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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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Fulfill Your Constitutional Obligation

If your eye wanders down and to the left a little, you'll notice we've realigned some of our links, most notably the seating chart for BLOG PARK @ FAFIF YARDS (formerly The New Breed). You'll find a lot of good and great Mets bloggers in the house on every level. There's one site you have to visit immediately, though. That's not a matter of opinion, it's an obligation.

Go to the Loge section, where the perspective is unique, and click on Metstradamus. And when you get there, take part in the second annual election for the Metstradamus Hall of Hate.

Metstradamus makes hate a beautiful thing.

Readers like myself love how Metstradamus expresses his hate. Every night he offers up a new hate list pertinent to the most recent Mets game or just stuff that's eatin' him. It's some of the most touching vitriol going. But the Hall of Hate is even more special. It's hallowed hate ground.

As no strangers to bile (by all means, revisit Faith and Fear's Met Hell, further down our sidebar when you get a chance), we take the subject of hate as it relates to our passion very seriously. That's why I respect what Metstradamus is doing so very much. It's a great public service.

Metstradamus' first Hall of Hate class, as chosen by The Seer himself, was inducted as an all-time detestment team. Much like the initial Cooperstown honorees — Cobb, Ruth, Wagner, Mathewson, Johnson — there could be little argument with the likes of Coleman, Bonilla, L. Jones, Clemens, Rocker, Harazin and the 1993 Mets home uniforms (“the official wardrobe of failure”).

If Metstradamus had left it at that, his work would have been monumental. But he saw greater things. He opened up induction to a second class of first-class jerks last August and left the decision to his readers. Five more mopes, morons and murderers (of franchises, anyway) were tapped on their shameful shoulders by immortality.

It's time again for the rest of us to choose.

It's time again for the rest of us to choose who belongs in the Metstradamus Hall of Hate.

It's time again for the rest of us to choose who belongs in the Metstradamus Hall of Hate because Metstradamus is going on vacation and he had to leave something on his blog to get us through what will be a long and winding week without him.

I've already voted. In the best tradition of self-important Sunday baseball columnists who walk you through their Cooperstown ballots every January, I will tell you who I voted for and why and who I didn't vote for and why.

Pete Rose: DIDN'T. Can't get worked up over Pete Rose after more than 30 years — and I'm pretty good about holding a grudge. He was just playing the game hard and all that when he slid into Buddy Harrelson. Too hard? Yeah, I suppose. Maybe if we had lost that NLCS or if Buddy had been damaged in some severe fashion. But it seems to have done wonders for Buddy's longevity on the public stage. He's the guy who stood up to Pete Rose.

Jeff Torborg: DID. I'm sure the reason the Braves have spiraled to the second division is they have hired this hollowed-out windbag as an analyst on Turner South. Likewise, the Mets became big-time turners to the south when he took over as manager in 1992. I hear his voice and the little hairs on my arm stand up on end. That's not because he's making excuses for Brian McCann in 2006. It's because he brings back that entire disgusting year of 1992 and the memories of how he piloted our ship to the bottom of Flushing Bay. How is he not in already?

Joe Torre: DIDN'T. Oh, he's awful and all that. And I understand there's a very basic crime where he's concerned, managing terrible Mets teams from 1977 through 1981 and doing what he's been doing since 1996. I didn't think the first part was really his fault and there have been so many others I blame first for the second part. I wish he'd go away, though.

Richie Hebner: DID, DID, DID. From what I can tell by reading his comments section, Metstradamus' demographics skew younger than Faith and Fear's. That's a problem where votes like this are concerned. It's the same reason a Gil Hodges doesn't make the Hall of Fame because after a while, those who didn't see him play make up a majority of the deciders. If you were around in 1979, you know “Hebner” should be a synonym for “Hate” in all manners Met. We have done what we can do to set the record straight by devoting the entire Sixth Circle of Met Hell to Richie Hebner. I can only ask you read the harrowing tale of the Windsor Hotel again and then go vote to condemn Richie Hebner to the Hall of Hate. He deserves it, trust me.

