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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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A Dodger Among Us

Johan Santana has started 27 games this year. Here are the runs the Mets have scored for him in those 27 starts: 7, 2, 2, 5, 4, 5, 5, 1, 2, 6, 0, 1, 2, 7, 0, 0, 1, 3, 3, 4, 6, 7, 1, 1, 4, 3, 1.

Santana has won 10 games with an ERA of 2.97. He’s been mostly marvelous since July, while his teammates have been decidedly unmarvelous. With better run support in those 13 games in which the Mets scored no runs, one run or two runs (just under half of his starts, for Pete’s sake), Santana could easily be north of 15 wins and thinking about 20. Instead, he’s the guy you want to apologize to on behalf of his Gandhi-esque teammates, aka the Slumber Company.

Today was no exception: Johan didn’t give up a hit until the fifth, and between it being Johan and those being the Pirates, you thought maybe today was that impossible day that would make 2010 OK, forever enshrining it as the year we shed our ridiculous “Did you know…” asterisk. It wasn’t of course (it never is), thanks to Pedro Alvarez and a single to lead off the fifth. It wasn’t even a shutout, thanks to a home run by old friend Lastings Milledge. And it wasn’t even a win, thanks to another home run by Jose Tabata and the Mets’ conscientious-objector status with bats in their hands. With Ike Davis on first in the ninth, Chris Carter almost became a happy exception and almost rescued Santana with a sharp pinch-hit at-bat, whacking two balls just foul down the left-field line before driving Milledge almost to the right-field fence. But it wasn’t to be — once again, Johan lost through no particular fault of his own.

An oddity pointed out by David Waldstein of the New York Times, in the kind of beat writing I adore: The Mets were traveling with a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. As Waldstein explains, Rod Barajas was claimed by the Dodgers on waivers late this morning, too late to get to his new team’s game. Since the Dodgers are off tomorrow, Barajas was told to go back to New York on the Mets’ charter and meet his new teammates in Milwaukee on Tuesday. So he sat around wearing Mets gear watching the Mets play on the clubhouse TV, ate the Mets’ postgame spread, went to the airport on the Mets’ bus and flew home on the Mets’ plane. Will someone bill the Dodgers for that, or is it baseball courtesy? It’s certainly odd, to say the very least.

Here’s wishing Barajas the best out in L.A. — the reign of God Barajas may have been limited to April and May, but it was still plenty enjoyable even if June, July and August were disasters. Best wishes aside, the catching job rightly belongs to Josh Thole now, both for the big strides he’s made in 2010 and the bigger responsibilities he’ll be asked to shoulder in 2011. It would have been ridiculous to give at-bats and catching assignments Thole needs to someone who isn’t in the Mets’ plans. It also would have been Very Jerry, as the sad final days of 2009 will remind us. (Hey, look! It’s Fernando Tatis!) In recent days Jerry Manuel has stopped saying absurd things about putting the best team on the field and being in a pennant race, and let the kids freaking play already. Whether that was Jerry coming to his senses or someone higher up in the Mets hierarchy helping him get there, I’m glad to see it happen. I also caught myself wondering what took so damn long, but these days that’s life as a Mets fan, isn’t it?

10 comments to A Dodger Among Us

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    Funny, but I think Rod Barajas did about as much as the players who took the field, Johan excepted.

    It is truly pathetic when a pitcher of Johan’s ability is saddled with back-to-back complete game losses. His last three starts he has gone the distance and the Mets have mustered enough runs to win only one of them.

    Johan is too much a professional and a team player to blow up (at least publicly) at his teammates and coaching staff. I think every Met fan would have his back if he threw a Lou Pinella-quality tirade behind closed doors, and give him a standing ovation if he did it publicly. I wouldn’t mind if he got into a brawl with the entire starting lineup. He’d come out unscathed. They’d just add him to the growing list of pitchers they can’t hit.

