Much of the disappointment from the recent Mets seasons has come from the fact that the team was expected to be better. Despite what players' careers showed, the Mets were simply expected to overcome history and be a decent, if not actually good, team.
It started early last season. Johan Santana was not going to be on the Opening Day roster so the Mets were still looking for somebody to lead the rotation. Mike Pelfrey was given the Opening Day start and people immediately started calling him the "ace" of last year's staff. But in reality, he was not the "ace" then and during the season he proved that he wasn't going to grow into #1 starter status. It was ridiculous to think that all of a sudden he would be a consistent pitcher. It was unreasonable to think that simply because he was starting the first game of the season, he would be amazing and lead the team throughout the season.
Another case of sky-high expectations has been with Josh Thole throughout his career. Thole always hit well in the minor leagues and continued that strong offense when he was first called up. However, once he was given the job as the starting catcher there was added pressure to not only still be the consistent hitter, but also to play defense at a higher level. Josh only started catching full time in 2008. He only three years to go from 1st baseman that occasionally catches to starting MLB catcher. If anybody thinks that is an easy thing to do, they need their head checked. Thole will continue to improve defensively but he isn't going to magically turn into a defensive-whiz. It will time and could seem like a longer process because it is happening in the Major Leagues.
And then there are the expectations for the team as a whole. Players, coaches, managers, front office members will all come out and say they think the Mets are going to play well and it is going to be an exciting year. Don't believe all of it. What are they supposed to say? They're not going to say they think the team is going to have a below .500 record because that would show they aren't confident in the product they are selling to the fans. I'm not saying not to believe if they say a certain player has improved or the team is getting better at a certain part of the game. But if you don't have a reason to be confident about something, they might not either. The difference is that people ask the players, coaches, managers, front office members their thoughts and sometimes being brutally honest will have brutal consequences.
I'm going into the 2012 season without expectations for specific players to do well. I don't expect the team to thrive either. I'm just going to watch what's there and know that this is where the Mets are. It stinks now, but that just means the only way to go is up.
Let's Go Mets!