Jim Duquette: DIDN'T. On paper, he traded Scott Kazmir. But that's only because somebody else was grabbing his hand and forcing him to sign the dotted line. Jim Duquette did all he could in a very straitjacketed era of Mets general management to make Shea a marginally better place. I'm frankly surprised that he's on this ballot at all.

Tony Fernandez: DIDN'T. Considered by some a jaker for the way he was suddenly hurt when he came to a very bad Mets team and suddenly wasn't when he was sent back to a very good Blue Jays team. I'm not one to doubt one's claims of ill health. Maybe Tony Fernandez really did spend his two Met months passing a stone. Even if he didn't, Dallas Green intensely disliked him, and you know what they say about people Dallas Green intensely dislikes…they can't be all bad.

Eddie Murray: DIDN'T. For all his choruses of The Duke of Surl while he was here, he did manage to hit now and then. Maybe he was, as Bob Klapisch recently recalled, the instigator of the antisocial tendencies of the Worst Team era, but I've gotta think you bring a surefire Hall of Famer in here, it's you (Harazin, Torborg, Bonilla) bringing him down to your level.

Anthony Young: DIDN'T. Aw, that's just mean.

Gene Walter: DID. Great insight by Metstradamus to put him in this elite company. Gene Walter was the single most depressing relief pitcher this team has ever had, and that's going a ways. Maybe he'd slip into the abyss of decidedly unspecial lefty specialists with the Paul Gibsons and Lee Guettermans and Eric Gundersons except Walter came with a label. The front office, delighted with itself for ridding the organization of troublemaker (and future MVP) Kevin Mitchell for talent (and future sack of potatoes) Kevin McReynolds, hyped throw-in Gene as “death on lefthanders”. Geno still needs to work on his grim reaping.

Alejandro Peña: DIDN'T. Was effective against us. Was ineffective for us. Was traded and became effective for somebody else. When we start Hating players for that, we start being mad at caterpillars for evolving into butterflies.

Guillermo Mota: DID. A close call. I almost didn't vote for him because he hardly seems worth our disgust, but he did throw at our most important player and then run and hide like a…well, like a Guillermo Mota.

Mel Rojas: DIDN'T. Mel Rojas seemed more pathetic than hateful. We know his pitching was disastrous, but I don't remember him beating his chest à la Armando or hiding an injury like Looper or coming here of his own free will like Billy Wagner (who's great, of course; why even bring him up in this conversation?). He was supposed to be better than he showed. He wasn't. Bobby Valentine used him a few times too many and learned from his mistake. I'm willing to abide by deploying Mel Rojas as an example, as in “Jorge Julio reminded me of Mel Rojas except Julio straightened out some,” but that's as far as I'll go.

Steve Phillips: DID. The Steve Phillips Wing of the Metstradamus Hall of Hate must be erected at once to dishonor all arrogant, self-loving, two-faced, creepy slimebags who actually got to make personnel decisions that adversely affected millions of loyal fans.

Mike Francesa: DID. I'm not sure if he goes in for his nearly two decades of patronizing, condescending, ill-informed anti-Met cage-rattling or his two innings of dreadful play-by-play. I think it says something that the Blowhard is on the ballot but his partner, the Retard, is not. It shows that Francesa is seen as the brains of that outfit, and if you've listened to a single segment of Mike & The Mad Dog, you know that's a pretty hard slap at Chris Russo.

Dick Young: DID. I think we've got another demographic gap working against the historical record here. As with Hebner, Metstradamus' readers may not have been sentient in '77 when this once-vital, then-vile columnist was doing M. Donald Grant's dirty work and running Tom Seaver out of town. He attacked Seaver every day in the Daily News. He attacked Seaver's wife, the beautiful Nancy. He attacked Seaver's motives. He attacked Seaver's priorities. He attacked the man who brought more pleasure to more Mets fans than any man who has ever drawn breath. It was a concerted effort to cleanse the clubhouse of intelligence and free thinking, something Young had taken up as his wider cause from the late 1960s on. If you are a Mets fan and you have it in you to hate at all, you must hate Dick Young.

