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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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The Crazy World of Daniel Murphy

Some Atlantic League general manager will eventually decide to unite Daniel Murphy and Elijah Dukes in the same outfield because crowds have always been attracted to trainwrecks. May the Good Lord have mercy on that craven GM's soul.

Manny Acta sat Dukes yesterday. Jerry Manuel started Murphy. Dukes' team won. Hmm…

Murph seems the polar opposite of Dukes in terms of personality. Everybody agrees he works real hard and occasionally he runs toward and dives for a ball, resulting in a spectacular if momentary success for the Mets. Then a ball is hit at him and, as Daniel himself admits, those are the toughest ones for him to handle, no matter how much he practices catching them instead of, as he did Sunday, flopping to the ground. “It just comes off a little different in the game — a little harder, a little firmer,” the kid was quoted Sunday.

You feel bad for the kid. You really do. The kid, however, is a starting Major League outfielder. And these games count in the standings. Hmm…

Daniel Murphy could be the Mets' next big marketable star, assuming the Mets discover the sense to position him properly. They mustn't pretend they know he's going to excel. Emphasize the excitement inherent in never knowing what you're going to get from Daniel Murphy. Bill him as the Human Box of Chocolates.

Same idea could be and has been applied to Oliver Perez, albeit with more bittersweet overtones. Perhaps he rated his three-year, $36 million contract because the Mets figured they were getting two pitchers for the price of Ollie. But Good Ollie is apparently sequestered away down in extended Spring Training somewhere while Bad Ollie is right here sucking up the other guy's mojo. At this point, you're developing a pretty good sense of what you're going to get from Oliver Perez. And it doesn't involve anybody's money's worth.

Damn, are we back to this? Mocking two of Our Boys just because the unit as a whole was bush and lost to a bunch widely considered incapable of nine full innings of even fleeting success? Yeah, that's about the size of it. The Mets used up their weekly CQ (Crap Quotient) in St. Louis, so, no, they're not allowed the standard bad day exemption for a day this bad against Washington. Bad Mets! Bad!

There were 360 degrees of bad on display at World Class Citi Field (save for the company of my friends the Chapmans and the distraction of my lunch the tacos). Dismal starting pitching. Ineffectual relieving. Comical glovework. No baserunning acumen (Slide Carlos! Sli…oh never mind). No clutch hitting, of course, but no hitting would also cover that. The Mets were no-tool players Sunday. They are no-win players most every Sunday. Where in the basic agreement is it written that, on the seventh day, they rest? They're 0-3 on Sundays this season and haven't allowed us to experience an unblemished Sunday at home since July 27, 2008, which was a whole stadium ago. They won the back end of Shea's last day-night doubleheader in September, but that was a .500 Sunday…not that .500 doesn't look pretty good right now.

Casey Fossum has been designated for assignment and let's hope the assignment involves a very long field trip. I have nothing against this gentleman, but I have to confess watching a lefty in 47 — with the modern-day drop shadow (thus making those numerals Orosco-proof) — brought back memories of the one person I never again wanted to see during a Sunday 8-1 loss viewed from high above left.

Can't blame T#m Gl@v!ne for never exiting my subconscious just as I can't blame Casey Fossum for not magically erasing Perez's indelible mistakes. But here was my real problem with Fossum, and I imagine it was mine alone: his name is Casey. It is my instinct to urge on every Met pitcher I encounter with a simple “c'mon” followed by his first name. “C'mon Ollie!” “C'mon Sean!” “C'mon Whoever!” But when I heard myself utter “C'mon Casey!” I was stopped cold. I haven't called out to a Casey since my beloved second cat exited the game, so to speak, in 2002. Thus, every time I tried to call out to our pitcher, I couldn't get it out of my head that I was futilely attempting to communicate with a member of a species predisposed to pay my exhortations no heed. “Casey! No! You're getting mop-up hair all over the mound! Bad pitcher! Bad!” Mets long men, not unlike my own cats, rarely listen to what I have to say.

Like I said, nothing personal, but I'm kind of glad somebody brought out the big spritz bottle for Casey Fossum. And that I've never had a kitty named Ken Takahashi.

There are worse things than losing to the last-place Washington Nationals by seven runs — such as not securing your copy of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

Listen Tuesday night/Wednesday morning midnight to WOR 710 AM when I join Joey Reynolds to talk Faith and Fear and whatever else he's got in mind.

6 comments to The Crazy World of Daniel Murphy

  • Anonymous

    Greg – I've been browsing through my box of Ollie Perez chocolates. About one in every three is a tasty piece of chocolate. The other two-thirds of them just look like chocolate.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    I remember when he first came up Ron Swoboda was just as bad in right but patience and practice turned him into a decent fielder so the same might hold true for Murphy.
    But for the present, maybe the Mets knew something because those in the left field prominade are spared seeing all of Daniel's miscues.

  • Anonymous

    Check out Amazin' Avenue's argument that Murph is a Defensive Stud!
    http://www.amazinavenue.com/2009/4/27/855040/daniel-murphy-defensive-studuv7db

  • Anonymous

    The real difference between Elijah Dukes, Outfielder and Daniel Murphy, Outfielder and the reason it's not really fair to compare them is that Elijah Dukes, Outfielder has existed professionally since 2003 while Daniel Murphy, Outfielder came into existence a mere four games before his recall to the Mets last August, where he existed for an additional 32 games.
    Then, of course, through a remarkable lack of foresight, the Mets went ahead with their pre-arranged promise to send him to the Arizona Fall League to learn to play… second base. Which he did (badly according to the accounts I've heard) and I'm not certain whether he got to play the outfield at all.
    I'm fully as frustrated as anybody else… but Murphy has a long way to go before it's reasonable to start comparing his career bad outfield accomplishments to a Master like, say, Lonnie Smith. Dukes has had far more time to establish his bad outfield credentials, so he's got to be ranked way ahead in that category.

  • Anonymous

    For that matter, Gary Sheffield, Outfielder most certainly has enough experience to be compared to the elite bad outfielders.
    How long until somebody terms the Mets' outfield situation “The Curse of Endy Chavez”?

  • Anonymous

    First at bat of tonight's (4/27), fly ball to left field. I get nervous for a moment then see Sheff is out there… then he drops the ball. (sigh) Black hole in left field indeed.
    Interesting stuff on the ground rules through Alomar's accent, but did it have to take up two Met at bats?