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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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'This Is It' & That Was That

That was the last time Titanic saw daylight.
—Rose DeWitt Bukater

I remember reading a quote from a young man who worked for the Al Gore campaign in 2000. The Supreme Court decision that halted all vote-counting in Florida came down on December 12, a Tuesday night. For months after, the kid confessed, he felt haunted on a weekly basis. Every Tuesday night reminded him of the night of December 12, the night the high court handed the election to the other candidate. A little melodramatic, I thought, but passion and disappointment will do that to a person.

Today is November 30, the last day of the month, the first time a month has ended on the 30th since September 30.

On September 30…do I really have to mention what happened?

The next time a month ends on the 30th, it will be April, a Wednesday. The Mets will, as they did in September, be playing an afternoon game at Shea. The Pirates will be the visitors. It will be the 27th game of the 2008 season, barring postponements. By then, with a record somewhere between 0-26 and 26-0, we’ll have fresh concerns. Knowing a month is ending on the 30th won’t mean anything in particular where baseball is concerned.

This afternoon, the 30th lingers for me as I suppose it has at least once every waking hour since September 30, 2007 became September 30, 2007. At this moment two months ago, I was watching some Marlin walk, or not be out on a potential double play, or reach base in advance of other Marlins doing more and worse damage. The variables, the villains, the victims…no need to go into them again.

It was the last baseball game we watched with a sense of overriding purpose. No wonder it sticks in the mind’s eye.

Last week, Stephanie and I were in Stop & Shop stocking up for Thanksgiving. The store’s music system played “This Is It” by Kenny Loggins. I’ve always liked that song. It’s No. 348 in the Top 500, in fact. I nodded when I heard it on September 30 in a large outdoor setting somewhere west of Stop & Shop.

You think that maybe it’s over

Only if you want it to be

Wow, I thought. That’s pretty appropriate for today, September 30.

Are you gonna wait for your sign, your miracle

Stand up and fight

Yes, absolutely…stand up and fight!

Your back’s to the corner

This is it

Don’t be a fool anymore

Uh, yeah…like I said, very appropriate.

This is it

The waiting is over

Funny thing about a song, even if you like it, even if it’s on the nose at the moment you’re hearing it: It can go on too long. And the more I heard “This Is It” before the first pitch of September 30 with all its admonitions that you Mets better be ready for what’s ahead, the more I began to worry. When you’ve lost 11 of your previous 16 and seen a seven-game lead turn into a first-place tie, a four-minute song played to completion gives you a lot of time to fret.

“This Is It” would in short order segue into That Was That, and we know how that went. Now when I hear “This Is It,” as I did in the supermarket last week, I get a little queasy.

Four months and a day to Next Year. Whatever it brings, it can’t start soon enough.

OH — AND WE SEEM TO HAVE TRADED LASTINGS MILLEDGE TO THE NATIONALS FOR SOME ODD REASON.

We get Brian Schneider, who’s been catching for a while (bye bye Johnny), and Ryan Church, the last batter John Franco ever faced as a Met and someone who apparently takes his last name a little too seriously.

The Milledge era is over too quickly to assess him as a finished product. We probably take our own prospects too much to heart to evaluate them in terms of their value on the market as a whole. But at 23 next year and with plenty of tools still in his shed, this doesn’t seem like a lot to get back. Maybe he really is attitudinally damaged goods in more eyes than not. Maybe Omar’s building something more than we can see. But at the moment, trading Lastings Milledge today hasn’t really upgraded my opinion of months that end on a 30th day.

33 comments to 'This Is It' & That Was That

  • Anonymous

    Brian Friggin' Schneider. A Met.
    Ugh.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like every year it becomes harder to be a Met fan. Brian Schneider? Ryan Church? Awesome, we just traded our best prospect in 10 years for Ron Hodges and Dan Norman!

  • Anonymous

    Milledge is a less talented Milton Bradley. He won't be missed and he won't amount to much.

