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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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No! No! A Thousand Times No!

Someone go check on the Times' normally sensible Selena Roberts, because something is seriously amiss.
Her off-day column began with the inevitable Yankees comparisons (Wright is “a Jeteresque pinup darling” and yesterday's victory was accomplished “in vintage Yankee style”) that I've loathed for years but learn to ignore as the sportswriter's equivalent of throat-clearing. But it's all in service of an idea so profoundly loathsome, so foul and misguided, that it should leave any sensible Met fan shuddering in horror.
The Mets should feel worthy enough to ask, “Why not us?” should Roger Clemens hit the sales rack.
Yes really.
Roberts does get around to enumerating some of the objections to this idea. The Mets don't play in Houston, hometown of His Loathsomeness; weren't his employer on his ascent from the pits of Hell; and don't offer him the kind of comforts the Yankees could — said comforts apparently being a) the fact that that clubhouse is so suffused with backbiting and bitchiness that the temporary employment of a mercenary wouldn't cause a ripple; b) absolution for drilling hitters; and c) gobs of money in the part-time pursuit of hardware.
That mismatch is undoubtedly enough to sink the idea, thank Christ, but let's keep going. In the 10th paragraph, Roberts notes that “Clemens, in the eyes of Mets fans, is remembered for two things. First, knocking Mike Piazza nearly unconscious with a pitch to the head in 2000 interleague play and then turning the barrel of Piazza’s broken bat into nunchucks during that World Series.”
For us, the fact that that oversized, semi-literate troglodyte nearly beheaded the heart and soul of our franchise in a vengeful seizure is Paragraph 1, not Paragraph 10, but Roberts then idly waves that little detail away.
But no player is left from the 2000 Mets. And fans slip in and out of loving and loathing with uniform changes.
And there, all you kids who want to grow up to be sportswriters, is the terrible danger of the press box. Maybe it looks like that when you spend years watching athletes come and go from locker rooms and maybe it sounds like that when all you can hear is the loudest and the drunkest baying below the press box. But the fact that no 2000 Met remains doesn't mean a thing to me, or to any longtime fan worthy of the name. We're still here, and the image of Piazza crumpling to the dirt hasn't receded in memory. I remember it very well, thank you, just as I remember Todd Pratt red-faced with rage back at Shea, the jaw-dropping farce of Clemens and the bat, the tragicomedy of Shawn Estes' semi-revenge, and the Schadenfreude of Clemens getting shelled in the All-Star Game with Piazza as his unwilling receiver. Real fans don't forget these things, and it's insulting to suggest that we do.
Uniform changes? Yes, we can adapt — Orlando Hernandez and Tom Glavine have found acceptance at Shea. But we're not so cheaply bought. There's no room in the orange-and-blue heart for the likes of Jeter or Chipper or Clemens. And there never will be. Hell, I'm happy that cheap little Ty Cobb wannabe Michael Tucker has been excised from my Met universe. Real fans have long memories and longer-lived loyalties and enmities than Roberts seems to think, and we don't give them up as easily as she suggests.
Roberts gets a quote from Wright (“I know in this clubhouse we don’t have cliques. We go to dinner together.”) in noting that the Mets don't have Yankee psychodramas. But not having psychodramas isn't like not having cable. Having escaped them, why on earth would we want to import some? As far as I know, my fridge doesn't have flesh-eating bacteria, but that doesn't mean I'd like you to FedEx me a jar of it. Would the Mets' clubhouse really be improved by importing an aging mercenary headhunter who shows up when he feels like it and is motivated by a combination of Neanderthal rage and lust for another hunk of metal to stick in his trophy case? The Mets, Roberts writes, “can offer Clemens image reclamation”. But why on earth does he deserve that? And why on earth should we be his Argentina?
Selena, here's a message from this Met fan: I hate Roger Clemens. And I don't mean I hate him like I hate when it's drizzling — I think he's a vile human being and wish him ill, up to the limits of whatever human decency I can summon up in this case. Do you know why I hate him so avidly? Because I'm a Met fan.
Needless to say, I don't want him anywhere near my team. Needless to say, if he somehow became a Met, I would not cheer for him. You know what? If that somehow happened, it's possible I might not cheer for them.

48 comments to No! No! A Thousand Times No!

  • Anonymous

    Tell it, Prince! Clemens in orange and blue is just about the only thing I can think of that could make me stop loving this team.
    God, I can't stop thinking about it. I need to go take a shower now.