Independence Day is at hand. Our forefathers did not put themselves on the line just so we could barbecue and complain about the Pirates on Tuesday. Voting is a sacred obligation all Americans and all Mets fans are blessed to possess. Go then to Metstradamus and cast your ballot.

As John Adams declared in 1776, it's your duty, damn it.

Now vote.

14 comments to Fulfill Your Constitutional Obligation

  • Anonymous

    Dick Young and Richie Hebner. No Met Hall of Hate is complete without them.

  • Anonymous

    Dick Young has a special place in Sports Hell reserved for him. We're not too fond of him in the Bronx either.
    Darth Marc

  • Anonymous

    let's not forget that dick young, after blistering seaver for having the temerity, the audacity, the unamericanness, to want to restructure/renegotiate his contract with the mets, then turned around and did the very same thing with the daily news.

  • Anonymous

    When Did Young died, I laminated his obit and hung it on my fridge. Whenever I was having a bad day, I'd look at it and say, “Well, at least Dick Young is dead.” and I'd feel better.
    True story!

  • Anonymous

    that's like my favorite post headline:
    “M. Donald Grant, Who Traded Seaver, Dies”

  • Anonymous

    I find Metstradamus to be a great read. Alas, due to the pasting from this past weekend, we will have to read Darth Marc for a day.
    For those who care, I have my own blog, today is day 1.
    http://metsislesorangeandblue.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    I know Steve Phillips is an easy mark, but he's also the guy who turned a team featuring Steve Bieser and Toby Borland into a World Series contender in a very short time span. Sure, his 2002 restructuring fell flat, but it's not like he didn't restock the minors and had no succession plan in place. Phillips, it should be noted, is the man responsible for the all-star left side of the infield.
    Maybe we can name some people Phillips traded that the Mets actually missed. AJ Burnett? Carl Everett?

  • Anonymous

    I won't deny Phillips made some effective moves. He stocked the bullpen well for the '99-'00 period; he signed Robin Ventura when others (the Post's Tom Keegan comes to mind) were urging him to grab Dean Palmer; he told Posada and Stanton to get lost from the Shea weight room the night after Clemens beaned Piazza. But I don't think he handled Olerud's free agency right, I don't think it was necessary to trade Rick Reed for Matt Lawton, I don't think swapping Bubba Trammell for Donne Wall was a sharp move, I don't think the short-term gain of Mike Bordick (which never materialized) was worth giving up Melvin Mora, I don't think bringing back Bobby Bonilla for a second go-round was a great way to eschew Mel Rojas' contract, I don't think he understood what he had in Jason Bay, I don't think he should have chased his secretary around her desk.
    I'm sure we could peel away the layers of the Steve Phillips onion and find things that are to his credit and things that are a black mark. But mostly I found his behavior reprehensible, both inside the front office and out.
    He's on my hate list if no one else's.

  • Anonymous

    Looks good, Ed. Good luck with it.
    (And though it never comes up here, Let's Go Islanders!)

  • Anonymous

    not to worry. he's on mine. hell, he leads it.

  • Anonymous

    Reed for Lawton? That was a salary dump. Granted, it was Phillips himself who gave Reed that $21-million contract when he was — what? — 36, but he still effectively got out from under it. Lawton, meanwhile, became a big piece of the Alomar deal. Sure, Alomar completely tanked as a Met, but it wasn't like Phillips gave up much to get him, especially now in hindsight.
    As much as I want to agree with you about Jason Bay, it's worth noting that Montreal gave up on him first. Their asking price to get Bay to Flushing was none other than the immortal Lou Collier.
    Mora? I think he benefitted from some of the flax seed oil stuff. If you look at his record, you saw no indication that this guy would ever be more than a punch-and-judy type. That he later developed was more of a surprise than a knock against Phillips.
    Bonilla — I'm with you. He should have just eaten the contract. Methinks that this was the Wilpons telling him he had to find a taker for Rojas.
    But no one mentioned in this thread remotely compares with Wright and Reyes. And those guys are going to be Phillips' longest lasting legacy to this organization.

