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The Amazins in Astoria: Defrosting the Turkey



It's a Friday night in Early December. I pace the aisles of a Chelsea supermarket in search of a turkey, and after two unsuccessful trips to some big chain stores nearby, I finally find the elusive holiday bird in the freezer section of a store that hasn't updated their decor, or their playlist, since at least 1998. As lug my prize fowl up Eighth Avenue, my phone buzzes with a message from House EIC Will Tondo:


TONDO: Oh my goooood: t.co


Upon opening the link, I'm greeted to the following:

I read it over twice, a third time, trying to internalize a Tweet that both surprises and un-surprises me. The last Met of my formative baseball-watching years is gone, during one of the best times to root for the Mets in my lifetime. I feel like I should drop my turkey in the street, get down on my knees, and scream into the void. However, I also...don't want to? As devastated as I am about DeGrom's departure, I totally get it. The Mets are no doubt on an upward swing, but DeGrom is the Old Guard at age 34; the ace who tried his best to carry some pretty crappy Mets teams through the late 2010's, as well as the man whose health and success could never really hit it's stride at the same time as the entire organization.


Taking a deep breath, I trudge onward up Eighth with my turkey, sad to see a top ace go, but hopeful that his departure is looked at by the fanbase with fond memories rather than tainted ones. Plus, I'm hoping this means I see some more exciting Passan Tweets in the near future.

 

The next morning, in preparation for our post-Thanksgiving Friendsgiving, the turkey thaws, and my roommate cooks it to perfection via spatchcocking, which is the process of opening a turkey down the spine so that it cooks spread out flat across your desired baking surface. According to the National Turkey Federation, spatchcocking is the perfect way to ensure a quick turkey with a juicy finish.


Speaking of "quick with a juicy finish," five days after DeGrom heads to Texas, the Mets free agency acquisitions start flying in faster than I can keep up with, and they are, in fact, quite juicy. First, they ink Justin Verlander for 2 years, $86.6 Million. Sure, he's a bit old, but a reigning Cy Young Champ at any age is a solid signing to me. The Mets follow it up by locking down Nimmo (8 years, $162 M), bolstering their pitching staff with guys like Jose Quintana (2 years for $26 M) and David Robertson (1 year for $10 M), all while boosting their power behind the plate with Omar Narvaez (2 years for $15 M).


The crown jewel of the Mets offseason, however, is the signing of RHP Kodai Senga for $75 million dollars over 5 years. 10 years of brilliance in the NPB aside, I love the Senga signing for the simple reason that it proves that even after signings like Lindor, Scherzer, and Verlander, the Mets are still willing to go out and get "That Guy" in a given free agency cycle. Growing up a Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Islanders fan, watching your team sign "That Guy" usually never happened, and when it did, it frequently backfired. Now, I'm watching a team of at least 4 or 5 of "Those Guys" assemble for another deep playoff run.


 

As Spring Training gets underway, "Those Guys" put up some decent stats, but "That Guy" from last year, Max Scherzer, is really the one who leads the way on the mound. Through 4 starts in Florida, Mad Max puts up a 1.53 ERA, a 1.019 WHIP, and a stunning 12.7 K/9. Just phenomenal numbers for a man who treats every Spring Training like he's fighting for a roster spot. The guys who are actually fighting for spots don't look too shabby either, as Baty, Alavarez, and Ronny Mauricio (!!!) all have their shining moments.


Of course, there is the elephant in the room, as the Mets go through the Grapefruit League knowing that Edwin Diaz will not be taking the mound for the foreseeable future. Is it a bit of a silly injury on brand with what people expect for the Mets? Yes, but I'm not getting on the anti-WBC soapbox because of what happened. After reading Francisco Lindor's quote about what it means to wear the name of his home on his chest, I can't get myself on the side of cancelling a tournament like the World Baseball Classic. I'd rather just call the injury what it is, a freak situation, and look ahead at what the Mets can offer right now.


So, as Opening Day approaches, and Scherzer gets set to take the mound in Miami, I can only think about the promise that 2023 brings. A bolstered roster, a refreshed energy around this team, and a promotional calendar greater than any I have ever seen. In the same way that spatchcocking is a unique way to get your turkey cooked quick, I think this team will find a unique way to succeed over some early roster hurdles, and make their way through a division that promises to be quite the gauntlet.


All I can hope for now is that this bird won't get burnt.


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