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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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Brian Banished, Sir

Hey, a trade: Brian Bannister for Ambiorix Burgos.

You know, Ambiorix Burgos. Yes, that Ambiorix Burgos. From the Royals.

What? Not up to speed on Kansas City's erstwhile closer? Me neither. Closer for the Royals is the baseball equivalent of Maytag repairman. And no, I can't pronounce it either — hard to believe he couldn't fit in on a team with Grudzielanek and Mientkiewicz.

Let's see…he's young, he throws hard, he's prone to wildness…in a bullpen that could use a little boost, he'll do. We'll see what Ambiorix Burgos does under the jacketed wing of Rick Peterson, away from the pressure of ninth innings and removed from the serenity of western Missouri. Until he lets in a run, couldn't hurt.

As for the other tradee, fate wasn't Brian Bannister's friend, at least not a dependable one. The Mets were just short enough on starting last spring so that he could emerge from the pack and win a slot. They scored (and he battled) just enough for him to keep him from losing. And he hit just enough to screw up his season. He never made it to May. The way he squirmed in and out of trouble, it's hard to imagine he would have made it to June unscathed.

Alas, he got hurt and, except for a couple of cameos late, fell out of the team picture by the time we clinched. When future triviots ask each other to name the 13 starting pitchers employed by the Mets in their division championship season of 2006, Brian Bannister will be a name you remember because you remember it or you completely forget after coming up with “Lima…Gonzalez…and, oh, whatshisname, that other one, the one who doubled and pulled his hamstring in San Francisco, he flirted with a no-hitter his first start, walked a lot of guys…yeah that's it! How many is that? Only twelve? Who am I forgetting?”

With Pelfrey, Humber and Perez loosening up, Bannister is the starter we could afford to trade for a 22-year-old, 98 miles-per-hour reliever, even if it's sad to lose a Cyclone. May an unexpected thrill ride await him in K.C.

19 comments to Brian Banished, Sir

  • Anonymous

    Ask your doctor if Ambiorix is right for you.
    Side effects may include increased walks and hit batsmen, wild pitches, and in rare occasions, the condition known as “Strikeouttheside”.

  • Anonymous

    I think the question is what does this mean for the Mets' pen. If Sanchez is healthy, he's the eighth-inning guy, which would make Heilman the seventh-inning choice and leave Burgos to fend for sixth-inning work with Adkins, Feliciano, Padilla and, possibly, Mota. My guess is that Burgos, despite his youth and bouts of erraticism, would be underutilized in such a scenario.
    My guess is that this means someone from this bullpen is going to be traded, and I'm betting it's Heilman.
    Reportedly, the Mets and A's are talking about a deal which would send Milledge to Oakland for a starting pitcher with less than three years of experience. Could it be Milledge and Heilman for Rich Harden?

  • Anonymous

    I don't even want to talk about this.

  • Anonymous

    With Rich Harden, the question is if he can come back from an injury plagued season that limited him to just nine starts. It's a gamble but if it works, that means acquiring a young starter who sported a 2.53 ERA the year before (in the American League). But would it be worth trading an everyday player in Milledge and a frequently used receiver Heilman for one who will only appear every fifth day?
    If made, the answer won't be known until we know whether or not Milledge lived up to his potential. And if Harden makes a comback, we would need to sign him to a long-term contract after the 2007 season to elliminate the risk of losing him to free agency two years later.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, now my mind must be going. After making two mathematical mistakes on a previous topic I confused sports altogether by alluding to Aaron Heillman as a “receiver” rather than reliever. By any chance would Aaron be playing two sports and catching passes thrown by Chad Pennington of the Jets (he is the Jet quarterback, right?).

  • Anonymous

    To be fair to Bannister, he did keep going and scored when he pulled his hamstring. That counts for something.

  • Anonymous

    I liked Bannister — good competitor, mature, and all that — but this strikes me as a good trade. There's a natural bias against junkballers crafty guys, but while it's often overdone, there's a reason for it: Every crafty guy with several pitches could become a master of his trade and use pinpoint location to outpitch flamethrowers, but the vast majority of them don't. And if they don't, they never have more value than when they're young and scouts offer them the backhanded compliment of “knows how to pitch.”
    We've got a few other Bannisters already; Burgos gives up too many dingers, but he throws awfully hard, he can work out of the pen, he had a pretty good year in '05 in the AL, and he's young too.

  • Anonymous

    Finally someone in the AL woke up. Good job Oakland.
    Now that he's out of the NL, go get em' Mike!!

  • Anonymous

    It will be so cool to have a guy in the pen who can throw with either hand!
    Just think – he matches up equally well against both righties and lefties.

  • Anonymous

    Don't they make a fielding glove that will fit either hand with equal comfort? And are there rules against pitchers alternating lefty to righty from batter to batter?
    I'd love to see a matchup like this against a switch-hitter. It would last forever.

  • Anonymous

    he'll be at shea with the a's fri-sun, june 22-24.
    hell, that means he'll be back at shea before pedro will.

  • Anonymous

    We're gonna play the A's this year? I wonder if Jay Payton will make a return as well.
    It'll be weird to see Mike back again after this/last year's theatrics. I'll still give him a standing-O, though.
    It's always a shame to see another former Cyclone ride that topsy turvy, offseason rollercoaster to another team. This trade may or may not go down in history/infamy. Probably neither. I just liked Bannister, though. He just seemed to have the right temperament to succeed. I'll miss him.

  • Anonymous

    Somebody needs to make a career out of switch-pitching. Are there rules about that?

  • Anonymous

    Indeed there are. You must declare which arm you'll use before each hitter, and can change arms for each new hitter, but not in the middle of an at-bat. You don't get to warm up each time. (Davey Johnson would totally have done that to piss off the Reds.)
    Tenuous link to Met history: The only guy to do this in the modern era is Greg Harris, who once upon a time was a Met.

  • Anonymous

    I hope he actually plays… maybe they'll let him catch one game.

  • Anonymous

    Stole my thunder, Jace…

  • Anonymous

    Bannister is an avid photographer and photography supporter, and his work can be viewed at http://www.beautyandsport.com .

  • Anonymous

    Bye , Brian–we hardly know ya…………………………… BTW, checked out that photo site & there's some hot gals there!