It's been an interesting time for Metropian-Gigantic relations. After years of not caring about each other, Mets fans and Giants fans have some reasons to. After this tongue-out-mouth post on David Wright, people on the Internet were mad, everybody. From the last comment on that post:
So, how did that campaign for Panda worked out?
HEY Brisbee and sore-losing Giants fans: SUCK IT!
(I bet you’re used to hearing that in San Francisco)
Okay, so that's clearly ignorant and in poor taste, but it's also like a San Franciscan making fun of Chicago for being windy. This kind of entry-level trolling is something we haven't seem from non-West rivals since the Phillies series of yore. I received a few hilarious e-mails, too. Mets fans and Giants fans: fight, fight, fight!
For a few months or a couple years, or maybe even a decade, we have some easy retorts. "Wait, you're a Mets fan," for one. "Dude, you're a Mets fan" or "Like, I'm not even kidding, you are literally a Mets fan," will also work. Something references them being a Mets fan, basically. Because over the past few seasons, the Mets have not made good decisions, nor have they had a lot of on-field success. The Giants have made several good decisions, and the have had substantial on-field success. A "suck it" from a Mets fan does not sting as much as the suck-iter might have hoped.
But, in a way, I am jealous of the Mets. No, hear me out. This isn't trolling.
Back in 2005, the Giants were bad for the first time in years. Barry Bonds was hurt, Pedro Feliz was his replacement in left, and the Giants were stinky.
Toward the end of that abominable season, a 20-year-old pitcher came up. He started seven games and finished with a 2.33 ERA. In his third game ever, he threw a two-hit complete game. (For extra lulz, look at the losing pitcher.) Everyone was buzzing about Matt Cain. It was an oasis of excitement in a year of quicksand.
In 2007, Tim Lincecum made his debut. It brought out the cheesy side of me, but there was a palpable, earnest excitement that's hard to replicate, even in the best seasons. Those kinds of players don't come around too often, and you kind of have a sense when the special players come around.
The Mets have Matt Harvey. The Mets have Zack Wheeler. They have that excitement. They're also starting Danve Stellerton, Fornce Matlin, and Todd Zeile in the outfield the last time I checked, so it's not all bubble gum and peppermints. But in 40 percent of their games, they get to watch something that transcends wins and losses. They get to daydream about the future while watching the present. It's fun. I miss that.
It's not just the Mets, either. I'm envious of the Angels and Mike Trout, even though they're as disappointing as the Giants, and even though their last two big acquisitions went full Zito almost right away. I'm envious of the Twins for getting to watch the ascent of Byron Buxton. I'm envious of the Tigers because they get to watch an MVP and Cy Young chase in the same year.
And I'm envious of absolutely no one because I follow a team with Buster Posey, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner. Among other, shinier reasons.
Point is that the Mets are a reminder that there are more ways to enjoy and appreciate baseball other than grinding grinding grinding through championship-or-bust seasons every year. We'll have to remember that again. Maybe even as soon as this year, though I don't want to be too hasty. There are going to be years that aren't going to end in championships, and there are going to be years where that's explicitly clear on March 15. I wouldn't trade the last few years for a couple of hotshot young pitchers, but I sure as heck wish that the Giants had a couple of them. I remember when the Giants did. It was fun, even when the rest of the team wasn't.
Though I'm not that excited to watch Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler this week, to be honest.
When the Giants were getting eaten alive by Homer Bailey in Game 3 of the NLDS last season, I already had the moratorium written in my head. Buster Posey's MVP season. Beating the Dodgers out for the division. A perfect game. What a season was the only rational response to an early playoff exit last year. What a season. But there are other ways to have that kind of feeling without the MVPs and perfect games, too. The Mets are going to show off a couple this series.
Hitter to watch
I've always wanted to start a "I Just Heard of This Player for the First Time:" series on Baseball Nation, but loudly proclaiming my ignorance with a weekly feature probably isn't the best career move. I like to let the ignorance trickle out slowly, like a gas leak.
That written, there is a player named Juan Lagares in the majors, and he seems to start a lot. Amazing. This is probably what other teams think of Juan Perez or Nick Noonan.
Pitcher to watch
ZACK WHEELER USED TO BE ON THE GIANTS FARM SYSTEM TEAM AND NOW HE'S NOT BECAUSE HE WAS TRADED TO THE METS FOR SHEA HILLENBRAND AND NOW HE'S GOOD AND WELP THAT'S TOO BAD BECAUSE THE GIANTS COULD USE ANOTHER PITCHER SO THIS IS GOING TO BE A STORYLINE TO WATCH EVERYBODY.
The Giants are held to three hits. One per game? Or three in one and nothing in the others? We'll see. We'll see.