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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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10-20-1

Braves 8, Mets 3.
I know it's March.
I know our 10-20-1 record has all the permanence and hold on memory as a sand castle surrounded by already-wet beach.
If there's a cup for the Grapefruit League championship, I know it's never displayed.
I know Jon Adkins is ticketed for New Orleans or another club. (I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he didn't enhance his trade value today.)
But cripes. Jeebus. Fuckola.
Braves 8, Mets 3 isn't going to make me happy in October or in March or if I'm playing Strat-o-Matic in January with a bunch of cards from the 1970s someone found in a shoebox at a yard sale. 10-20-1 isn't going to make me holler, “Save some of that for the regular season!” 10-20-1 and daily ass kickings up and down the east coast of Florida makes you start thinking about stuff.
What kind of stuff? This kind of stuff:
* It makes you start thinking that jeez, that bullpen sure looks patched together.
* It makes you start thinking that Moises Alou plays the outfield like a blindfolded man.
* It makes you start thinking that Jose Valentin sure had a crappy second half and Damion Easley's never had a good half and Anderson Hernandez's never had much of anything except one good catch.
* It makes you start thinking that Shawn Green looks like a backup first baseman, only he's the right fielder and part of the starting lineup.
* It makes you start thinking that Julio Franco looks like a coach, only he's the backup first baseman.
* It makes you start thinking that a team that pulled Darren Oliver out of a hat in 2006 might be pushing it expecting Chan Ho Park and Aaron Sele to grow big ears in 2007.
* It makes you start thinking that Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez are awfully old.
* It makes you start thinking that Mike Pelfrey is awfully young.
* It makes you start thinking that Joe Smith is a nice story this year, but Henry Owens was a nice story last year.
At 20-10-1 or 16-14-1 or even 13-17-1 you don't think about this stuff. You think about veterans who know how to prepare and youngsters who have said and done all the right things and will build on that, and from there you think about green grass and hot dogs and summer nights and then from there you think (with all the required propitiation to the baseball gods) about the possibility of fall nights and bunting and packed houses and all the marbles. But you don't think that at 10-20-1. At 10-20-1 every glass is half-empty (or two-thirds empty, in the case of this particular glass of cloudy, acidic suck), every rookie is raw and every vet is over the hill and every box score is filled with bad portents.
Even at 13-17-1, you just want it to be April and Opening Day, even if it will be the Cardinals with the banners and the rings and the red and the Mex and the guarantee that even if we win, we'll all be mildly pissed off about it.
10-20-1 is different. At 10-20-1, you don't want it to be April and finally Opening Day. You need it to be April and Opening Day.

18 comments to 10-20-1

  • Anonymous

    Burgos has re-emerged as a bullpen candidate for his strikeout ability, says Eddie Coleman. He sees Sele not making the staff. Marty Noble thinks Park is on the outs. Either way Pelfrey stays behind while a sixth player — probably Johnson, maybe Milledge if the wrist is OK — gets two weeks with the big club.
    None of this materially alters the shadow of 10-20-1 save that it's 0-0 in less than four days. But you already knew that.

  • Anonymous

    That's exactly what I was thinking maybe 11-12 minutes ago.

  • Anonymous

    You know what I'm going to say…

  • Anonymous

    By the by, though I can find no evidence of it (and can find evidence to the contrary), I'm almost certain there is or at least has been some sort of Grapefruit League trophy. In '82, the Braves made a big deal about capturing the mythical championship not for the hardware but for the momentum. Those were the same Braves who busted out of the gate (under Joe Torre…oy) to a record-setting 13-0 start and held on for their first division in 13 years, only to lose to Keith Hernandez and the Cardinals in the NLCS (which is where I came in this morning).
    Anyway, Ted Turner thought it a splendid acheivement and may have displayed it but I doubt that's a tradition. Two years later the Cubs had a notably horrendous Cactus League record, worst in baseball, and won their first N.L. East, but in the Cactus League the water spins down the drain counterclockwise, so it's hardly relevant.

  • Anonymous

    One thing I will say is that I just wanna friggin' CRY when I think about Darren Oliver and Chad Bradford. WHYYYYYYY?
    The rest, you already know. Carry on.

