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Okay…stop…it’s ONLY ONE GAME. There are 161 more games to go. But the very first game of the season gives some real insight into what is different…and what is so wrong with baseball today.
I absolutely love the game of baseball because of the thought process. You had to think. You had to position yourself in the field, at the plate, decide which pitch to throw and why. Bring on the computer age. Sure…Davey Johnson was using a computer in the 80’s. But he also went with his gut. Would a computer put a guy like Kevin Mitchell at shortstop? Gil Hodges employed the McCovey shift back in 1969. But if a shift was employed, I recall many times when somebody would simply lay down a bunt…get on base…take what the defense gives you. Whatever happened to all of that? It’s better than striking out, isn’t it?
Jacob deGrom is a true victim in all of this nonsense. He was the least heralded…he really wasn’t heralded at all…among those elite five of Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and him. In fact…he is the only one of the five left. Syndergaard will hopefully be back from surgery this season and the other three are successfully (for a while anyway) toiling elsewhere.
The best pitching staff in baseball. The best pitching staff the Mets have ever had. The best pitching staff ever assembled. Hmmm. Can’t miss. After years of hope…or rather…hopelessness…it is refreshing to hear such high praise…any kind of praise really…for the Mets. And I can understand why the excitement about the Mets starting rotation is erupting like Mount St. Helen.
But is everyone too quick to adorn this group as the greatest ever assembled? Is the hype truly deserved at this point…or is it premature?
Mets fans have been victimized by the hype before. Remember Generation K? The big three in that group were Paul Wilson, Bill Pulsipher, and Jason Isringhausen. Bobby Jones was also a part of that staff that was supposed to be the greatest staff ever coming together. However, that greatness never materialized. In fact, the only one who had any kind of an effective career was Isringhausen who emerged as a dominant closer for a short time after overcoming numerous arm troubles.