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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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I'm Just Not That Into Them (Either)

Hey, Jace, isn't this the March conversation? The one in which I'm all “Who the bleep are these guys calling themselves Mets? I don't think I'm going to be able to get behind them as I have every April since I was 7″? And you tell me, no, of course you will…and I generally fall in line.

Now you, dear blog brother, are having these doubts in the dog days of August? That's a hoot.

A mighty familiar hoot, too. I've been feeling the same way, that I haven't been feeling the Mets. The lumbering performance has been a big reason, but personality has factored in, too. Who the bleep are these guys who have been calling themselves Mets?

You know how many individual Mets I've been into this year in that “I can't wait to see him do his thing” way? One. Reyes. He's it. He's been disappointing (in relation to Jose '06 and Hanley '07), but he's far and away my favorite. My only favorite.

Beltran's still my distant second-place favorite. Of all the “I wish he'd break out” stars on this team, he's the wishiest. A great Beltran is worth more than a great anybody. Last night he gave yet another hint that he's MVP-in-exile. I wish he'd offer more than hints. He's nothing like Reyes as a personality (so says my deeply informed perspective of watching from a distance), but I admire the way he carries himself. I just wish he'd carry himself into a dazzling hot streak.

I don't think I've had a third-favorite Met in 2007. Ollie was my wild card early. I get a huge kick out of him when he's on. When he's off, he's just wild. I do like his zest for pitching, however.

When the world was young, of course, there was Endy. I really miss him. It's been too long.

That's basically it. There are a lot of guys I like and respect and root hard for. There's nobody I hate. But there's also nobody else with whom I really identify or for whom I can claim a solid 2007 kinship.

Wright? Heresy here, but I've never completely climbed aboard the Wrightwagon with ten toes. It's bugged me ever so slightly all along how he was the anointed one after no more than a half-season, how I showed up on Opening Day 2005 and there were crisp white Wright shirts everywhere. It's probably my Reyes bias showing and my dismay that some idiot higher-up in the Mets' front office actually referred to our David as “our Jeter”. Ugh. I'm deep enough to admit that I'm shallow enough to look past that when he's blazing with the bat. Sometimes I'm that easy. I never said I was as deep as Atlantic Monthly. If Wright hits (and he has a good bit lately), I'm as big a sucker for this guy as anybody.

Delgado? Delagdo was a sterling veteran sage last year. This year he's mostly one long slump who doesn't make himself available to reporters every night.

Lo Duca? The more I think about the raging eyeballs and getting himself thrown out of that game against Oakland, the more I think he's not using that thing under his helmet and behind his mask…his head. It's cute once in a while when he morphs into Paulie Go Nuts, but he really seems to let himself get the best of himself.

Maine? A good pitcher struggling to become great. A quiet fellow. Not enough there to get me excited when he's not mowin' 'em down.

Wagner? I get a big kick out of him and he's the only Met of substance having a far better than 2007 than 2006. But he gives me the impression he'll turn on a dime if he ever has two bad outings in a row. Too touchy for my tastes, though I suppose it comes with the hard-throwing closer territory.

Gotay? Nice contribution from someone I wasn't counting on. Then he became the cause of the year — why don't they play Gotay more? Because he can't turn a double play. It's less Gotay that doesn't thrill me than the aura that's attached itself to him.

Alou? Gone too long. He's in the wholehearted admiration category for now — until he swings at a first pitch and doesn't drive it (swinging at the first pitch and driving it as he did Tuesday night in Pittsburgh…that's fine).

Green? He's doing just a little less than I expected this year, which shows my expectations were pretty low. Thus, I'm kind of in this “it's not his fault he is who he is” forgiveness mode for Green. I won't deny external factors make me a wee bit protective of Shawn, but his RBI total keeps me from getting all Orthodox about it.

Glavine? We've been through this enough. Hell, he's actually moving up the charts.

Feliciano? I liked him a lot even if he was only in there for a batter or two. Say, whatever happened to him?

Pelfrey? Gads, what a disappointment.

Castro? How into a backup catcher can you be?

