By: Michael Ganci

The Mets Have No Identity


Ever since I can remember, the Mets have been one of my forefront passions.

Whether it was going down to Port St. Lucie and meeting players or waiting online in the freezing cold for tickets to meet guys like Mike Piazza or John Franco, there has been something about this team that feels like home to me. In fact, in my elementary school yearbook, under future occupation, I wrote “Next Mike Piazza”.

While that didn’t pan out as hopes, my passion hasn’t dwindled. In 2008, my friend Matthew Falkenbury and I sat down and had a talk in my dorm room at SUNY Oneonta about our sports blogs, his was called “Sports Talk with the Falk” and mine was “Ganci’s Sports Blog” (Genius right?). We wanted to put our heads together. We had done so before with the college’s TV station, calling baseball and basketball games and taking part in a weekly TV show called “The Final Countdown,” where we bantered about all kinds of sports with Brendan Monroe and some combination of Josh McMullen, Justin Vitacco and others (sorry if I left you out).

Falkenbury and I both had an infatuation with Keith Hernandez, his ridiculous sayings and just his persona in general. We liked using Stache, and such, The Daily Stache was born, with my first post being about the signing of Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. Since then, many have come and gone, Matt has moved on to bigger and better things, but my passion for the Mets has remained.

That’s the frustrating part. It would be easier to just ignore the disappointments, the false hope and the agony, but we have gotten used to that as common place. Whether it was a collapse, a bad signing, unfulfilled promises from management, every year we seem to be starving for more, yet we still don’t even ask for a lot.

The last time the Mets were truly relevant was their 2006 team, but the heyday rides back further to when guys like Mike Piazza, John Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo and Robin Ventura were patrolling the dugout. Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Bobby Valentine (I did love the fake mustache bit), he was at the helm, and he was one of the most successful managers in team history. The Mets were solid defensively and offensively, and they had the pitching and big bopper (Piazza) that invoked fear in opposing teams.

There were a lot of great memories I was privileged to be a part of with that team, whether it was the first game after Sept. 11, 2001, Robin Ventura’s Grand Slam Single, Todd Pratt’s walk-off homer against Arizona, the 10-run eighth inning on Fireworks Night against Atlanta and even more. Although I was also there when the Yankees celebrated on Shea Stadium grass in 2000, I was still filled with hope.

It’s been 15 years, and what do we have? We have one division title, one meaningful playoff series, one bat pitch by Aaron Heilman, one big homer from Yadier Molina and that good old word “Hope”. Hope doesn’t really mean much if we don’t have a history of it being fulfilled.

Let’s fast forward to present day, and there’s a lot to be excited about with the 2015 Mets. We have a ton of young pitching, and more coming in the pipeline. Guys like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, the recovering Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz in waiting. We all know the Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese experiments will be over sooner than later, but the question remains, what about the offense and defense?

The Mets are content with their catching, first-base, and center field positions. Although injured rather frequently, Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki are the future behind the plate, with Lucas Duda at first providing some pop out of a left-handed bat. Juan “Where Extra Base Hits Go to Die” Lagares seems set in center field, but what about the rest of the diamond?

Sure, there are kids in waiting we hope for, including Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Dom Smith, but the big club has pieces that have been rather underwhelming. Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson have been hot and cold in the outfield, and Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy have capable bats, but you hold your breath every time the ball is hit to them. With Murphy an free agent at year’s end, I expect him to leave and seek greener pastures, because that money will likely be spent (or not) elsewhere.

The bullpen was a nice surprise earlier in the year, but it’s looked vulnerable lately. Other than Jeurys Familia, there aren’t many reliable arms out there. The Mets could use a valuable set-up man, even with Jenrry Mejia’s return from suspension on the horizon.

So, when you look at this team, what do you see? What I see is a great starting pitching core that would be dangerous in a short series, but unfortunately, they probably won’t get the chance this year because their offense and defense resembles that off a little league team.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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