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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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Atta Bay, Way to Go

The great thing about having a scapegoat is giving him up. Jason Bay, I hereby release you from all the blame for the Mets’ season having ended prematurely early two nights ago.

Unless, of course, it ends again before it’s supposed to and you seem responsible for facilitating the process.

But let’s not think like that. We’ve been thinking like that all week — all month, really, with the impetus to back it up. Let’s instead revel in the Jason Bay career rehabilitation plan:

1) Take hour upon hour of additional batting practice.

2) Slam your face and assorted body parts into the business end of a chain link fence.

One outstanding catch, two hits and three ringing runs batted in later, the Mets are winners in L.A. and Jason Bay’s bobblehead suddenly doesn’t seem quite as inane.

It was a good night all around, save for the air conditioner in my office here going on the fritz. Would I trade cool comfort for the Mets’ first win under the stars since July 6? Well, it appears I have. Never let it be said I wouldn’t schvitz for my team.

Enough about me and my sudden need to visit P.C. Richard. More about our outfielders who made, depending on your judgment calls, five or six really, really good catches Friday night. Bay’s, with his nose taking on a door handle, was the bravest. Pagan’s, where he lifted his right leg while sliding to avoid the cement under the padding along the right field side wall, may have been the smartest. Beltran giddying up and getting on his horse like he did pre-injury might very well prove the most important in the long run.

And there’s a long run ahead of us, believe it or not. One game does not reverse the results of the umpteen before it, but shovels have been known to work in reverse — they can be used to dig dirt off a presumed stiff if said stiff still has some life in it. The Mets are not a corpse, not when they have a lively left arm like Johan Santana’s and a beating heart we would not have suspected.

In the meantime, kudos to the following, as long as we’re all happy over our one-game winning streak:

• Caryn Rose for chronicling life on the West Coast with and without the Mets since the second half began. Read her travel dispatches and admire her ballpark photography at Metsgrrl here.

• Matt Artus of Always Amazin’ for his superb historical roundup on the paranoia our little old team caused a great big owner. Check out the clips and perspective here.

• Gary Smith of Sports Illustrated for a story about what a fan and a player accomplished together in the way of the NFL Hall of Fame. Check out their commitment to their cause and each other here.

• Chris Feeny for writing to Mets Police and reminding any and all of us who haven’t to buy our tickets to Mets Hall of Fame Day, August 1 for the inductions of Messrs. Cashen, Gooden, Johnson and Strawberry. Chris and I are among those who jumped on this event the day tickets went on sale because we didn’t want to get shut out. Read Chris’s convincing sales pitch here.

• The WFAN Mets production crew for being extra clever this year regarding the opening credits to its broadcasts. In past years we’d mostly hear a generally unsurprising montage of highlights before a given game: home run, nice play, strikeout, big hit, closer gets final out. Same thing over and over. But this year I’ve noticed actual attention paid to context. When the Mets played the Yankees, we heard a rollup consisting of great Subway Series moments. When the Mets visited Puerto Rico (worst trip ever…before this one), it was the Puerto Rican-born Mets whose highlights were in the spotlight. And Friday night, with the Mets needing a win very badly, we heard one dramatic 2010 PUT IT IN THE BOOKS! after another. Great, great job on a small, small detail. Note to the immortal Chris Majkowski: some of us are paying attention.

• Paul Lukas for really paying attention to Wayne Hagin and isn’t crazy about what he’s hearing. Life feels too short to promote “Fire Him!” campaigns, but as one who doesn’t stay with the radio any longer than I have to, I have to admit Paul makes a compelling case where Wayne’s limitations are concerned. I’ve reasoned for three seasons that Wayne Hagin is all right because he isn’t Tom McCarthy, but maybe the statute of limitations is running down on that particularly low-set bar. It’s Wayne’s job, but it’s our team, y’know? Decide for yourself here.