DiFelice? Like I said…

Castillo? His value, besides the occasional bunt and generally sure glove, is Reyes seems to like him. But Reyes likes all his second basemen. That Reyes sure is a swell kid.

Heilman? He's forever Sherman from Peanuts, right down to way he sets his shoulder to pitch from the stretch and/or join in the Linus & Lucy dance.

Sosa? I've been known to fall for surprising middle relievers (Hausman, Mahomes), but it's only been a few outings.

Lawrence? Not picking him out of a crowd.

Mota? I don't hate him but I don't want him here.

Milledge? Once bitten, twice reserving judgment.

Gomez? Too soon to know.

Smith? I felt that way about him before I felt that way about Gomez.

Schoeneweis? The approval matrix is almost at “backlash to the backlash” at this point. But he's still Scott Schoeneweis.

Hernandez? Outta sight the nights he pitches. Out of sight, out of mind the rest of the time.

Sele? He suffers from being associated only with blowouts the Mets are almost sure to lose.

Easley? I had a fan-crush on him for about ten minutes when he was, not coincidentally, hitting home runs. I love listening to him explain his sporadically successful at-bats. The rest of the time, sadly, he's a 37-year-old journeyman.

Valentin? More or less Easley.

Anderson? Good to have him back. Good. Not great.

Newhan? Playing long-toss with Ricky Ledee, I hope.

Randolph? He deserves a mention here because a year ago I was impressed by his calm demeanor and stoic leadership, this year I think he's a stiff. How could the onetime second base great not go out and argue that horrendous call at second Tuesday night? When did this wretched “transfer” rule supplant common-sense umpiring? But back to Willie Randolph: From Hodges to Howe in one season? I hope not.

Pedro? He hasn't been a 2007 Met.

So buddy, you're not alone in loving the Mets for always yet only kind of, sort of liking the Mets who are Mets this year. Given the standings and the ability to maintain their position atop them despite the lock they've had on lackluster, maybe that makes us the ones who are unlikable.

Editor's Note: Comics maven and illustrator par excellence Jim Haines points out Sherman from Peanuts was better known as Shermy. To my own recollection of him as an Aaron-straight straight arrow with a more formal name, I say Good Grief!

12 comments to I'm Just Not That Into Them (Either)

  • Anonymous

    Question: If the Mets won the WS with this team, would you change your mind in retrospect? Or would you always feel like it should have been last year's team and that this year's team winning is like Dustin Hoffman winning the Oscar for Rain Man because they stupidly denied him for Tootsie?

  • Anonymous

    There is something magical about last year's resurgence, but you have to remember that as much fun as they were to watch, they didn't win it all. This year can never be that year, because it can't be that resurgence, that reprieve from 2001-2005ish. We want, desire, need, and think we deserve, at the very least a World Series fight.
    It's hard to get into it sometimes when you're thinking that it's October when the fight really begins, and despite some lackluster times, we haven't really had to fight yet this year. We've been slapped in the face a couple of times, but didn't fall.
    Here's what i've been getting into in individual performance:
    Reyes, because his excitement is contagious.
    Maine, because he's got more wins this year than some people were thinking he'd ever get. Plus his All-Star slight adds a bit. I may even shell out the money for a Maine jersey, because it's different enough and I think he's good enough to warrant it.
    Wright, because he really is that good. He's not quite a 'carry the team' player, yet, but there were times that despite teamwide slumps, he was hitting. He's been solid and consistant, and I like it. I know he's an easy guy to like and that everyone likes him…but sometimes bandwagons are worth getting on. I hope he doesn't become like Jeter, who excels at always talking, but saying nothing.
    What I really like about Wright though is that he does have strong leadership abilities(I know, another thing that'll compare him to Jeter, buti t's true) He was out there to watch the Cardinals get their rings, he's always around when he doesn't have to be, I remember watching him acknowledge Ralph Kiner when he was warming up nearby on Kiner Knight. I think he will be the captain of this team one day, if they win it all this year, maybe next year. otherwise I can see him starting in Citi Field as the new captain. It's inevitable.
    Joe Smith, because he's young, exciting, was doing well, and takes the 7 train ;-)
    2 months from now you'll be excited as can be and will look at this post in confusion.

