Come on in, Mets fans. Have a seat.
Can I offer you some two-day-old eggnog? Some two-week-old potato latkes? Wait, the Chinese place across the street is open. Let's get some fresh takeout.
We need to talk.
You have a problem, and it's time to deal with it. At a time when common sense dictates it should be getting better, it's only getting worse.
You possess an unhealthy, illogical addiction to big-name offseason acquisitions.
You yearn for your club to grab the back-page headlines, to hold the live news conferences on SNY, even though history shows a shaky correlation between such noise and a world championship.
You struggle to grasp the space-time continuum.
Don't consider this a defense of the Mets. They've earned your mistrust. I get that.
But let's take a step back, remove as much emotion from the conversation as humanly possible and really evaluate what has happened this offseason.
Complaint number one: "The Mets haven't done anything!" Well, that's largely true. Nevertheless, you, more than most fans, should appreciate that it's often better to make no move than to make the wrong move.
Signing Alex Cora for $2 million? Incredibly stupid. The Henry Blanco signing? Fine, for $750,000. The Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi signings? Potentially inspired. You don't want to spend huge dollars on setup help, and both of these guys have high ceilings.
Remember, there are two sides to the acquisition equation. One is the Mets' needs. The other is the available talent. The amount and caliber of available talent this offseason underwhelms most clubs; yes, John Lackey is good, but probably not as good as you think. So it could make sense to hold off and wait for the market to improve come June and July, and again come next offseason.
Complaint number two: "The Mets look like fools, waiting for Jason Bay!" True again. Yet Hot Stove embarrassment can be like stock options in an Internet start-up. What tangible value does it have?
Will the Mets sell fewer tickets because of this uncomfortable Bay watch? Perhaps. However, if they get Bay at their price, or if they bail on him and make different signings, and those moves result in a better team? The ticket sales will pick up again.
CC Sabathia made the Yankees wait 25 days for a decision last year, motivating Brian Cashman to bid heavily against himself. No one remembers that now. Adam Dunn made Washington wait months, and even after signing, he expressed reservations. Then he put up a typically excellent season.
Complaint number three: "The other NL East teams are getting better!" Simply not true. The Phillies replaced third baseman Pedro Feliz with Placido Polanco, trading defense and pop for the ability to get on base - and overpaid for a player who appears to be on the decline. Roy Halladay replacing Cliff Lee represents a minor upgrade.
The Braves traded Javier Vazquez, one of the NL's best pitchers in 2009, to the Yankees. They have, in Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, new arrivals who are years removed from their primes. The same goes for Troy Glaus.
And if one more person whines to me that Washington has picked up Jason Marquis and Matt Capps - a historically mediocre innings-eater and a flash-in-the-pan closer - I might just lobby for the return of "Sweet Caroline" to Citi Field.
My airing of grievances to you:
1. The Mets don't play a game that counts until April 5, 2010. You don't get extra credit for finishing your work early.
2. If Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana and David Wright put up characteristic seasons in 2010 - and a year ago, you would've regarded them as among the most reliably excellent players in the game - that will trump any other team's Hot Stove additions.
Look, you're Mets fans. It's in your genes to be pessimistic. Just include a dash of perspective in your misery.
Thanks for sitting and chatting. These aren't easy times for you, I know.
See you next year, same time and place?