Pedro, Nietzsche and the Optimism of Spring

What the last several days have left us with, rather than a clear impression of how we are going to enter the season only a week or so from now, are more questions about the pitching staff and perhaps even a morbid sense of doom that despite the optimism of the winter, reality will break through the clouds of spring and rain it's predictable gloom upon us as it has for the last several seasons. Do we believe enough in these "new" Mets to believe that they can overcome the recent history of failure and see us through a season untinged with the annual miseries?

After another rainout that cancelled newcomer Ishii's first start as a Met yesterday, we were left with more time to neurotically chew over the questions about Pedro's stiff lower back and antagonise ourselves with memories of how only two weeks ago we were told Trachsel's back pain was part of the normal aches and pains of spring before his season was binned by an MRI that showed a herniation.

One cannot help but harken back to the winter's acquisitions when controversy raged about paying a physically delicate and aging pitcher such a king's ransom to defect to our side. Pedro's aches and pains and stiffness are something we're going to have to get used to quickly rather than becoming hysterical at every occurance with premonitions of a once-optimistic season burnt to ashes before we've even had time to savour the potential of it.

What we are juggling with at this stage, now that Omar has put the touches on our optimism with galactic free agent signings, is whether or not we can allow ourselves to believe in the fate of the Mets being good or if we will resume the gloom and doom struggle of the past several seasons where everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

What Nietsche wrote in The Will to Power might prove worth pondering as we rummage through our fears about the season:

"The question is in the end whether we really recognize the will as efficient, whether we believe in the causality of the will: if we do--and at bottom our faith in this is nothing less than our faith in causality itself--then we have to make the experiment of positing causality of the will hypothetically as the only one. "Will," of course, can affect only "will"--and not "matter" (not "nerves," for example). In short, one has to risk the hypothesis whether will does not affect will wherever "effects" are recognized--and whether all mechanical occurrences are not, insofar as a force is active in them, will force, effects of will."

Can we then "will" the Mets to their success or might this collective angst, waiting for the penny to drop on a season's demise with one fateful injury produce enough negativity of will to actually bring the season to it's knees before it even begins?

And if the fears about the rotation weren't serious enough, there are the disturbing questions about the bullpen which continue to haunt us.

As short-handed and limited in talent as the Mets are in the bullpen, that pronounced weakness become more pronounced with the mild strain of the right calf of reliever Mike DeJean. DeJean slept with his lower leg immobilized Thursday night and wore a sleeve on his calf Friday, but he might not pitch again until early next week.

"Obviously, if we don't make progress in the next couple of days, [the DL] would be a pretty good guess," DeJean said. "I think the most important thing is to get rest."

In a way, you could be reminded of the woes of the Cubs who have had their two aces in Prior and Wood suffer spring training injuries and then watched their closer go down to injury as well.

And as the questions of the bullpen grow like dark clouds on the horizan, I can't help but wonder why Ugbeth Urbina is being considered in a possible trade.

The best Urbina could hope for on the Mets would be the role of a set up man and yet, it is precisely this limitation that had Urbina wanting to be traded in the first place once Detroit signed Troy Percival this offseason to do their closing. Granted, perhaps Met closer Brandon Looper's spot as closer for the Mets isn't as cemented as Percival's is with Detroit, especially in light of his bulbous ERA this spring, but it isn't as though the Mets have been auditioning closers the last month.

Oddly, Urbina has already battled Looper once for the closer's role, so perhaps this is what makes him so wildly enthusiastic about coming to the Mets. Two years ago, for the Florida Marlins, Urbina replaced Looper as closer and perhaps this precedent is something we should take notice of as once that change took place, coincidentally or not, the Marlins ended up the season as World Champions.

So for the time being, let's not get hysterical about Pedro's back even if the precedent of Trachsel is so fresh in our minds.

Let's look at this in a less fearful light so that our collective optimism might overcome the dark realities of potential disaster.

Weather permitting, it appears Pedro will pitch again Tuesday and is still on schedule to pitch Opening Day, after which we can all pinch ourselves and grow giddy with relief thinking how silly we were to doubt.

Of course, that won't solve the bullpen woes but we can only address one fatal flaw at a time. For now, let's all will the Pedro to full strength and let the season take its own course until the full head of steam it was meant to power itself finally gathers us into its embrace with fate.

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