  • Anonymous

    Our best prospect in 10 years? Milledge? He's not the best prospect this year as he was thoroughly shopped and this was his value. Gomez is more desirable right now, and I believe those prospects named Reyes and Wright worked out a bit better than Milledge's .257 Met BA. I'm not saying I like the trade, but let's not get crazy with our assessment of what Milledge has been. He may get better, he may not, but as of right now he wasn't regarded nearly as highly as some Met fans would like to believe, certainly not worthy of a Seaver reference.

  • Anonymous

    Few occasions can't be brightened by a Seaver reference, context notwithstanding.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, we'll see. I'd keep the 22-year-old with speed and power and potential in place of a 29-year old without any of the above. Is Schneider supposed to be the second coming of Jerry Grote or something? I do not like this at all.

  • Anonymous

    A talented young ballplayer named Lastings
    Whose bat and wheels were both fast things
    He started at Shea
    But was gone the next day
    No more will he get the fans' blastings

  • Anonymous

    And I thought this trade left me speechless.

  • Anonymous

    I get the feeling another shoe's gonna drop here.
    (Erik Bedard? Please? Pretty please?)

  • Anonymous

    Omar is on the FAN saying this is all about Schneider's defense and strength up the middle, more important than anything.
    Which is what every GM says when he doesn't want to say anything at all.

  • Anonymous

    He is doing some major tap-dancing. Church has “produced”. Produced what?
    Nice of these two to finally get around to discussing the deal, once they got the important stuff like Cowboys-Packers, college fotball and the irrelevant Knicks out of the way.

  • Anonymous

    “Fotball”?

  • Anonymous

    Don't know what that is, but maybe the Knicks should give it a try.

  • Anonymous

    Today is also my birthday.
    Oh, and I run the largest Milledge-dedicated blog on the Internet.

  • Anonymous

    Someone out there on the blogosphere claims that Oakland's Beane likes Church.
    I'm disappointed that Lastings became a commodity of limited value. Reading that Omar's been shopping him – and others – for a top shelf starter but no one wants him in a multi-player deal.
    Meanwhile, not so long ago, Mets could have had Haren for Milledge straight up.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    9/30/07 will always be as devestating to Met fans as 9/30/55 is for fans of James Dean.
    We also know there are many solid hitters around who bounce from team to team because the headaches they bring are simply not worth it. This might become the story of Lastings Milledge.
    It also seems I'm one of the few who thinks the trade strengthens the Met roster. A .270 hitter, Church might hit more than his 15 homers with Washington since he played half his games in a stadium known as a hitter's graveyard (which might also explain the 40+ doubles). He also drove in 70 for a club with few baserunners. With more run scoring opportunties this total can rise as well. Most tout Schneider as the Met's starting catcher but I see him as a third stringer. In either case, having three qualified backstops provides Willie with more manueverability in the late innings (and avoid games like last year when he ran out of catchers).
    We still don't know how the team will eventually look but with Church and Beltran, the Mets can now use Chavez in left along with Alou (I have my doubts as to the amount of games the injury-plagued Alou can be counted on to play). Gomez might also get a shot or be used as trade bait for a pitcher (this year's Milledge?).
    Will admit I was shocked when the Mets didn't get a pitcher for Milledge but considering how little interest there is now in the problem child I guess Church and Schneider were the best Omar had to chose from.
    Again, it was best to trade Lastings – if 9/30/07 is one of the dreariest days in Met history, so must be 9/29/07 for a near no-hit performance by John Maine that seemed to put us back on the right track was all but derailed by Lasting's dance steps that riled up the opponent and (along with Gl#vine) caused the disaster of 9/30/07 to occur.

  • Anonymous

    I always liked 2 for 1 deals..Milledge I doubt will be missed-unless he comes to the plate against us with some actual motivation!.
    The hell with him now-he's a Phillie!!
    Rich

  • Anonymous

    Happy belated BD, BT. By any name (Fryin' Schneider?) yours is one of the best blogs going. Keep it up.

