- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Some Gone Millionaires

The Academy would like to pause for a moment to remember those Mets who have left us in the past year…

Gustavo Molina, 2008

I was surprised — and, oddly, a little disappointed — to find Gustavo isn’t, in fact, part of the seemingly inescapable Molina catching clan. Perhaps “molina” means “receiver” in some Spanish dialect, much the way someone named Cooper can bet he had an ancestor who made barrels. Or perhaps it will mean that one day.

—March 20, 2008

Willie Collazo, 2007

He’s 28, but he’s also a lefty who strikes people out. Might escape his Zephyr card yet. Might also never be heard from again.

—November 6, 2007

Ricardo Rincon, 2008

Ricardo Rincon has been nailed to a cross constructed of forMicah.

—September 26, 2008

Ambiorix Burgos, 2007

Ambiorix Burgos came into pitch the ninth and get the pretend save. I expected a nine-run disaster that would prompt an avalanche of calls to the FAN that we must trade this guy at once and bring back maybe Jorge Julio, but no, he pitched well.

—March 1, 2007

Jason Vargas, 2007

Dave Williams and Jason Vargas and Aaron Sele are the pitching equivalent of spaghetti hurled at a wall.

—January 31, 2007

Andy Phillips, 2008

Did I know, Ben asked, that the Mets have started 12 different leftfielders this season? I did not. Could I name them now that I knew there were an even dozen? Alas, I could come up with only 11/12ths of them…the one I didn’t get was one-game starter Andy Phillips.

—August 26, 2008

Abraham Nuñez, 2008

Chris Aguila is apparently up, Abraham Nuñez is undeniably down. The Mets are riding ’round in a hole in the ground.

—June 11, 2008

Chris Aguila, 2008

Topps has obviously hired some obsessive Met fan. How can I tell? Because Chris Aguila got a Met card.

—November 22, 2008

Brady Clark, 2002; 2008

Brady Clark was here. Now he’s gone. He left a hole on the bench to carry on…

—May 28, 2008

Trot Nixon, 2008

Moises Alou…Brady Clark…Matt Wise…Trot Nixon…they were all 2008 Mets when I could barely tolerate the 2008 Mets. They’re all getting paid somewhere in this organization to heal. I’ve lost track of Nixon.

—July 26, 2008

Matt Wise, 2008

A long winning streak could begin to unspool as soon as Wednesday night, and Tuesday afternoon would go into the books as an unpleasant stumbling block that had all the staying power of Matt Wise.

—April 8, 2008

Raul Casanova, 2008

There were no weekend express trains — and what locals there were sat like Raul Casanova and crawled like Brian Schneider.

—April 12, 2008

Claudio Vargas, 2008

Even with the bases empty, a tenuous 2-0 lead, built on Wright power and awaiting the benefit of opposing catcher’s interference, needed all the help it could get to keep Claudio Vargas’ goose from being prematurely cooked and to keep the newest era of Met good feeling from dying at the tender age of two days (as eventually we’d be positioned, per usual, to fall victim to the status Kuo).

—May 30, 2008

Ruben Gotay, 2007

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.

—March 30, 2008

Jorge Sosa, 2007-2008

After lying back and enjoying it, I still can’t get over Sosa, who looked so bad all last year and all spring. I had read his New Orleans pitching coach tinkered with his arm slot. Is that really what it was? An arm slot? These guys get to the Majors, struggle until their jobs are in jeopardy and then it’s something as simple as “hey you, move your arm this way, you’ll throw more strikes”? Wow. Who says pitching coaches don’t earn their paychecks?

—May 6, 2007

Luis Ayala, 2008

A fog rolled in to the depths of Shea Stadium. Everything grew hazier and hazier until I was taken to what was called the piece d’resistance: a ghostly image — a hologram, actually. It was Greg Norton launching a three-run bomb off Luis Ayala in the ninth inning on September 14, 2008. “Whoa!” I said again. “This is already here? This is here with everything else that has destroyed our spirits and represents all that has gone wrong at Shea Stadium over the past twenty-plus years? You’re already listing this in your catalogue of horrors?”

—September 15, 2008

Joe Smith, 2007-2008

I admired Joe Smith’s first-night guts if not his first-night results (he threw strikes, the rest will come).

—April 2, 2007

Scott Schoeneweis, 2007-2008

Has some brains, gives you hope by knowing enough not to get stoned in the woods or to sneak off and make out with the hot counselor from the camp across the lake. But inevitably slips in the wet grass and then scrabbles helplessly in a vain effort to get up as the escaped lunatic fires up the chainsaw. Oogh. That was gross.

—September 18, 2008

Orlando Hernandez, 2006-2007

El Duque was vintage El Duque (vintage in this case possibly referring to the 1940s, but that’s OK).

—June 24, 2007

Damion Easley, 2007-2008

I love when it’s Damion Easley lifting the team on his shoulders because it means Damion Easley will be interviewed by Kevin Burkhardt after the game and Damion always tells Kevin something interesting. Friday night, in response to a question about how the team is feeling, he answered that the team feels confident. Boilerplate, I suppose, but he added, it’s “the earned confidence,” earned through the hard work of a team that had been diddling around for too long, that woke up and got busy living. He didn’t say that part quite that way; he didn’t have to.

—July 12, 2008

Moises Alou, 2007-2008

Alou would show up in those taped messages telling you to not toss your crap on the field. They offered merchandise with his unfamiliar face on it at the concessions. He was listed in the program. You knew he was still technically affiliated with the Mets, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on what he did for them. Now you can. Today reminded us why on the verge of 41 he was signed for a year and why it made perfect sense. He hits the ball hard almost every time up.

—August 12, 2007

Aaron Heilman, 2003-2008

Dorian Gray had a portrait that aged so he didn’t have to. Maybe Aaron Heilman could try that trick. With every bad outing, the portrait would get a little more squinty, a little more hangdog, a little more slump-shouldered, a little more looking like it just built into an industrial-strength lemon or walked into class and got handed a pop quiz. The advantage, of course, is this would leave the real Aaron Heilman looking not at all that way. He’d remain broad-shouldered and impassive, even as batters strolled to first and balls found holes and boos rained down on him.

—May 14, 2008

Endy Chavez, 2006-2008

We knew instantly that people would still be referring to it for years and here we are, 20 years later, and I don’t even have to elaborate. I say “Endy Catch” and you can still see it (I mean in your mind as well as on those ads for the Chavez Defensive Instructional Download). Anyway, we thought we had some momentum. The Mets had a long history of sensational postseason moments and the Endy Catch was surely one of those. We usually won when those happened.

—October 20, 2006

Pedro Martinez, 2005-2008

Sunday reminded us Pedro Martinez is more than a Met. He is the Met on these Mets. Due respect to other names and other numbers that dot the backs of our tribe, it is MARTINEZ 45 that truly cloaks us. He is the flagship player of this franchise. He is our banner, our symbol, our coat of arms. And when he showed up to pitch from the Shea Stadium mound for the first time in 2007, I was reminded as well that there is truth in advertising. It took 142 games, but our season had come.

—September 10, 2007

Mets for all seasons are remembered fondly and otherwise in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets [1], available for pre-ordering now via Amazon [2], Barnes & Noble [3] and other [4] fine retailers.