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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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Well Hello, Mike Pelfrey

At the risk of antagonizing tedious radio hosts, I’m proud of Mike Pelfrey too.

Perhaps that’s OK with Mike Francesa, since I’m 15 years older than Big Pelf. (Not that I give a shit.) I’m proud of Pelf for the same reasons I suspect Matt Cerrone was: Pelf has spent his entire professional career as a Met and, after a decidedly awkward adolescence, appears to have become a star. It’s great to see.

Stardom for Pelf didn’t seem particularly likely not so long ago. There was the game against the Giants in which he telegraphed his pitches through the rather straightforward method of stomping around on the mound muttering what he was going to throw. There were all the times he let an inning get away from him and wandered around behind the rubber fidgeting and plucking at his cap and generally being cranky until his catcher and/or his infielders and/or his pitching coach had to go out there and settle him down, like a horse whose eyes have rolled back in his head. Pelfrey wasn’t just a plus-sized bag of eccentricities — he was the baseball equivalent of the guy in your office whom you kept an eye on because you figured he’d show up with an arsenal the day after his downsizing. Below the neck, his sinker seemed disinclined to sink and his college-baseball coach crabbed on the air that his velocity had disappeared. Oh, and Tom Seaver thought he was dumb. (Often merely a synonym for not Tom Seaver, but still.) Yes, there was a statistical case to be made that the biggest change wasn’t Pelfrey himself but the fact that he was stuck in front of Daniel Murphy and Luis Castillo and a grab bag of impostor shortstops, but on some level I think we resisted believing that, because we’d seen so much twitching and grousing and strange behavior and ineffective pitching that we were no longer inclined to give Pelf the benefit of the doubt.

Tonight there was none of that: It was groundouts and strikeouts, that diving splitter and heavy sinker leaving the Padres looking like they were trying to lift bocce balls over the infield. Pelfrey was 110 pitches worth of wonderful — and with the exception of one horror show in Philadelphia (aided and abetted by a couple of balls that just eluded Jose Reyes and Alex Cora), he’s been wonderful all year, emerging as not just a credible starter but a solid complement to Johan Santana. (After which God knows, but let’s stick to the subject at hand.) He’s a homegrown Met made good, after a long stretch in which he seemed to be breaking bad. Damn right I’m proud of him.

Francisco Rodriguez, on the other hand, seems to have been put on this earth to give me agita. I’ve never much liked K-Rod. His ripcord mechanics leave him in horrible fielding position, his histrionics are irritating, he does stupid things (witness that pickoff attempt with two outs in the ninth), and of course there’s his history of high-profile gag jobs. (Tell me you weren’t waiting for a game-winning home run. I was.) There are a few elite closers, and then there are guys who pitch the ninth and do what plenty of other guys with two good pitches could do about as well. Frankie’s the latter; too bad he’s being paid like the former.

But he survived and so did we, in this ballpark where the Mets always seem to succumb to disaster in the middle of the night. (Nice place, though.) I’ll take it.

14 comments to Well Hello, Mike Pelfrey

  • bicyclemom

    Poor people are weird. Rich people are eccentric.

    Mike Pelfrey is now eccentric.

  • Pel-frey Pride!
    Pel-frey Pride!
    Pel-frey Pride!

  • The Jestaplero!

    Don’t forget the time he fell off the mound without throwing a pitch.

  • EmilyB

    Not to mention the whole mouth-guard fiasco.

  • BlackCountryMet

    The PelfMeister just keeps getting better, whenever he pitches, I pencil us for a WIN.

  • The Jestaplero!

    Yeah and I haven’t seen the whole palm-licking thing this year. Our Pelf is all grows up!

  • March'62

    Mets Top 5 Rotation

    1. 1969 Tom 25-7 2.21
    2. 1985 Doc 24-4 1.53
    3. 1988 Cone 20-3 2.22
    4. 1976 Koos 21-10 2.69
    5. 2010 Pelf __-__ _.__

    Or am I being presumptuous?

    • mikeinbrooklyn

      Yes. how can you presume Pelf’s 2010 will only be 5th best?

      BTW–I think Gooden’s ’85 should be at the top.

      • March'62

        Doc was super-human in ’85 while Tom was merely terrific but #41 has a ring to remind us how much he meant to that team.

  • mikeinbrooklyn

    I’m just surprised Fatsissy had the time to complain about “Pelf Pride”. The one time I’ve been subjected to him lately, he was on his high horse about those Memorial Day white and blue caps all the teams wore. His main complaint seemed to be that the Yankees were forced to partake in the ritual, as if they were mere mortals.

    • That was a beautiful piece of performance art on MF’s part, particularly the element in which it was clear he had no idea what the caps were all about from a fund- and awareness-raising perspective.

      I’m telling you guys, you’re missing the boat on Francesa. Listen to him for sports and he sucks, yes, but listen to him as an experiment in the human condition gone awry, and you’ll be almost enthralled.

  • The only thing worse than Francesa’s radio crap is his late-Sunday TV show on WNBC. God, I hate that man. Even though I am one who usually loves experiments on the human condition gone awry.

    As for Pelfrey, I’ve always loved him. The hand licking; the mouth guard; the falling-off-the-mound incident. About the only thing he could do to make me like him more would be to circle the mound every time like Turk Wendell used to. I’ve long thought that Pelfrey is perfect for the Mets precisely because he is such a neurotic basket case. In fact, he’s close in neuroses to another of my favorite Mets pitchers, Al Leiter.

  • [...] way (dude). Though the final score was close — 4-2 — I had almost no doubt the Mets would win Mike Pelfrey’s start in San Diego this week once they got him a few runs. Ike Davis brought too much good karma to his major league debut on [...]