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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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Good News (in These Parts)

The Germans have their specialties: awesome board games, unhealthy food that repeats on you, whistle-worthy luxury cars, the occasional bid to cover the world in darkness.

They’re also known for long, really useful compound words describing hard-to-summarize emotional states.

The most famous one of these is Schadenfreude, best translated into English as HA HA THE YANKEES LOST. I’ve always thought the Germans should engineer more of these. An ideal candidate would be one that captures that bizarre feeling of euphoria you get when things work in the uneventful way they’re supposed to but rarely do.

Don’t know what I mean? Try one of these:

Wow, I went to the DMV and I had all the paperwork I needed and someone help make sure I’d done the forms right and nobody closed their line for a two-hour lunch. I am filled with [LONG GERMAN WORD]!

Gosh, there were no wrecks on the way to the airport, nothing beeped in my pocket at security, the plane was on time, I was in 41B and they didn’t run out of pretzels, the bags arrived undamaged and unpilfered by TSA thieves, and the hotel room was ready when we checked in. Pure [LONG GERMAN WORD], baby!

Or this:

The Mets’ franchise player, a decent young man who grew up a fan and doesn’t want to play anywhere else, had his contract up for renewal … and the Mets re-signed him.

Long German words all around.

It’s good news, make no mistake about it. It strikes me a reasonable deal — enough to keep Wright mega-rich without becoming some guaranteed A-Rod/Pujols millstone all too soon. (Says the guy who’s neither writing nor cashing the checks.) It keeps the one player casual fans associate with the Mets in the right uniform for a baseball generation, which is not a small thing. It promises eight years of cheering for a player who’s been somewhere between a star and a superstar stats-wise while being a Hall of Famer with fans, the media and the city. David Wright is both very good at baseball and, from everything we can tell, very good at being an admirable human being.

Sure, even if things go perfectly, somewhere around 2017 or 2018 you’ll be holographically interacting with Faith and Fear experiential narratives crabbing about Wright being creaky or needing to move over to first or how Citi Field’s dimensions have never quite suited him. But that’s the nature of long contracts, and why ideally they’re handed out to very few players, with non-quantitative arguments attached that require careful scrutiny. Wright is, in my mind, such a player — much as I loved him and still mourn his residence in Miami and now Toronto, Jose Reyes was a bit shy of that.

But still — this is less great news than it is the absence of horrible news. Trading Wright or letting him walk would have been an admission that the Mets were finally and completely moribund, reduced to trying to fill Citi Field by touting that mass suicides had freed up plenty of good seats for indifferent tourists. The team still has iffy prospects of competing, a dark cloud of near- and medium-term financial peril, owners who can’t be trusted to tell the truth about anything, and no help coming from a useless commissioner whose sense of responsibility extends no farther than his clubhouse of cronies. Let’s not overindulge at the parade.

Instead, let’s move on to Item B. The Mets employ a marvelous pitcher who just won 20 games and a Cy Young award. He’s a thoughtful, intriguing interview and, from everything we can tell, a decent human being. He’s loyal to a club that gave him his last shot, likes New York and wants to stick around. He throws a knuckleball, which ought to mean that he has a lot more years in his arm than being born in 1974 would indicate. His contract is up for renewal at the end of 2013.

It’s fairly obvious the Mets ought to re-sign a pitcher like that, right? If they didn’t, wouldn’t you wonder what on earth was wrong with the franchise and be very upset about what it might mean?

Here’s hoping for more long German words.

Sirius/XM subscribers: Listen tonight to Mad Dog Radio at 9 pm as Greg joins Dino Costa to discuss The Happiest Recap and other Met matters.

If you’re on the Upper West Side Sunday night, drop by the 92nd St Y at 7:30 pm for a conversation with WFAN stalwart Steve Somers, hosted by NY1 stalwart Budd Mishkin. Details here.

15 comments to Good News (in These Parts)

  • 5w30

    We usually have Mets-enfreude.

  • Tom W.

    I found this line kind of shocking:

    “…Jose Reyes was a bit shy of that.”

    How? In what way? Sure over the course of his career he’s missed more game to injury, and he’s a different style of player – but other than that, how?

    I’d give both 50/50 shots at the Hall of Fame, mainly based on the pursuit of 3,000 hits and playing healthy in their 30s. Reyes has the slight lead there, though he’s younger. And of course, he plays a harder brand of ball.

    Flummoxed by this comment!

    • I thought at the time that between Reyes’s injuries and his second-half fade in ’11, what the Marlins were offering him was foolish, and an offer the Mets shouldn’t have matched, however bad they looked PR-wise in dealing with the situation.

      I miss Jose and want him to do well, but I’ll stand by that judgment.

      • Andee

        Yes…Reyes is a player who lives and dies with his legs, not so much for stolen bases but to leg out infield hits and turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. And he’s had a LOT of problems with those hamstrings that don’t figure to improve with advancing age. I miss him too, but he’s a greater than average injury risk for a very lengthy deal and I really can’t blame them for passing.

        • Joe D.

          Hi Guys,

          I am sure had Sandy conducted negotiations with Jose like he did with David, an agreement would have been reached and Jose would still be our shortstop. Jose wanted to stay a Met as much as David but in this case, and for whatever reasons, the general manager didn’t.

          Jason, I think you are 100 percent accurate in that this is not a great deal the Mets made but that it would have been a horrible one if not made. I think that was the lesson Sandy learned with Reyes, ignoring what certain players mean to the franchise not just for their production worth but because of a special dedication one has to the club and with the fans as well and thus the player is willing to negotiate in good faith to stay on.