  • Anonymous

    Damn you, Ayala. You're making me think.
    The Reed trade was an abomination. It was Phillips who re-signed him (and, for what it's worth, pledged to him he wouldn't trade him about 24 hours before he traded him). Lawton was a low-impact player. Reed had a fine season for a playoff team in 2002. Just shortsighted, salary dump or not.
    Lawton-for-Alomar doesn't excuse Reed regardless of what Alomar became for the Mets. That's taking spoiled meat and making toxic beef stew. Or something like that.
    Signing Kevin Appier for FOUR years at $43 million less than six months after trading the final 2-1/2 years of Reed's $21 million deal negates the budget-cutting benefit as well. And then he was so hot to get rid of Appier's contract that he took on Mo Vaughn's even more absurd package. At least Appier had played the year before he came to the Mets. And Appier, like Reed, played a key role for a 2002 playoff team. The world champions, in fact.
    Minor league signings are a team effort, mostly attributable to scouting. Phillips no doubt signed off on Reyes and Wright. OK, he gets some credit for them.
    He gets no credit for not being the only one who overlooked Bay because 1) if he's a good GM he doesn't do that and 2) it was a symptom of how Phillips wrecked the outfield year after year. Bay, Trammell, Matthews Jr. even. He had no sense of who could contribute. As a result we were reduced to Timo Perez and two terms of Roger Cedeno.
    You have a point on Bonilla/Rojas. I don't think the Wilpons pre-Omar were an easy maze to negotiate. Still, c'mon…Bobby Bo redux?
    Mora remains a talented contributor in the other league. I don't know what Mike Bordick is doing these days. This will go against the refined science of baseball as we know it today, but it was not hard to tell Melvin Mora had heart and guts and all that unquantifiable stuff going for him in '99 and '00. We might not have made the playoffs without him and we might not have gotten to the NLCS without him. I'm willing to admit he wasn't much of a shortstop when he was pressed into duty, but he was also more than the commodity Phillips treated him as.
    You made me think. And I still think dark thoughts where Steve Phillips' tenure as Mets GM is concerned.

  • Anonymous

    Phillips signed Appier before dealing Reed; if I remember correctly, Appier was inked in the eleventh hour, after Hampton had decided to bolt for the better school districts.
    Also, the Appier-Vaughn deal ended up favoring the Mets from a financial standpoint, because Vaughn's contract was insured. While both Appier and Vaughn enjoyed one useful season with their respective new teams, the Angels ended up paying Appier's full salary for 18 Royal months, while the Mets reportedly only had to pay The King of Scores something like 25% of his (roughly $4 million).
    The main criticism I hear about Phillips, beyond chasing that secretary under the desk, was that he threw money around generously: He was willing to overpay for the likes of Appier and Zeile, and didn't mind picking up other people's unwanted contracts (Rojas, Burnitz, Vaughn). I'd say he threw the money around because it was his only advantage over other teams. He didn't inherit a farm system (which was in part his own doing, since he was previously the farm director) and his big-league team was virtually void of talent, outside of Butch Huskey and Brian Bohanon.
    Regarding the outfield during the Phillips Era, I think it's interesting to note that he built his best teams backwards. Most organizations build around slugging outfielders and stud starters — he built his around an infield and a bullpen.
    Phillips wasn't perfect by any means. But I wouldn't put him in the same category as, say, Mickey Lolich or Jeff Torborg. In the end, Phillips did more good than bad. He built a World Series team out of whole cloth and, contrary to popular belief, left some real foundational building blocks for his successor to enjoy. I mean, let's face it: A good deal of Omar's current brilliance can be traced to players Phillips not only drafted, but didn't trade.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks again for the food for thought. You've convinced me Steve Phillips' tenure deserves further examination and I pledge to offer it in a future post.
    I still hate him, though.