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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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Don't Bottle This One

Periodically you’ll read one of us insisting that subpar baseball is still preferable to sitting glumly around in the winter. I was thinking of that as the Marlins, having dispatched Chris Capuano, tattooed the even more hapless D.J. Carrasco, threatening to put 20 hits on the scoreboard of the hideous Soilmaster Stadium (or, if you prefer, Joe Robbie), which — blissfully — will be no longer part of our lives in a mere two days.

Anyway, it was 9-1 and I had to ask myself: So, Jace, would you really pay money to watch this debacle in January? Can you think of something poetic to say about the arc of Carrasco’s neck as he whirls to watch another drive hurtle up the gap? Would the highlights of this mess look good interspersed with wry commentary from Doris Kearns Goodwin and Roger Angell?

Well, no. It pretty much sucked from start to finish. But I hung around, and had a moderately OK time doing so despite the on-field horrors. Keith was irascible and Gary Cohen kept goading him, which was entertaining; I wanted to see if Jose Reyes could get some hits; I wondered if Lucas Duda or Ruben Tejada would do something that would make me happy about 2012; I wanted another glimpse of newborn Mets Josh Satin and Josh Stinson and Danny Herrera; and yeah, it was baseball and soon the only variety of that will be non-Mets baseball and soon after that there will be none at all. So I watched, and got to see a little of what I wanted and a whole lot more that I didn’t want at all, until the Mets had lost.

What else did I think about during those three-odd hours?

Mostly I thought about how thoroughly glad I would be to never see this stadium again. That feeling started with the amazing emptiness of it, with the fact that you could almost hear individual conversations. It continued with Kevin Burkhardt explaining that after they wheel the old stands back to their resting positions, the members of the grounds crew walk around in the outfield with magnets to find stray bits of metal that have been shed. And it culminated with Jose Lopez’s home run being celebrated with that au courant classic “Whoomp! (There It Is)”. The Mets are now .500 all-time in this soulless vomitorium, which seems impossible; whatever their record, let me say with great fervor that the closing ceremonies for Soilmaster should end with the deployment of a tactical nuke.

The rest of the evening brought little moments that were very Metsian. There was Jason Bay’s mammoth home run in the ninth, another one of those flickering lights that will probably turn out to be a train. There was Carrasco’s horror show, followed by the inevitable discussion that D.J. is guaranteed a contract next year. There was the sighting of Ike Davis in the dugout, along with the news that he’s being doing baseball drills for two weeks without pain — glad tidings, but ones that just remind you of just how bizarre his injury was. (As Ike told the Times, “I almost wish I’d just broke it in half — I would have been back a lot faster.”) There was word that Johan Santana might wind up pitching for the Mets this month not so much because he’s ready but because the big club will be the only one still playing games..

Better news? There was word of a call-up for Val Pascucci, about whom more tomorrow. And my hoped-for sighting of the tiny Herrera, with the flat brim of his cap pulled so low over an explosion of hair that his eyes are often invisible. He’s like a Li’l Abner street rat given a uniform and told to get out there and start chucking, and so far he’s done so with decent results. A little cartoon of a pitcher with a screwball should make any Mets fan smile, right? As should whatever else baseball brings us as this ever-shortening string is played out.

4 comments to Don’t Bottle This One

  • Florida.Met Fan Rich

    Joe Robbie Stadium…I mean…Pro Player Stadium…I mean…Pro Player Park…I.mean…Dolphins Stadium…I.mean…Dolphin Stadium…I mean…Land Shark Stadium…I mean…Sun Life Stadium….

    Is a toxic dump!

  • Joe D.

    Tonight we got a dose of Capuano being relieved by Carrasco and seeing the Marlins tee off on both.  

    Sandy still receives little criticism for signing Cappuano, Carasco along with Young last winter.  Wonder what everyone would have said had it been Omar instead who hailed the trio as the saviors of the pitching staff based on sabermetrics?  Forget about contract amounts, I’m talking about the pitching results.

    Even in adversity, the media still finds something nice to say about Cappy, the pitcher (not talking about the individual) reflecting this was the first start all season he didn’t make it into the fifth. No mention that the league is hitting .271 against him (the league average is .257) and his ERA is 4.63 (league average is 3.84). If that is acceptable, then Pelfrey should not be receiving such flack with his equally poor 4.68 ERA and .279 batting average against him. Not defending Pelfrey, his performance this season deserves the criticism. Just asking why Cappuano doesn’t considering the same circumstances. Of course, Pelfrey being named number one starter when he should not have been probably one big reason – but much more than this was expected from Cappuano.

    • Why would the Capuano signing be cause for criticism? He’s won 10 games and been durable — a perfectly good fifth starter for a sensible, incentive-laden contract. I think he’s exceeded reasonable expectations, frankly. And I don’t remember him being hailed as anything, unless it was as a potential rotation cog.

      Pelfrey gets more flack, and deserves it, because he’s got far better stuff and wasn’t coming off an injury. His continuing to be this bad speaks to something awry in the space between his ears. Stick Capuano’s brain in Pelfrey’s skull and I bet he’d win 15 every year.

      Carrasco’s been horrible, yes. Middle relievers go up and down quite a bit year to year. Since we’re stuck with him, we’ll see how he does next year.

      • Joe D.

        Hi Jason,

        We will always have a friendly disagreement on this point, which always makes for great debate.

        The same argument was made by Michael Kaye regarding the Yankees decision not to retain Randy Johnson. Kaye said one should not forget that Johnson was a 17 game winner with the Yankees. He failed to mention his 5.00 ERA and the number of times that Torre had to go to the bullpen early because Johnson couldn’t hold the lead.

        Same situation with Cappuano. Yes, up to yesterday he always made it to the fifth inning, however, he’s averaging just 50 pitches per game, which says something about how early the bulllpen has to come in to bail him out. In his 27 starts nine times he did not make it past the firth inning. He only made it into the seventh inning on four occasions. In the short span he stays on the mound he has given up four runs or more 13 times.

        While the Mets are still 13-15 in games he’s started, like Johnson, how much credit does Cappuano deserve with those 13 team victories? With his ten wins, how many does he deserve as well?

        It is argued that the Mets are not in a playoff race and since not much was expected of either one of them, there is nothing really wrong with Cappuano and Carasco hanging around to fill roster spots during the transition period. Well, Capuano’s slot in the rotation could have been taken over mid-season by either Collin McHugh or Bradley Holt (both with three full years of minor league experience)and Carasco’s with Jenrys Familia (also with three years experience) which actually is building for the future even if all three were then sent down for more seasoning.

        My argument last winter was that if 2011 was indeed to be a transition year I would rather see the young players getting a taste of major league experience than signing pitchers discarded by others. Despite tailing off, 2011 has not been a waste for Dillion Gee, Jonathan Niese or Beato. I’d rather lose seeing the kids getting a chance than watching discards any day.

        Cappuano has been a mediocre pitcher this year and if nothing more, it is being tolerated because the Mets are now just struggling to get back to .500.