          I also believe it was not so much Sandy’s desire to retain David for a friend of mine correctly pointed out that re-signing him was not logical saber-wise – and Sandy, as we know, goes by his saber stats. But I think the Wilpons did recognize the importance that David means to the franchise – even if only in terms of profit. No, re-signing David is not going to bring any more fans into the seats, however, not re-signing him was certainly going to take away a lot more in attendance with so many turned off to Sandy’s saber-logic.

          They already got burned with Jose’s loss and did not want to add to it by losing David. And all the good feeling the Mets have generated now by having David in the fold will be lost if they don’t do the same with a more than willing to compromise R.A.

          Sandy has to be convinced that saving some money is sometimes not going to help the Wilpons retain ownership as would spending some of it. I conclude that, based on what I’ve been able research, that Sandy is Selig’s man placed with the authority of the having the final decision – even over the ownership. Remember, it is documented that Sandy did not want the job but Selig urged him to apply and then insisted the Wilpons hire him. Why else would Selig take the unprecedented steps his did to save his personal friends, the Wilpons, from going bankrupt? After all, he didn’t take the same measures to stop that happening for the former owners of Texas, Los Angeles and Montreal. In each of those cases, MLB took over the franchises when they could not longer meet operating expenses or pay back their loans to MLB.

          So that is why I think the Wilpons had to convince Sandy of the importance to keep David on for the reasons you properly stated. If they didn’t push, I would have my doubts that Sandy would not have sent him packing to get younger – and less expensive players – in return.

          That is the real Sandy Alderson. He is not one to gamble when it comes to money. He even admitted so when he sent McGwire packing to St.Louis despite the soon-to-be-known steroid loser was leading the majors in home runs and on pace to possibly surpass Roger Maris for the first time. In the attached, Sandy said Oakland would have to draw one million more fans in August and September to make up for the cost of the contract and that trades are not made any more based on talent.

          Like it or not, that is the type of general manager we now have and we are indeed fortunate that despite this, we still have David – and hopefully will still have R.A.

          • I had this same discussion with Tom over Twitter.

            In December 2011 the Marlins, hell-bent on spending money, gave Jose $106 million over six years. This was before the Madoff settlement. Do you think the Mets could have afforded that kind of contract then?

            If you do, please explain what makes you think they could have — I don’t know of any such evidence.

            If you don’t, this entire narrative is a false construct, and for the life of me I can’t understand why we keep coming back to it.

            None of us likes what has happened to the Wilpons, the effect it has had on our team, Selig’s refusal to do anything to help, etc. It’s all awful — in the above post I said I don’t trust the Wilpons about anything and let Selig have it with both barrels. If I had a magic wand, I’d make Selig step in and tell the Wilpons to sell the team if they can’t demonstrate a speedy path back to running the National League’s New York franchise like the National League’s New York franchise.

            But I don’t have a magic wand. Nor do I have a time machine.

            Given Jose’s history of balky hamstrings, I wouldn’t have given him six years and $106 million even if the Mets could have afforded it. I think we’re a couple of years at least from being able to say whether I was right or wrong, but we can certainly argue about it.

            But I don’t think the Mets had $106 million even if they’d wanted to go that route. If you think that’s wrong, please explain what makes you think so. If you think that’s right, what’s the argument? The team was broke, Jose got offered a ton of money, he left. Period, end of story, and let’s leave this dead horse alone.

          • Joe D.

            Hi Jason,

            Two reasons I mentioned Jose.

            One was to point out that had Sandy wanted to retain him that he would have begun negotiations prior to his walk year like he has done with David. No competition from other clubs. No Miami offer.

            2) That due to the flack that caused with so many Met fans, the Wilpons would emphasize to Sandy not to make the same mistake twice (your reference to the absence of horrible news).

            Now, I don’t believe I made any comment about the merits of keeping Jose one way or the other. In the past, I said not re-signing Jose could be understandable considering we had a Tejeda in the wings and that the money we would commit to Jose would be committed in other areas as Sandy was saying back in 2010.

            The point was to show that I didn’t think this was a Sandy call because it goes against all his business principles and saber thinking.

            Again, Jose was only used to back up that point and to elaborate more on why what you correctly pointed out would be “horrible news” didn’t actually occur. If it didn’t come across that way, I do apologize.

          • No beating of dead horses!

            Fucking Armando…

          • Joe D.

            And last night we were watching Frau Blucher……

  • I believe the phrase you seek is Wilpömmen: Mets news that is desirable if not overwhelming.

  • Jacobs27

    You’ve put your finger on the missing mot juste, Jason.

  • jbkoppes

    Fahrvergnugen! A good ride.

  • Richard

    What a great post! So funny! I have had mixed feelings about David Wright thru out his tenure. I think these last few years I have judged him unfairly. It is not fair to expect him to be a middle of the order thumper that strikes fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. He may not be the “superstar” offensive player that a NY National League team deserves (and we have had so few of), but he is a home grown, star player who seems to live his life the right way and can fittingly wear a capital C on his jersey. Now if we could only protect him in the lineup with at least one more big bat, I think we could escape this black cloud that has hovered since Endy’s great catch.

  • kjs

    Wilpons = Scheisse.

    ‘Nuff said!

  • […] David Wright was re-signed, I wrote that I was happy but not particularly celebratory — retaining Wright struck me as a […]