I've gotta tell ya my fellow Mets fans - I have a love / hate relationship with the hot stove season. Why you may ask? Well I love the rush of adrenaline when we are about to sign a premium free agent, or when we trade for an All Star caliber player, or even when we retain one of our own players that we love and respect. What I hate about the hot stove is the wait and the disappointment that we share when the Mets either don't have the leverage to pull off a good trade or when we are runners up for the premium free agents that are out there or when we let one of our beloved players walk out the door and sign elsewhere. An example of the good hot stove was in '06 when the Mets obtained Carlos Delgado from the Florida Marlins , signed Billy Wagner along with Darren Oliver and Chad Bradford as free agents. An example of a poor hot stove was the the winter of '00. We let Mike Hampton go via free agency without even really negotiating a contract, We bowed out of the Alex Rodriguez sweepstakes citing his "24 plus one" reputation. And instead we overpaid for two mediocre pitchers in Kevin Appier and Steve Traschel . The last example of us just letting a beloved player walk was during the '90 hot stove period when we let Darryl Strawberry sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers after pretty much low balling him after the exclusive 10 day window had closed. Instead we went out and signed another Darryl - Boston that is ( and we all know how that worked out!) But anyway I am antsy about this years I admit I do want A Halliday and a Holliday on this team - but not at the expense of not being able to shore up a majority of the teams gaping holes . I f Omar can be creative via the trade market and augment it with at least one top flight free agent I shall be happy - BUT if the Mets pull another Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer type scrub platoon to man left field I will be seething.                                                                                                                                                   rip-mets                                                                                                         these rabid fans are looking forward to the hot stove  And now on with the INFAMY !!!!Happy Birthday goes out to reliever - Al Schmelz (1943) of the '67 team.Outfielder from the '97 team - Gary Thurman is 45 (1964).Our one time number one draft pick   and now a pariah for the Chicago Cubs - pitcher, Aaron Heilman is 31 (1978) . It is a shame about Heilman , the Mets should have kept him as a starter but instead they screwed with his head by making him a reliever and he lost his mojo along with his confidenceUtility outfielder ,Larry Bowa was granted free agency on November 12, 1985.He is now the third base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.My illegitimate dad - Rusty   "Le Grande Orange  " Staub was granted free agency on November 12, 1985. He subsequently retired soon after, becoming a good will ambassador for the Mets.New York Mets traded utility man Ron Gardenhire to the Minnesota Twins for prospect who never was - Donnie Iasparro on November 12, 1986.As we all know Ron is now a sucessful manager with Minnesota.New York Mets traded outfielder , Jermaine Allensworth to the Boston Red Sox for Jon Nunnally on November 12, 1999.And remember - there are only 144 days until the Mets open the 2010 season against Florida Marlins at Citi Field. ( damn I need to get a thesaurus!)