  • Anonymous

    I just came back from a week in PSL…saw six games. Despite all the pundits saying this is Spring Training I have to tell you you that I am officially not happy with what I saw. Too many clueless at-bats..too many appearances of meaningless players…not enough continuity of the starters….a general lack of cohesiveness and direction
    No….I'm not happy at all.

  • Anonymous

    I've had a mild case of pessimissm since last September — that is when this mucky play began — and it's taking a turn for the worse. Normally at this time of year I can conjure up outrageous expectations for the coming season… but … it's … just … not … happening.

  • Anonymous

    The Orioles gave Bradford a three-year, $10.5 million deal. The Angels gave Oliver $1.75 million for this year, but threw in a guaranteed option for 2008 if he reaches a certain number of appearances.
    I don't blame the Mets one bit for not matching those deals, not considering what a crapshoot middle relief is year in and year out. (The Bradford deal in particular is crazy to the point of drooling/gibbering/biting one's self.)
    That's the thing, though — I don't disagree with any of the moves the Mets made or didn't make in the offseason. (Dice K? Zito? Madness!) Which makes me even more nervous looking at that dismal 10-20-1 record, because I can't just start railing at the front office. Guess I'll just shake my fist at the heavens and hope there's no carryover.
    BTW, Laurie, watch your mailbox for a bit of cardboard Endy joy.

  • Anonymous

    can i just go on record saying i know i'm a mets fan and thus expect the worst, but i'm NOT looking forward to when the games start counting.
    few of the offseason hunches the team is relying on seem great bets right now — moises alou being the most glaring example; he actually looks infirm.
    last year's ferocious start came at least in part because of the softness of schedule and the problems the other teams were facing.
    this year, not so much. there is no part of their game that the mets have shown is rock solid right now, not starting pitching, nor relief; not defense (beltran may have to handle the outfield all by himself) nor offense (exactly what part of the lineup doesn't raise questions?). and while you could say it's always that way coming into a season, it shouldn't be for a division titleholder looking for way more.
    i'm a mets fan, fretting is second nature. heck, it's first position. so things will probably be much better than i anticipate. but still…

  • Anonymous

    I hope the Mets lack-luster play this spring is similar to last September's swoon when there was just nothing to be motivated for. They broke out of it against the Nationals and went on to sweep LA in the first round. What happened against St. Louis had nothing to do with motivation.
    Middle relief is a problem this year and was created by their own doing by replacing Bradford, Oliver and Hernandez with Adkins, Schoenweiss and Burgos. Of that trio only Adkins impresses me based on his previous year's performance. They might have thought these three adequate enough since they still had Jose Feliciano, counted on Sancehez and Padillo coming back from surgery and Mota available after the first 50 games. But now they have only two reliable arms (Feliciano and Adkins) where they could have had at least five (Bradford, Oliver, Hernandez, Feliciano and Adkins) and an eventual sixth in Mota. Rick Peterson has his work cut out for him with Schoenweiss and Burgos but if they return to their 2005 forms then the middle relief problem would have only been in theory (Burgos, Schoenweiss, Adkins, Feliciano adequate enough to set up Heilman and Wagner) with Padillo and Mota eventually returning to ease some of the burden. Parc is fine as a mop-up.
    Let's not forget every team has big holes in their pitching staff – and few in the National League have the fire power to overcome it like the Mets.

  • Anonymous

    Oh Jace, I love you! It will be the most I've seen of Endy in 6 months!!!
    And I would give my eyeteeth (whatever they are) to have Bradford and Oliver back. They were reliable. And while nothing's ever guaranteed, you go with the hot hand. You don't throw multi-millions at Shawn Green and then let Chad Bradford walk. Sorry. These are not good decisions being made here. It's one thing to spend money; another to spend it wisely. With all the money being tossed at Green/Alou's feet when we already had those positions well covered at a reasonable rate, we could actually (still) have a decent bullpen.
    OF of Endy-Beltran-Nady (reliable AND affordable!). Bradford and Oliver thus still in the bullpen. Bannister still here and thus no Ambiorix Benitez. How different this season would be looking right now, in my eyes. As it stands, I'm none too confident.

  • Anonymous

    Wow….reading all this makes me think of one thing….When does football season start???? I say lets all relax and enjoy the beginning of the season. I hope we dont start something like 3-5, what will everybody be saying then!! I still think we are the class of the east, but I dont believe we will have a cakewalk like we did last year.

