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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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Everybody Clap Your Hands

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Wins: 53

Lead: 12

Magic Number: 63

David Wright: Only one.

And yes — he's priceless.

It takes a Metropolis to be as good as we've been throughout the first half, but sometimes you have to call on Superman to bail you of a pickle, especially one of your own making. Stuttery defense and unfocused baserunning made it look as if Marlin hustle and determination could outdistance Met miasma. But one swing from Diamond Dave cleared our heads and scattered those Fish back into their Tankersley.

They're a plucky bunch all right, but there are days when it's good to see the Mets, one in particular, put his foot down and declare in action if not words, “That's it. They're the Marlins and we're the Mets. Let's make that count.”

For our readers in Maine, it had all the makings of a quietly celebratory All-Star sendoff, the Mets definitely being the Mets early, particularly Nady and Glavine. But geez, the Marlins never give up. After slapping each other around a bit (Scott Olsen is not reticent to express his displeasure with teammates who don't measure up to his high standards, in this case Miguel Cabrera), they directed their aggression toward the Mets. First they tied us. Then they passed us.

But they didn't beat us. We tried to help them do that but Wright put a stop to that in the eighth. Wright and Ol' Sol, shining in the eyes of Reggie Abercrombie, the centerfielder who Joe Girardi called “all tooled up” in the Times' Play magazine last month. That was when the Marlins were profiled as underpaid, undermanned and decidedly underwhelming. “Our kids work so hard,” Girardi said then. “But half the time they're working hard at the wrong things.”

The Floridians have come a long way since then, but in Abercrombie's case, it doesn't look he's put in a lot of time on shielding his eyes from the sun. If he had, I'd be groping for excuses as to why losing a four-game series to these never-say-die comers wasn't a bad thing. Instead, Abercrombie groped and didn't come up with the fly hit by Lo Duca. Only one of those two gave up on the ball and, unfortunately, it was Paul who stood sheepishly on first while Jose Valentin (leadoff walk) dashed to third. Carlos Beltran brought home Valentin on a smash through the middle — 5-4 Marlins — but Paul's pinch-runner Jose Reyes, his splint downgraded to a bandage (Play Jose Play!), did not tag up on a Delgado shot to medium-deep right.

It was one out, runners on first and second, us down by one. It should have been at least first and third, probably just a man on first because the Lo Duca run should have scored on Beltran's smash.

You following this in Maine?

Well, doesn't matter. David Wright took Logan Kensing — isn't that a town outside of Kennebunkport? — deep into the Picnic Area. After that, with a two-run lead, Billy Wagner could give a run back (he did) but, again, it didn't matter. The Mets not only were the better team but they managed to play like it. The Marlins can go work on their grittiness and such. They're not gonna get us either.

That's the last baseball that will matter between this moment and 2:20 Friday afternoon, almost 116 hours from now. So savor the details, revel in the context and make with an ovation. The New York Mets are more than halfway to their seventh postseason appearance and fifth division title. We have 116 long hours to think about that. 116 hours of not gaming the Wild Card race. 116 hours of not wondering which vets we can trade for prospects. 116 hours of not not being securely in first place.

We pick nits (11-13 since The Road Trip), but how can you not applaud what they've achieved and what they have such a great chance to accomplish? One hand against the other makes a very nice, very appropriate sound.

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NOTE TO OUR READERS: We're in this together, Mets fans. Stay with your favorite blog through this interminable desert of All-Star inactivity and we'll deliver you safely and sanely to Wrigley Field with a full complement of Faith and Fear. We'll take our break in October November.

14 comments to Everybody Clap Your Hands

  • Anonymous

    The Mets have played 10 games in July and won 6 of them.
    But they have been significantly outhit in those 10 games,
    103-90, including being outhit in four of their six wins. Deduct
    the two laughers — the 16-7 loss and the 17-3 win, and in
    the eight competitive games the Mets were outhit 82-60. They
    were even outhit in the 5-0 shutout of Pittsburgh — the Mets
    scored those 5 on just 4 hits.
    What to make of this? That the batters are a bit underproductive
    at the moment, but guys with a wimmimg attitude find ways to
    capitalize on the other team's errors, walks, hit batsmen? That
    the team plays great “small ball” (there's some anecdotal evidence
    but it's not very persuasive)? Or maybe the cracks are really showing
    in the pitching, but the gaffer's tape slapped over those cracks
    has been holding so far? It's weird to see so many hits allowed even
    in lopsided wins, and it makes you wonder wherher this team can
    find the light switch when it is going to need it in October?