  • Anonymous

    For me, winning/losing/postseason etc is neither here nor there. I never equate my level of support or fandom with that (as a Met fan, that's a fool's game…). But I need to feel my team, and I'm just not. I'm a heck of a lot more “homey” with the Twins than the Mets. I am not seeing a cohesive unit I can live or die with, just an ever-changing collection of names and numbers that happen to say “Mets” on the laundry.
    I want Endy back. And Pedro. And I thank God/Omar every day for Billy Wagner. And I worship the Amazin' Johnny Maine. And I love having Little Piranha Luis Castillo here.
    LGM. As always. But sort of… mechanically at the moment.

  • Anonymous

    Impressions are formed and altered by events we don't anticipate all the time, so I reserve the right to embrace any and all Mets who win me/us a World Series or, just as validly, die trying. We remember the '86 Mets at least as much for being comeback wizards as we do for being 108-54 dominant. If we were having this conversation 21 years ago to the day, we wouldn't have cause to consider them one of the gutcheck teams of all time. That came later. So, yes, change is always out there waiting in the seat cushions of life. I'd be happy to update or, better yet, demolish the prevailing perspective on this team.
    I've read that WS-winning teams like the '85 Royals and '55 Dodgers were viewed by their patrons as not the teams that should have won them theirs, that there were better, more deserving versions that got knocked off in prior years (by the same franchise, come to think of it). If, to speak in dreaded hypotheticals, the 2007 Mets rode down the Canyon of Heroes whereas the 2006 Mets simply cleaned out their lockers, I wouldn't feel that at all. 1) It's just one year's difference chronologically; 2) There aren't nearly enough championships available to us that allow me to pick and choose; 3) I've spent 118 days/nights with this team to date, so it's not like I don't care for these guys as a unit and, though not as much as last year, individuals.
    On the other hand, I've always felt a bit…cheated isn't nearly the right word…maybe disoriented that 2000 got what 1999 should have and that 1985 didn't get what 1986 did.
    Gosh I'd love to put these theories into action.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, yeah… I think that's it. Right now I feel like I'm just rooting for laundry.

  • Anonymous

    To deploy the same word in consecutive comments, there's been something disorienting about the current era's arrival. The Mets were always Biblically reliable in their cycles of horrendous and wonderful. Seven years lean, seven years fat, give or take a season. We were rescued in 2005 from having to go the depressing distance, so there's something a little askew in muscle memory to the way we got where we were so “soon” in 2006.
    We went from the disappointment of 2002 (and I'm giving 2001 a helluva pass here because they did gather up such steam late) to the standard embarrassment of 2003 (standard in that there's always one season like that in the cycle) to a little false hope in 2004 eventually smothered in disaster to…deliverance! 2005 wasn't perfect, but it was an airlift out of the morass, Omar Minaya's inverted Marshall Plan (though I guess he did fly in better Mets). We didn't have to keep sucking for seven years. Then, in 2006, instead of incrementally wallowing in 83-79 seasons, we became division champs.
    Too much money was invested on the '06 team to compare it to the great leaps forward of '69, '84 and '97. That's baseball today and it's about time we took advantage. But there was never really a breakthrough moment or episode like there was in those seasons, no Cubs series, no Doctor K, no Mlicki in the Subway Series…no “hey world! look at us! take us seriously!” Instead it was we just bought or took off somebody else's hands some very good players, we were favored, we got off to a great start, we cruised from there.
    I didn't complain one little bit about it in April 2006 and I'm not complaining about it now. But it did rattle my ballological clock some, I guess.
    2 months from now you'll be excited as can be and will look at this post in confusion.
    May you be a prophet with honor in your time.

  • Anonymous

    I hope so. haha.
    I imagine some of my opinions are a little focused on now rather than comparisons to the past because I'm not old enough to remember '69, or '84, and even '97 I wasn't paying much attention. Who knows, maybe the berakthrough moment has yet to come.
    Maybe Pelfrey comes up in September, pitches a no-hitter against the Braves to clinch the division and we go from there. Of course now that I've said that, it'll never come true, but anything can happen right?

