For some years now, the words "pitchers and catchers report" have, for me, been a tonic in bleak February. Not so this year. I'm a Mets fan, and what I've learned to expect from the Mets is MOTS (More Of The Same). "The same", of course, is disappointment, compounded of anemic hitting, porous defense, inconsistent pitching, and, mostly, a DL that, as the season progresses, comes to resemble a casualty roster from Anzio. This year, with spring training just starting, Carlos Beltran is out until at least May following surgery and ace starter Johan Santana is coming off surgery, though evidently looking good in his first bullpen session. The acquisition of Jason Bay adds a good hitter to the outfield, but one who is (the Mets really need this) prone to injury. For a wrap-up of the Mets' offseason, it's hard to beat Jon Lewin's Mets Hot Stove Roundup: the Pilot Light is Out. (Jon asks readers to buy him a coffee on PayPal. I don't have a PayPal account, but if Jon should have occasion to visit Brooklyn Heights, I'll be glad to treat him to some of Lassen & Hennigs' premium joe.)
If there's any reason for hope, it's that the Mets don't have, to invoke a well-worn phrase, the burden of expectations. I'm keeping my expectations low: a few days ago, I posted as my Facebook status that I was rooting for them to finish no lower than third in the NL East. The more I think about it, though, the more I'm convinced I should be happy if, once again, they can finish ahead of the Nats.
Update: Twif (a.k.a. Ethel, as in "Stop torturing me,..."), who either is as hostile to capitalization as e.e. cummings or has the same difficulty with the shift key as Don Marquis' archy, says: "hey, don't forget that the phillies went out and got roy halladay."