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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Pronounce the Man's Name Correctly, at Least for a While

So with K-Rod barely over his tour of Citi Field, he gets a sidekick: J.J. Putz, whose name is pronounced “puts.” As in “puts down Phillie farragos, Brave brouhahas, Marlin mischief and Nat nastiness in the eighth.”

Unless he screws up, in which case it'll be pronounced the way I assumed it was pronounced until I first saw him on national TV.

The downside? It's that Shawn Green is back. Ha ha, no, it's SEAN Green we get, a sinkerballing righty who was a bridge to Putz last year for a while before both he and Putz seemed to lose their way. (In other words, they both got demoted a rank.) Green II is a middle reliever; so we'll throw him against the wall of the season with the rest of the bullpen spaghetti and hope he sticks. Oh, and from the Indians we got Jeremy Reed, a so-far-failed outfield prospect.

Gone are Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez and Joe Smith, along with brief Met Jason Vargas, positionless now-not-a-future-Met Mike Carp and two minor-leaguers, Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera.

A change of scenery and simple regression to the mean will probably mean a much better year for Heilman, and may the baseball gods bless him for it. While the stats said he'd be better just by pitching his way out of statistical noise, everything you know about New York and New York fans suggested that too many bad things had happened for him to ever get a chance to pitch without spectator noise. Heilman is far, far better off — for his own sake as much as ours — as somebody else's problem or, quite possibly, somebody else's nice comeback story.

Endy? If I ever cross paths with him in a bar I'll of course buy him a beer and ask how he ever jumped that high, but as a hitter he was a heck of a defensive outfielder.

Joe Smith, like Sean Green, is a middle reliever.

K-Rod's strikeouts have declined and Putz stumbled through injuries last year, true. But come Opening Day K-Rod will be 27 and Putz will be 31. In the last two years they've accounted for 152 saves. The bullpen killed us in '08; now, it would take a remarkably pessimistic Met fan to deny it's been resurrected.

K-Rod and Putz won't serve as our missing starting pitchers, man the two corner outfield spots and kidnap Luis Castillo. But it's a heck of a start, ain't it? We should remember that even with this upgrade, our bullpen will cause us sleepless nights. That's what bullpens do. But for tonight, at least, we can sleep more soundly.

13 comments to Pronounce the Man's Name Correctly, at Least for a While

  • Anonymous

    Endy, for the third or fourth time, a former Met. Must be a record.

  • Anonymous

    I guess maybe this deal makes sense or it will in a few months, but right now have nothing but venom for it.
    I liked Heilman and his erratic performance and his strange, nearly forgotten one-hitter and his classy warm-up music, even if I dreaded his appearance sometimes. Quite capable of having a good year and maybe getting to start again. Fine.
    Joe Smith is not, contrary to the implications of his name, a dime a dozen. In fact, according to the historical stats search on, he's one of only two Joe Smith's in this history of baseball (the other was a catcher in 1913). He may be a middle-reliever in our bullpen circa 2008–the equivalent in value of a pack of bazooka gum (how many seconds before they pop?), but I think he has set-up man in his future. Plus, I just like him. He's a Cyclones alum, etc.
    And Endy. ENDY. Just being a folk hero doesn't earn you a spot if you're not producing, but c'mon. How many times has Endy come through for us when one of our outfielders went down? And… But this isn't a rational argument. I just don't want to see the END of ENDY.
    I'm not saying Putz isn't a decent pick up. But… all the way over here in France I feel disconnected enough from baseball. This only adds to that feeling.

  • Anonymous

    The wall in left at Citi Field is 16 feet high, even Endy wouldn't have been able to jump that high. This is a great pick-up, two potential shut-down relievers to close the door in the last two innings of games. Most championship teams have at least two dominant relievers: The Reds' nasty boys, Rivera/Wetland, Stanton-Nelson/Rivera, K-Rod/Percival, even Madson/Lidge… No doubt there are still some holes that need to be filled, but this is a great start.

  • Anonymous

    Don't let emotion and fan favoritism get in the way of looking at this trade. It is a purely baseball trade.
    Would it have been nice if they could have held Smith and Endy out of the trade? Sure.
    But Reed and Green essentially replace them, so from a baseball standpoint it's a wash.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I forgot to mention that Putz is such an enormous upgrade over Heilman that it makes losing Endy and Smith totally bearable.

  • Anonymous

    Endy we'll miss you. Unfortunately with these strikeout pitchers, we won't need your defensive heroics in the 8th and 9th.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great trade assuming Putz doesn't act similar to the putz Heilman and whine about his role (how you can whine about going from the worst team in the league to a likely playoff contender is beyond me). They got a quality setup man who can also close, kind of like Wetteland and Rivera in 96. Endy was fantastic defensively, but still a fourth outfielder. Now they need a fourth starter. Would really like to see Lowe here, but I think he's too pricey. I'd really like to get rid of another reminder of failure in Perez, but something tells me we'll be stuck with and his top-step stuff for three or four more years.

  • Anonymous

    I liked Heilman and his erratic performance and his strange, nearly forgotten one-hitter
    Ha! I was at that game. One of my fondest Shea memories was when some guy a few seats over said, “Aaron Heilman's got a 1-hitter in the 7th inning? Am I drunk?” I couldn't stop laughing.
    I guess you had to be there…

  • Anonymous

    See, I include emotion and fan favoritism in my definition of “baseball”. But the point is well taken.
    Let's hope the win-now mentality actually works this time.

  • Anonymous

    …which, assuming we can fill our other main holes: SP, 2B etc., it should…but then there's always September. Can't say the Mets don't keep it interesting. If at times excruciating.

  • Anonymous

    Don't get me wrong, I love Joe Smith and Endy Chavez as much as any Mets fan, and I'm sad to see them go, but you can't see the forest for the trees in this case.

  • Anonymous

    I'll try bifocals in the New Year.
    (That metaphor works, right? Kinda?)