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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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Always Look for the Silver Lining

Last night Emily and I were out with friends and after dinner we all stopped into a bar somewhere in the West Village, picking our watering hole based on the fact that we could see a little lighted square of Mets game up there above the heads of the bartender and the patrons.

On the way to our table I peered at the TV and registered that there was a 4 next to the ATL, it was the fifth inning, and the Mets' score was an ominous-looking round number. Goddamn it, I muttered, then looked more closely, thinking something was off about that 0. Why, it wasn't a zero at all — it was a big, beautiful 8. The Mets had scored eight runs in the fourth and were on their way. Woo-hoo!

Tonight Emily and Joshua and I were out in Dumbo celebrating Joshua's last week of camp and the fact that after eating three years of my life, Star Wars: The Essential Atlas is finally in stores. (Yes, I am a dork of all trades.) We got home around eight and I flipped on the TV in our bedroom. There was a sweat-soaked Bobby Parnell, looking like he'd been hit by a truck. I registered that there was a 9 next to the ATL, it was the third inning, and the Mets' score was an ominous-looking round number. Fool me once, I thought, then looked more closely, hoping something was off about that 0.

Why, it certainly was a zero. The Braves had scored eight runs in the third and boy, were they ever on their way.

Perhaps the lumps taken by Parnell will add up to a learning experience: With garbage time come early, he ought to get as long a look as possible in the rotation, even though that will mean some more poundings like tonight's. And speaking of garbage time, let me ask again: Where the hell is Nick Evans? What is the possible use of getting a longer look at Gary Sheffield, Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan?

Perhaps Luis Castillo's latest gaffe will convince the Mets that he should be sent packing, prompting them to look for a team dumb enough to be impressed by .310 worth of little slap hits and whatever veteran experience Luis offers when he can be bothered to cover second base. (Excuse me, some other team dumb enough to be impressed by slap hits and the quality of being fucking old.) Only $14.1 million and 769 days left to go — give yourself a hand, Omar!

Perhaps there will be more games from the circling-the-bowl phase of 2009 that leave you noting some poetry of the box score. For instance, after Parnell crawled away from the wreckage, Tim Redding, Nelson Figueroa and Sean Green combined for an elegant proof of the Pythagorean Theorem of Suck: 2 IP and 2 ER for Figueroa, 3 IP and 3 ER for Redding, 1 IP and 1 ER for Green. Way to go, fellas!

Perhaps … you know what, I can't grasp for any more straws. Perhaps this season will hurry up and end. It's horrible to want that, but then tonight was pretty horrible, too.

AMAZIN' TUESDAY returns to Two Boots Tavern August 25 at 7:00 PM. Join the two of us, Dana Brand and Caryn Rose for a fun night of reading, eating, drinking and all things Mets baseball (Mets baseball optional). Full details here.

Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

13 comments to Always Look for the Silver Lining

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jason,
    Tuesday night because Angel Pagon busted down the first base line he avoided a double-play which enabled the Mets to score eight runs. Last night Louis Castillo returned the favor by not moving an inch to cover second, allowing Atlanta to score a similiar amount.
    Guess Louie was trying to teach Pagon a lesson by example since he is now the clubhouse leader by default (being the only Met starter from spring training still able to take the field) . Castillo knows what Angel did Tuesday night could set a bad precedent – after all, it is un-Met like to hustle and correctly execute fundamentals. Already down 3-0 in the second inning Pagon has to learn it's not worth getting out of breath for a game already out of reach (sic). Am sure Louis is also trying to teach Jeff Franceaur on what it means to wear the orange and blue.
    Gather Castillo feels he's made his amends for dropping that pop-up in June. Can't blame him — that's what a multi-year contract does to a feller.

  • Anonymous

    I was in restaurant gazing at EPSN's bottom line last night and swore it was a zero next to Atlanta in the top of the fifth. I actually thought to myself “I should have picked up Bobby Parnell for my fantasy team!” I got home and was very, very confused and very, very glad that I hadn't.

