger managers and analytics.

Lost in translation of the loss is one of the greater challenges: playing — and succeeding — in New York. It’s a subject matter that comes up often in conversation when I am talking with former Mets players on the MetsRewind Podcast.

The pressure of playing in New York is a real thing. Some thrive, others are overwhelmed by the crush of media, expectation and untold stress.

It only took one regular season game for Trevor May to experience the difference between being a major league pitcher in Minnesota and being a major league pitcher in New York.

May made his Mets debut last night and, unfortunately, looked nothing like the pitcher we’ve seen the past couple of years in Minnesota. After striking out his first batter, May did not record another out. He allowed three hits, three runs (two earned) and walked another. His ERA is 54.00.

“First outing in the major leagues in another uniform … that’s not the way you want it to end. It’s frustrating, and I can’t imagine what it was like to watch it.” – Trevor May

Aaron Loup, also making his first appearance for the Mets, turned bad to worse when he hit Bryce Harper with the bases loaded, scoring the go ahead run, then followed by surrendering a single to J.T. Realmuto.

“I just think it was one of those nights. Definitely not how you drop up your first outing of the season. With that being said, it’s just the first game. We got a long way to go, 162 games, so I’m not too worried about it.” – Aaron Loup

I am not concerned about an Opening Day loss. I am concerned with the long-term results. Unless it becomes a pattern, it’s one inning, one game and one loss.

Hopefully, it won’t become a habit.

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About the author

John Strubel

Hi. My name is John Strubel. Thanks for visiting my website. I write primarily about my passion: baseball. In addition, I occasionally publish posts and podcasts related to sports media, journalism and technology impacting the industry. You can also connect with me on social media @johnstrubel.

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