  • Anonymous

    the times's skank bias is truly overwhelming its coverage.
    roberts's column ran on a day that the mets home opener was the LEAD story. and yet the geniuses in sports managed to wedge the unnecessary skank associations in. there was even a graphic comparing the mets' eighth-inning comeback to the one the skanks made against the fearsome devil rays at THEIR home opener.
    i can't stand it.

  • Anonymous

    I hate to say this, but every time I read a Selena Roberts column, there's a 90% chance I will exclaim — out loud, on the F Train, with my iPod on — “Didn't the sports editor see that this is the stupidest crap ever?” I know it's a job of columnists to stir up talk in this town, but dammit her writing comes off as soooooooo sanctimonious at times. Ugh. I almost thought I was reading one of the hacks from the Post.
    Oh, and F Clemens.

  • Anonymous

    Yet another proof point of the Times' utter worthlessness.
    As for Roidger… I'd rather go home in October than make the playoffs with him. Hate isn't strong enough to describe my feeling for him. I hope whatever “supplements” he's so obviously using shrink his junk down to raisin size and eventually shrivel up and fall off.

  • Anonymous

    On the count of three: One, two, three…EWWWWWWW.
    I cannot think of a player who is more beloathed by Mets fans than that sociopath. Not even John Rocker, who at least never caused a Met any bodily injury. I don't think Mets fans even hated Pete Rose half as much, and they hated Pete Rose pretty good.
    OK, OK, Clemens didn't brain Piazza with deliberate forethought, with a bat, the way Juan Marichal did Johnny Roseboro. I don't care. Twice — twice!! — he acted with wanton recklessness for Mike's life. That's almost worse than what Marichal did. Marichal, at least, only snapped once, and there were outside (racial tension) factors at play, it wasn't just about Marichal acting out his wounded ego because he couldn't get a guy out legitimately.
    Yes, Marichal finished out his career with the Dodgers, it's true. But my impression is that that only happened after Roseboro stated that he had long since forgiven Marichal. And Roseboro, though nobody could say he deserved what happened to him, most certainly did his share to bait Marichal, and he knew it.
    All Mike ever did to Clemens was to OWN Clemens' beroided ass at the plate. For that crime, in Clemens' mind, Mike deserved to die. Even the legendary headhunters of yore — Drysdale, et al — would never have thrown at a guy's head in such a way that it would have been impossible for him to duck. That ball came right in on Piazza on an angle, there was no way for him even to be able to hit the dirt.
    And then to cap that off with flinging a bat shard at him in the World Series…no. No no no. I cannot root for Clemens. No. Not ever.

  • Anonymous

    i caught this article on the plane ride back to california…read the first paragraph, and moved on. they just don't get it. if we wanted to be the fans of a team like the yankees, we would just root for the damn yankees…that's the thng about two team cities. is it really so hard for them to believe that one of the things we like most about the mets, is they AREN'T THE YANKEES!!!!
    anyway, happy baseball season all!!!

  • Anonymous

    There have to be standards and Clemens with a blue & orange slash through his face is one of them.
    The second-from-final graf of the column was the most offensive:
    But there is no harm in pursuing the idea, if only to validate the Mets position as a Yankee equal…
    Funny how 56,227 frozen souls needed no such confirmation of the Mets' standing in the baseball community Monday. Only elitist, heads-up-their-asses columnists who probably haven't attended a game as a fan in eons think that way.
    That Wright-Jeter comparison gets more bogus all the time. David Wright has been seen smiling. And not just in commercials. And where is the Jose Reyes on the Yankees? All due respect to Alex Rodriguez (except in the postseason or in the clutch against teams that aren't the Orioles), but where's the Carlos Beltran? Hell, where's the Carlos Delgado on that team? Or the Paul Lo Duca? Talent the Yankees have. Character the Yankees lack.
    We've got both oozing every which way out Shea's pores. (Well, some of that might have been from the men's room flood in mezzanine, but never mind that right now.)
    If I've said it once, I've said it a zillion times. And I'll say it again.
    LET'S GO METS!

  • Anonymous

    And by Prince, you mean Fry ;)

