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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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1 For Carlos

I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on TV, I don't pretend to be able to make diagnoses while watching TV which also means I'm not the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. But never mind that right now. What's important is what condition Carlos Beltran's condition is in. Because when he went down on the Minute Maid grass in the ninth inning after making one of the Web Gemmiest, game-savingest catches you'll ever see in a critical moment, all I could think was…

…so much for winning the World Series.

My lack of medical training notwithstanding, seeing him not being on carried on a stretcher or lifted onto a cart was a positive sign. Seeing him walk through the dugout was encouraging. And hearing him afterwards on WFAN, all things considered, was very good news.

He says he can't bend his left knee. That doesn't sound helpful for a centerfielder and third-place hitter who uses his knees a lot. But if I had just run into what he had run into, there'd be a lot I couldn't bend. Carlos Beltran's condition is better than the condition my condition is in. Ed Coleman said he sounded fine. Indeed, the should-be MVP of the National League was quite with it, answered things calmly and, from the sound of the audio, without his teeth clenched. (Maybe Bill Frist can divine whether, in fact, he was clenching his teeth.) He's going for tests and, well, we'll see. (X-Rays In: Negative. It's called a bruise for now.)

The beauty of a 16-1/2 game lead with 28 games left is he can ice it, whirlpool it, tape it, whatever it takes. In the short-term, it barely matters. Endy Chavez will never lose playing time on this club because there's always an outfielder who's going down. Appendectomy? Achilles? I just saved Billy Wagner's bacon by crashing into the chain link fence of that funhouse yahoo excuse for a regulation baseball facility? It's Endy to the rescue. I'm not worried about tomorrow or this coming week.

Of course we need Carlos Beltran for October. I'm not a doctor, but I'm going to cross my fingers and be confident that we can be hopeful that our luck will hold out. We got Tom back last night. We got Cliff back tonight. We got a lot going for us. Much of that is Beltran's doing.

It was, incidentally, nothing like that disaster in Petco Park from last August except for one thing. In San Diego, Willie gave Jose Reyes a rare day off. In Houston, Willie gave Jose Reyes a rare day off. If Beltran is our MVP, Reyes is his facilitator. Stop resting him twice a year.

Oh, and I hate the fans of Houston more than ever. Yes, there was some obligatory applauding the guy who had given his body over to baseball when he showed he wasn't dead, but I'm sure I heard booing. People who boo Carlos Beltran yet value Roger Clemens? I can't say it enough: Bunch of yahoos. Hey, I'm sure there's a football game going on somewhere down the block. Maybe you'd be happier there. Or at a two-way rifle range.

Minute Maid is a farce. Maine pitches beautifully but is burned on a Lance Berkman pop fly to left that goes into something called the Crawford Boxes. Does anybody check with MLB to ascertain whether dimensions are regulation anymore? (The answer is no.) This series is now about more than reducing our magic number even more. I really hope we beat these SOBs in their useless, overly humid, backwards, nothing-to-do cowtown with their rodeo fans and their tightwad management.

You wanted to keep Beltran? Then you should have given him the no-trade clause he wanted. He only led to you to the edge of the promised land and you treat him like dirt. Yes, there were idiots here who did that last year. It's inexcusable, but it was a plurality, not a majority. I'm not a doctor and I'm not a hearing technician, but I could tell last season and this that it's an overwhelming percentage of Astros fans who can't get over Carlos Beltran, their rent-a-player who gave them everything he had, leaving them because he couldn't get the deal he wanted from Drayton McLane.

I've been trying to put this in a Met perspective. The obvious correlation is Mike Hampton, ironically an ex-Astro. Hampton came for one year, the last year on his contract. He was very effective for most of 2000, especially the NLCS. The Mets negotiated a little with him but he never showed much interest in sticking around. I think he's reviled here — though not nearly as much as Beltran there — for the schools crack, because it was so transparent. Did Beltran ever say anything that stupid about Houston or give the impression that he was going to dedicate his life and future to Harris County, Texas?

Mets fans booed Ken Griffey for vetoing a trade that would have brought him here. I was among them. It was kind of silly. But Ken Griffey was never a Met. Carlos Beltran was an Astro. He didn't make lifelong proclamations of loyalty to Houston the way Johnny Damon did with Boston, and Beltran didn't go to a blood rival of the Astros, if in fact the Astros have a blood rival (besides apathy). Him making that catch was very sweet. Of course he won't play Sunday, which is too bad, because I'd love to see him do more damage to their dwindling playoff chances.

Oh well. If not him, then there's a couple dozen other Mets who can pick up the slack.

I'm too worked up to salute the delightful dozen right now. Before the next game, I promise.

8 comments to 1 For Carlos

  • Anonymous

    Ah, the one lamentable aspect of a near-flawless season–a dearth of “Angry Greg.”
    Oh, how I've missed him.
    Rock on, dude.
    F*** Houston!

  • Anonymous

    Watched the game unfold here at the beach, closed captioning on, music playing, chatting with friends. Carlos making that catch was great. Carlos walking off with only proximate assistance from Ray Ramirez was greater.
    We'll be OK.
    Closed captioning is funny. Here, more or less, is a transcript of one stretch,
    CLIFF IS HIS LEFT FEELER.
    BUT WILL DO WHAT HE NEED TO DO. HE KNOWS THE GRILL.
    AND CHAVEZ VIKES OUT.
    Deaf baseball fans must be pissed a lot.

  • Anonymous

    Let me assure you that you're not crazy…I heard the booing too.

  • Anonymous

    if mvps are won in september, they're also lost there, especially if you don't play.
    beltran, who has been everything and much more for the team this year, may have lost his chance by making what was a truly heroic catch. i still can't believe the ground he covered just to get to it.
    and have no doubt, this game was all about beltran making sure to stick it to the astros. he had a hand in three of the mets' four runs. in the fourth, still no score, he singles to advance lo duca, then on wright's ground ball distracts biggio enough to make him pull a buckner. lo duca scores, and beltran goes to third, then comes home off floyd's sacrifice.
    in the sixth, how about the run he manufactured? with two out and no one on, he reaches first after hirsh, the rookie pitcher, drops the ball — and beltran is gentlemanly enough that he doesn't run over the guy — then runs to third on delgado's single, then scores on a wild pitch.
    beltran's knee dodged a bullet last night. and it's great that he'll be able to take all the time he needs to come back healthy. but he may fall out of the rhythm that has made him the most valuable player on the best team in the league. and even if he doesn't, he'll not be in the lineup for a few games on the september stage.
    no matter. october is more important. and he's still the mvp.

  • Anonymous

    When I was a kid I bought a T-shit from a vendor during the 86 LCS that said “Houston Sucks,” and the two “o's” in “Houtson” were the Mets baseball/skyline logo. I wish I still had that.

  • Anonymous

    One hopes there will be plenty of time for him to round into shape and, though its secondary to the greater cause, burnish his numbers. Todd Hundley may or may not care, but he might have his spot in the record books secure for one more year…unless the other Carlos stays on his home run rampage.
    Makes you wonder why the phrase “barring injury” isn't uttered as a matter of course.

  • Anonymous

    I hope his appearances are few and far between, but good to know he can still bring it a little.

  • Anonymous

    Irrespective of any booing you may have heard, I'd go easy on assuring Greg he's not crazy.