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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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A Change Has Kind of Come

Life is too short, time is too precious and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been.

—Hillary Rodham Clinton

Yesterday's news, literally, was the Mets' stirring comeback win against the Angels…that's yesterday as in Pacific time, though as I heard somewhere time of day is strictly a matter of perception. Gary Cohen called the extra-inning triumph the biggest win of the year. I'm fairly certain the Mets have collected the biggest win of the year about a half-dozen times in 2008, yet it's unlikely that each simply outshone all of its predecessors and we know for sure that none of them had any legs in terms of what came next. I have no idea whether Mets 5 Angels 4 in 10 was the biggest win of the year. Let's take the Bobby V route and say it was since it was the only game they played Wednesday and today is Thursday.

I hope those were some signs we saw, not just another aberration amid the mediocrity. Wright reaching out and touching K-Rod was a great sign. Wright reaching out and foiling Kendrick — give that man a Gold Hand Award! — was a fantastic sign. Reyes and Easley you can figure out for yourself, signwise. Endy regains his Endyness the more he swings, which is gratifying from a good ol' Endy perspective but really a godsend considering that this batting order, dominated by bench guys and castoffs, looks like something out of 1943. Whatever their merits as hustlers and gamers and, for a night, achievers, it's tough to monitor a procession in which Anderson, Nixon, Easley, Chavez, Castro and Tatis are prominent and not think, “The healthy guys are off to war, these must be the 4-Fs.”

The best sign of them all was watching Oliver Perez endure his standard awful inning and being left in to deal with it. No disrespect to the departed Rick Peterson, he whose jacket was stripped in the conversion to Tuscany tile, but I was thrilled that New Pitching Coach Dude (still trying to learn their names) didn't spend a lot of time pouring ketchup on Ollie's ice cream and that Jerry Manuel didn't pull Perez after the usual inning from hell. Ollie and the Mets survived the Angels' four-run fifth. Maybe it was the DH being in effect, but Perez coming back for a 1-2-3 sixth felt more solid than hardwood flooring. Giving your starter some rope and showing your starter some faith is the way you can manage the game when you're not scared for your job. You make the starter pitch and you don't run through relievers like Skittles.

Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

The Angels, though it was hard to notice amid the Sturm und Drang that surrounded this series, are a swell team to watch, rightly praised by Gary and Ron for their aggressive, loosey-goosey style of play. It doesn't take much to convince me the Angels are a quality outfit. They're my nominal favorite American League team since 2002 and Vladimir Guerrero is the only opposing player who puts me in mind of what it was like to watch Hank Aaron when I was a kid. You didn't want Hank Aaron to beat you, but if he did, so what? He was Hank Aaron. I used to refer to Vlad as The Greatest Player Who Ever Lived in deference to the overwhelming hype he received at every at-bat. I wasn't, however, being ironic. I'd prefer he not beat us, but Vladimir Guerrero doing so almost doesn't bother me. There's nothing not to like about him and he will carry no asterisks en route to his Hall of Fame election.

OK, so I consider the Angels a team that hovers above us mere mortals, but that's not my point here. My point is the way they play the game, the Bingo Long zest and all that? If the Mets tried it and got thrown out trying to take extra bases as often as the Angels do, we'd hear without end what unprofessional morons the Mets are. LAA's a perennial contender and Scioscia is as stable leading his team today as he was placid hitting demoralizing home runs against our team twenty years ago and they must be doing many, many things right out there by I-5. But if the Mets were pissing away baserunners the way the Angels did when Willie Randolph won his last game and when Jerry Manuel won his first game, whoever was managing the Mets would be skewered to within an inch of his professional life. Or worse, fired in the middle of the night…since it's always the middle of the night somewhere.

Speaking of he whose shove-off came to light in the wee small hours of the morning, Willie Randolph seems to have led the Mets about as long ago as Salty Parker did, doesn't he? Talk about yesterday's news. On SNY's SportsNite, after a recap of the Mets' rubber-game win, there was a piece on Willie's Side of The Story, essentially how Omar's version of events is full of it. I tend to believe Willie in this latest tapping of the hoary sitcom dueling-flashback device (“you should get down on your knees and thank your maker for a friend like Omar!”), but I tend to believe with much greater fervor that I'm no longer interested in Willie Randolph. As in the case of Peterson, there's something invigorating about not having Randolph around. When his picture shows up on TV or in the paper, it's a downer. It's a reminder of all that went wrong. It's a shame, too, because of the good he did when he did it, but I don't think I quite appreciated how badly this dugout needed a change. As faintly unsettling as it is to stare at these mysteriously appearing coaches and, to a certain extent, Manuel as manager because I'm just not used to seeing them in their newly assigned roles, I'm fairly grateful that what was no longer is.

I can only dream of how special it will be when there's a new GM.

19 comments to A Change Has Kind of Come

  • Anonymous

    I miss Darren Oliver. This team misses Darren Oliver. What was wrong with him again?

