The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com.

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

At Least It Was Quick

One of my many little rituals is to wave my hand around during save opportunities to show how many outs there are, as if I'm an extra infielder signalling to the outfield. (I even use the index finger and the pinkie on two outs, I've taught Joshua to do the same, and I've explained to him why you can't just hold up two fingers like a normal person. Yes, I am mentally ill.)

So. Miguel Olivo leads off the ninth with a single. Then Wes Helms bunts him over. OK, fine, a hit ties it, but two productive outs won't get it done. So go get 'em Billy. Oh, and here's the first finger up for my imaginary outfielders to see. One out. Here comes Josh Willingham to pinch-hit. Wagner rears back and fires and…oops. The masters of the walk-off have just been walked-off.

You can't tell what the important parts of a story are until the story's done; with that in mind, the first inning should have been the canary in the coalmine. With Reyes on first, Lo Duca hits one 430 feet — into the glove of Alfredo Amezaga, who would have had to buy a ticket to catch it if he weren't playing in a half-assed conversion of a football stadium. (Someone move this damn team to San Antonio already!) By all rights it should be 2-0 with none out; instead it's 0-0 with one out. So Beltran doubles, Reyes trips over third, and suddenly there are two Mets converging on third base. Beltran loses this particular real-estate dilemma, and now by all rights it should be 2-0 with none out and a runner on second, but instead it's still 0-0, only with two out. And I'm wondering why I'd been so eager to see baseball, since it's obviously designed to torture and bedevil.

Then Delgado singles before Wright strikes out (our Boy Wonder looks like he needs a breather) and we've done it the hard way, but at least we've done it. Dame Fortune's reminded us she can spit in our eye if she wishes, and having proved her point will obviously now step aside like the well-bred lady she's been of late.

Then Pelfrey does a nice job getting a scoreless inning under his belt, giving up a Mike Jacobs single but then getting Miguel Cabrera to hit one straight at the newly arrived Milledge. Except Milledge doesn't catch the ball. Cody Ross promptly doubles to tie the game, and if not for the fact that Cabrera isn't playing hard, we should be down 2-1. OK, Dame Fortune, I'm paying attention again.

There was a lot to like later in this game. Beltran is a one-man offensive show right now, Lo Duca is on a tear, and best of all Pelfrey showed some good off-speed stuff and did a terrific job getting through the sixth, punching out Olivo and Amezaga. Bradford and Heilman were flawless on Day One Post-Sanchez, and thanks to Reyes, Pelfrey would have been in line for a gritty-if-not-pretty win.

But that was before Wagner threw a fastball that missed by “about 17 inches.” On further review, Dame Fortune let us know how this one would go way back in the first, didn't she?

14 comments to At Least It Was Quick

  • Anonymous

    right now i'm thinking the wrong reliever was in that cab.

  • Anonymous

    No kidding. As Wagner came in, I was thinking, “Ok, our bullpen is still strong, and if Wagner can straighten it out like we've all been waiting for him to, maybe we won't miss Duaner so badly…”
    So much for that.

  • Anonymous

    Wagner had been lights out for a while. He was bound to give it up sometime. Let's just count our blessings and be glad it didn't happen against the Braves.

  • Anonymous

    “He was bound to give it up sometime.”

    Sometime?
    Like that time he pitched in the second game of the year when he got the ball with a one-run lead and let Ryan Zimmerman take him deep? Or the time Bonds homered off him to destroy a 3-run lead in San Francisco? Perhaps the time he allowed 2 9th-inning runs to the lowly Pirates? Or his failed attempt to get the loss two nights later by allowing an 11th-inning home to Wilson Betemit? Didn't we all think “sometime” was “End 8th – Mets 4, Yankees 0; Middle 9th – Mets 4, Yankees 4″? Or definitely that time against Cincinnati when he ruined a great night at Shea by imploding?
    Please understand – my venting is not at you, Anon, but at our seven-digit-salary closer. Trust me, I don't long for the days of yore (Franco, Benitez, Looper), but I'd be lying if I told you that I have that turn-out-the-lights confidence with a lead in the 9th, which, especially given the Sanchez injury, is something I, and every Met fan, could really use going into October.
    Remember our fearless (maybe not so much anymore) Blogger's words after that last one, reproduced without written consent:

    But aren't we supposed to have bought our way of them? Isn't this why we signed a fireman deluxe to a king-sized contract? Wasn't that, among all other fragments, the missing piece to our pennant puzzle? And do you feel particularly confident come the ninth inning and we hold a slim lead?

