- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

The Valedic(key)tory

Final impressions, from the Mets' 2012 holiday party at Citi Field.

Final impressions, from the Mets’ 2012 holiday party at Citi Field.

“How does Alderson go about reviving the more dormant aspects of our passion, those which have been dulled by two years of dismal sputtering on the heels of two years of dramatic letdown? By winning, of course. Winning will make us all feel better. Winning will bring new iconicism to the uniform, to the franchise and to our self-esteem. Seats will not go unfilled when we’re winning. Enthusiasm won’t need to be cultivated. It will emerge and it will roar the way it once did in these parts. And how does Alderson get us to that point? That’s the more difficult question, and for all the broad strokes (and narrow beseechments) we are all willing to offer, the only person who is entrusted to answer it is Sandy Alderson. That’s why they’re paying the man. But if he doesn’t mind a touch of fan interference, I’d be willing to remove a potentially perceived obstacle from his thinking. Explore every trade that makes sense to you and, if you are convinced in your role as our grand baseball poobah that it’s the right thing to do, trade anybody you feel you have to trade. Your job is improving the New York Mets. There are no sacred cows grazing in Citi Field. Not after 2010. Not after 2009.”
—A relatively typical Mets fan, October 29, 2010 [1]

“While your lead character R.A. Dickey is richly drawn, and his backstory is potentially appealing, we here at Limited Imagination agree there is no way he could exist. Since you insist on setting Dickey within the milieu of major league baseball, there needs to be at least some semblance of reality attached to your protagonist, and quite frankly, your Dickey may be the least fathomable sports character we’ve ever read. According to our research department, most successful baseball pitchers attain a level of peak performance in their 20s, but your Dickey is supposedly a career journeyman derailed by the lack of an essential component in his throwing arm who attempts to learn a magic pitch in his 30s, takes years to master it and then, quite suddenly, takes it to a whole other level where he becomes all but impossible to hit. The sports reader may ‘root’ for the unexpected, but that demographic is more and more grounded in statistical probability and the Dickey you describe in the latter chapters begins to do things that sound impossible. We could accept a certain literary license in making Dickey fairly articulate as a contrast to the usual ballplayer, but having him write a searing memoir that lands on the New York Times bestseller list in advance of creating this pitching alchemy again stretches credulity.”
—“Clueless Editor,” rejecting book proposal from “George Plimpton,” following the events of June 13, 2012 [2]

“It was a blast to be in R.A.’s ranks Thursday. I’d practically call it an honor to bear witness to the sixth Mets pitcher clinching the ninth 20-win season in franchise history. Every fifth or sixth day in the second half of 2012, R.A. lifted us from the benign disengagement you’d rightly infer a fourth-place team inspires to full-fledged immersion that seemed perfectly logical as Dickey’s knucklers rode their own private highway from his well-traveled fingertips to Josh Thole’s oversized mitt. It’s a shame his 20th win didn’t come in service to a better Mets team, but it was enough, I suppose, that R.A. Dickey made the Mets a better team whenever it was his turn to try. And besides, as fans who are unshakeable in our affinity, we need these kinds of stories and these kinds of seasons when the overarching narrative is lacking. Dickey winning his 20th as a tuneup for his projected start in Game Two of the NLDS would be as sweet as that sounds, but given what we know as reality, what could be sweeter than a 72-84 club being redeemed regularly by the presence of a 20-6 savior? Savior of our sanity if not our season.”
—A view from the not-so-cheap seats, as sat in and stood in front of on September 27, 2012 [3]

“Mets fans in New York City chanted his name, waved giant R’s and A’s and loved him in a way that people love a child or a monk or a dying man who has shed all his armor and come before them in his truth.”
—Gary Smith, current cover story in Sports Illustrated [4]

This was a baseball decision. And at some point the lines crossed. We did prefer to sign him at the outset. We felt we could sign him. I still felt confident we could sign him as we got into the winter meetings. But it also became clear that against the backdrop of a very hot market for pitching, his value in a possible trade was also skyrocketing. […] His value in trade to us at some point we felt exceeded our ability to keep him here over a one- or possibly two- or three-year period. We’re not going to replace him with a No. 1 starter in return, but we’re going to have to find someone who can give us some of those wins. We also have to hope the team improves in other areas to offset R.A.’s loss. […] R.A. was a very popular player. I’m sure he would have been very popular next year here. I’m sure he’ll be popular in Toronto, and for good reason. On the other hand, our popularity as a team, our popularity among fans, our attendance is going to be a function of winning and losing. And winning and losing consistently over time. Those are the kinds of things we have to take into account. […] I’m hopeful in coming years that our overall popularity will be more a function of our success than individuals. But, look, I recognize this is an entertainment business. It was great to have R.A. here, and yet we felt in the best interest of the organization and the long-term popularity of the team that this was the right thing to do.”
—Sandy Alderson, December 17, 2012 [5]

Sometimes it makes me sad, though, Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”
—Red, after Andy Dufresne escaped to a better place [6], The Shawshank Redemption