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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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J.J. and the Putzes

Remember, in the wake of the Carlos Beltran fiasco, how the Mets wanted those mean people in the media and all us nasty bloggers to think about the rash of injuries that derailed the team on a case-by-case basis, instead of trying to look for patterns?

Well OK. Fair enough. Let’s evaluate these comments from J.J. Putz, in a conversation with Sox Drawer.

First Putz said that when the trade with the Mariners happened, “I never really had a physical with the Mets. I had the bone spur [in the right elbow]. It was discovered the previous year in Seattle, and it never got checked out by any other doctors until I got to spring training, and the spring training physical is kind of a formality.”

OK. That’s fairly astonishing, given Putz’s injury history, but let’s just keep on going for now.

Putz said that in April and May it was clear he was hurt, and the Mets told him not to talk about that with the media. “I knew that I wasn’t right,” he said. “I wasn’t healthy. The toughest part was having to face the media and tell them that you feel fine, even though you know there’s something wrong and they don’t want you telling them that you’re banged up.”

Putz’s conclusion: He’s learned a lesson. “That it’s my career, and when you know something doesn’t feel right, and they want to take these little sidesteps to do something, and just wait and wait and wait, you got to get it taken care of instead of trying to prolong the inevitable.”

My conclusion? I’ve got two of them.

1. Doesn’t this sound like Carlos Beltran would agree?

2. With more and more evidence out there, can anyone claim with a straight face that the Mets baseball-operations folks aren’t mindbogglingly incompetent?

Oh, I’m sorry, there I go looking for patterns again. Nasty blogger!

19 comments to J.J. and the Putzes

  • Joe D.


    Only confirms what I’ve been saying about the Wilpons all along.

    No decent player would want to come here in fear of ruining his career due to injuries not being taken care of immediately and handled properly – not to mention being set up to ridicule by the media and fans for his bad performances by an ownership that doesn’t want him to publicly admit he’s physically hurting.

  • dmg

    this is quite telling. unfortunately.

  • I’m really getting frightened. You could plausibly write this off as sour grapes or miscommunication if it didn’t fit so well with Beltran’s situation, and the craziness with Reyes, and the Rubin story last summer about near-open rebellion in the clubhouse about how injuries were dealt with. Harder and harder to claim these dots don’t connect.

  • CharlieH

    Sell. This. Team.

  • Dave

    Nice job once again, M. Donald Wilpon and Jeff DeRoulet. Lucky for you the free agent market is just about down to the table scraps, because no free agent in his right mind is going to sign with the Mets and their “rub a little dirt in it” approach to injured players. Oh well, at least it’ll be easy to get tickets on those occasions I want to go to a game.

  • Andee

    I can’t imagine that the directive to STFU originated with Omar. Although it would be just like Jeffco to pretend it did. I doubt, however, that future GM candidates are going to be fooled.

    When I first started hearing about the Beltran stuff, I couldn’t help thinking, “George Steinbrenner must be just about to cack if Jeff Wilpon is already channeling him.” But Steinbrenner, at least, copped to it when he was being a buttinsky. This dude just hides under his desk and lets everyone else take the fall for him.

    If you want the Wilpons to sell, you must get them to hemorrhage money. Not just lose a little bit of money, because they can claim that as a tax loss. We’re talking about costing them enough money that their very survival is at stake. No owner is going to want to hang on to a team that’s going to cost them everything they have.

    Yes, we’re talking boycotts. Not just not going to games, but active boycotts of sponsors, letter-writing campaigns to sponsors letting them know there’s a boycott, and so on. We’re talking not just not buying tickets, but burning the ones you’ve already bought. In a big bonfire. On camera. Along with all your other Mets stuff. Okay, you can keep the stuff that’s irreplaceable. But that has viral video potential written all over it — hundreds, maybe thousands of Mets fans burning all their Mets stuff and vowing never to return unless there’s an ownership change.

    But just complaining isn’t going to do anything. They’ve demonstrated over and over again that they don’t care what the fans think, as long as they haven’t renounced their fandom in any great numbers. You want regime change, go all the way. Otherwise, there’s 28 other teams to root for (that’s not a typo).

    Be advised, however, that the new owner may very well move the team out of New York. I’m not kidding. Try to rebuild a brand in a city that already has a team the media and most of the citizens are madly in love with, versus pull up stakes and set them down in a city that will be grateful just to have them? Doesn’t sound like much of a choice to me.

  • Joe D.

    It’s all over the media now about the Putz interview.

    Omar should not be fired but instead he should save face by telling the Wilpons to shove it and resign. But of course, he won’t. Being the G.M. of a New York Sports team is something one usually won’t walk away from.

