The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com.

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

In Jose We Trust, In Jose We Must

To be estranged from your favorite Met is strange. I know. I've been sort of on the outs with mine since last September.

I still wear my three REYES 7 t-shirts; my overpriced Jose Reyes button is still affixed to my plush home run apple; no Met has been elevated above him in my esteem, official or otherwise. Yet Jose Reyes and I haven't communicated much since things unraveled. I haven't lit up at the thought of him, haven't embraced the sight of him, haven't Jose-Jose-Jose'd hardly at all. And Jose hasn't really reached out to me.

Is there hope for us yet?

The annual day of renewal is at hand, so the benefit of the doubt must be issued. On Opening Day, Jose Reyes will bat first in Miami and I will put my hands together and he will take it from there. There's no point going to bed angry at your favorite Met and emerging from hibernation in the same old snit. I've been down on Jose since September, down in a way I didn't think was possible, down for reasons I can fathom but don't like doing.

The Mets as an institution did not do themselves proud when last they played for money and honor. You can count on one hand the individuals who bathed themselves in glory and have enough fingers left over to tell Jimmy Rollins what he can do with his portfolio of predictions and pronouncements. We were laid waste by a teamwide epidemic, but with the exception of a certain undevastatable lefthanded pitcher who doesn't live here anymore, nobody was more of a poster child for determined underachievement than Jose Reyes.

My favorite Met sparked everything good about the Mets in 2006, just as he had since coming to the big leagues in 2003. If, in between, he wasn't as polished as some would have liked, it was just a matter of time, I swore it was. He was a work in progress, like young Jed Bartlet in the “Two Cathedrals” episode of The West Wing when Mrs. Landingham told him that he missed a spot.

I didn't miss it. I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Jose got to it by '06 and in the first half of '07 he was on it but good. Then he got off it. The National League Player of the Month for April was nowhere to be found come September. It wasn't that he sucked (which he did), it's that he was almost on a mission to suck. He swung mindlessly, he ran recklessly if at all and he…he just wasn't Jose Reyes anymore. He was some time-marking pod person counting down to when he could ditch this stupid game and this stupid team and go hunting and fishing and maybe gravedigging. He comported himself like a latter-day Richie Hebner, for crissake.

I look at certain Met holdovers and I cringe a little for this year given how last year became last year and whatever troubling dispatch has wafted north from St. Lucie. Has Delgado completely fallen apart? What to make of Wagner's back? Beltran's limbs? Is the perpetual cold shoulder vis-à-vis being the one guy with the potential to fill the fifth-starter role yet never again given a chance going to catch up to Heilman? Is Ollie's arm OK? His head? Will Wright, as blameless as a Met could be as everything around him withered, have the strength to start it up and carry that weight again? Or will he be reduced to churning out quotes about how we're all out there giving it our best, Willie knows what he's doing, my circuits are fine, this does not compute? Contrary to how it looks sometimes, even David Wright is human.

Jose Reyes is way too human, it turns out. Jose Reyes has months, maybe even halves of seasons when he's not superhuman, when he's not the whirling dervish of home-to-third legend, when he's not beating out ground balls because he appears interested only in beating it out of town. He's having a nice March — every time I see a highlight, he's diving into something — but he had a fantastic early 2007 and in the end it amounted to a hill of nothing. No, it was worse than nothing. It was alarming the way he phoned it in on offense and wasn't nearly enough of an Ordoñez to make it up on defense. I was alarmed. I wonder if he was.

Does all that just go away now? I've seen him interviewed. He's smiling the Jose smile. He says everything is fine, everything is dandy. He looks a good bit like the Jose Reyes with whom I fell truly, deeply, madly in baseball love five summers ago. But I stare hard and I see the Jose Reyes from a September to dismember and I struggle to see the leadoff hitter of my dreams and the man who's gonna get on first base enough to get us back to first place enough.

Come back Monday, Jose. Come back for real. All will be forgotten and forgiven if you do.

23 comments to In Jose We Trust, In Jose We Must

  • Anonymous

    I hate Tom Glavine.

  • Anonymous

    Who doesn't?

  • Anonymous

    I would love nothing more than to see Jose rip a onehopper off the wall in left center on the 7th pitch of his first at-bat.
    That would be definitive.