  • Anonymous

    I don't buy the “nothing to play for” explanation. For one thing, there was plenty to play for after September but the offense then was rotten too; and two, the sheer drop-off in offense was so severe (around 1.5 runs a game, or 5.5 rpg to 4.0, or the best O to the worst O in the NL) that if you were to attribute it to motivation alone teams would take motivation practice instead of batting practice every day.
    My suspect is weary arms and legs after 100+ pedal to the metal games, including too many by creaky guys in their mid to late 30s (LoDuca, Valentin, Delgado) who aren't likely to improve this year.

  • Anonymous

    “I don't buy the “nothing to play for” explanation.”
    Know as a fan I wasn't so motivated in September with the division race behind us and the playoffs yet to start. Not an excuse for their hum-drum play, but an explanation.
    “My suspect is weary arms and legs after 100+ pedal to the metal games, including too many by creaky guys in their mid to late 30s (LoDuca, Valentin, Delgado) who aren't likely to improve this year.”
    Don't think we have to worry about Delgado but believe Alou, Glavine, Hernandez, Green, Martinez and even Wagner should be added to your concern about LoDuca and Valentin being a year older.

  • Anonymous

    Great baseball preview by Tim Marchman in the Sun. Besides reassuring us (which obviously we all need pretty badly), he's really funny. Sample: The Pirates are in for “another turn of the great wheel of suck.”

  • Anonymous

    OK, let's put things in perspective here. We're all sort in a panic. It's understandable. We've seen the Mets as high-profile busts too many times. We can't just laugh off a spring like this. I'm right there with you.
    BUT! Let's keep things in perspective. Here are some of the sources of our panic:
    (1) The back half of our bullpen is not going to be great. Well, yeah, this is probably true. But it's also the case for every single team in baseball (I think). We've got Heilman setting up for Wagner (while writing German operas in their free time), which is as good a pair as there is in the league. Plus Sanchez when he comes back (anyone know what the latest news on his health is?), Mota if he can pitch without the juice, Burgos if he drinks the kool-aid and Smith if he keeps it up. Plus Shoesy, my nickname for the guy whose name I can't spell. Anyway, my point is that we shouldn't be fretting over how good our mop-up reliever is. Sure, Oliver was great last year, but do remember anyone on opening day of 2006 saying “Boy, it's lucky we have Chad Bradford, Darren Oliver and Jorge Julio.” You go with the bullpen you've got, and hope for the best. If you ask me, we've still got the best pen in the NL (this is presuming we get Filthy back).
    (2) Alou can't field. Yeah. But he's a left fielder, so big deal. If he hits 20-30 HR he should be just fine.
    (3) Valentin will fall off. Probably. Last year was something of an abberation for him. But if we can get a normal Valentin-type year out of him (.250, 20 HR, along with very strong fielding that no one gives him credit for) he'll fill our 8 hole ably. He's 100 times better than Kaz Matsui.
    (4) Sean Green seems to suck. Yeah. This might be a problem. Endy for right field!
    (5) Franco's too old. Hey. he's hitting well over .300 this ST! Plus a HR just the other day.
    (6) Sele and Park are not Darren Oliver. This is really just a sign of how good we were last year, that we're fretting about a drop-off in performance from our mop-up guy. Look, you can't get someone great to be your mop-up guy, because mop-up guys are pretty much bad by definition. Oliver wasn't any great shakes until he had a good year for us.
    (7)Our pitching is too old and too young. Yeah. I give you this one. I live in fear of injury to Glavine. Remember that potentially career-ending blot clot scare last year? Just imagine this rotation without him…
    In short, yeah, there's plenty of cause for concern. But, with the exception of that last point, look how niggling and ancillary most of these concerns are. Here's a list of things we're not concerned about:
    First Base.
    Shortstop.
    Third base.
    Catcher.
    Closer.
    Center Field.
    Manager.
    4th outfielder (who should be second outfielder).
    Set up man.
    We have every reason to expect terrific performances from all of these slots. And let's not forget how meaningful that is just because it all seemed to come so easily last year. I'm totally panicked because we're kind of one key injury away from oblivion, but, as Bill Clinton once said about America, there's nothing wrong with the Mets that can't be fixed by what's right (Wright?) about the Mets.

  • Anonymous

    The latest on Duaner's health? He's got a broken arm. Great news, huh?