Snow. Sleet. Rain. Wind. All of it inundated the Metropolitan Area on Tuesday, yet we convinced ourselves it was Springtime in New York by way of St. Lucie. If you avoided looking out the window and just took Florida’s word for it, it was as Spring as you wanted it to be .
The pitchers, the catchers and many of the others professionally engaged to wrap themselves in Mets garb have congregated where we can keep a distant eye on them and be vicariously warmed by their proximity to one another. Yay, of course. The fact that Pitchers & Catchers occurs 44 days prior to Opening Day doesn’t mean you’re not welcome to treat the calendar equivalent of November 18 as New Year’s Eve if that’s how you choose to roll. Celebrate the slow-burn onset of good times, come on!
How good will Met times be in 2019 — so good, so good? We’ll see. I mean that. We’ll see. That’s all I’ve got in the way of predictions and projections. Predicting the outcome of a baseball season yet to be played is always silly and projecting it like you have the answer tucked inside your shirt pocket is even dopier. There are no spoilers to avoid. There’s only statistically delineated fan fiction.
Predictions have always been around. They’re good-natured enough. “How do you think the Mets will do this year?” “Hmmm… I think if everything goes well, and nobody gets hurt, maybe the Mets will finish…” seems harmless if you don’t take it overly seriously. We probably take it overly seriously because it soon dawns on us that Spring, with its Pitchers & Catchers & Co., doesn’t really have much meat on its bone. There are no games for the first dozen or so days and then there are games that totally don’t count for weeks on end. Predictions give us something to talk about, whether they’re our own or those of experts — experts being anybody with an opinion that gets printed somewhere. I used to seek validation in preseason magazines that showed the enlightenment to pick the Mets to win their division and curse as clueless the ones that consigned us to also-ran territory. Little did I know I understood decades in advance the concept of media outlet as personally curated echo chamber.
Projections seem more insidious for their insistence on being taken overly seriously. One of the last baseball rites of winter  (note the lower-case for the season that deserves the least respect) is the dissemination of PECOTA by Baseball Prospectus. To be confused on some level with Bill the 1992 Met utilityman New York wound up not loving, PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm. It’s supposed to tell you, via complex sabermetric formulations and such, how a player might do in the season ahead. From there, if you add all a team’s players together, it’s supposed to tell you how a team might do. All the teams, actually. Every year around this time, I see PECOTA quoted in certain circles as if it’s gospel. Or GOSPEL.
In 2018, the PECOTA horseshoe  came admirably close to a team’s final record  in some cases and missed by a veritable mile in others. Which figures, because who the hell knows what’s going to happen? Moreover, who the hell wants to know? Guessing can be fun. Educated guessing of a PECOTA nature can be a kick to construct and dissect if that’s how you choose to roll. Gathering intelligence to fuel your forays within the gambling community or fantasy league jungle is simply due diligence.
The most educated guess is still a guess, though, no matter what disappointing former Mets jack-of-all-trades donates his identity to your clever acronym. The Mets and their twenty-nine sets of colleagues will produce the only results that matter 162 separate times in 2019. And when they do, I will react in accordance with their winning and their losing and how they play the game. If you could tell me in advance exactly what the Mets will do between March 28 and September 29, I’d politely request you get that bleep outta my face. Just as I can wait for Opening Day through six weeks of Spring, I can wait through six months of baseball for six months of baseball. I want to revel in the wins when they arrive. I want to cope with the losses even if I don’t want any. I want to figure out for myself whether I think they have a chance and discover thereafter how wrong or right I was.
I don’t want the answers. I want the experience.
There are pleasures in being right in advance, but think about happy you’ve been to have been wrong in your certainty where the Mets are concerned. Getting it wrong, as in having no idea they were going to be as good as they turned out, is what makes seasons you remember seasons you remember. Even the rare seasons when you were right that they’d be really good were really better because you had no idea how they’d make it as far as they did. Journey edges destination; losing or winning, reality is eventual.
Or JED LOWRIE for short.