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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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The Hand of Sandy

Try to be cool and analytical all you want, but if you’re a fan eventually you’ll give in to fury and bloodlust.

I’M NEVER ATTENDING ANOTHER GAME UNLESS THEY RELEASE LUIS CASTILLO BY MORNING!

AARON HEILMAN MUST BE MAROONED ON A DESERT ISLAND WITHOUT EVEN A VOLLEYBALL FOR COMPANY!

CHAIN DOUG SISK TO A ROCK AND SEND AN EAGLE TO EAT HIS LIVER — EVERY DAY!

While I feel for athletes who have to develop rhino skin to withstand or ignore such assaults, I’ve come to believe fan apoplexy is mostly harmless venting — booing Aaron Heilman off the mound may be unfeeling and anti-social, but it keeps us from screaming and biting out the throat of that jackass from marketing who renders the microwave unusable by nuking some disgustingly rank exotic chow and always sneaks away when the copier’s jammed or out of paper even though THE PAPER IS KEPT RIGHT NEXT TO IT.

But that’s for fans. Most of the time, the general manager’s job is to be the anti-fan — to coolly assess a baseball team’s state of affairs in terms of the long- or at least middle-term plan, make sure the manager is building according to the organizational blueprint, and not blow one’s cool when the approach is sound but the results are lacking.*

So far I give Sandy Alderson high marks for that, though his final grades are still a big Madoffian INCOMPLETE. (Looks at watch, waits for Joe to comment.) But I’ll say this for the man — when things go bad, he doesn’t wait around.

Last night D.J. Carrasco distinguished himself by surrendering a bomb to Rickie Weeks and hitting Ryan Braun. Carrasco was then ejected, forcing his tired bullpen mates into service in a lost cause and making Terry Collins and David Wright go all emo in the dugout, which created an annoying one-day story. Carrasco’s job was the simplest and least consequential one on the bullpen chores list: Get rid of these remaining innings without sucking unbelievably conspicuously. He managed to do the opposite.

Tonight, declared innocent of malevolent intent by Collins, Carrasco actually came in with something on the line, relieving Tim Byrdak with the Mets down 4-3. This time, Carrasco never even got a pitch into Mike Nickeas’s glove before screwing up — Todd Frazier walloped his first offering over the fence for a 6-3 Reds lead. (Which is how things would end.)

The fans hadn’t even made it to the phone to scream about it on the FAN when word hit Twitter: Carrasco had been designated for assignment.

Made to disappear posthaste.

Reduced to a smoking spot by an Aldersonian thunderbolt.

Thus endeth a not very impressive Mets career. Carrasco’s 2011 was a nightmare — he put up a 6.02 ERA and the Mets were a Stengelian 10-32 in games when he appeared. But he had a vaguely plausible excuse, beyond never having been that bad before: He’d torn an intercostal muscle during the winter, which threw off his mechanics and took away his sinker’s bite. Given another chance, as guys with guaranteed two-year deals generally are, he promptly sprained an ankle in spring training. When he finally returned, well, it was ugly: His ERA stood at 7.36 when his pink slip arrived.

Carrasco’s total effort for 2012: 48 pitches. That’s not a lot. It’s three innings of Jon Niese when he’s fighting himself. But it was enough for Sandy, who promptly Emaus’d him.

That was grounds for celebration in Faith & Fear land, where we were more than ready to greet our new favorite player, Anyone But Carrasco. The new guy is Robert Carson, who was rumored to be getting a call-up last year and was actually Phantom Met for a couple of days when Mike Pelfrey got the call from the elbow doctor. Carson is a second lefty, which should give Collins more maneuverability, and presumably fewer times when he has to explain his bullpen strategy to a bunch of reporters tiptoeing through a conversational mine field. (Like why not bring Bobby Parnell back for the eighth, with Tim Byrdak LOOGYing Joey Votto, and then Jon Rauch coming in with two outs and … oh, enough. I’m tired and it sucked the first time and I don’t feel like it.)

