The 2009 Major League Baseball season not only ushers in another season into the New York Mets storied franchise but it also Starts a New Chapter with the new Citi Field. The build up for this stadium has been a long desired dream for any New York Mets fan yet also a sour victory as many will truly miss Shea Stadium no matter how much of a dump it was.
Citi Field features many different styles of stadiums from yesterday to today. It is a state of the art stadium that gives a 360 degree view of the entire stadium. Citi Field also introduces many more different food options and well as numerous CLEAN restrooms. All of which are what Met fans are looking forward too.
I will say however that I will miss getting my shoes doused in urine as I sloshed through the flowing river that were their bathrooms. I will also miss the feelings of Vertigo that anyone would get as they rode the escalators of death.
Despite these sentimental feelings, Citi Field couldn't have come at a better time either. After 2 historical end of season collapses in 2007 & 2008, the Mets ended their seasons falling out off first place (Just like Shea's escalators) and out of the playoffs. The 2008 season stung more because the division rivals the Philadelphia Phillies went on to win the NL and then the World Series.
Nothing hurt more though then the 2006 season when the Mets destroyed the NL East by taking the divison by 12 games and then ended up losing the NLCS to the Cardinals in Game 7.
Game 7 featured Endy Chavez's Amazing Catch in which when I saw it in action I thought at the time that this was the sign of destiny that the Mets we're gonna win another World Series. Endy Chavez could run for Mayor of New York City with the Resume of Marion Berry and I would still vote for him.
The Main Problem the Past Two Seasons has been the Bullpen and Health. In 2006 the Mets were an offensive powerhouse as well as a lights out bullpen. In 2007 and 2008 the Mets offense was strong but were weakened by injuries and a Bullpen that ran as smoothly as a one legged prostitute.
(Heilman leaving in disgrace, not uncommon)
The first step General Manager Omar Minaya took this past offseason was to ship out Bullpen Bums Scott Schoeneweis and Aaron Heilman and in return received Sean Green, JJ Putz and OF Jeremy Reed.
Green is a big guy that pitches with power and is the Bullpen Bridge to the 8th inning Set up man Putz. Putz was Seattle's closer for the past few years and will share Closing and Set up opportunities with the Mets biggest offseason acquisition Francisco Rodriguez who replaces an injured Billy Wagner.
Returning to the bullpen are crafty lefty Pedro Feliciano and Brian Stokes. Accompanying them are Submarine Side Armer Darren O'Day and Rookie Bobby Parnell.
The re-tinkered Outfielding Core looks solid with Rookie Daniel Murphy in Left Field, Carlos Beltran in Center Field and Ryan Church in Right Field. I think Daniel Murphy will be the biggest break out player and could be a candidate for Rookie of the Year. If Church is healthy he is an X-Factor both in the Field and at the plate. And Beltran is phenomenal when healthy.
Backing them up are a solid crew in Marlon Anderson, Jeremy Reed, Fernando Tatis and recently signed Gary Sheffield. Sheffield throws a wild card into the mix. I love Murphy & Church on the corners and I love Tatis filling in here and there in their place.
(Gary Sheffield's Rookie Season)
Granted it's great to have many options on backups and that Sheffield will be great for games with a DH but how many games will he play? He's apparently a good teammate but has a tendency to cause waves in the office then the clubhouse. He's also good trade bait, historic hitter with a cheap price tag. Time will tell.
The Mets' infield the past few seasons has been good but they have suffered from injuries. 2 years ago it was Carlos Delgado and last season was Luis Castillo. This year I can see them healthy for the most part but I think Delgado's numbers could go down due to his age.
Jose Reyes will lead the league in Triples and Runs due to Citi Field's cavernous corners. Castillo will have a bounce back season and I think will win the MLB Comeback Player of the Year.
As for David Wright it is hard to say, I hope he will stay on track with rising numbers season numbers but I think he might have a tough season with the new stadium which is supposed to be even more a Pitcher's Ballpark then Shea.
The pitching I think will benefit the most with Citi Field. Johan Santana will be a Cy Young candidate especially with the strong bullpen backing him up. John Maine will struggle and will rely on his defense and the field to get him through games, I just don't think he's 100% healthy.
Oliver Perez will have another up and down season. Mike Pelfrey will be dominate and will start making a name for himself. And I believe Livian Hernandez will also have an up and down season with a few injuries here and there but thats why Omar Minaya invested in young starting pitchers in the minors.
I wouldn't mind seeing Pedro Martinez signing with the Mets again. He is a good leader in the clubhouse and could get you 4 quality innings out of the bullpen and in spot starts.
The Mets look great on paper but so does Atlanta and Philadelphia. I think Phillies will have problems with pitching and health towards the end of the season. And I think Atlanta will be a much better team this year with improved pitching but with mediocre offense.
I think it will be neck and neck between the 3 in the NL East with Florida not too far behind. The Mets could end up with the NL East Championship or the NL Wildcard. No Matter What I see the Mets making the Playoffs No if's, and's or But's.
I think the Mets will end up winning the Division and the Conference with a 92-70 record. And I think they might end up playing the Red Sox in the World Series.