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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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Wise to the Warning

Opening Day is wonderful. Your team plays, the fans cheer. If you lose, what the heck — it sure is nice to have baseball back. If you win, you feel like there’s no way you’ll ever see another loss. Look at that! Did you see what we did to those guys? 162-0, baby! This is the beginning of something beautiful!

The Day After Opening Day is often different. Lose that one, and suddenly you realize you’re in for the long haul. Huh. That stank. We’re a .500 club. This could be more difficult than I thought.

And when the Day After Opening Day sees a beloved icon go down with a hamstring problem, and then declare on his way to New York for an MRI that he heard a “pop” before limping off the field, you realize that long haul could be a lot more difficult than you thought.

Pedro had had such a good spring. I know. I also know, as we all do, that such a good spring means nothing. Just as such a terrible spring means nothing. But a pop in the hamstring of an aging starting pitcher means quite a bit. It means … well, we’ll start to know soon enough, but it probably means no Pedro J. until May. And it certainly means that all of our attempts to tell ourselves that the Mets’ problems with age and infirmity were overblown lasted exactly 12 1/3 innings. Less than that if you count Alou’s groin and El Duque’s foot and Castillo’s knees and Beltran’s knees and Wagner’s back and Delgado’s hip. Which we weren’t doing yesterday, because it was Opening Day and we won and we were glorious.

Did I mention it’s not Opening Day anymore?

Matt Wise may or may not throw more meatballs to indifferently skilled hitters. Ryan Church may or may not give away more at-bats by pressing against relievers who’d shown themselves constitutionally unable to start every hitter with anything other than a 3-0 count. We don’t know either way and have no particular portents to sort through in deciding. But aches and pains and creaks and pops and strains and pulls and the clawmarks of Father Time? We had plenty of warnings about those even before we got another.

13 comments to Wise to the Warning

  • Anonymous

    So not only did Mrs. Lincoln have ample reason to not enjoy the play, but the last scene of this revival of Our American Cousin totally blew. And Soilmaster Stadium is as big a blight on our history as Ford's Theatre.
    It's not exactly the plus side, but when Matt Wise emerged from the bullpen, I saw 38 and blurted to no one, “Skip Lockwood,” unusual in that 38 is generally the province of Jerry Cram and Rick Aguilera on first glance. Skip Lockwood never gave up a walkoff homer to a Florida Marlin, but I imagine he could have. In his last inning of work as a New York Met in 1979, Lockwood gave up a home run to George Foster, surely a more legitimate power threat than Robert Andino.
    It's not a plus. Just an observation.
    I was going to start looking at brochures to see how I'd be spending the balance of April, May, June and so on, but I'm guessing we'll strap it on for the next 160 regardless of the pop heard 'round the Sack. What the hell, Pedro wasn't going to start more than another 31 games at most.

  • Anonymous

    The Mets won 88 games last year without Pedro for more than five months. But this year it's Santana in lieu of Glavine.
    I'm saddened and disappointed, as much for the great Martinez as I am for us.
    But don't look for me on the ledge just yet.
    Injuries happen to every team and must be overcome if it is meant to be.

  • Anonymous

    I'm devastated, deflated, shellshocked, heartbroken… the whole enchilada.
    This may be the end of the line for Pedro. I remember hearing him say that if he got hurt again, he was hanging up his spikes.
    It's all so unbearably sad.

  • Anonymous

    I can't totally give up on Pedro yet. The Pop Heard Round the Blogs notwithstanding, I think he'll come back to win some games for us. My optimism might be idiotic, but I'm sticking to it.
    But man, that lineup looks pretty top-heavy without Alou. No Pedro and we suddenly start to look like a team with a bunch of stars and a bunch of scrubs.
    First MLBTV blocked me yesterday, now this. My season is off to a rip-roaring start. Still… there's baseball on. And that is good.

  • Anonymous

    I swear I made my “pop heard round the [blank]” joke before I read this comment.

  • Anonymous

    I'll try to put this as eloquently & succinctly as I can::
    shitshitshitshitshitshitshit!

  • Anonymous

    Cheeeezzz, this totally killed my new-season buzz.
    So, who are we seeing on the hill at Opening Day Tuesday? Sosa? Niese? Lima?

  • Anonymous

    I think we're about as likely to see Kong as we are Lima.
    In fact, given a choice between the two, I know who I'd rather see pitch on Tuesday.

  • Anonymous

    Don't rule him out.
    (But Figueroa's reportedly getting the call.)

  • Anonymous

    Hey, if Joe Hietpas can do it…
    I'm hoping they just skip spot and have Perez pitch on Opening Day. I really don't need to watch the Phils pummel Figueroa on what 's supposta be the best day of the year.

  • Anonymous

    I know this isn't the heart of the matter, but let's cut Matt Wise a little slack. Even as his fateful final pitch was leaving his fingers, the SNY announcers were saying that he ought to be challenging a weak, inexperienced hitter like Andino and not fooling around out of the zone, as he did on the first few pitches of the at-bat.
    So Wise was trying to do just what the baseball C.W., the fans and the guys in the booth all said he should: come right at Andino and make him put the ball in play.
    Yes, Wise let the pitch get up a little too high in the zone, and he's to blame for that. But nobody could have thought Andino was a threat to homer, since his career tally to that point stood at exactly zero. There are, what, 175 relief pitchers in the majors now? I'd say at least 150 of them would have gone with a fastball over the plate in that situation just like Wise did.
    Andino gets a hat tip, Wise gets a shoulder pat and a friendly “gotta keep it down in the zone in that spot, even against a no-name rookie,” and no boos are called for.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed that we shouldn't crucify Wise for making a bad pitch–he looked pretty good facing the first two batters of that inning–but it was a bad pitch. I don't think he was challenging Andino with a fastball, really, he actually just hung a change up. Oops. It happens, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

  • Anonymous

    Agree with you both — high change-up in same spot as last high change-up, but these things happen, and while they're not to be dismissed, one such thing happening is no reason to bury a guy. (Same thing for Ryan Church's singularly useless at-bat. Noted, no pattern as yet, let's move on.)
    As for having a name I could twist into a semi-pun or whatever it was I did there, no mercy. :-)