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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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Don't Call It a Collapse

The Mets aren't collapsing. They are deflating. There's a difference. Time remains to pump them back up. But if they don't get the air back into the balloon, there's no shame attached. I did not dream amid the mess of April, May and June that the Mets would be clinging to the remnants of a division lead in mid-September. For the better part of July and August, even, I kind of waited for the inevitable sag. Maybe this isn't it. Maybe it is.

I'll accept the raised if potentially false hopes of summer as fleeting if indeed they do not translate further. And I'll take an explicable September crumple — no fifth starter per se, a fourth starter in name only, the wrong second baseman unavailable, temp closers nursing their groins — and not look upon it an overly harsh manner.

We know what last September was. This, however it turns out, isn't that. This barely had a chance of being where it is. This was wing and a prayer territory and look how far both got us. It got us a half-game ahead of (and fuck you Mike Schmidt, I'm not talkin' to you) a deeper, more talented and healthier rival. The Phillies ain't perfect but they do have Brad Lidge and they do have Brett Myers and they do have Ryan Howard and all of them are on fire. True, we have Johan Santana and we have three stellar hitters with a hundred RBI apiece and we've got heart, but we've also got deficiencies and then we've got nights where we forget to pack the bats for the road trip.

I could be wrong. I could be very wrong. I could be thrillingly wrong. I can't wait to be wrong. But I swear when I saw Elijah Dukes' home run flying toward the left field stands at Nationals Park, I decided we aren't winning this thing. Sanchez delivered. Dukes swung. And there I was…wavin' Two Thousand Eight goodbye. You can only write off an unreliable pen for so long before you have to put it in the books as possibly not meant to be.

We are, on the other hand, still in first. We do, on the other hand, still have 13 games to go. The Phillies, Lidge and Myers and Howard notwithstanding, ain't Superman and they ain't God. And no matter how you phrase it, this ain't an encore of you know what. That's not the way this one goes down.

I shall not permit it.

7 comments to Don't Call It a Collapse

  • Anonymous

    it's true, those who say that this is last year all over again have not been paying attention. this is an imperfect blend of players who are generally doing what they can to win, often astonishing and delighting us, not some zombie crew doing the dead-met-walking bit.
    blame, if blame it is, must be shouldered at least as much by the gm who assembled this team as by the players he selected. if you're going to opt for the bullpen as the priority over the starting rotation (and despite the signing of santana, that's how it's been here for at least three years) then you have to get thoroughbreds in the stable, not just horses.
    At both the start of the year, and then all season long, there have been questions and concerns about the middle and late-inning relievers, and there has only been the weakest bit of patchwork applied. many of the folks who were unreliable, out of gas or just not up to the task last year are unreliable, out of gas, not up to the task now: why would you expect otherwise?
    all that said, this team has come up with some very stirring performances, with players so able to put bad nights behind them that they must suffer from short-term memory loss. (have someone look at that — after the season.)
    if, as some say, the mets should have learned from last year, i think for the most part that the players have. if they fail, it is simply about not having the right horses there at the end. no shame in that.

  • Anonymous

    This team is not last years team.
    There are several positives going on right now that were not there last year.
    1. Johan Santana instead of Tom Glavine
    2. Carlos Delgado of the latter half of 2008 instead of Delgado circa 2007
    3. Jerry Manuel instead of Willie
    The rotation is better than last year. The pen is about the same. Jerry will hopefully use the young guys (Parnell) as opposed to Willie, who treated Humber like he had desecrated Yankee Stadium.
    Time for the bats to hand out some beatings. And for the starters to continue to do well.
    In times like these, I listen to the words of Tug.

  • Anonymous

    No. Nonononononono. Nonononononononononononono.
    (My Ben Kingsley Sexy Beast imitation)
    In 2005 I gave the Mets a pass. “It was our first year contending, we're back.”
    In 2006 when we obviously should have won it all there was at least the attitude of “That was a fluke, guys got hurt, anything can happen in a short series, this division is ours.”
    In 2007 it was a once-in-a-lifetime collapse. “Oh, that'll never happen again.”
    No more excuses. We have a huge payroll, veteran leaders, all-stars. We imported one of the best pitchers in the game. I don't want to hear about right or wrong horses. It's time for the guys that are here to man up and bring it. The bullpen sucks? That is a given. Deal with it. Score some more damn runs. How about a clutch hit once in a while, fellas? Stretch the starters more. For gosh sake, if Ricardo Rincon is getting people out, leave him in!!!
    Look, I'm not a Yankee fan. I don't feel entitled to anything. But Jeez, this is right there within reach, and we're throwing it away. “Well, they tried” isn't gonna do it for me this year.

  • Anonymous

    Amen, brother . . . you go with the guys you have and it's high time that those guys man up . . . Willie's no longer the convenient scapegoat and Jerry's done little wrong . . . this time is on the players and them alone

  • Anonymous

    These last three days are a reminder of why I always inadvertently call this brilliant website Fear and Faith, not Faith and Fear. For Met fans, Fear always comes first, these days in the form of a call to the bullpen, a lead-off hitter who has disappeared again, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm… how'd they log me in as “anonymous”? That rant was me.

  • Anonymous

    Jose Reyes, the incredible shrinking man come September