  • Anonymous

    That would make him Jose! again, rather than merely jose…

  • Anonymous

    Another great post Greg. As far as Reyes goes, someone mentioned to me last year that maybe he went the path of Dwight Gooden. Let's hope not, because I think that is the only thing that can derail his career (apart from a horrible physical injury). As far as Delgado goes, I am not expecting much from him this year, he reminds me more and more of Mo Vaughn, unfortunately. But if Beltran, Wright, and Reyes come through on offense; and Santana, Pedro, Maine, and Wagner come through with pitching, it should be enough for the Mets to win the NL East.

  • Anonymous

    He'll be fine. He's been made aware of the magnitude of his late-season disappearance, and I think he's ready to make up for it.
    And thanks for reiterating the Heilman point, which I was also making at this time last year. As Gary said the other day re: the fifth slot, “so what's Plan C”? El Duque appears to be close to done. Pelfrey isn't ready. And good ole Willie acts like our only option is to throw someone old, new or sucky out there. “What About Aaron?” The guy's paid his dues, give him a shot. It's time. And as it stands, Plans A and B are definitely inferior options.

  • Anonymous

    Wright was on a tear in the 1st half of 06 and then started declining after the all-star break. He started 07 miserably and finished very STRONG. Maybe history repeats itself w/ Jose (of course Wright's decline was not as a huge downward spiral as Jose's, but similar).

  • Anonymous

    Off topic, but jphillips41 is my new hero!

  • Anonymous

    I think he's more valuable in the bullpen by far — take him out of there, and the whole shaky house of middle-relief cards looks a lot shakier.
    I'd say Plan C is Nelson Figueroa. Nice story, too.

  • Anonymous

    Gold, Jerry…gold!

  • Anonymous

    My instinct is to believe the Heilman ship has sailed, but then I watched someone as unlikely as Braden Looper go into a starting rotation last year and think nothing is impossible. But Aaron has probably screwed himself as a starter by being a fairly dependable reliever…and by there being nobody ready to fill the vacuum he'd leave behind.
    Pelfrey's still only 24 but he sure seems older, and not in a good way. Then again, we were probably saying the same thing about Heilman three years ago.

  • Anonymous

    Fabulous stuff!

  • Anonymous

    Believe me, I agree with all of this. I know perfectly well we'd be left with a pretty big hole where his innings used to be. But me being who I am, I'd rather fill that hole with someone else, and fill the other one–at least for the time being–with someone who has earned a shot at the rotation, as opposed to a promising rookie. It's kind of unfair to keep doing this to the poor guy when there's a glaring vacancy he could fill. I wasn't a big fan of his when he was a brat whining about not being a starter when he hadn't yet earned that, but now he has. He did what was asked of him all this time, with nary a whimper. He deserves to be rewarded for that. “All I am sayyyyyiiiiiiiing is give [Aaron] a chance…”

  • Anonymous

    OMG!!! Priceless!!! I couldn't help but get a real charge out of the conventional jacket…
    Thanks, Charlie!!

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if having Castillo with Reyes at the top of the order to start the season help Jose, I've read that Reyes will tone down the dancing act this season, I just hope it's not gone altogether and that he has fun out there.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn't really happy to read that, either. What I hope is that someone has taken him aside and explained to him that it's great to be lively and enthusiastic, just don't be a jerk about it. I'm sure Jose recognizes and gets pissed off about jerk-like behavior by opposing players, so he should be able to tell the difference and modify accordingly.

  • Anonymous

    Man, that left field wall sure looks naked without all those seats behind it!
    Very cool video, jphillips!

  • Anonymous

    You're welcome, but I hesitate to take too deep a bow.
    I found this at Neil Best's “Watchdog” blog, via BTF…

  • Anonymous

    It brought me up WAY short to read today (in Jim Baumbach's piece in Newsday) the startling fact that Aaron Heilmann is now the longest-tenured pitcher on the staff.
    How'd THAT happen?
    Baumbach's take is that while Aaron would still like to start, he's at peace with his bullpen role and is focused on doing it well. I have a feeling that if Willie came to him now and said, “I need a start from you,” he'd press, overthrow and get pummeled. Go with what works, I say.

  • Anonymous

    I picked Jose over Hanley Ramirez

  • Anonymous

    …on my fantasy team–so he better justify that faith. But that's what fear's about in flushing, huh?

  • Anonymous

    It's funny what you pick up in an article like this…
    “Undevastatable.”
    Man, you rule.
    (oh, and I see Jason picked up the same thing)

  • Anonymous

    I think Ricky gave him some sort of advice that went sour after a while. He was doing great until mid-August.