• And in memory of the great New York Giants fan Vic Ziegel, a little something that took my breath away regarding the greatest Giant of them all and one of the better Mets of our time, courtesy of the Times’s David Waldstein. Say Hey? Say David! Read here.

8 comments to Atta Bay, Way to Go

  • Andee

    Man. Now there’s a game that reminds you of what this team could be if Bay is awake for real. Never mind him AND Beltran AND Wright in full flight.

    I have to give him credit, though. He hasn’t been indifferent, and he hasn’t been whiny. He’s taken the extra BP. He takes responsibility for himself. If the poor guy really is finished, I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone who wasn’t seriously injured work harder at not being finished.

  • maryanne

    Love, love, love Jason Bay! What a gritty player. Here’s to a great second half! Let’s go, Mets!

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Greg Prince. Greg Prince said: Atta Bay, Way to Go! Who needs a scapegoat when you get three RBIs? #Mets http://wp.me/pKvXu-1DL […]

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    Great win for the Mets and a nice change of pace having Ed Coleman in the booth. Hope Ron is feeling better soon. Johan gave his usual winning performance for once combined with an actual win due to some good batting and fielding from his teammates.

    That said, when the Mets were up 2-1 in the eighth, two on and nobody out, did anyone else want to rip his or her hair out when Pagan was sent up to sacrifice bunt? I mean, I know you have Johan ready and eager to go the distance with even just a one run lead, but that’s a situation begging the number three batter to swing away and bury the home team, not trade an out to move two basedunners up.

    In the end we got the big inning on Bay’s double, so I won’t complain too much. Maybe running into the wall head first corrected some of the head motion at the plate that had thrown his batting off lately!

  • Louis Proyect

    It occurred to me yesterday why Mets fans get so upset over the subpar performance of highly paid free agents like Jason Bay. They assume that a fat contract guarantees fat performance. Even though baseball players are basically entertainers, they are not able to fulfill the expectations of ownership and fans. In contrast, someone who pays Conan O’Brien 10 million dollars a year, or whatever he gets, can assume that he will deliver the same lame humor that he always has. In baseball and other professional sports (see NY Knicks), the same thing does not apply. The answer to this, of course, is to eliminate the profit motive from sports, which has about the same likelihood as the oil industry cleaning up its act.

    • Andee

      But Conan et al can still lose their touch with the public after they sign a huge contract; even if they deliver what they always have, audiences can decide they don’t want it anymore. And sometimes they can’t deliver the usual goods, either, for whatever reason (illness, flaming ego, etc.).

      So there has to be a reason people resent athletes who don’t perform up to contract more than they resent other entertainers who don’t. I think in baseball, especially, there’s a prevailing notion that these guys are “playing a child’s game” (like children made it up, down to every rule in the MLB rulebook? like children are required to play in 30-degree weather, in wracking physical pain? I don’t think so) and therefore, it should be easy for them to keep cranking it out. I don’t think people understand that these guys really are freaks.

      (ETA: I also think a lot of men, in particular, think that because they played baseball in high school, they know what it’s like to be in MLB. That’s a little like saying that because you sang “Ave Maria” solo with your high school chorus, you know what it’s like to perform at La Scala.)

  • Rob D.

    I went to the firewaynehagin blog and reposted some of it on my FB page. I didn’t realize there were other people who felt the same way as I do. God, he’s annoying.

  • Candyman Choo-Choo

    WOW – now I really feel paranoid. I think I may be the only person in NY that actually LIKES Wayne Hagin. I think his calm demeanor is a perfect foil to the sometimes whiny Howie Rose. Is that sacrilege? I hope not. As most agree, ANYTHING is better than Tom McCarthy. Being a frequent radio listener, I think it’s the best radio team since Gary Cohen and Bob Murphy. So may I be the first to “pen” the words, “Extend the contract of Wayne Hagin already!”
    Oh, and please remember, when you start to scathe, I AM a fellow Met fan!!