  • Anonymous

    Holy fudge, I just read that graphic in detail. It's sickening.
    “Stole a page from the Yankees' season opener”…
    “…just as the Yankees did last Monday…”
    “And then, like the Yankees…”
    “But the Mets actually piled on more runs than the Yankees did.”
    Help me out here. Did the Yankees' 9-5 win, achieved after they trailed 5-3, set some kind of record? Was there something historic about the nature of their comeback? Did Robert Moses come back to life and build a Metro-North station on 161st Street?
    No? Then WHY THE FUCK is any of what the Skanks did a week earlier against Tampa Bay the least bit relevant to the Mets beating Philadelphia?
    ACTUALLY? The Mets ACTUALLY scored more runs than the Yankees? The Yankees scored nine. Nine is a lot, but Major League teams score in excess of nine relatively often. As Mark of Mets Walkoffs noted the other day, the Mets scored 10 runs in their HOTWOODS (Home Openers That Weren't On Opening Day) in 2004 and 1995. Shoot, the Mets scored 10 and 11 runs last Wednesday and Friday in St. Louis and Atlanta, respectively. It is not inconceivable that a) a team would score more than 9 runs and b) that the Mets of Reyes, Lo Duca, Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Alou, Green and Valentin would outscore ANY team on ANY given day.
    Criminy on a stick. WTF is wrong with sports editors? Do they have the slightest clue who actually reads their sections? Or why fewer and fewer hardcore fans rely on their myopic bullshit? Why should any Mets fan have any confidence that their team will be covered with any kind of focus when graphics like this and columns like Roberts' are allowed to run as part of Mets Home Opener coverage?
    ACTUALLY? HAVE ANY OF THESE FUCKERS ACTUALLY READ THEIR OWN “SCOREBOARD” PAGE SINCE 2001? I MEAN THE DAY AFTER THE WORLD SERIES ENDS?
    DIAMONDBACKS
    ANGELS
    MARLINS
    RED SOX
    WHITE SOX
    CARDINALS
    THERE IS NO FUCKING YANKEE DYNASTY ANYMORE. EXCEPT THAT WE BOTH PLAY IN NEW YORK AND BOTH WON DIVISION TITLES LAST YEAR AND BOTH FIGURE TO CONTEND THIS YEAR, WHAT THE FUCK? WHY BRING THEM THE FUCK UP AS SOME KIND OF ASPRIATIONAL FUCKING STANDARD?
    FUCK THEM. And I don't necessarily mean the Yankees.
    As in the Bronx, it's April in Queens.

  • Anonymous

    If there were a way to sign Clemens only to assign him to single A and prevent him from working elsewhere in the big leagues, I'd be cool with that. maybe, sign him then trade him to the Devil Rays or something. Yeah.
    I'm with you guys on the fuckedy fuckedupness of fucking sports writers writing fucking articles with a fucking Yankee perspective. The fucking Jose Reyes cover article in the Village Fucking Voice a few weeks back had the same fucking problem, and fucking Met fans have become so fucking used to seeing these fucking fucktards turn in fucked-up articles they don't even fucking realize it. Fuck!

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree with what someone on a private Mets bulletin board said: The Paid (For) Media can't die fast enough. What the hell entitles them to such exalted status anyway? Access to ballplayers and general managers? Why should that be their exclusive provenance? Why should't Greg and Jason and other trustworthy bloggers get that access?
    The New York Freaking Paper of Record Times has been devolving into subfishwrap for a veryvery long time, and not just in the sports section. Except for Gina Kolata and Frank Rich, who I'm sure could get jobs elsewhere in a heartbeat, and maybe a few more exceptions whose names escape me at 8 in the morning, I wouldn't be sorry to see all of them just disappear and have to get (gasp) real jobs. Their day is coming, friends. It's coming.

  • Anonymous

    I think that's a record!

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful piece, Prince Fry. A resounding Amen to all you said.
    I have to admit, aside from a searing hatred for Roger Clemens, the emotion I carry the most from all that 2000 bullshit is disappointment at the Mets' utter failure to retaliate in any way.
    Fuck the high road.
    Derek Jeter needed to take an ambulance ride out of Yankee Stadium that July night.
    I think October would've had a very different outcome if he had.
    And if there is a heaven, when I get there I'm going to recast Game 2 of that World Series and manipulate the time / space continuum just so.
    I want to see Roger Clemens fling a shattered bat at Kevin Mitchell and see how that turns out. Hey, it is heaven after all.
    Talent wasn't the only reason the '86 team won and the 2000 team didn't.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the Times needs to bring in Seth Mnookin for a reality check.

  • Anonymous

    If Clemens a) signs with the Skanks and b) is found to be up to his bulging elbows in illegal substances, there will be a media rush to commend this as exemplary of his competitive spirit, demonstrating the kinds of intangibles the Yankees have always dug deep and found. And Selena Roberts or Wally Matthews or Filip Bondy could remind us that Mike Piazza had every opportunity to avail himself of steroids but didn't possess the killer instinct his more motivated rival showed off in spades that magical October night when all Roger Clemens did was throw off competitive sparks.

