New York Mets Stir-Up Sunday: Reyes, Collins, First Half

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     Hello again my friends, and welcome to the final edition of Stir-Up Sunday before the All-Star Break! Feels weird, it still seems like only yesterday that the Mets were opening up their season in Miami, and now here we are with the first half of the season wrapped up. Time sure flies –how is it July?! – but not quickly enough when a Met injury is the topic. David Wright and Ike Davis have missed the majority of the season and have been slow to get back into action, Chris Young is lost, and Johan Santana hasn’t pitched either and who knows if he actually will? But the latest Mets injury seems to be the most critical and the sooner this man gets back on the field the better.

     At first it was just a Grade 1 hamstring strain for Mets MVP Jose Reyes. No big deal, Jose and Carlos Beltran were even talking optimistically about it as if he’d be back in no time at all. And that was supposed to be the case. Reyes was listed as day-to-day, and was expected to return during the four game series in LA. Now?! Well, Jose is going to be gone at least until the end of July, and has subsequently been placed on the DL. Unreal, that’s now four of our best players all idle on the DL, while the team struggles to remain relevant as Sandy Alderson put it. How does this continue to happen? Since when does day-to-day turn into nearly a month on the sidelines aside from in Metland? The team incredibly continues to hold their heads above water, but for how much longer can this go on? We’ve got the Phillies and the Cardinals right after the Break ends, would it be a total shock if this team finds itself below .500 before the month is out? Beside the point I know, but how long can Alderson continue to stick with this batch of medical staffers when every single injury diagnosis is always incorrect?! There is nothing more frustrating to me than being optimistic about a player’s seemingly impending return only to read a new report stating how he’ll be out longer than expected. Absolutely nothing.

     And with the way the Mets have played this first of half of 2011 despite all the injuries, a gigantic hat tip has to be given to manager Terry Collins. Watching him, and then comparing him to the managers we’ve had in the recent past, makes me think that this is a guy that knows how to manage a Major League baseball team. Injuries have yet again plagued the Mets and have hindered them in being better than they could be. Same sort of thing happened in the Jerry Manuel era here in Queens. The difference? Terry is making his vagabond players believe in themselves, making it known that they may be Major League understudies but nevertheless, they’re still Major Leaguers. They’re here because they are capable, and they should play with the confidence that they can roll with the other team’s big boys. And that mindset is working out well. In the past, Manuel would say something to the extent of "Well we just have to wait for our big guns to get healthy and return." And maybe that’s true, but such statements really can hurt a player’s confidence, and thus affect his play on the field. I used to think managers were a bit overrated, just push the correct buttons during the course of the game and don’t pull any Jeff Torborg’s with the media. Collins has done more than that, and I’m very happy he was chosen to be the Mets manager last winter. Sorry I ever doubted you!

     And so, with tonight’s Mets-Giants tilt, the first half of the season will come to a close. A lot of talk during spring training was about how if this team plays the way it’s supposed to, then it would surprise a lot of people. And honestly, I think they have shocked many with their current place on the National League food chain. Though it seems to be said almost every season at some point, this time is the one that’s for real: this is an exciting team to watch. The change in management has been a real shot in the arm, and I’m so happy the move was made. This season is a building block, a building block towards long term success for the New York Mets. I really like what I’ve seen, and hopefully when the second half of the season gets underway on Friday, we’re still seeing this same type of exciting baseball. They’ve come a long way since opening the season so dismally at 5-13. Excellent show Mets, keep up the solid play! Even if the postseason is a little out of reach, 85-87 wins or so should be attainable, no?

     Well guys, what do you have to say about the Mets first half of the season? Aggravated again at the Mets’ diagnosis of an injury, the latest being Jose Reyes’ hamstring strain? Do you like Terry Collins as much as I do after the way he’s had this team play in 2011? And what do you think we can expect from the Mets come the second half? As always, a big thank you for stopping by to read my blog! Make sure you keep your eyes peeled over the All-Star break over here at the Queens Courier Mets blog! I intend to revisit our spring training 20 questions and see what ended up going as planned, and what ended up bottoming out. See you all again soon, and go National League!