Anyway, it seems like a good plan, as right now most scenarios light on D.J. Carrasco are apt to, except for the fact that Carson has never pitched above Double-A.

Good luck, kid. And don’t dawdle.

* Unless you’re Omar Minaya, in which case your job is to make it rain option-year money, keep players missing limbs on the active roster and launch crazy jihads against respected beat reporters. I sure don’t miss him, yaknowwhatimsayin?

5 comments to The Hand of Sandy

  • Rob D.

    Sandy’s record on FA signings??/ Eh….this one was a bomb (not in a good way).

    • March'62

      I think we have to give Sandy a pass on his FA signings since he’s only been shopping in the bargain bin. The Mets need more pitching which he’s been developing on the farm. He didn’t want to overpay for the likes of Livan or Buehrle and I don’t blame him.

      I’m not sure that the Mets have ever won a weekday afternoon game while I kept tabs on Gameday at my desk. So I apologize in advance for what may take place later at Citifield.

  • Joe D.

    “Looks at watch, waits for Joe to comment.)

    Hi Jason,

    If that was me, pine away no more! :)

    Our bullpen would have been much better had KRod remained the closer and we can’t attribute his departure to his punching out his girl friend’s father, after all, he’s since entered anger management therapy and the one Sandy eventually acquired to be his replacement, Frank Francisco, threw a chair into the stands as well. Sandy wanted to cut payroll and avoid that $17 million bonus – and said he was confident a new closer could be found among those he already had.

    Yet with the other moves made by Sandy the past two winters we don’t know if KRod could have gotten many save opportunities to begin with. After he came on board, Sandy released a trio of dependable relievers in Takahshi (3.61 ERA), Dessens (2.30 ERA) and Feliciano (3.30 ERA) who did pass the Yankee physical. Sandy also wanted to re-sign both Takahashi and Feliciano but was not willing to offer two year contracts. But he did sign Carasco and Francisco to two year contracts.

    And even though he’s pitching in the Mexican League, I have no idea why the Mets and Elmer parted company. This past winter Sandy didn’t resign Jason Isringhausen who pitched well for us and is now sporting a 2.63 ERA with the Angels (a team that had eyes on a world’s championship) at the unaffordable price of $650 thousand.

    Of the pitchers he did obtain, only Byrdak seems to be the bright spot. Agree, it’s too early to tell if we have the Jon Rauch of 2011 or 2010 (though after his hot start, he appears closer to 2011) but he also got us Boyer, Bucholz, Young and Capuano (whom I didn’t think pitched good last year but is blazing hot with the Dodgers this season – and nonetheless Sandy released him too – and don’t imply he was taking advice from me LOL)last winter plus Rauch and Francisco this time around. The trade for Torres and Rameriz I don’t think on paper was a bad one, excet that Torres was obtained to be the replacement for Pagan in center while he is really better suited as the fourth outfielder – not a regular (BTW – guess who is leading the league in home runs and runs batted in?).

    So it’s an issue of both, who Sandy brought in as well as who he sent out.

    If we take these moves on face value, they don’t exactly speak highly of both Sandy and Paul DePodesto. If they were made mostly as desperate cost-cutting measures then it doesn’t speak highly of the organization’s financial health and implies Sandy was indeed brought in chiefly for his business and legal skills to re-structure and down-size the entire organization (he admitted he wasn’t interested in the job but applied at the urging of Bud Selig) and with that, Sandy doesn’t deserve the cricisim and is instead showing how he has the skin thick enough to take the hits for his employers.

    These are not comments on Omar or Steve Phillips or defending their moves one way or the other. It’s simply my looking at Sandy on his own record. Again, if he’s in there to get the house in order financially, he’s simply the fall guy in all this. Whatever the case, we know this club with the players it had last season and this one, was and is still good enough to compete if only better moves were made to fill the holes, not create them. We were not in the situation where we had to begin total “rebuilding” which, IMHO, was simply the company line to cover up what is really a bad financial situation for Sterling Equities trickling down to the Mets.

    Ciao

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