Monday, February 18, 2008


After just a few days of camp being open, it's pretty clear that there is a different attitude around the Mets this year. Normally stoic and reserved, Carlos Beltran stepped to the forefront over the weekend, firing a salvo at Philadelphia normally expected from someone like Pedro Martinez.

"This year, tell Jimmy Rollins WE'RE the team to beat."
This quote served to let everyone around the Mets, and to the Phillies as well, know that it's on. The Mets haven't forgotten what went down at the end of last year, and with the acquisition of Santana, the Mets are determined to turn the page and deliver some payback to Philadelphia for a pair of indignant sweeps late last season. There was the killer instinct on Philadelphia. Jimmy Rollins' quote last year raised the bar for them, and when the Mets let them hang around, the Phillies went and took it. They're the new Braves now. And as such, they're going to draw the ire of Mets fans. And we can expect similar treatment in Philadelphia, assuming their fans will fill their tiny little abomination of a ballpark, where even puny little Shane Victorini can pop HRs. "I don't care," Beltran says. "They boo me in Houston. One more city won't make a difference." But I digress. Bringing Santana to the Mets, a flawed team that nearly won its division last year, makes them the prohibitive favorite to win the Division once again. Philadelphia has made some nice little additions to their team, but they are also pinning a lot of hope on the return to dominance of Brad Lidge, the effectiveness of Freddy Garcia and one more year out of Jamie Moyer.

On the other side, Santana has not only bolstered the Mets rotation, he has also inspired his new teammates with a different type of confidence, a new attitude. We'll call it "Metsitude" for lack of a better word. It's been exuding from Mets camp ever since he showed up on Thursday. By Saturday, this new swagger had spread all the way to Beltran. Beltran has, in the past, been a reluctant poster boy for the team. In 2005, he was the man leading the New Mets, and he struggled. But blended in with Delgado, Wright and Reyes and he shined in '06 and was nearly as good in '07. In '08, he will now be counted on to make his words stand up. If the optimism of the last few days has been an indication, I wouldn't bet against it.

This team is Pissed. I like that in my Ballclub.

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