  • Andee

    That being said, I do take some of what Putz said with a grain of salt. He did, after all, pitch in the WBC, bone spur and all, and I doubt they’d have had him do that if he said he was really hurt (notice they didn’t let Santana pitch in the WBC because of an injury more minor than Putz’s turned out to be, and Johan’s like the hottest shit in Venezuela).

    And “didn’t really give me a physical,” what’s that supposed to mean? Did they give him one, or didn’t they? Did the Mets actually do things differently from industry standard here, or did they not? Do other teams not keep schtum about a guy playing hurt? (It would make sense that they might, so as not to tip off their opponents.)

    Yeah, it would have made sense to DL him if he was really hurting, and the general tendency of the FO to minimize the extent of injuries is disturbing. But did he actually go to Omar or Jerry or Warthen and say, “I can’t pitch, I’m in frigging agony, don’t make me do it,” and they made him go out there anyway? Or is it more like they didn’t make him do anything, but laid a bunch of guilt on him about so many other guys being hurt?

    My queendom for a journalist with access who’s willing to ask everyone the questions that need to be asked, instead of just mindlessly piling on. Everyone wants to believe Omar eats small children, so they’ll hang anything around his neck nowadays. I suppose he’s just counting the minutes until they actually fire him.

  • mikeinbrooklyn

    How hard can it be for a professional baseball organization to evaluate/deal with injuries? This seems like low-level competency is completely missing from this team–like an accounting firm that has no calculators and can’t add, or a restaurant with a really bad cook.

    • I increasingly suspect it’s more like the restaurant has a crazy, incompetent owner who screams at all the cooks, shoves them out of the way, burns everything, and then flies into paranoid fits and sends the maitre d’ to lie to customers.

      The problem is this restaurant is the only place people like us have to eat, and the owner doesn’t have to make rent or anything, so he’s part of the deal forever. It’s Angelos II.

      I’d like to be wrong. I’d LOVE to be wrong.

  • Joe D.

    Andee has a good point with Putz pitching in the WBC (and didn’t he blow a save in that first game for the U.S. anyway?). If he was in so much pain the Mets would have stopped him from appearing.

    My guess is management was aware of his bone spur but was given the impression from Putz that he could pitch through it effectively with both agreeing to see how it panned out (hence, enabling him to still pitch in the WBC). Yet, advising the media honestly about the situation would have been best for both parties so I suspect J.J. was told not to mention any bone spur because the Wilpons were concerned ticket sales would go down if fans knew Putz and others were players weren’t up to par and might possibly be put on the disabled list (which turned out to be the case in spades).

    Stupid, I know.

    • No more WBC for Mets players, ever. And I don’t care if that means the Al Qaeda Nine win the baseball title and force entire societies to revere the designated hitter. It’s not worth David Wright or Jose Reyes having an ingrown hair.

  • Dak442

    How did Putz go along with this cockamamie scheme knowing it would destroy his impending free agent value? I smell BS. Likely on both parts.

    • Agreed. J.J. Putz knew he had a bone spur, knew he was in pain, knew he was getting paid a lot in 2009 no matter what — say something to somebody, even a Met official. Say “I think this needs a closer look, I think maybe I need a week of rest here, or maybe greater attention than that.” These guys are not lambs being sent to the slaughter. They’re professionals with fantastic union protection and need to take a measure of responsibility for their elbows/asses when their profession is on the line. Enough with the athlete’s aversion to admitting something’s wrong and worrying what will be said about him. Get healthy so you can shut everybody up with your talent, your skill and your ability to harness them in competition.

      As outlined in Marty Noble’s article here, the Mets are clearly dopes. They were dopes handling this last year and they’re dopes now. But Putz was no help in his own situation. And, goodness gracious yes, no more of this stupid, inane, pointless, fucking World Baseball Classic, not during Spring Training at any rate, Yu Darvish or no Yu Darvish.

      • Trying to stop my argument before I can start it, eh? I don’t give a shit, I’m sticking up for my tournament. Watching Yu Darvish pitch for 3 innings was more fun than the entire 2009 season. Omir’s bomb off Papelbon was fantastic, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Wright’s walkoff vs PR or either of the phenomenal DR/Netherlands games, not to mention all the clinics Japan and Korea put on. But I digress…

        Seriously though, is all this WBC hate implying that the Mets would have made the playoffs if not for its existence? Not a chance!

        • I welcome Yu Darvish (or “Du Yarvish” as I typed him at first) to pitch to all comers anytime he likes and for MLBN or ESPN to broadcast it. Just keep the Mets, or at least their pitchers, out of it and the rest of the world can play ball to its heart’s content.

  • Crooksbanza

    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: I didn’t leave the Mets, the Wilpons and the Mets left me . . . I’m on board with the boycott, because as far as I’m concerned, NYC once had a proud NL franchise that played its games at Shea Stadium, but that club left town and is likely not ever coming back unless the Wilpons are compelled by financial duress to sell the club