  • Anonymous

    No fool I…

  • Anonymous

    There's just one problem with that scenario, albertsonmets. Since the Yankees struck first they would have gotten no suspensions for the ensuing melee. All the suspensions would have been Mets, and key Mets at that. If half of the '86 Mets had been kicked out of the playoffs for brawling, that would have left…well, Mookie. And as it happened, he was all they needed, mas o menos.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, JM, check the date on that post, wouldja?

  • Anonymous

    a mnookin reality check of the times? didn't he already do that?
    Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media by Seth Mnookin (Paperback – Aug 9, 2005)

  • Anonymous

    A proper response in July would have precluded the need for one in October, Andee.
    Clemens had it in his head that he could fuck with Piazza without fear of retaliation and he was right.
    The '86 Mets would never have been intimidated like that.

  • Anonymous

    Don't discount the possibility that the 'roids kicked in.

  • Anonymous

    How calculating and in control of his faculties Clemhole was on either occasion is certainly debatable but irrelevant to me. I hate him so much that I look forward to his every comeback because it's one more chance to see a liner back through the box shatter his skull and kill him on the spot.
    This is matched by my utter disappointment that the Mets allowed him to get away with it..

  • Anonymous

    That whole July incident was absolutely shameful on our part. What a bunch of mincing pansies the Mets were that night. You are spot on – Jeter should have been in the hospital that same day. Not a head shot, but nothing wrong with snapping some ribs, or busting an elbow. If I recall correctly, someone got brushed back, that was pretty much it. And someone should have beaned a Yankee late in a game in the WS, too.
    A couple years later, I was at a Friday night Met/Yankee game. It was pouring rain, and I think Trachsel started. Late in the game Burnitz took one off the helmet so loudly I bet you could hear the crack in the upper deck. Next inning I was literally screaming “Hit Him!” when Jeter was up, whoever the pitcher was ignored my entreaties.
    I like to think today's team is a little more ballsier, and many (if not most) of our pitchers would gladly take the unpaid vacation to protect their teammates.

  • Anonymous

    Tino Martinez absorbed a gentle toss that glanced off one buttock or another from Glendon Rusch in “retaliation” for Clemens' most heinous crime. At the time the Mets were trying to win the game and keep pace with the Braves, and given the bizarrely twisted rules of warnings and ejections, I felt their hands were unfairly tied.
    Seven years later, I prefer the tacks recommended. Except if the Mets had TCB'd, then we would have been deprived the use of KF's phrase “What a bunch of mincing pansies the Mets were that night.” And that makes it their inactions ALMOST worth it.

  • Anonymous

    Imagine how eloquent he would've gotten had Clemens beaned Kong instead.

  • Anonymous

    Um, no… it's just that Jace is a Prince among mere men… right…

  • Anonymous

    I don't necessarily buy that. I actually think “the roids kicked in” is a pretty good way to describe it. The guy was whacked when he threw the bat handle, just whacked.
    When Piazza approached him with the shard and said, “What the !@#%% is your problem?”, Clemens didn't act like a guy who had started a fight in any sort of premeditated fashion. He acted like a guy whose inner demons had taken over, someone who was way the hell out there with no way back. The only way that bat shard doesn't get thrown is if Clemens isn't on the mound at all, because at that point he's four-star please-pass-the-ketchup loony tunes.
    Anyway, it's pointless to compare teams from two different eras; different umpiring, for one thing, and 'roids weren't nearly as common then.

  • Anonymous

    I think my head just exploded.

  • Anonymous

    Very strongly disagree, Andee.
    No one could credibly describe the '86 team as mincing pansies.
    I think the comparison is valid and the contrast unmistakable.

  • Anonymous

    Woulda been tough to bean the Sky King… for starters, you had to aim uphill from the mound. Plus, he probably would have swung at it.

  • Anonymous

    Mine too. Seriously, I sent this link to a bunch of friends, who are always asking me why I hate the Yankees so much when I'm a Mets fan. Pieces like that Times article just scratch the surface.

  • Anonymous

    How do you answer these friends? I get that too, from well-meaning innocents, and never know what the hell to say. I make it as far as “Because…” and then kind of freeze. Since “BECAUSE WHAT IN HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU THAT YOU WOULD ASK THAT QUESTION?!!!!” tends to alienate people. And I like to give myself that additional five to 10 minutes until I alienate them anyway.

  • Anonymous

    There is no circumstance either imaginable or acceptable that could ever justify putting that repugnant piece of (in)human garbage in a Met uniform. I'd rather have Toby Borland start every game.
    I'm so sickened and repulsed by the very thought that I can't even say any more. And that takes some doing, as you all know.

  • Anonymous

    When asked “Why do you hate the Yankees?” the proper response is always “Because I'm a good person.”

