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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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Say, Didn't You Used to Be…?

Like the Mets, I napped through a good portion of Tuesday night's game with the Braves. Most of the baseball I saw came later in the evening after I (unlike the Mets) shook off my slumber. On a night when a division was clinched, a collapse continued and a couple of resurrections ensued, you know the most amazing thing I saw?

Manny Alexander is on the Padres.

Remember Manny Alexander on the Mets? He was here for two-thirds of a season nine years ago. When we got him in the spring of 1997 from Baltimore — trying to succeed Cal Ripken was wrecking him — I was certain he was going to be an important utilityman. Got into 54 games, hit .248, stole 11 bases in 11 attempts, spent some time on the DL and was shipped to Chicago in the Mel Rojas or Brian McRae or Turk Wendell deal, depending on how you like to define it. That was Steve Phillips' first trade as GM.

I'd say I lost track of Manny Alexander, though that would imply I'd attempted to stay on top of his whereabouts. After the Cubs, where he was buddies with Sammy Sosa, he floated to the Red Sox when they were between playoff appearances and then toured leagues minor and Mexican with several organizations until landing with Texas in 2004. He was with the Padres last year and has been hanging around San Diego since August 20. He seems to be batting .176.

A pennant race brings out the Mets in everybody. When Oakland celebrated in Seattle, two Athletics who seemed pretty happy to be A.L. West champs were Jay Payton and Marco Scutaro. The Astros are being kept alive with a little help from Dan Wheeler. The Phillies have Rick White warming in the pen just about every inning or about as often as David Weathers seems to pitch for the Reds. There's a Marlon Anderson here, a Jason Tyner there, a Vance Wilson of all things somewhere else. Preston Wilson and Jose Vizcaino haven't prevented the Cardinals from crashing — in fact, Braden Looper seems to be facilitating the process. Meanwhile, Mike Cameron and Mike Piazza are propping up the Padres.

Them and Manny Alexander, disappeared from the Metsopotamian consciousness since 1997. He's on a first-place club, for goodness sake, one we might see in the playoffs. Rojas, McRae and Wendell are all long retired.

He's also outlasted Steve Phillips in terms of Major League employment by three seasons.

33 comments to Say, Didn't You Used to Be…?

  • Anonymous

    I remember Manny-one of the many to wear the #8-he followed Baerga in that number. I always liked him.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I noticed Manny earlier this season. I was shocked. I figured he'd retired long ago. I mean, why wouldn't he? (He refused to wear #8 for obvious reasons, and ended up in the dreaded #6, as I recall.)
    As for last night, baseball promiscuity has its rewards. Greg Maddux was pitching and my Twins were playing actual baseball (yay Jason Tyner!), so I didn't really have to endure too much of the Mets' typical September fare. And if I didn't have MLB Extra Innings, even the hideously annoying “Gilmore Girls” would have been preferable to that slop.

  • Anonymous

    No You Didn't!! You didn't dis the Gilmore Girls, not on my watch. I've been waiting for the resumption of the travails of Rory, Lorelai, Luke, Logan, Kirk and the rest for some time now. And no, since it's what you're thinking, I am not gay. Just very sensitive, thank you.
    The Future Mr. Lauren Graham…
    Joel

  • Anonymous

    You disappoint me. All that contrived yakking drives me crazy. There's no dialogue on that show, just unnatural speed-talking banter and endless volleying of carefully scripted one-liners that no one would toss off one after the other in real life. Not to mention the overused device of repeating something back and forth to each other, as if it's supposed to get funnier by the 8th time they say it. It doesn't.
    There has never been a more annoying show on TV besides Benny Hill. Well, except, of course, Yankeeography.
    PS: And you can keep that snoutface. She's all yours.

  • Anonymous

    Laurie- I cant believe I made a mistake like that- you are absolutely right-he wore #6- I was thinking about Baerga wearing both numbers, not that either one did him any good.

  • Anonymous

    you're just mean
    i'll never write a song about you again

  • Anonymous

    I was like, “a ROCKET??????? Whatdafuck…?”

  • Anonymous

    I think Manny was actually issued #8 at first, and said thanks, but no thanks. #6 rarely does anyone any good on this team.