  • Anonymous

    It's been a weird week statistically, but it's too small a sample to rile me up one way or the other regarding October. It's way too far away. Certainly the hitting has lagged (though discounting 20% of a ten-game stretch will skew that perception even more) but that's to be expected over the long season. The pitching? Not a secret that there's been an improv quality to the rotation. Where the postseason is concerned, we know for fairly certain that, if healthy, Pedro, Glavine and Trachsel are going to get the ball. El Duque is most likely there pending the emergence of Pelfrey or a trade. Everything else is a matter of keeping the bullpen fresh. If Pedro or Glavine aren't healthy or aren't effective, well, we're pretty well bollocksed, aren't we?
    This team has not played exceptionally well since The Road Trip and has crossed the break line 11-13 in that period. Another team, say the 2005 Mets, would have posted something like a 7-17. If this team is good enough to play .500 when its cylinders are not firing in sync, then I'm pretty comfortable where they'll be when facing the playoffs…once we get there. Still 73 games to go. Let's live and hopefully enjoy them a little.
    That said, it would be a bit reassuring if the trip to Chicago and Cincy resembled Phoenix and Philly more than Boston and the Bronx.

  • Anonymous

    I swear I'm not talking about the postseason rotation in early July, but…
    Don't you feel El Duque has more upside in his good starts than Trachs does (and both with about the same downside in poor ones)? I think they're equally likely to pitch efficiently or look inept, but when Duque is on, he's revelatory, whereas Steve is merely very good.

  • Anonymous

    Update From Maine: Yesterday afternoon THE BOY looked up around 4:30 and asked, “Daddy, what happened in the game?”
    “The boring game played by foreigners?” I asked, because the World Cup was on.
    “No,” said Joshua. “The BASEBALL GAME.”
    What a good kid!
    Off I went to the Internet. (Emily didn't believe me that the boy wanted to know, but scout's honor.)
    Yahoo! told me the final was Mets 7, Marlins 6.
    “Did David Wright hit a walk-off home run to win?” I asked as the dial-up whirred, then loaded. “Close enough.”
    “That's kind of spooky,” Emily said.
    Let's reiterate: What a good kid!

  • Anonymous

    The difference between them is O. Hernandez pitched successfully out of the pen last year for the White Sox and El Trachque is a starter or nothing. Can't imagine Trachs coming out of the pen except in extreme emergency. But with this staff, a fourth starter is probably very likely to be used in the postseason in each round, so we're probably not choosing between them very much (unless Pel Mikeque emerges). If a series begins on a Tuesday, Game Four would be on a Saturday. That's three days rest, not realistic for Pedro to come back on.
    I was thinking earlier if we (Mets fans) did this in the past, planning postseason rotations and such in July. No is the answer I came up with. In '86 there wasn't much question that we'd just keep doing what we'd been doing. In all the other years, even '88, it was no sure thing. So this is weird twice: the presumptuousness and the uncertainty.

  • Anonymous

    He's a GREAT kid!
    We are talking about David here, right?

  • Anonymous

    yeah, b/c baseball is sooooooooooo exciting. Love to watch guys run 60 ft and be out of breath too. Yeah, I can see why this sport is played in the summer when no other sports take place…if not, no one would watch!

  • Anonymous

    No argument as to what Trax is and isn't. But in the situation where you need a win from a starter — down 0-2 or even tied 1-1 — my faith (or fear) in Trachsel isn't (is) such that I might prefer Ducky getting that Game 3 start. Given the revelation of Darren Oliver (and Willie's intransigence), I'd be pretty surprised to see anyone slotted above him in the role you describe. But I remain hopeful that neither our bullpen nor our starters' performance come October will be such that we need Orlando's emergency assistance.
    First we'll use Pedro, then we'll use Glav-ain(e), then an off day followed by rain.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that baseball's exciting enough to lure a (presumably) soccer-loving baseball hater to comment on a baseball blog. It's a long time between World Cups, I guess.

  • Anonymous

    By no means discounting Oliver, but fifth starters generally wind up in the pen. That was our situation with Orel/Octavio in '99 (even with the then-reliable Pat Mahomes) and Glendon Rusch in 2000. Of course those were different teams and that was Bobby V. Who knows what Willie will do?

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Willie would pull a Connie Mack/Howard Ehmke & start Oliver in game 1…

  • Anonymous

    As long as he doesn't pull a John McNamara and start Al Nipper in Game Four.

  • Anonymous

    I have a lot of friends (many of European persuasion) who critcized baseball for its boringness and apparent lack of action. “It's so slow and nothing happens.” Well, in the interest of promoting harmony between the sports (a worthy goal) I'm going to refrain from an outburst here. However, it seems pretty clear to me that if a football fan is someone who craves action and exciting battles of skill, guile and athleticism, you must have been watching a different World Cup than I was.