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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Kaz and Effect

MetsGeek has a very nice examination of Kaz Matsui's Mets career by Damien Heath. Very nice as in “thorough, well-argued and persuasive,” or even very nice as in “wicked intimidating with all those acronyms and sabermetric thingamabobs.” Not very nice if you were hoping that newfangled stats might reveal TBKM isn't as bad as conventional stats show, or as he looks on the tube most every night.

There aren't stats to measure the fact that TBKM seems like a good guy who's trying hard, might be hurt and could use some love from the home stands — there are only the statistical measures trying to summarize how he's doing between those ol' white lines. I'm a wannabe new-stats guy trapped in the body of an old-stats dinosaur, so I only wish I understood half this stuff. But I am bright enough to grasp the essential, inescapable and unwelcome conclusion: Kaz is, well, bad.

8 comments to Kaz and Effect

  • Anonymous

    I understand that psychic powers are difficult to harness, but can anyone, at this point, believe that TBKM's acquisition actually prompted the move of Reyes from his natural position? It's one of the great baseball offenses the Mets have ever committed, and one of the great baseball offenses of my lifetime (including every trade you can think of), and I think it may have resulted in one of my worst fears at the time – a detrimentl to young Reyes' progress.
    Who remembers the pre-(8/31/03)-injury Reyes? I do. I remember that he appeared to absorb baseball knowledge like one of those superchamois thingies they used to advertise on overnight TV. He wouldn't make the same mistake twice. I remember that his walk rate was terrible, but certainly improving . I remember someone that just looked like The Guy. Someone that was so comfortable being The Guy, that he could have starred in his own off-broadway one-man show called “The Guy”, where he would stand resplendently in a spotlight in the middle of the stage for an hour and a half . And people would have paid to see it. Mets fans would have. Well, I would have.
    Then the Mets were like…let's bring this unpredictable mass of unquantifiable baseball player in, and, on reputation (obviously) alone, move our budding young star….aside. In a perfect world, a good baseball player shouldn't be hindered by that, but Reyes, for all his speedy charm, otherwordly smiles, and palpably gorgeous helmet-presses, doesn't exist in a perfect world- and appears to be something less than he was. A little less star-of-the-show and a little more indifferent to the game. Maybe it's all coincidence. Maybe the length of the injury and the running style change and all that did him in a little. Maybe he'll have responded favorably when the Mets told him that they were actually kidding and they really do want him to be The Guy…the on-field leader at its (arguably) most central position…the leadoff hitter. That he's really kind of important to the club, and they didn't really mean to put his back to all those runners on double plays, especially after the rather freak leg injury. Unfortunately, I think they slapped his face pretty good. Truthfully, he should get over it, if he hasn't already. But if it's hindered his development one cent, then I blame the Mets…and the continuing saga of TBKM just adds further insult. It was an egregious error, and one I think a lot of people were opposed to at the time. And one that's thankfully been reversed, but only because it had to be. Either way, I won't forget it.
    Whoops…lengthy comment…sorry…

  • Anonymous

    Jace, you knew I'd have something to say, didn't you?
    But I will keep it brief and simply say that when someone is struggling, whatever their job may be, abuse does more harm than good and usually prolongs/worsens the problem. It's too bad it never occurs to Met fans to encourage a struggling player instead of abusing him. They create a vicious cycle (Battered Player Syndrome) that can only be broken by the poor guy getting as far away from here as possible. It's no coincidence that so many Shea punching bags go on to success elsewhere.
    And now I'll shut up, except to cheer for Kaz, who is–believe it or not–not just a baseball automaton, but a living, breathing, feeling human being. The poor sweetie. :-(

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I had a feeling we'd hear from you. I'm pulling for him too, believe me.
    Though if the Alfonzo rumors are true….

  • Anonymous

    The rumor can be found in fleshy detail at Gotham Baseball.
    With the caveat that Mets usually can't go home again, I'd make this trade so fast it would make every bobblehead spin. Kaz + Seo for Fonzie? Yes. Kaz + Petit for Fonzie? With reservations, but yes. Even up would be best of all, onerous contract for onerous contract. The Giants don't really want Fonzie and the Mets, though we all agree that he's a sweetheart who deserves only encouragement, seem more stuck with than stuck on Kaz at this point.
    I'm under no illusion that the Edgardo Alfonzo of my faded youth would be the Edgardo Alfonzo of my middle age. He's been gone less than three years but it feels longer. He wasn't at his Fonziest when he left, though I made every excuse in the world for him at the time, some of which I even believed.
    He won't hit 27 homers or drive in 104 runs again. But he can hit. He won't contend for a Gold Glove at second again but I'll bet he can play the position adequately. And who was ever a better No. 2 hitter? Who is more suited to take Reyes and Wright and even Beltran under his wing?
    Who belongs in a Mets uniform more than Edgardo Alfonzo?

  • Anonymous

    You said a mouthful but all worth chewing over. Jose Reyes was an all-world shortstop in waiting and they brought in an unproven on this continent commodity to take his job. I don't know if that's still affecting him (I'm with you in the “get over it, Jose” club) but it was a crime against baseball humanity. Reyes in his early paces versus Reyes now was Dr. J in the ABA versus Dr. J in the NBA. When he came up, he was Dr. J as a Virginia Squire never mind a New York Net. It has never felt quite right since 8/31/03 (an injury that had nothing to do with Kaz Matsui or second base) and I thank you for putting your finger on it.
    As for the position switch, I am again moved to bring up basketball (which is unusual for me). In his first seasons, the Knicks deployed Willis Reed as their power forward so Walt Bellamy could play center. The team went nowhere until Bellamy was traded to Detroit for Dave DeBusschere, a real power forward, and Reed could flourish at center. Bellamy may have been taller but Reed was the better center.
    I apologize for the non-baseball digression except to say moving Reyes off short was, in its own internal way, Ryan for Fregosi.
    By the way, Jose is about to turn 22. I think there's still time for him to, you know, turn it around.

  • Anonymous

    Words cannot express how much I want this to be true.
    If you believe in trade rumors, clap your hands!

  • Anonymous

    John Olerud? Ok…no one.
    Fonzie seems like a good fit, given the admittedly pitiable (but unfortunately expendable) TBKM. Though, given that we can't really be completely sure of his age (ok…I'm cruisin' for a bannin'), he might really fit in better a few years down the line as “Ace PH, Esquire”. Look…I'm keeping my dreams of a possible Fonzie return close to the vest, because I honestly thought the Mets might go after Olerud during the offseason and I really don't want to be stung again. I also know what happens when I start thinking too much about 1999.
    Then again, maybe the trade happens, and maybe JohnnyO proves he's still got it with the Sawx, and maybe we see a “Best Infield Ever?” semi-reunion on Opening Day, '06. Or maybe the trade happens, maybe Olly gets released in July, and maybe we see it all come together sometime this August, with our two late 90's guns paired with our two young double zero heroes, with Carlos and Pedro (and a mysteriously revitalized Mike Piazza) in tow, maybe ready to finish the Braves off in September for once, and maybe followed by a spirited postseason run of passionate Willieball. Maybe I should just take some deep breaths and have some coffee.

  • Anonymous

    I'm staying out of this one. As a Kaz fan and a Fonzie fan and an Olerud fan and a Mientkiewicz fan, what could I possibly say that would make any sense?
    PS: I am decidedly stuck ON Kaz. I'm nothing if not loyal. And stubborn.