  • Anonymous

    That does seem a little mean-spirited for you, Laurie, especially considering there are no obnoxious fans involved.
    I'm afraid I have to defend Gilmore Girls as well. Lately, I'll admit, it's been seriously deteriorating as all WB (CWhatever) shows eventually do, but for the most part, I think it has some of the most engaging characters on TV. It's a nice mix of realistic human interaction and absurd (sometimes downright farcical) incidents, peripheral characters and plotlines. And the range of pop-culture references? It's entertaining in itself.
    Oh, and if you think it's the most annoying show on television you must watch precious little, bless you. My sister watches a ton, and I can tell you, there are some shows out there that make watching the Braves smack the Mets senseless seem like quality programming.

  • Anonymous

    (NB: I said “as all WB (CWhatever) shows eventually do.” Sometimes you can insert immediately in its place. See 'One Tree Hill,' for instance)

  • Anonymous

    It's all blahblahblahblahblah at a mile a minute, all breathless and contrived. Irritates the living daylights out of me. Every time I watch it, I'm like “oh shut UP! For five seconds, SHUT UP!” I have very little patience for such nonstop yammering. It's like they're all always in a contest to see who can fit the most words into a sentence without taking a breath.
    And yet last night it could have trumped the Mets in terms of watchability. As long as the sound was off.

  • Anonymous

    It kinda seems like all of western baseball is composed of players you know from eastern teams. All those former Red Sox and Mets and Braves and Pedro knows who else. After all, the Dodgers are just a freakin' pale immitation of a like-named team that used to play in Brooklyn some years ago. Does anybody have their own team out there?
    On a more dissonant note, what's with this bundle of not-so-joy on Mets.com? This is really not what I want to be reading after a 12-0 loss to (yes, to) Turner Field and Pedro taking the hill.
    PS By the way, Greg, nice alliteration with Crashing Cardinals and Propped up Padres. Hopefully we can add Bewildered Braves to the list tonight.

  • Anonymous

    Not only #6, but #17 too- if you wear that one you know you're doomed-along with #27, & #33-#29 used to be a bad number but trachsel has had it steady since 2001.
    I wish they would retire #17, Keith was the team's first Captain after all.
    Not only don't they retire it, but they give it to every piece of crap that comes down the pike.

  • Anonymous

    When Baerga was traded here in July '96, he was issued No. 6 and played a good 6 days or so before shutting it down due to injury. The Mets and their fans (a.k.a. us) were so desperate for anything resembling star power, that they manufactured a warehouse full of those hideous tri-color faux-uniforms tops, the ones with blue sleeves, black bodies and orange lettering, featuring METS in block letters on the front and BAERGA 6 on the back. Then, as Laurie recalls, the switch was made to put the original Carlos B in 8 and Manny the hell out of his Ripkenian nightmare. For YEARS, I saw an uncommonly large number of BAERGA 6's strolling around Shea. They weren't in retail circulation very long and Baerga was never particularly popular (something about him not hitting or fielding very well), yet the idea that we got ANYBODY who was remotely famous in those days set the collective heart atwitter.

  • Anonymous

    Stupid WB. Angel they cancel, those cackling Gilmore hens last forever.
    It's amazing the topics that get discussed when the on-field antics grow moribund.

  • Anonymous

    I think the sight of a “Baerga” and any number would cause me to chuckle. It sure beats my reaction to “Alomar 12″ or the unbelievably high number of “Vaughn 42's” that one can see regularly.
    Either spend a few sheckles and stay current there, “Matsui 25,” or just wear a regular t-shirt.

  • Anonymous

    That's probably because Sports Authority had racks 'n' stacks of them on sale for like 10 bucks. It became the only jersey a lot of people could afford.

  • Anonymous

    Of course I refer to BAERGA 6 in that post

  • Anonymous

    “Cackling Gilmore hens”!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!! That made my day. Fine way with words there.

  • Anonymous

    I think the sight of a “Baerga” and any number would cause me to chuckle.
    Catch me in full loaf some weekend and you might see BAERGA 8 in something approximating action. It and VAUGHN 42 have been given second life as house shirts, tees that are still wearable but not anything I want to be widely seen in. Several other Met number shirts are in retirement, some were tossed in a fit of pique. The one that surprises me in absentia is VENTURA 4, which I valued highly in its day but struck me as “effing Yankee” the last time I decided to make a call on who goes and who stays.

