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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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Welcome Back Mota

“It was nice to be back,” Guillermo Mota said after last night’s Zito-induced somnambufest, a 2:29 sleepwalk that featured no Mets runs and an hourlong nap in the middle of it by your correspondent. I woke up in time to see Mota’s return. Like everything else in this game, it barely stirred me.

Amplitude Modulation radio hosts whose insights are not ample and whose modulation is completely lacking — so what are they doing on AM? — were on their soaringly high horses earlier in the week instructing Mets fans (a breed so unsophisticated we need etiquette instruction from these enlightened professionals at every turn) that if we want to hate on Barry Bonds, we need to express venom toward Guillermo Mota. For the record, I did neither.

From the loge Tuesday, I didn’t boo the second-greatest slugger by total in the history of baseball. I didn’t cheer him either. I wished him out, a conclusion Scott Schoeneweis couldn’t provide. But I did stand during his at-bat, partly out of tension, instinctively out of respect…for the numbers, not for the man. It actually saddened me, this response he’s plainly earned. Someone on the brink of ascending Mount Aaron should be greeted enthusiastically on principle. You don’t need to root for him to homer against your team (a result nimrods who flourished amid the McGwire-Sosa hysteria always seemed to crave) but you should be able to acknowledge the inherent greatness of the protagonist. With Bonds, for reasons that are depressingly familiar, it’s impossible.

It was thrilling when Aaron passed Ruth. It should be thrilling when Bonds passes Aaron. It won’t be.

Mota? He committed a misdeed against Metsdom when he came in exceedingly high and tight on Mike Piazza. Twice. I assumed I’d never forgive him for that heinous crime, that there would never be any reason to contemplate forgiveness. Then he mysteriously appeared on the 2006 New York Mets, a division leader that was all about good feelings. Mota slipped into the bullpen and onto the mound rather anonymously and pitched well and, with Mike in San Diego and the Mets running toward the playoffs, Guillermo Mota was OK with me. He remained so until he gave into Scott Spiezio in chilling Game Two of the NLCS.

Then he was caught ingesting whatever it was he was ingesting and he was suspended by baseball and I assumed, again, that I wouldn’t have much reason to concern myself with Guillermo Mota any longer. I assumed wrong again. Omar re-signed him because Omar knows more about the sport and my team than I do. Last night, after serving his sentence and saying he was sorry, Mota made his 2007 debut and looked very sharp in two scoreless innings. He was greeted more warmly as he departed than he was when he entered. It was nice that he was back, not because I feel any great simpatico with the guy, but because he’s a better bet than Ambiorix Burgos (or Scott Schoeneweis) to retire opposing batters at dire junctures of ballgames.

Hold a grudge against Guillermo Mota if you like. Boo Barry Bonds if it makes you happy. I’ve stayed mad at lesser lights for reasons far more obscure. But such tired exercises in indignation aren’t why I watch baseball. Really, it’s why once in a great while I nod off in the middle of it.

32 comments to Welcome Back Mota

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that verbalized exactly what I was thinking in terms of the Bonds, 'Roids, Mota-Booing situation. It's sad…and nap-inducing. Maybe that's why the Mets looked narcoleptically at so many curveballs for strike-three. Although, admittedly, Zito's got a pretty mean hook.
    Besides, if anyone should've been booed repeatedly last night it was Omar Vizquel. Not only was he a frustrating human vacuum at short, but when he ranged into shallow left field to catch pop up and nearly dropped it, he showed it to the fans, as if offering it to them, and then turned and threw it back in to the infield. What the hell? Boo.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    It was hard to tell what kind of initial response Mota received watching the game on SNY. They cut to commercials when he entered the pen and came back on during his warmups. Cohen and Darling cited that it was a low key mixture – perhaps more Met fans felt like you did with Bonds and simply expressed indifference.
    It would have been good to see a replay of Mota's appearance like YES did Sunday with the fans boing Joe Torre. Some controversy about why it was aired. Francesca accused the higher ups dictating it being shown because Torre's in the dog house with ownership and YES (aka Yankees) does not show anything negative about the team; however, a caller informed Michael Kay of what was said in which he responded airing it was his call, that he told his producer it was a big story because Torre had never, ever been booed by the fans and if they didn't, YES would have been accused of covering it up. Who knows?

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, Joe, that SNY let that grounder dart under its glove. I'm going by what Gary said the reaction was like and what I've read in later accounts. SNY's job is to show Mets baseball. Sometimes I wonder if they remember that.

  • Anonymous

    I thought SNY's main focus was smoking cessation. All right, enough already, we get it: smoking is bad and might prevent you from swimming or make you use a kazoo.

  • Anonymous

    Smoking causes a great big television to grow where your head should be or something like that….