  • Anonymous

    I did pick up Bobby Parnell for my fantasy team. Sigh.

  • Anonymous

    Not to totally excuse Luis, but they had no play at 2nd base. The ball was rolled slowly and Hernandez should have looked to immediately throw to 1st to get the slow Anderson.

  • Anonymous

    After his 2-for-2 night, Castillo has an on-base percentage of .456 since July 1 — tops in the National League. …
    Surely, we can't blame things on Castillo–bad play or not. He's made most plays this year and even some great ones.
    Obviously the dropped pop-up was a low point for anyone…but Castillo has been good to very good ever since then…

  • Anonymous

    The real question is, was he positioned badly by the manager or did Hernandez not realize where he was playing?
    When you have a bad manager that insults players on and off his team, this is the kind of disconnect you get.

  • Anonymous

    I agree.
    Dude, Jason. I know you're never going to forgive Castillo for last season, but c'mon. He's hitting over .300, and you keep asking why no one is calling up Nick Evans, who's hitting .227 between Binghamton and Buffalo this year.
    I hope Evans has a great career with the Mets, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to slam one of the few players on the team that has busted ass and managed to stay healthy most of the year, and beg for the call up of a guy who's had, at best, a really mediocre minor league season.

  • Anonymous

    That's true. He's really been all we could have hoped for minus his occasional brain-melting gaffs.
    The thing that makes it hard to stomach is that he has such a huge contract and he just isn't that much of an impact player. Especially on a depleted team like this with no power at all, a slap hitter like Castillo, even when he's highly successful, just isn't worth very much.
    All OBP and no pop only really pays dividends if there's some firepower somewhere behind him. There isn't.

  • Anonymous

    I agree on Castillo, some people just can't get over his lack of power, and it really shows this year with the injuries, it just doesn't matter.
    The point on Evans is Sheffield isn't playing well, 2 doubles Tuesday aside. He hasn't hit a home run in months, is a disaster in the field, and a lot of his hits end up being squibs that find holes. There is no reason this guy should be on the team in 2010, but Evans might be. I say might, because he still needs to prove himself, something that the next 45 or so games might help him do. He's one of the few minor leaguers that has some promise but isn't too young to be overmatched. Reed and Sullivan are the same player, we don't need both even if you want to keep Sheff around.

  • Anonymous

    No, no. You are all wrong. Luis Castillo has no power, no range and routinely makes mental gaffes. He also wilts flowers, curdles milk, keys cars for fun, gives babies colic, slips extra calories in meals, invented pasties and laws against buying beer on Sunday, causes you to accidentally send email to the person you're complaining about, and generates global warming from a secret undersea lair. All of this is obviously and irrefutably true.

  • Anonymous

    Jason –
    I don't know if you caught it, but you got a shout-out on the Jim Rome show yesterday from Sally Jenkins (for your work on WSJ). Her dad Dan is my favorite sports author – you and Greg are tied for second.

  • Anonymous

    I heard about that and was very flattered. Sally is good people. And her Dad is a Twitter god.
    I think I'm about 100 places too high on your own list, but thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I think Sheffield has been great for the team this year, and it's kind of tragic in a way, because there's just absolutely no way the Mets could or should try to extend his contract for 2010. Seriously. That guy needs to get an agent now. You'd hate to see a historic player like that fade out with a horrible bad voodoo season like this. He could still be a designated hitter for many an AL team, but the Mets just can't afford him for next year.
    And I agree about Reed & Sullivan. Very similar players. But with Evans, (and I did like him a whole lot last year), how does the organization reward mediocre minor league play with a late season call-up? The minor league system is pretty messed up as it is for the Mets. They've been calling up the Andy Greens and Wilson Valdezez because they're playing well and the season is toast. Good for them.
    But, as a shout out to all the stupid scouts, our minor league system isn't the wreck that a lot of them are saying it is. The Mets were crazy snakebit this season, and it has caused a lot of disruption from Flushing to Binghamton.