    Hell no.

  • Anonymous

    Also remember that Wagner's five blown saves don't include the Yankee game, because, with a four-run lead, that wasn't a save situation.
    Objectively speaking, it's hard to see how Wagner is better than such old favorites as Franco, Benitez, Looper (except at the end of '05, when Looper was hurt), or even Neil Allen. (I guess he's better than Doug Sisk or Jack Hamilton–for you old-timers.) I mean, he may look better, but the objective results are no better. And we're stuck with him for another three years.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe they can make a waiver deal for Trevor Hoffman…

  • Anonymous

    With the post season an inevitability, the verdict on Wagner won't be in until the end of October.
    Benitez was seemingly lights out from April through August and lousy with everything on the line as the weather began to cool.
    If Wagner slams the door consistently in the playoffs and World Series, will anyone remember these regular season meltdowns?
    I won't.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, but in a season during which we're not engaged in a pennant race, all we've got during the summer is watching our guys get ready for October. All is forgiven if Billy's light's out in the playoffs, but when he's not lights out against the MARLINS, that's really not a promising sign.
    In any case, I don't like sense I get from lots of other Metsies that since we have a big lead we fans aren't supposed to worry about anything or care about poor performance. Does the rest of the season not count? Am I suppose to ignore Glavine's sudden seizures and Wagner's continued mediocrity? Should I cancel my MLB TV subscription until the end of September? I'm a Mets fan. It's my job to worry, complain, panic, while also ultimately showing my love for the guys. There's a reason that “Faith and Fear in Flushing” is the best-named blog in all of baseball.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously I couldn't care less what you do with your MLB TV subscription or whether or not you choose to worry, complain, panic, etc.
    What's the lasting image we all have of Jesse Orosco in 1986?
    Now, without looking it up, how many blown saves did Orosco have in the '86 regular season?
    This team's going to lose more than 60 games this season. Forgive me if I don't join you on the ledge after each and every one.

  • Anonymous

    Let's not get carried away — I'm not on any ledges. I love this team, and I'm ready to ride them into the playoffs. I don't even particularly mind when they lose nowadays. But when they lose their best reliever, then the guy who's SUPPOSED to be their best reliever blows yet ANOTHER save, I think that's valid cause for concern.
    Sure, you can drag out examples of guys who had crappy regular seasons then shined during the playoffs. But if your point is that regular season play has nothing to do with performance during the playoffs, that's just silly. To match your Orosco example, shall I give you ten examples of people who sucked during the regular season, then sucked during the post season as well?

  • Anonymous

    I never said Wagner was having a crappy season. He has five blown saves and the Yankee meltdown. What's the standard? Perfection? Zero runs, hits, losses, blown saves?
    They can't all be Brad Lidge or Eric Gagne.
    And how are those guys doing lately, by the way?

  • Anonymous

    Would you say Wagner's having a good year? It's five blown saves, plus the Yankee game, which in my mind counts as two. He's not having a terrible season at all, but how much confidence do you feel when you hear the Mariano song start to play? All I'm saying is that now we need him more than ever, with Sanchez out, and so far he's been a bust at $17 mil. So far.
    Of course, I was saying the same about Beltran last year, so luckily things can change. We Met fans have been waiting for a lights-out closer for so many years I've lost count, but I'm still hoping Wags can be that guy. It's just disappointing when he… disappoints.

  • Anonymous

    Well, no, we really don't need him more than ever. Not with a huge lead over a moribund division.
    Speaking of said division, how was Wagner over the weekend against the “surging” Braves, ready to begin nipping at the Mets heels?
    I believe Wagner is a classic example of a guy with a big contract in his first year in New York: trying too hard, overthrowing on occasion, gripping the ball too tight, etc.
    I think last night, Wagner's fourth in a row, one could make a case for over-use. Hey, he didn't get it done for whatever reason. Shit happens.
    Your Beltran analogy is an apt one.

  • Anonymous

    Fair point about the Braves series. And it's true, it starts to really matter in October. I hope you're right and I'm wrong — I hope Wagner can shake off the nerves before crunch time. I'm just saying that somebody susceptible to high pressure jitters makes me nervous as a closer. We'll see in the fall… and again, I would like nothing better than to be wrong. It took Beltran until his second year to turn it around. I hope the same doesn't go for Wagner.