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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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Knowing Nothing In Advance

Just over a month ago I speculated on composition of the Opening Day roster of the New York Mets. I was 80% right.

Do I know my team or what?

Apparently not so much. Even allowing in advance for the possibility of injury, I actually penciled in for March 31 the names Moises Alou, Ramon Castro and Orlando Hernandez, a trio that has spent a combined 472 years, give or take, on the Disabled List since 2007, including right now. They are replaced, respectively, by youthful Angel Pagan, ancient Raul Casanova and possumy Mike Pelfrey.

Matt Wise made the team after all, but Duaner Sanchez did not. He is another ultimately unsurprising disablee, replaced at least for now by Joe Smith, who has shown a penchant for confusing batters in springtime. May it be a long spring for Joe Smith.

And the kid from 2007, Ruben Gotay, is unfortunately Atlanta-bound, replaced by THB Class of 2002 member Brady Clark. Clark's presence among us is a moderate upset given the reported surge in support for Fernando Tatis in the past week. Gotay's loss is a little distressing, especially since he wound up claimed by the Braves (the only thing we'd like them to claim is last place), but I won't pretend I was his biggest supporter. I liked half his bat — the right half — if little of his glove. But the kid was fast and had moxie, as evidenced by his contribution to the memorable five-run ninth the Mets pinned on the Cubs last May 17, and this team could always use more moxie, to say nothing of speed. Then again, Brady Clark wore 93 in St. Lucie (since reduced to 44) and made the team, so that's pretty moxieish if you're scoring at home.

We've been down Pagan's path a bit and it's thrilling to watch an original Cyclone swirl into Opening Day as the Mets' starting left fielder, though a healthy Alou, if such a commodity exists, would be preferable in that role. Whatever Wise chips in will be a welcome upgrade from the way Guillermo Mota crumbled under the pressure of serving up snacks to opposing hitters (without a side of HGH). Pelfrey feels like he's been trying to live up to his prospects since the days of Hank Webb (who played with Tug McGraw, who played with Julio Franco, who played with Mike Pelfrey), but maybe there's some baseball version of lousy dress, great performance at work with him and his tantalizing right arm. The most intriguing thing to me about Raul Casanova is that he was actually the player to be named later in the deal that sent Wally Whitehurst to the Padres.

Yeah, a lot later.

Your crew of 2008 Mets is set for now, and I do mean now. It changes and changes and changes again in the course of a season, so unless you're one of those people who must absolutely have a baseball card for every Met who's ever played, don't get too hung up on who's not here and too attached to who clings to the fringes…unless you are so inclined. It's baseball season almost. It's as good a time as any to develop irrational attachments. Even rational ones.

We are only 24 hours from Johan. I can't wait.

9 comments to Knowing Nothing In Advance

  • Anonymous

    As much as I miss Gotay, or like Pagan in the outfield, it all becomes 'less' of an issue by this time tomorrow. The actual games start, and we get to blow off Gotay's home runs for Atlanta with things like “We're in first place, who cares?” or when Alou has a set back “At least Pagan is hitting well”

  • Anonymous

    Let the games begin.

  • Anonymous

    we get to blow off Gotay's home runs for Atlanta with things like “We're in first place, who cares?”
    HAHAHAHA, a fan after my own heart.

  • Anonymous

    By itself, losing Gotay to waivers is shruggable, though you'd think they would have pulled him back and tried to trade for him instead — a guy who can hit over .300 against the most frequently encountered type of pitcher is bound to be attractive to some club.
    But it's more disturbing as part of a pattern — compared to last year, this team is much less of a threat on the basepaths. Losing Milledge, Gomez, Green and now Gotay, and with Castillo and Beltran iffy from the hips down, this team figures to steal at least 30 to 40 fewer bases this year than last, not to mention all the extra bases not taken and pitchers not rattled by having to throw over as much.
    Speed on the paths up and down the roster was a big part of the Mets attack last year. Now it's just Wright and Reyes who really work that element of the game.

  • Anonymous

    Get this: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/preview08/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=3320120
    Jayson Stark and a few others over at espn are picking the Braves to win it all this year. Poor fellas must be bored.

  • Anonymous

    Your point is well taken, Anonymous. We are a bit slower of a team these days. We even lost Lo Duca's “closet wheels.” And I think it's very astute of you to point out not only the fewer stolen bases but also the increased comfort level of the opposing pitchers. Speed is a gift that keeps on giving and it's always a pity to lose it. Especially in the national league.
    On the bright side though, Pagan is very fast, much faster than Alou, certainly. So we might get some compensation in that regard. Endy offers that as well.

  • Anonymous

    If Endy even gets in there.
    I'm banking on Beltran's wheels coming back before the break. (Right now I believe what I need to believe… I'm a Met fan. It's what we do.)

  • Anonymous

    I don't think that's so crazy. I don't think the Braves will have the pitching — they've got to have the old guys not be too old, the young guys not be too young and Hampton not be in the trainer's room — but that lineup is awesome.
    The Braves no longer scare me as THE BRAVES who inevitably did us in year after year after year — we killed that monster with the Turner Field sweep in 2006. But as “another good club in the East that could be really good,” they scare me quite a bit.

  • Anonymous

    *sigh* Oh, Jace. JaceJaceJace. I can't believe you're saying this again. Will you never learn?