  • Anonymous

    I know this makes me a bad person, but the anti-smoking ads no longer work for me. A few weeks ago I started hollering, “WHY CAN'T HE UMPIRE A GAME? THEY'VE GOT THOSE THROAT PROTECTORS!”
    Emily yelled at me. But still.
    The worst one is that ad with the woman you think is going to be attacked, and it turns out she's killing herself by eating cake and smoking. Which always immediately makes me think a slice of cake and a cigarette would be pretty fricking awesome right about now.

  • Anonymous

    OH you don't always die from tobacco…

  • Anonymous

    (Homer Simpson voice):
    OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH…Cake and cigarettes…MMMMMMMM…

  • Anonymous

    Bonds isn't being booed for using. Bonds is being booed for being an asshole and a liar. And for not wearing our uniform.
    I do not believe for one moment that Bonds would have been run out of New York on a rail had all of this gone down while he was wearing a Mets uniform. Fans would be saying things like, “Nobody's proven anything yet,” or, “None of his tests have been dirty.” I don't mean nobody here would feel that way; participants in boards like this one are obviously of well above average intelligence and integrity and such prevarication would likely disturb most of us. There are also Giants fans who feel that way about Bonds.
    But we are not the average dollar holders; had Bonds been on our team during, say, the 2000 WS and helped us triumph over the Yankees, I think most fans would have forgiven him nearly anything short of tossing a firecracker at a 2-year-old. And who knows, maybe even some of us would be leaping to his defense under those circumstances. I mean, beating the Yankees would have been niiiiiice.
    And Guillermo Mota was booed (and subsequently apologized to his teammates) not for using, but for getting caught.

  • Anonymous

    Anything that can make one person quit smoking and save a life is worth it.

  • Anonymous

    The cigarette is horrible. The cake looked yummy, but OK, the slice was kind of big. But she gets home from work (and being stalked, apparently) and she's supposed to feel bad about watching TV? This from a TV commercial?
    Get off her back, PSA.

  • Anonymous

    I think most fans would have forgiven him nearly anything short of tossing a firecracker at a 2-year-old. And who knows, maybe even some of us would be leaping to his defense under those circumstances.
    “There goes Barry again, teaching another youngster about pyrotechnics safety…and gaining arm strength in the process — what a Met!”

  • Anonymous

    SNY only carries the Mets because of the ad revenue they bring in.
    Otherwise, it's all about indoor professional lacrosse.
    As it should be.

  • Anonymous

    Rack my brain as I might, I can't recall Hojo catching shit from the fans.
    In fact, on opening day he got one of the louder ovations.
    Now, I share this love for an '86 Met and all that. But didn't he get caught cheating? So, is it a question of degree? Is it morally worse to ingest a substance than alter a bat?
    And where's the revulsion for Gaylord Perry?
    Pitch perfect take on Bonds, Greg.

  • Anonymous

    The only reason I tolerate losses? They lead to funny threads like this one!
    I'm so apathetic to the whole steroid mess. Just make it go away. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.
    And I also napped during the game yesterday. Only 20 minutes. Should've just kept on napping.

  • Anonymous

    Perry was a rascal. And HoJo was Our Guy. Bonds is surly and playing for somebody else.
    PS: If one of Our Guys yelled “I GOT IT!” at an opposing infielder during a pop fly thereby causing the pop fly to drop to the ground, I'm guessing we'd applaud him for what a gamer he is. (No particular reason I use that example today.)

  • Anonymous

    You are, of course, likely correct.
    Still, the slap at Bronson Arroyo, the elbow to Pedroia, now this?
    That's a pattern of bush league crap from a massively talented player. It's no wonder he's about as well liked–among his peers and the fans–as Bonds is.
    The only one who likes the guy has got to be Cynthia's divorce attorney.
    Smile for the camera, Alex.

  • Anonymous

    Gotta disagree, blog brother. That was some bush-league bullshit there.
    Not being a ballplayer, I judge matters of “the code” almost solely on how ballplayers react — how the hell would I know what's acceptable and what isn't? Last night the Blue Jays were all livid, and the Yankees offered really lame, I-don't-wanna-talk-about-this defenses of A-Rod. That tells me enough to say that a runner pretending to be the shortstop and yelling “Mine!” is one of those things that Isn't Done.
    Of course, A-Rod had to make up some pathetic, easily detectable lie about what he'd actually said. (“Hah?” Yeah right.) Because he's a king-sized douche.

  • Anonymous

    I must admit my capacity for lasting outrage is ebbing as I get older and creakier.
    Unless Angel Hernandez is involved. In which case, TO THE BARRICADES!

