The day that pitchers and catchers report is one of the five best days of the year, right up there with Christmas, my birthday, the NYLISL draft and the day that the Strat ratings come out.
Even potentially disastrous baseball seasons begin with at least a hint of optimism. Maybe that aging workshorse starter has 30 good appearances left in his arm. Maybe your organization's flavor-of-the-month prospect will put it all together and have a standout rookie season. The other teams in the division could have injuries, your team could stay healthy and all of a sudden, you're playing meaningful games in September.
Even after an unproductive season that failed to address numerous critical needs, that optimism can be felt in the hearts of Mets fans today.
Maybe Oliver Perez is ready to turn the corner.
Maybe Mike Pelfrey and John Maine will have their most consistent seasons to date.
Maybe the bullpen will be healthy and effective.
Maybe Daniel Murphy will have a Dave Magadan-like season at first base.
Maybe David Wright will hit 30 home runs again.
Maybe Jeff Francouer will have an on-base percentage over .300.
Maybe the Phillies aren't as good as they look.
Maybe the Marlins are too young.
Maybe the Braves are too old.
As for me, I continue plugging away at this blog, which is nearly two years old now. My schedule has been spotty, to say the least, and I'd be lying if I said that it probably isn't going to remain that way. I'm hopeful, though - I'm trying to balance my work/life schedule in a way that will allow me to do some writing most weekdays before 8 pm. (I think the creative part of my brain just shuts down at that point and I'm just unable to muster up the energy or the enthusiasm to write anything intelligent.)
I am also considering a move to a different site host - Blogger's layouts are just too mundane and this blog really needs a more visually appealing look. This year, I'm going to be more intentional about cross-posting my work. Mack from Mack's Mets has been kind enough to give me a standing invitation to write for his blog, which has significantly more readership than this one does. I'd also like to start posting at Flushing University again, which went through a redesign of its own in the off-season.
There's always a hint of optimism the day that pitchers and catchers report. I'm feeling that optimism today - both for the Mets and for the future of Productive Outs and Crackerjack.