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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Slip Slidin' Somewhere

I have to confess that after the Giants finished subjecting Hisanori Takahashi to every indignity short of drowning him in San Francisco Bay I exiled this game to radio and the occasional look-in, if only to save my own sanity. I registered the Mets’ basically cosmetic comeback, noting that it was just numerically sufficient to give me another look at the obnoxious showboating closer I dislike who doesn’t wear our uniform, and got on with life. Sure, it was good to see some life in Ike Davis’s bat, some spring in Carlos Beltran’s step, and David Wright emerging upright from encounters with Matt Cain. Beyond that, though, there were not a lot of positives to extract.

You could argue that a dip like this was inevitable, and given that the Mets are on a tough road trip (the longest in years) that will be followed by a tough homestead, it stands to reason that this would be the time for that dip. Let Beltran get his legs under him and Jose Reyes get the stitch out of his side and then Jason Bay and Ike can relax a bit. And Luis Castillo will be back soon, which I won’t say is grounds for celebration except for the fact that Ruben Tejada’s growing pains have become cruel to ignore. Staying positive, Rod Barajas can’t be this bad forever, and if he is, Josh Thole has shown that he deserves a chance to join the Homegrown Mets movement. If the Mets can survive this current stretch they’ll be looking at a pretty soft schedule. And then who knows?

On the other hand, plenty of promising seasons have run aground come July, with flawed teams revealed as such in unforgiving heat. We’re just five games over .500 now and once more looking up at the Phillies. The high point of the year may have come and gone.

But if that’s true, you know what? I can deal with it.

I did a book signing in Greenpoint today and wound up chatting with a Yankees fan who seemed like a decent enough sort about our respective seasons. He offered his sympathy for our season going down the tubes, to which I objected. First of all, I said, we were still very much in it. Second, I said that even if we didn’t wind up going anywhere, after the wreck of 2009 it was a relief just to watch normal baseball again instead of bracing for agony and futility on a nightly basis.

Which had the added benefit of being true. Jerry Manuel annoys the hell out of me with his bunting and his slash-and-burn use of the bullpen, I still think Omar was negligent in planning (word used very loosely) for the starting rotation, and we’re stuck wondering if the post-Madoff Mets will be able to take on the salary of a Ted Lilly or pay for bullpen help in the next two weeks. But I’ve gone from fearing 2011 will be the wreck of everything to hoping it will be something wonderful built on the foundation of 2010. And that’s nice. And if the next couple of weeks reveal that 2010 isn’t all we dared to dream of a month ago, it will still be nice.

9 comments to Slip Slidin’ Somewhere

  • Matt from Sunnyside

    I thought the exact same thing after this loss. Two shutouts and then 6-0 in the sixth? After that last homestand, it looks hopeless. This team is absurdly streaky and watching them lately really sucks.

    But yeah, Ike Davis doesn’t hit home runs, he Tatoos them. Holy smokes those balls are square when they land. And, Greg once sarcastically and appropriately said that there was never a jukebox that contained more singles than the bat of Brian Schneider, but now there’s Josh Thole, choking up and making like Casey Kasem out there.

    This has been disappointing, but there’s still plenty of season left.

  • Andee

    Yeah…I’m not about to shovel the dirt on their heads until I see the lineup with Reyes and Beltran and yes, even the much-maligned Luis Castillo, who actually constitutes an improvement (with the bat, anyway) over the not-ready-for-prime-time Ruben Tejada, all together again in the same lineup. They can’t possibly be THIS bad.

    But for gods’ sake, let Thole play every day other than the occasional rest break. I think we’ve gotten all there is to get out of Rod Barajas as an everyday player, and wasn’t he signed with the idea that Thole was going to be gradually taking over anyway, with Barajas and Blanco mentoring him?

    About Reyes…it’s a shame that it comes down to one guy being the fuel injector, without whom your car doesn’t go anywhere. But that’s what happens when your $66 million left fielder, who was supposed to have enough power to carry the team, is still sleepwalking. I mean, I know he’s trying, oh boy is he trying, and he’s certainly not an asshole about it like Bonilla or Coleman.

    But does it have to be our dharma that EVERY single big hitter we obtain has to take a big dump his first year with the team? (Exceptions: Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez and Robin Ventura, who at least waited a year before his dump.) I sometimes think we could get Pujols and he’d fall apart in a Mets uni, too.

    YEAH about Ike’s dingers, though. The kid may be a power bat yet; when he hits one out, he hits one OUT.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Roosevelt Wright, Jr. Roosevelt Wright, Jr said: Slip Slidin' Somewhere « Faith and Fear in Flushing: Slip Slidin' Somewhere. I have to confess that after the Gian… […]

  • Phils fan

    A Phillies fan here…can I simply say I love the site? The Friday trips down ballpark memory lane are great. The game recaps are artfully written. And honestly, we down in Philly have a lot a lot of respect for our brethren in Queens. Obviously, we don’t often see eye to eye, but you’re passionate fans, and you’ve endured one hell of a lot these past few years. I hope you guys stay in the race, and truthfully, I hope both the Phils and Mets can sneak in past the Braves. And although it might be blasphemy to say, some day, I hope you guys get your title, too…god knows you’ve gone through enough trial by fire (after, of course, this version of the Phils wins two or three more). Keep up the good work.

  • Andee

    Oh, and I guess Gary Carter didn’t “dump” either. But still. If I have to reach back almost three decades for names, that’s pretty sad.

    • Piazza’s first year contained a long, Baylike stretch. Or at least we booed as if it did. Should Jason decide to follow that pattern, I’ll certainly take it.

      Thanks Phils fan — nice of you to say.

  • Andee

    Piazza was prone to protracted slumps as a Met, as he was as a Dodger. People expected him to be Superman all the time, and that’s why he was getting booed by chowderheads who didn’t know any better. But when he was “on,” you couldn’t get him out, even that first year. His final stats for 1998 bear that out.

    Bay’s first Met year, OTOH, is shaping up to be a lot more like Beltran’s. If that means he’s going to hit like 2006 Beltran in ’11, I’m sure he’ll be forgiven.

  • RM

    Armchair observations from a west coast fan:

    The Giants and Mets are rather equally matched teams, despite the San Francisco dominance in this series. Neither is a front runner and both have a wild card shot.

    The Giants slumped as the Mets are now doing just prior to finishing strong at the break. Both teams have strong rookie bats in Davis and Posey, the Mets have the superior offense (when their lineup is intact), and the Giants superior starting pitching. Both teams have decent closers, though Wilson has to get the nod (annoying image not withstanding.) The Mets have had better middle relief thus far.

    The Giant rookies – Posey and Bumgarner – may be the deciding factor in how far they go. Neither has played as many games as Davis, so their second half impact is more difficult to predict. Don’t bet against Posey, though ..

  • oldtimebaseball

    There was talk on the broadcast last night of bringing Perez back into the rotation. I know that Takahashi is probably better suited for the bullpen, but as far as I’m concerned, Ollie Perez should never wear a Mets uniform again. We must have an adequate fifth starter somewhere in the farm system, mustn’t we? Perez is poison, in the rotation, in the bullpen, on the bench, or anywhere within 50 miles of wherever the Mets happen to be.