  • Anonymous

    One other point as to the AM talkies. While we're drawing moral comparisons between Bonds and Mota, was there some massive backlash against Shawn Merriman that I somehow slept through?
    You know, Shawn Merriman, the guy who actually tested positive for steroids and then played in the playoffs and then the Pro Bowl.
    Did the great and powerful Russo have instructions for the fans on how to conduct themselves then?
    Football tests for steroids, therefore there's no steroid problem in the NFL.
    Just baseball's records are tainted.

  • Anonymous

    Did I say he wasn't a king-sized douche?
    I'm aiming for consistency here. Jose Reyes dances up and down the third-base line not to try to steal home but to rattle Armando Benitez into a balk. It works, we're thrilled. Rodriguez yells what he yelled not 'cause he got it but to rattle the fellow who plays for that Canadian team. It worked and it's supposed to be outrageous? Somebody told me Rob Dibble was calling yesterday for Jose to be plunked for his celebratory infraction of the pitchers' code, which is ludicrous (as is Rob Dibble). I'm not going to fake outrage because it's A-Douche doing something that I don't really see the harm in either. If John McDonald isn't going to have the wool pulled over his eyes by such a bush league play, then it's his problem, not the busher's.
    That it embarrassed A-Douche's teammates…well, that's fine by me. Glad to know that they can't enjoy their weekly win.

  • Anonymous

    “If John McDonald IS going to have the wool pulled over his eyes…” is what I meant to type.

  • Anonymous

    And Roger Clemens.

  • Anonymous

    “king-size douche”
    Twice in one thread.
    The blog for Mets fans who like to read.
    Awesome.

  • Anonymous

    You guys bring back a lot of stuff on Mota. None greater than the infamous game 2 last oct..Hes one of the crew now. We all want to see him dominate..
    Reyes danced like Jackie down that line on tues. night..Gotta love it..
    Rich

  • Anonymous

    The blog for Mets fans who like to read fifth-grade bus stop insults hurled at Yankees.

  • Anonymous

    I think it's a little different. I didn't hear any of the Giants arguing Reyes broke some kind of code. I didn't hear a Blue Jay arguing A-Rod didn't.
    In other words, Rob Dibble is a king-sized douche.

  • Anonymous

    A douche? I think not. Douche, when used properly, is supposed to make the proceedings less stinky.
    Yes, Rob, we know what you would have done. You would have thrown at Reyes' legs while he was sliding into third and put him out for half the year. What a man.

  • Anonymous

    Shouldn't the larger size should be referred to as a Queen-sized douche?

  • Anonymous

    Bad enough A-Rod made such a bush-league play, but at least be a man about it. “Yeah, I tricked him, wasn't that hilarious?” would have served him a lot better than that absurd “I said 'hah' because I was psyched to be going to third”.

  • Anonymous

    I could really care less about the steroids. Don't do 'em. They're bad. If you're doing them now, stop. Juice is gross, but it's not going to make me hate anybody.
    I hate Barry Bonds because the guy is an insult to the game, to his teammates, and to his illustrious family. He's been blessed with more skill and talent than maybe any other player in the game, and not only does he respond by cheating to increase his abilities even further, but he generally acts as if his ability to hit zillions of home runs is some oppressive burden. Millions of dollars a year, legions of fans cheering your every home at bat, and you can't be bothered to jog out a damned grounder twice a game? This is the joker that's about to shatter Hank Aaron's record? He's deserving of nothing but our scorn.
    As far as the argument that we'd love him if he were a Met, I can't speak for anyone else but I sure as hell wouldn't. We could back up a Brinks truch to Barroid's door, embrace him with Piazza-like fervor, and he'd still act like playing the most beautiful and wonderful game in the world was no different than working on a chain gang. Ballplayers have awesome jobs. I expect them to put forth an effort every day or they can expect to hear my boos, be they Met, Yankee or other. Bush league tactics I can put up with (and come on, how about Reyes pretending to drop the line drive to turn a DP, or Lo Duca holding up the ball to trick the ump), but sloth and I'm-bigger-than-the-game arrogance I can't. Neither should his team. You can be damned sure that Willie wouldn't.
    Hell, if Bonds was a Met I'm not sure how I'd feel about the Mets. Not Clemens-level, but not far off.

  • Anonymous

    Interestingly, Bonds had this to say about that, “That's the Blue Jays' problem…Catch the ball.” Or something along those lines.
    Relative to A-Rod's past blatant transgressions against Red Sox players, this one is a little less clear cut, I think. If he had merely yelled “hah” like he claims to have, that would have been OK. Even if he said “drop it!” like I do to infielders from the stands all the time, that's fine. It's your prerogative to make as much noise to distract your opponents as possible.
    But since he deliberately confounded the communication between fielders, which could even conceivably cause a collision, I'd say it's a pretty dubious play. Nothing to be proud of. Still, “catch the ball,” Jays, then yell at him for being a punk.