  • Anonymous

    If they'd done what you'd said they'd still have lost the WS. Probably in four games instead of five. But at least they wouldn't have been “mincing pansies.” Got it. (The 1993 Phillies lost their WS too, didn't you know? Were they not macho enough for you?)
    Anyway, I'd love to see you or anyone else here look Mike Piazza in the eye in person, one on one, and call him a “mincing pansy.” In fact, I'd pay for the privilege to be able to witness that.
    I still say the umpires should have ejected Clemens the second he threw the bat handle. Any Met who had done so would undoubtedly been tossed, so Clemens should have been tossed also. Had that occurred, there would have been no need for vigilantism, either in fantasy or reality.

  • Anonymous

    “Say, I was reading in the Times that your team is catching up to the Yankees. That must be pretty gratifying, eh?”
    Ever get that question, you're better off alienating those innocents.

  • Anonymous

    Except that Mincing Pansies and Mike Piazza share the same initials (and it's undeniably lyrical), it's probably not the most constructive language available to describe the 2000 National League champions upon reflection (especially for those of us who have found others' more celebrated use of stereotype-reinforcing phrases of late rather dismaying).
    As for the gist of the 2000 discussion (ah, we baseball fans…it ain't over even seven years after it's over), the time to respond in kind was that July 8. The World Series is not something to screw around with ejectionwise. Of course Clemens should have been booted after the bat shard bit but maybe ('roid rage notwithstanding) he doesn't pull that crap if a message had been sent after he knocked down Piazza.
    Who definitely never minced.

  • Anonymous

    Comment deleted. Debate all you want, but please remain civil toward one another.

  • Anonymous

    Clemens drilled Piazza in July and the Mets did nothing, thus acting like mincing pansies.
    Had someone, IN JULY, done the eye for an eye thing it is my belief that the bat toss in October would not have transpired. Clemens' provocations went unanswered twice. You're cool with that, fine. I'm not.
    The '93 Phillies overachieved a little bit even reaching the World Series and were not nearly as good as Toronto that year as I recall.
    As far as calling Mike a mincing pansie, it was his teammates who pussed out in failing to retaliate on behalf of their stricken slugger. While I am personally built like a brick shit house (no tittering those who've met me) and I fear no one, I would not call Mike any such thing as it isn't warranted.
    Oh, and totally agree that it's outrageous that Clemens wasn't summarily ejected and suspended for the bat toss. Still haven't figured the logic behind that one.

  • Anonymous

    Robin Ventura a mincing pansy? This is the guy who once mound-charged Nolan Ryan, right? I guess getting headlocked and punched repeatedly in the skull wasn't something Brave Sir Robin wanted to experience twice. Nor would I have relished the sight of it either.

  • Anonymous

    I think he was older and wiser and thus unlikely to repeat his behavior. But I fail to see how Robin Ventura charging Nolan Ryan would've made any sense whatsoever. Ryan didn't throw the pitch.
    Heck, was he even in the building that night?

  • Anonymous

    As ever it all comes back to M. Donald Grant and his frigging barber trading for Jim Fregosi.
    Enjoy tonight's game everybody!

  • Anonymous

    DAMN!
    This is almost as good a dust up as you get on NY Sportsday every day…
    And to kkep it on topic, memo to Omar:
    DON'T YOU EVEN FUCKIN' THINK ABOUT IT!

  • Anonymous

    Oh. 2006. You're right. Maybe it's out of date.

  • Anonymous

    I don't know, Greg. I don't think Clemens is necessarily the kind of guy who responds to a “message.” He's already got enough “messages” playing in his noggin, if you know what I mean. He's a lot more Dock Ellis than he is Pedro Martinez, methinks.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you AOM for divining my precise meaning. Mike was hardly at fault in either instance; he was indisposed in July what with the loss of consciousness and the writhing in pain, and he showed admirable restaint not getting himself tossed in the WS. Clemens is such a pus er, punk, he probably wanted to get ejected, but the Mets needed Mike and he knew that. That Clemens is celebrated as some sort of hero is just more pro-Yankme media bias.
    My love for Mike is boundless, I wouldn't be calling him any names. Clemens, on the other hand… while I'm no brick shithouse, I'm of solid size and build (maybe cement outhouse?) and a couple of years younger and faster than Clemens. If I ever have the good fortune to meet him, I wonder if I'll still have the nerve to make good on my beer-fueled vow of seven years ago: a roundhouse groin punch and a “That's for Mike!” as I rabbitted off.

  • Anonymous

    When my 7 year old boy asks me why I don't like the Yankees, I simply tell him the truth:
    “Because they're evil.”