  • Anonymous

    I tend to believe Willie in this latest tapping of the hoary sitcom dueling-flashback device (“you should get down on your knees and thank your maker for a friend like Omar!”),

    CLASSIC!
    I'm actually more reminded of the All In The Family version of this device, which involved a 3-sided point of view of the story of the fridge getting repaired by Ron Glass, who was either:
    a.) Stepin Fetchit (Mike's version)
    b.) Eldridge Cleaver (Archie's version)
    c.) Nice young guy who happened to be African-American (Edith's version)

  • Anonymous

    you should get down on your knees and thank your maker for a friend like Omar!
    Cheese it, Bernazard!!

  • Anonymous

    You're like a viscious St. Bernard…

  • Anonymous

    not disagreeing wiht anything you wrote — the air tastes cleaner from here, too – but just checking, greg: is this the official end of “in omar we trust”?

  • Anonymous

    Greg -
    Mark Healey has some interesting reporting at Gotham. Essentially calling Bernazard a latter day Goldis and Livesley.
    As for Jerry, so far, so good. Lacking Willie's aloofness, a plus. Knows to apply reasonable discipline to a youngster.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. It is.

  • Anonymous

    Sturm und Drang, not Drung

  • Anonymous

    I always screw that up. Will fix.

  • Anonymous

    For the first time all season, I'm thinking to myself, “shit, I wish there was a game on tonight.” I am finally excited about this 2008 season. It may be a little foolhardy of me to be so ga-ga over 2 games w/ Jerry (god knows another blown save by Wags would put me back in place), but I can't help myself.

  • Anonymous

    Thought of that one, too, but “get down on your knees and thank your maker” springs to mind every time there is a disagreement in the retelling of a tale.

  • Anonymous

    See, this is what I don't understand. There wasn't anything special about last night's managing. Willie could've won the game too. Or more importantly, Easley and Wright would've won the game. You're implying that you feel more confident now than you would if he'd still been here and the Mets in the same position. I'm not more confident than I was. I still think the Mets can, and likely will, win, but I don't look at Manuel and think ' oh goodie, fresh faces'. I think it looks like the same team, in general. Maybe Friday night was the turning point. Maybe last night. Maybe July 4th against the Phillies. Maybe never. too early to tell, but the only freshness I see is the one associated with the media finally having to shut up about the manager, one way or the other.

  • Anonymous

    What about leaving Ollie in for a while, even after a bad inning, thus keeping the bullpen arms a bit fresher *and* giving Ollie a chance to man up and redeem himself a bit?
    Of course, this may be more attributable to the pitching coach change than the manager change, but I think we will see a new way of doing business out there under the new regime which will translate into a few more wins.

  • Anonymous

    I dunno. The last two games have just felt like they were being managed by a manager that wasn't in fear of his job, and players that weren't feeling like they were still playing through last September. A manager that's not afraid for his job lets Ollie work through the kinks, even if it means losing a mid-season game. He makes David Wright a designated hitter during the same game that he makes Jose Reyes take a rest. He allows them to play music in the locker room after games and says he doesn't give a shit about their haircuts.

  • Anonymous

    And by that, I didn't mean that they didn't have confidence in Ollie, because they left him in and he really came through and we won. But yeah, he would have been pulled in any other game in that fifth inning situation this season. And Smith or Sanchez, Schoeneweis or Feliciano or Vargas would have come in under way too much pressure and given up a couple of runs and left feeling like crap, and the result may or may not have turned out the same.

  • Anonymous

    Willie pulls Ollie and forces our bullpen to throw 5 innings, abso-fuckin-lutely. Even with the DH, Willie uses 6 pitchers in that stretch. And maybe Jerry also understands, “wow, our bullpen let's inherited runners score like fucking crazy! Better wait until it's an absolute emergency.” Bottom line: if Willie's managing Wednesday's game, the score at the end of 5 is 7-3, not 4-3.
    And no way Reyes runs his ass off with Willie at the helm.

  • Anonymous

    I am currently down on my knees and thanking my maker for Odd Couple references.
    You made me misty (applauds).

  • Anonymous

    Greg – Re your last line, and thanks to MLB.com:
    NEW YORK — Former Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky has landed a new job in the Mets' front office. Krivsky will be a special assistant to Mets GM Omar Minaya. He will remain based out of Cincinnati, but he will also travel.
    “I'll be doing some scouting before the trade deadline and special assignments in August and September,” Krivsky told MLB.com.
    The Reds were 21 games into this season when Krivsky was dismissed on April 23 and replaced by Walt Jocketty. Krivsky became GM in Cincinnati in February 2006. Krivsky's deal with the Mets runs through Oct. 31, but it's possible that he could remain with New York.

    Are those vultures circling over Flushing?

  • Anonymous

    The team Krivsky built is doing wonderful things this weekend.