  • Anonymous

    Heilman? He's forever Sherman from Peanuts, right down to way he sets his shoulder to pitch from the stretch and/or join in the Linus & Lucy dance.

    OHMYGOD! I never noticed that, but it's deadon! Bravo!

    But I need to feel my team, and I'm just not… I am not seeing a cohesive unit I can live or die with, just an ever-changing collection of names and numbers that happen to say “Mets” on the laundry.

    Oddly, this is how I felt toward the end of 1999, despite the fact that that group got me to my first post-season attendance and the Todd Pratt game. I could not muster up very much love for Shawon Dunston or Darryl Hamilton or Bobby Bo Part Deux or Kenny Rogers. Thusly, when the ump called “Ball 4!” I was unsurprised…disappointed, but unsurprised…

  • Anonymous

    That's hilarious! The 1999 part, I mean. For me, the injection of rented stranagers didn't detract one iota from that team's Quixotic quest for glory. If anything, their addition to the roster imbued those particular journeymen with soul and vitality they sadly lacked when I didn't care who they were. (Yeah, Bobby Bo the Second was an ass, but you need an exception to prove the rule that Bobby Bo is an ass.)
    Of course Rogers and Dunston were gone in 2000 and Hamilton overstayed his welcome. But there ya go…one season and then another…it's the little differences. For example, in 1999 we called a quarter-pounder with cheese a royale with cheese. In 2000, we traded Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick.

  • Anonymous

    I liked (by which I mean “hated, but was later amused by”) the fact that we came to say “Bordick!” with the exact tone and emphasis usually reserved for obscenities.

  • Anonymous

    I know, right?
    I know it's irrational, considering everything and we've had this conversation before, but I really never did warm to that team.
    And it took Beelzebub nearly decapitating Piazza for me to fully give over to the '00 squad.

  • Anonymous

    The '07 Mets remind me of that friend you meet one summer and just really hit it off with. Everything clicks so that even when it doesn't, you're having too much fun to fully register it. In the end, you're real sorry when the school year has to start up again…
    Well, next summer you're all psyched to see your friend and at first everything seems great… but pretty soon you realize that you're not having as much fun as you'd remembered having. You're doing the same stuff, but the laughs are shorter and more forced and you don't have as much to say. You can't get over little flaws that you didn't even notice before and a sudden hanging out with your friend feels less like something you want to do and more like something you should do. Is it my fault things aren't as good? you ask yourself. Are my expectations just too high? Am I not making an effort? And as you drift apart you feel a profound sense of loss that you don't care more…
    Of course, ordinarily you'd have the Mets to fall back on to distract you from your disappointing friendship. Our ace in the hole is leaving us hanging here!
    I'm not a Yankees fan. I don't believe that our team has the divine to kick everyone's ass every time they play. I don't hold losing against a team. 2003 happens. All I want is for my team to show me they want it as much as I do. That you gotta believe.
    And I don't believe in '07. We've got a first place time that acts like they're in last. Like they're just waiting for either the sky or the pennant to fall on their heads. It's like one of the baseball gods committed a two-out error so that no matter how well we play our runs and our wins never quite feel earned.
    I don't know. It's hard to put the blame on individuals. Greg's done a nice job of breaking down the emotional roster. Wright and Reyes are the heart and soul of the team, of course, but even they haven't given me that feeling of crackling possibility when they step up to the plate.
    I feel reasonably invested in El Duque (he's my proxy Pedro for the moment), and in Maine and Perez. In Lastings, in Feliciano and Smith, in Heilman from time to time. I like Paulie for the most part. The others have (mostly) had their moments. But despite the win disparity, I was far more invested in our prematurely successful '05 babies, then in any of our current flock.
    P.S. Could the fact that the Mets haven't felt complete in a long time have anything to do with the fact that they haven't actually thrown a (real) complete game in a long time? That kind of thing can help, you know. That's something I miss, anyway.