  • Anonymous

    Joe, keep in mind that on 9/29, Lastings went 3-for-5 and drove in 3 runs. If all it takes is a little dancing to rile up last-place opponents to a point where the Mets can't beat them, well, then there are a lot of players who need to boogie on out of here.

  • Anonymous

    I hope this is just my imagination, but it's starting to seem like a reprise of the post-1986 era around Met-dom.Every player that is even slightly controversial is being shipped out. Lo Duca, bye-bye. Milledge, same thing. Delgado will probably be next. Maybe we can get Jose Lima for him.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Along with the boogie steps there were those two little square dances which cleared both benches and bullpens.
    During the Saturday game both Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez voiced dismay over Milledge's antics, emphasizing that to rile up a last place team with nothing to lose was the last thing the Mets needed since they were already uptight enough playing with the season on the line (it was showing those last two weeks).
    We all know Ron and Keith are honest in their criticism (unlike so many other jocks turned broadcaster and hype-artist) so if they felt Milledge's dance would be taken as a slap in the face by the Marlins and could rile them up (causing adverse affects on the following day's play) they knew what they were talking about.

  • Anonymous

    I don't know where to start with this one. I guess it is shame on Omar for trading Milledge for an anti-Semite. But also, do the Mets really believe that they are better with Schneider and Church starting than LoDuca and Milledge/Gomez/Endy? I think that with veterans in left and center, right field was the place to let a youngster develop. And I will never understand why they have been interested in trading away players to get a catcher who isn't as good as LoDuca, one of the few guys with heart on a team that badly needed it last September.
    Perhaps the best that can be said for Church and Schneider is that they knew how to win in September. Unfortunately, 5 of those wins came against the Mets.

  • Anonymous

    Church and Schneider were the best Omar had to chose from
    Suddenly I'm depressed.

  • Anonymous

    I think Church has demonstrated a bit more power, both in the bigs and in the minors, than Milledge. In fact, one of the biggest on-the-field knocks against Milledge is whether he'll ever develop enough pop to warrant a corner-outfield position; if not, then he had no future with the Mets unless he could unseat Beltran.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, they were asking Omar why he no longer wanted Lo Duca. Considering that, in the same conversation, they were asking him about a lawsuit from Torrealba, Omar showed the proper restraint by talking about Schneider, rather than answering their questions about Lo Duca.

  • Anonymous

    I think they're better right now — although Milledge's subsequent development could alter that conclusion in the future.
    If they retain Church, he'll likely be a nice offensive upgrade over the late Shawn Green, offering sorely needed extra-base pop from the left side of the plate.
    If they flip Church as part of a package for a front-end starter, it will likely be because other GMs see him as a better value than Milledge.

  • Anonymous

    What's all the more impressive is that he managed to keep the names straight while dealing with three essentially identical players in Schneider, Loduca and Torrealba.

  • Anonymous

    I think the more pertinent question now, unfortunately, is whether Ryan Church will ever develop enough pop to warrant a corner-outfield position.

  • Anonymous

    In 2007, Church finished 12th among NL outfielders in slugging.
    Had he qualifed for the leaderboard in 2006, his .526 SLG would have put him at 6th among NL outfielders.

  • Anonymous

    Which means the there's a chance the answer will be “yes.” Given the sample size and a 29 year old with a whopping total of 35 career home runs, I'll reserve judgement for now.
    If Milledge's value is such that he is no longer an essential chip to be used in acquiring a top flight pitcher, I'd rather have him in RF than Ryan Church.
    I hate this trade.

  • Anonymous

    sometimes i hate being a mets fan

  • Anonymous

    You are far from alone in this sentiment. It was the second thing that crossed my mind (after Ryan Church?!! WTF?!!!).

  • Anonymous

    I'll be sad not to see Schneider at Nats games down here. He always made me think of Schneider from One Day at a Time, which cheered me up, and when you're watching a team like the Nats, you need every bit of cheer you can muster.