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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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Catch Us If You Can

Y'know, I was about to be extraordinarily hindsightful and ask why we couldn't have kept Johnny Estrada around in case both our catchers were to be found grabbing their groins and such come mid-March, but I just checked and I see Johnny Blue Jeans is sitting with tendinitis, so maybe catcher is just one of those things we can't have for a while. It happens once a decade or so. Maybe Tim Spehr isn't busy. Maybe we can hold the fort with him and Alberto Castillo and Rick Wilkins and Jim Tatum and Todd Pratt until the third week of May until we can acquire Mike Piazza should we become impatient for the reactivation of Todd Hundley.

Maybe if this were ten years ago.

What's up with this? We'll all be guzzling Schneider Schardonnay if nobody's capable of stepping up and squatting down. Ron Darling said Ramon Castro is in the best shape of his life this spring. Ramon Castro's life hasn't been about shape up to now, so that wasn't reassuring, especially after watching Castro lash a ball into the left field corner and seeing him struggle his way to first. Ouch.

Lots of ouch around here. Had been getting the idea that Carlos Delgado was finding his groove (I did a lot of that last year) only to look up and see him escorted off the field by a man in a golf shirt. He was standing off third when Brady Clark's bat shattered and sliced his arm good. Only in St. Lucie, kids, only in St. Lucie.

Not that it's all bad news from the town of Tradition. Pedro Martinez threw four shutout innings yesterday, his first four innings that weren't simulated; the more Pedro that is actual, the better. Matt Wise appears to be the real deal — or as real as a middle reliever can be — and Scott Schoeneweis is hinting he may truly be the effective lefty the Mets thought he was when they generously lined his pockets the winter before this one. Plus nobody else, as far as I know, was attacked by Brady Clark's bat Sunday. Maybe things will be all right. Maybe we're just one inoffensive (though hopefully not too inoffensive) Molina away from fielding a full roster.

In the meantime, Lenny Dykstra is still happy. Good for him.

The Faith and Fear Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown is almost at hand. Watch this space. Until then, contemplate a true Shea Stadium original and wonder why nobody's called Ron Hunt home lately.

12 comments to Catch Us If You Can

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Fortunately, the injuries to Schneider and Castro, along with the cuts on Delgado's arm, are not considered serious and in an interview last Friday, we got re-assurance from David Wright who said all these injuries appear more serious than they really are in spring training because every player out of the lineup (except for Alou) would be playing if this was May.
    As far as Matt Wise, we saw yesterday he could field and last year he broke George Sisler's seasonal mark by batting 1.000 (OK, one for one) but even though his ERA was a decent 4.19 (25 earned runs in 53 innings) he also allowed five unearned runs which makes his overall mark 5.40 runs per nine innings with a marginal 1.453 WHIP. Yet, I agree with you, if he can duplicate either of his prior two seasons with the Brew Crew (3.36 ERA and outstanding 0.964 WHIP in '05 and 3.86 with a good 1.331 WHIP in'06) he'll be a great addition to our middle relief

  • Anonymous

    I'm no fan of reserves who cannot stay healthy, so I was a little baffled when they re-engaged Castro and I'm not surprised he's hurt already. I mean, I love the guy but he is absolutely worthless to us if he's not available when we need him: That's what being a backup is all about.
    I've decided I don't hate Raul Casanova that much. Switch hitter, got some power. The trouble is he's 35.
    Anyway. Bigger picture issue here is — bench players have to meet a higher standard of health & availability than their starring counterparts. If Castro, who's missed half of the ast 2 years with back spasms, isn't healthy enough, he should be some other team's burden.

  • Anonymous

    It might be time to re-up Sandy Jr.

  • Anonymous

    I loved both Wilkins and Tatum (I know, SHOCK!) Not sure I like the suggestion that Mike would just be a bookmark while we wait for Todd “Mendoza Line” Hundley to be reactivated. HA. “Reanimated,” more like. BTW, be careful what you wish for. Bambi's still kickin' around out there. I saw him over the winter.
    I'm kind of liking Matt Wise too. That Maddux-esque play yesterday certainly didn't hurt.

  • Anonymous

    I was waiting for the gentle admonishment, but I figured I'd just do it myself… MY BAD. I misinterpreted what you meant. You know how I get re: that subject.
    Can we PLEASE just get Mike back and be done with it??

  • Anonymous

    Funny you should say that Ronnie mentioned Ramon is in the best shape of his life. Reminds me every year when the NY sports rags would all glow about how Sid Fernandez lost a ton of weight in the offseason, and yet he always looked like he was smuggling Buddy Harrelson in his uniform Opening Day.

  • Anonymous

    One spring Sid came in looking like he had rid himself of his spare Buddy. He claimed it was because he put mustard on his baked potatoes. I've never tried, but it worked for him, at least until April.

  • Anonymous

    Can't be too much different from putting mustard on knishes, can it?
    On a related note, David Wright's looking a bit less… pudgy this year. Let's hope he sticks to mustard for a while as well.

  • Anonymous

    This probably isn't the place to post a comment about an earlier post, but I just read the post about the 1980 season. I too was 17 that summer, and have great memories about the Mets of that time, especially from May to mid-August when they stayed in contention. I felt like the only Met fan in world those days, amongst a sea of Yankee fans. Brilliant post Greg! As for today's situation, yes I wish they had kept Johnny Estrada.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Gary, and it's nice to know the likes of you and me weren't alone, not technically. And mentioning 1980 is appropriate in that at the rate we're going, Butch Benton will be backing up Raul Casanova pretty soon.

  • Anonymous

    Butch Benton…classic! He had 1 hit for the Mets in 1980! Also, I don't know if you get SportsNet New York – it is the cable station that televises all of the Met games – well they show classic Met games a lot, but they are games that are always from winning seasons (the one exception is the David Cone 19-strikeout game from 1991). I wish they would show a game from 1980 – how about the one where they came back from 6-0 against the Giants – can we get a petition going? :)

  • Anonymous

    Right after that, we'll be solving the common cold.
    I have a very specific memory of a conversation with another Mets fan from the summer of 1980. It was on the boardwalk in Long Beach. I was listening to one of the games Butch Benton caught, probably the game in which Butch Benton got his hit, and fretting at the shortage of Met catchers.
    “Whatever happened to Ron Hodges?” the guy asked me.
    “He's injured,” I said.
    Ron Hodges had been out more than a month and it made so slight a difference that one of the few Mets fans extant that year didn't notice.