  • Anonymous

    “Beat the Mets, beat the Mets. Step right up and defeat the Mets. Bring your Francoeur, bring your Smoltz…”

  • Anonymous

    You tossed Robin?! If not, can I have it? Please don't toss again without checking with me first!!! You know how I am where former Mets are concerned. I still carry a torch for Paul Byrd.

  • Anonymous

    Didn't have a Paul Byrd. But I did, ironically enough, take a torch to Jerry DiPoto.
    Only kidding. I had no DiPoto shirt. Or Andy Tomberlin.
    My VENTURA 4 would be a tarp on you. If I pardoned him, he was probably forgiven his post-2001 indiscertion and would stay in the collection. But I don't think the governor called in time. I was really mad at him for going where he was traded.

  • Anonymous

    I picked up a Matsui 25 shirt for 5 bucks at the Mets team store at Bryant Park. (They were having a predictable clearance sale of said merchandise) That's not a bad deal, is it? Can't have too many Mets shirts.
    (What I'd be really tickled to own is a Cyclones MATSUI 25 jersey. Unfortunately, they don't have their names on their jerseys in Coney Island.)

  • Anonymous

    I LOVED Andy Tomberlin!!! And I could never be mad at Robin. That would be like being mad at John Olerud. Heartbroken, yes. Mad? Impossible.
    But you know what an old softie I am.

  • Anonymous

    Guaranteed to beat the pants off these dolts!

  • Anonymous

    As if there was no cackling on Angel.

  • Anonymous

    But not if Pedro's phoenix molts!

  • Anonymous

    This situation with the Cardinals is starting to scare me… Has anyone considered that if they continue to fall apart, which looks like it's more of an inevitability each day, and if Philly wins the wildcard, that we'd be playing the Houston Astros in the first round?? I know that Philly is no lock to go anywhere, currently a game back behind the Dodgers at the moment, but I would NOT by ANY MEANS like to see a rotation of Oswalt, Clemens, and Pettite in the first round. As I'm sure many of you would agree, especially with the state of our rotation at the moment. Not to mention that playoff baseball in that circus-of-a-fucking ballpark they call Minute Maid would not be enjoyable. There's a fucking hill in centerfield for god's sake. Any thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    Chris,
    I feel your uneasiness, but let's rewind to just three weeks ago:
    Friday, September 1st:: Mets win, 8-7, despite Glavine getting rocked for six in five innings. The deep bullpen splits the final four evenly between Bradford, Mota, Heilman, and Wagner, who made it interesting by giving up the only run a reliever would get nicked for on the night.
    Saturday, September 2nd: Mets win, 4-2, as John Maine gives up only two hits, both solo homers.
    Sunday, September 3rd: Mets lose, 2-1, despite allowing only one hit. El Duque's walks helped do them in today, but whether in the Juice Box or any other stadium, the dimensions from the mound to home plate are the same.
    2 out of 3 on the road, and 11 runs allowed in the three games. Not too shabby.
    True, the playoff experience of the Astros' Big Three is considerable, but I'll take us in the first round, even against them.

  • Anonymous

    Chris,
    Rotation? We have a rotation?! That's awfully darn charitable a word to use to describe… whatever it is we have.
    I personally want no part of any of them. Phillies, Astros, Dodgers or even Padres. We're in no fit state to play a real baseball team in the playoffs.
    I'm officially terrified… there's a big pumpkin honking outside my door, waiting to take me back to the real world. Suddenly we're the Mets again. Has it all been just a wonderful dream?

  • Anonymous

    Manny Alexander was toiling for the Oklahoma Red Hawks last season. I know this because I saw him play in person. Now he's almost headed to the playoffs. Incredible.

  • Anonymous

    I learned very early on to get numbered jerseys without the names, or just plain Mets jerseys without numbers. I had picked up a #25 batting jersey back in 90s when Bobby Bonilla was shipped out the first time for $20-it was just a blue jersey with the Orange Mets across the front and a white #25 on the back-no names but you knew why it was cheap. However now I favor my 2 black Mets jerseys with no numbers.