Many of our network bloggers do a back and forth Q&A prior to the upcoming series in order to familiarize the fans with the opponent and get to know what the writers think of their teams. Due to the Easter holiday, this is a late submission for the New York Mets-Arizona Diamondbacks series which just concluded with a Mets series sweep. These are questions I asked and then answered by Rising Apple writer Ben Berkon.
Venom Strikes: I was reading a column from the New York Daily News after the 6-1 loss to the Astros the other night and their writer introduced the story as "blah blah blah blah rain blah blah Niece blah blah Astros win, etc. Has it gotten so bad already there is no other way to describe these Mets?
Rising Apple: Sounds like an interesting article--maybe that's why Mets blogs have become more popular than daily newspapers. Kidding aside, it's sometimes difficult to pick out any positive aspects of a team that has been so horrendous. So maybe that's why the article was so forgettable.
VS: What do New Yorkers think of Ike Davis, who went to school here at Arizona State? Is he a fan favorite?
RA: Ike Davis instantly won over the fans last year with his over-the-wall catches (I think he had about ten of them). He doesn't project to be a slugger like Prince Fielder, but his steadiness with the glove and bat makes fans reminisce about another fan favorite, Keith Hernandez. Davis, like Hernandez, loves the game and wears his heart on his sleeve. I see him having a very nice future with the Mets.
VS: What will it take for the Mets to improve and compete in a division that most have already written off to the Phillies?
RA: The Mets don't have the luxury of the Phillies' rotation or lineup, but they still have plenty of talent. When healthy, their lineup of Reyes, Pagan, Wright, Beltran, Bay, Davis, Thole, and Murphy/Turner can do some major damage. Even their rotation is filled with "winners." The only way for the Mets to be successful in 2011 is to capitalize on other teams' mistakes instead of being the team making them.
VS: Jason Bay returned to the lineup. What are the expectations from the organization on him? What do fans expect?
RA: I think fans and the organization expects big things. Bay makes $16 million per season, and was pretty pedestrian in 2010. He may never hit 30-plus home-runs again, but he should hit more than 6 (his total from 2010).
VS: Do you think manager Terry Collins lasts the whole season or will it be an early exit for him?
RA: I see him lasting the whole season, but once the Mets get back into winning mode, expect him to be gone.
VS: Do you think things will remain down for the Mets in the near future or is there a stock of players down on the farm that give future hope to the Mets and their fans?
RA: I don't think Sandy Alderson will let things continue to be sour for the Mets. I'm not sure what he'll do come the trade deadline (i.e. trading Jose Reyes), but I'm confident he has a vision.