  • metsadhd

    Why didn’t Omar trade Rod when he still had value, guess he never heard the concept of sell high.
    Would do the same with Pagan.
    Now that he established he is not a fluke, get some thing for him.
    The sooner the organization acknowledges that we are at least two if not five years away, the better we are as an organization.
    Can’t we sent Jeffie back to his minor leagues.

  • metsadhd

    Can’t we have Santana pinch hit every day, couldn’t be worse.
    For the millionth time, how does Hojo keep his job, bring on Straw.

    • metsfan72575

      metsadhd

      I don’t think trading Pagan is a good idea, especially since Fernando Martinez hasn’t developed into the player everyone thought he would. Pagan is one of the few bats in the lineup that doesn’t seem to be to in the team wide slump that the rest of the lineup is.

  • Dak442

    The crap bullpen in 2008 cost Johan the Cy Young award; said bullpen and feeble offense have shorted him at least 20 wins so far in his Met tenure. I guess $120 million helps him sleep at night, but he must still find it vexing.

  • Lenny65

    When the Mets brought in Santana, it was commonly assumed that they were a lot closer to the top than they actually were. The real shame is that we didn’t have him in 2006-07, when he alone could have been the difference. I have nothing but respect for Johan, every time he hits a rocky patch and you start wondering what he has left, he comes right back with the tenacity I wish the rest of the team had. He’s the definition of a professional and he’s anchored a surprisingly decent starting staff.

    Re: playing the kids & what took so long? Bear in mind that the Mets broke spring training with a half-dozen utterly useless players on the roster and needed several months to finally weed them out. The observational abilities of Mets “management” appear to be a little….slow, let’s say. No team seems to have been more adversely affected by MLB’s crackdown on amphetamines (kidding…I think). The bigger issue to me is whether the Wilpons realize how much this questionable-to-poor decision making is costing them and whether they’ll ever get serious about doing something about it.

  • Flip D.

    OK, two curious omissions that I feel I must point out:
    Re: Barajas. Finally, this organization not only makes a good baseball decision, but also does the right thing, and lets Rod go so that he can get ABs somewhere else. But why, why, why not do the same for the likes of Perez and Castillo? Can someone tell me, do they still get paid by the Mets if another team picks them up? I don’t know how it works, but I understand the Mets saved some money by waiving Barajas. I’m assuming it’s not the same for Perez and/or his money is guaranteed. I’ve also been out of town the last few days, so maybe I missed something.
    Re: Santana. Not a single mention of the rape allegations. I’m not taking sides here. I believe it inappropriate to comment on such a serious charge, we being completely ignorant of the facts and just fans. I whole-heartedly agree with the above assessments of Johan. He’s been a class act and an amazingly resilient competitor while getting mostly only defensive help from his teammates. I’m wondering if the absence of comments is maybe a good thing and a reflection of the quality of the blogger and his readers. After all, this he-said-she-said stuff is so common place these days that maybe people are rightfully waiting to see how it plays out and refraining from comment. If that’s the case, like I say, I’m mostly impressed. But I do feel it’s OK to reference it, as I’m doing here. Or is it completely immaterial and should not be mentioned, at all? I just couldn’t help but notice.

    • metsfan72575

      I think to biggest problem with Perez going to another team is the fact that no one wants to take a chance on him. He is the definition of an underachiever. With Castillo I think a team might take a chance with him, but he doesn’t really bring that much to the table. He doesn’t really run that much anymore and he is pretty much a singles hitter.

    • Flip, if the Mets put either Perez or Castillo through waivers and someone claimed them, the new team would assume the player’s salary obligations. And it’s 100% certain the Mets did that and no team claimed them, because they didn’t want to get stuck with the last year of those contracts.

      If the Mets released Perez or Castillo, and a new team picked them up, the new team would be responsible for paying them the minimum major-league salary, and the Mets would be responsible for the rest of the current contract. Which is why they haven’t done that…yet.

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