There were no parlor tricks this time, no need to peel $5 bills from the pocket of his pants. A year ago, Fred Wilpon resorted to gallows humor, flashing a wad of small denominations to defuse the gravity of his family’s financial peril.

This year was a different scene, a setting that allowed him to paint his words with a less desperate hue. The 76-year-old owner of the Mets stood next to a chain-link fence and prattled on about the weather, the ballclub and the financial health of those pants pockets.

"I’m in 80 degrees in the sun and everything is blooming," Wilpon said Wednesday afternoon. "And I’m so pleased to be here, ’cause I love this game, as you know. I’m open and optimistic."

In a 20-minute conversation, Wilpon emptied every bit of optimism from his bag. He raved about the job manager Terry Collins has done during his first two full seasons in Queens. He lauded general manager Sandy Alderson’s patience. He went around the horn, mentioning infielders by name, dripping praise on each member of that infield.

But the most pertinent piece of his state-of-the-spring address involved money. Eleven months after the Mets settled with the trustee in the Bernie Madoff litigation, Wilpon made it sound as if his family’s financial coffers were flush with dough.

"It’s all in the rearview mirror," Wilpon said. "The family is in great shape. The family really is in great shape. Sometimes luck is the residue of design. … Real estate has gone [up]. We have many, many, many apartment developments around the country. … They’re all rented. SNY has done spectacularly. Stock market is up. So we benefited from all those things."