Nothing’s better than seeing the common fan in a broadcaster, and that’s certainly the case with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on WFAN.
Joe is that typical angry New York sports fan, whose teams haven’t won anything since the Stone Age. He reminds me a lot of my father, who was in his glory in 1969, but only has one Mets, Knicks and Rangers championship to celebrate since.
Roberts is a rarity in the sports world. He’s young and already in a prime position. He knows his stuff and he has an ability to connect with people like not many else. Evan is today’s guest on #9innings. An avid Mets fan, he gave us his thoughts on the upcoming season.
For previous editions of #9innings, click here.
Here are Roberts’ thoughts:
What do you make of this Mets’ team as currently constituted? Are they ready to contend?
Maybe it’s because the bar has been set so low over the years or I’m just thirsty for a sign of progress, but I’m genuinely excited for this upcoming season. My excitement started to build late last year as we finally started to see genuine progress from some of the young players we have all waited on. Between the depth of the rotation, the emergence of Familia, Edgin, Mejia and Black out of the pen the pitching will clearly be the strength. But I still think they fall short of being legit contenders because of the too many questions that surround some of the veterans in the lineup, and the defense overall leaves a lot to be desired.
If they’re missing something, what is that piece? Who would be the guy you’d go out and get and why?
The idea of a healthy Troy Tulowitzki would be perfect…but between the incredibly low percentage he’d actually be healthy and the even lower chance Met ownership would dole out that kind of money; it won’t happen. Last off season I wanted Jose Abreu, and this off season I wanted Ian Desmond, Clearly what they are missing is another big bat and unfortunately these days guys like that don’t grow on trees. So of the realistic options, Desmond would be the guy.
How do the Mets compete with the Nationals with that superstar rotation? Is the NL East title a distant pipe dream?
Baseball is a funny game and just when you think you have things figured out, it completely stuns you. With that said, I don’t think they can compete with Washington. Also it’s not just the rotation that makes them better, but luckily there are two wild cards to dream about!
David Wright had a career-worst year in 2014. Do you think we should expect a marginalized player moving forward or do you have hope in a resurgence?
I have hope in David, but not a ton of confidence. His health has been iffy the last few years and he’s only getting older. While I’d love to see the old Shea Stadium days of David Wright, I just don’t know how realistic it is. His best days were when he had great protection in the lineup. If Cuddyer can stay healthy, Granderson can bounce back and Duda can do it again, that can only help David’s hopeful return to prominence.
Who’s the guy who needs to step up to put the Mets offense over the top?
The problem is, the answer is more than just one guy. But I will answer the question with David Wright if I had to pick one. He is the guy who at his best, has been a real difference maker. David bouncing back would go a long way in helping this offense.
What are your thoughts on the Yankees? Do you hate them?
Hi, my name is Evan Roberts and I’m a reformed Yankee hater. I was as big a Yankee hater there was until 2004. Once they had the infamous collapse, the Red Sox have been as big an evil as the Yankees. So rooting against them as hard as I used to became difficult. By no means do I root for the Yankees, because I certainly don’t. But I don’t look at them as a factor anymore. When the Mets swept them a few years ago, I was more happy they won 4 in a row than anything else. While I do completely understand most Met fans dislike, I’ve moved on from it. My local sports hate is now reserved for the Knicks.
If you could have one team as currently constituted, farm system and all, would you rather have the Mets or the Yankees? Why?
I’d take the Mets if I’m talking about contracts on the books and farm system overall BUT, I would still take Yankee ownership. I have no reason to believe the Mets will ever spend the way they should. While they can win with a limited payroll, it would certainly help if they could supplement that with some spending.
What’s the best thing to eat or drink at Citi Field?
I love the spicy tuna in the Caesers Club. That’s my go to!
Finish this sentence. By the end of the season, the Mets will be…
More relevant they have been since 2008, but unfortunately out of the playoffs for the 9th straight season.