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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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Believing (and Not Believing) in the 2010 Mets

Shortly before the Mets’ crack baseball folks heard about Carlos Beltran’s surgery and carefully aimed the rifle at the blasted remnants of their own feet, I spent a good chunk of time contemplating this post by Amazin’ Avenue’s Sam Page. Based on WAR, it showed the pre-Steadmanized Mets as an 83-win team. Page then offered some ways the Mets could add some more wins, through a combination of new moves and better luck in-house. A Joel Piniero signing would net 2 more. A trade of Luis Castillo/prospects for Brandon Phillips and Bronson Arroyo would be worth an eye-popping 5. The addition of any catcher (something even the Mets should be capable of) would be worth 1. In-house, better years from Wright, Reyes, Oliver, Pelfrey (far from impossible with a real infield), Maine and a breakout from Niese would add 7.

You can play with the possibilities yourself over at AA. Add them up, and the Mets are in the 90s, and quite possibly in the postseason. Yes, these same Mets who won 70 games last year and have since decayed in memory to Cleveland Spiders territory. None of the ways of ascending from 83 wins is from the WFAN crackpipe school (“Why doan we, uhhhh, trade Daniel Murphy and dat kid F-Mart to da Cardinals for Albert Pujols?”), as Piniero and the other pitchers discussed by Page are presumably within the Mets’ grasp, and the potential trade with the Reds is at least a possibility.

Maybe it was just the usual effect of changing the calendar and being able to think about spring training, but I was feeling surprisingly optimistic. And while the early-season loss of Beltran knocks a win off of that total, if the Mets make the right moves, they should still be better than OK.

Ah, but there’s that “if” — and that gets us back to Beltran.

The real problem with the Beltran news isn’t the loss of our center fielder until sometime around Memorial Day, though that’s obviously bad enough. It isn’t the risible he-said, he-said mess that’s been all over the papers of late, though that’s embarrassing. It’s that there’s no scenario you can reconstruct in which the Mets don’t look like bumbling fools. (For the record, I suspect Andee had it right the other day: The team doctors and Omar agreed with Steadman’s diagnosis and told him to proceed, only to have Jeff Wilpon freak out and order up a self-defeating media dumb show to assuage his anger.) Whatever the case, the Mets amply demonstrated their own mistrust in Omar, drove a wedge between themselves and one of their best players, and gave the universe of reporters, agents, baseball executives and fans still more evidence for suspecting they’d screw up a one-car funeral. Way to go, gang!

And that’s where all that WAR threatens to fall to pieces. If the Mets can’t manage an unfortunate but apparently straightforward situation in which Carlos Beltran needs knee surgery, can you trust them to swing a potential deal with the Reds that would greatly improve the club? Can you trust them to fill the rest of the off-season’s holes capably? (I was feeling better in this regard before. Now that’s gone.) Can you trust them to make the right moves come June? At the break? At the trading deadline?

For more and more of us, the answer is no. We don’t trust this team. We don’t trust that it’s being run effectively, and so we don’t expect it to win. And so, consciously or not, we harden our hearts and close our wallets.

Ultimately, that’s much more damaging — and harder to fix — than anything in Carlos Beltran’s knee.

14 comments to Believing (and Not Believing) in the 2010 Mets

  • That’s a good analysis Jace – very well stated.

  • Jason the big problem is we Mets fans see this problem but Lord Farquard Willpon doesn’t, he thinks just because he watches “Scrubs” he knows more about medicine than the Dr Altchek.

  • Ray

    The officially sanctioned slogan for this team should be “Ya Hadta Go Out On A Limb to Believe!”

  • Ron Davis

    What would it take to force the Mets to sell their club. it would be in the best interest of all Mets fans nation wide.

  • Joe D.

    Know I’ve said this before but Citifield represents the zenith of the Wilpons’ ineptness.

    They build a team around power and then a ballpark that negates it.

    They build a shopping mall and convention center where one can see shops and restaurants but not a park where one can see all the playing field from his or her seat.

    They have the park reflect a team that’s been on the west coast for over 50 years rather than the one it was built for.

  • “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.” – Doris, Miracle on 34th Street

    I’ll need a healthy dose of faith for the 2010 season.

  • Rob D.

    I’m a bigger Met fan than Jet fan, but damn if Gang Green hadn’t made me forget all about the blue & orange until the Beltran fiasco. I’m on the green tidal wave for as long as it goes. As I told my son in 2006 (I’ve typed this before)…you have to enjoy the ride because we don’t know if we will ever get there again. and unlike our vertical swatiska enemies, never feel entitled to any success. It’s great to have a team one roots for be the center of the NY sports universe.

  • Linda L

    It’s getting harder and harder to be a Met fan. What a dismal way to start the preseason.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Jason Fry. Jason Fry said: It'd be easier to believe in the 2010 #Mets if the Mets weren't involved. Faith and Fear in Flushing. […]

  • While I don’t think the team is run as well as it could be, and I wish they’d stop fighting with Boras over semantics and lines of contracts, I do have faith. This team is good enough to be competitive and win. They don’t need an insurmountable amount of players, just a pitcher and a catcher, both of which they’ll get.

    Ignoring what the media wants to put out there because it’s the theme of the team for the offseason, there is evidence that they’re running it right in terms of the actual team.

    They didn’t overpay for mediocracy (yet anyway) they didn’t overpay for injury risks (like Lackey for instance). They replaced the power void that was left by (hopefully) Delgado’s departure.

    They didn’t buy into exaggerated ‘the sky is falling’ attitude from the fans and just give away a top OBP player that will score a lot of runs in front of healthy middle of the lineup guys. They didn’t offer Francoeur the dreaded three year contract that was rumored.

    Didn’t trade away some prized prospects for anything that wasn’t worth it, and (gotta consider the budget even if it was an option) didn’t sell the farm to get a second, older, Ace that would’ve had the Mets spending nearly 50million a year on two pitchers. There have been some bad contracts given out this offseason, and none by the Mets.

    Assuming they will sign a pitcher, they’ve got two star prospects that could possibly step up to fill a hole or a void or an injury. (Martinez and Niese. Maybe Thole as well) They’ve got cheap options at RF and 1B, should either play badly, that they could try to swing a trade for during the season.

    They’ve got their players focused, Perez working out so he’s in shape. Murphy and Wright working on their swings. They’re holding a pre-spring training camp to get some work in. They are preparing, and trying hard.

    I understand the front office isn’t the best at PR, and bad things seem to happen. But nothing the Mets did, except maybe not being as aggressive as they could’ve been with surgery for Beltran, changes what happened with a player being healthy or ready to play and perform. This stuff isn’t related to the game on the field or the divisional battle.

  • How did the media dictate any of the Beltran mess?

    Yes, the ’10 team could be quite good, particularly with a couple more moves — the Amazin’ Avenue post is excellent for thinking of the possibilities. But I just don’t trust the baseball operations folks to not screw it up. The Beltran thing wouldn’t have been a story except for their own staggering ineptitude.

  • CharlieH

    Could Wilpon/Beltran ’10 = Grant/Seaver ’77?

    My blood just ran cold…

  • Rob D.

    Oh no! No Bengie Molina!!

  • […] Believing (and Not Believing) in the 2010 Mets […]