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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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Are Gone

The Oscars were handed out Sunday night. Thus, per Monday morning-after tradition, the Academy pauses for a moment to remember those Mets who have, in the baseball sense, left us in the past year.

JOHN EDWARD “Jack” EGBERT
May 28, 2012

Jack Egbert, a righthanded reliever with a last name reminiscent of a weird comic I recall from my childhood (all the single-panel action took place in utero), pitched two-thirds of the ninth inning, making him the 930th Met since there have been Mets; the 35th Met to see action since Opening Day; the thirteenth new Met of 2012; and the 183rd Met to debut as a Met since Faith and Fear in Flushing began blogging.
—May 28, 2012
(Free agent, 10/4/2012; currently unsigned)

JOSHUA RANDALL “Josh” STINSON
September 2, 2011 September 27, 2011

Pitched pretty well before the return to the statistical mean knocked him for a loop. Given his recent arrival, both on Earth and in the big leagues, the jury should remain out for a couple of years.
—November 3, 2011
(Selected off waivers by Brewers, 4/4/2012)

FREDERICK DESHAUN “Fred” LEWIS
September 4, 2012 – October 2, 2012

I don’t blame Fred Lewis, a veteran of parts of six major league seasons, for keeping at his craft in lovely, lonely Buffalo. Who’d want to quit getting paid to play baseball? I’m pretty sure the answer is nobody.
—July 17, 2012
(Free agent, 10/19/2012; Signed with Hiroshima Carp, 11/9/12)

GARRETT ANDREW OLSON
August 8, 2012

I’ve always been fascinated by one-and-done Mets [...] like — until further notice — the way Garrett Olson came up on August 8, made one appearance, left it with an ERA of 108.00 and was sent down probably not to be invited back.
—August 29, 2012
(Free agent, 10/4/2012; Signed with A’s, 10/27/2012)

ROBERT JAMES “Rob” JOHNSON
May 9, 2012 – August 12, 2012

[O]n Friday, Johnson pitched the greatest 1-2-3 eighth a team losing by nine runs has ever known, simply by virtue of being catcher Rob Johnson pitching. It’s a shame things really have to get desperate for a position player to pitch, because when it works, it’s so much fun. Johnson popped up the first guy he faced on one pitch. He popped up the second guy he faced on two pitches. And he struck out the third guy he faced. The names of those guys are being withheld as a protest against the circumstances that led to a catcher pitching, but it was fantastic.
—May 19, 2012
(Free agent, 10/17/2012; Signed with Cardinals, 11/13/2012)

MICHAEL JAMES “Mike” NICKEAS
September 4, 2012 – September 29, 2012

Standing there watching Mike Nickeas peer at the pitcher, I tried to remember all those becauses, and not get distracted by how harebrained it was letting Mike Glavine be a Met in the first place. But it was already stuck in my head: Mike Glavine, hideous baseball, dopey decision-making, 2003. By force of will I made myself fast-forward to 2010, and watched Mike Nickeas strike out.
—September 6, 2010
(Traded to Blue Jays, 12/17/2012)

VINCENT ANTONIO “Vinny” ROTTINO
May 4, 2012 – June 24, 2012

I got a very good feeling watching the Mets overwhelm the Padres this afternoon. Not just a 9-0 feeling, but a feeling that this was a throwback game, the kind of game I could’ve watched on Channel 9…the kind of game when Rusty Staub wasn’t a bobblehead, but a 3-for-5 right fielder robbing Johnny Grubb of a double. Alas, the real Rusty was confined to the SNY booth, but we were OK on the field anyway. After all, we had Vinny Rottino. Vinny from Racine (by way of Buffalo) was filling in as we might have had George “The Stork” Theodore do once, and Rottino inked himself in the Met annals with his very first home run.
—May 26, 2012
(Selected off waivers by Indians, 6/27/2012)

DANIEL “D.J.” CARRASCO
April 3, 2011 – May 16, 2012

CARRASCO? REALLY? Ugh. After which, we never, ever spoke of it again.
—June 16, 2011
(Released, 5/25/2012; Signed with Braves, 6/19/2012)

VALENTINO MARTIN “Val” PASCUCCI
September 8, 2011 – September 27, 2011

The Mets, though, had a little gumption in them. The left field corner isn’t the best place for judging long fly balls, particularly ones hit right at you, but the second Valentino Pascucci connected I was up and out of my seat, howling with glee. The ball landed about 25 feet in front of us, with Joshua’s late scramble just failing to end with a souvenir.
—September 24, 2011
(Free agent, 11/3/2012; Signed with Camden Riversharks, 2/12/2013)

RAMON SANTO RAMIREZ
April 5, 2012 – October 1, 2012

[Y]ou know how every couple of winters we get some “sleeper” or “hidden gem” in whatever deal occupies our attention for 20 minutes? That was supposed to be Ramon Ramirez. I knew it wouldn’t be. I’d love to provide a link to prove I knew this in December, but the acquisitions of Ramirez, Rauch and Francisco didn’t seem worth commenting on, because I knew at least one of those guys would be hit and miss, the other would be stop and go and the third would just suck out loud. Since all the smart money was on Ramirez to be “the steal” in the Andres Torres deal, I assumed it would be him.
—July 5, 2012
(Free agent, 10/29/2012; Signed with Giants, 2/5/2013)

KELLY BRIAN SHOPPACH
August 16, 2012 – October 3, 2012

Kelly Shoppach dropped a foul pop that extended a Kurt Suzuki at-bat long enough to turn it into a home run, which reminded me of an observation I made while sentenced to ten innings of Mets baseball at Citi Field on Sunday: if there is one modern-day player who seems likely to get caught up in a Black Sox-like scandal, my nominee would be Kelly Shoppach. That’s not to say I think he was throwing the game. I don’t think any of our catchers is capable of throwing a game, let alone a baserunner out at second.
—September 10, 2012
(Free agent, 10/29/2012; Signed with Mariners, 2/7/2013)

MIGUEL JEREZ (Descartes) BATISTA
September 1, 2011 – July 21, 2012

What a pleasure it was to watch Father Time tell Baby Next Year, “Not tonight, son. Not tonight.” Let’s hear it for the unlikely 100th big league victory of Miguel Jerez (Descartes) Batista, born when I was in second grade and not dead yet. Baseball Reference identifies Batista as having been the sixth-youngest National League player of 1992 and the sixth-oldest National League player of 2011. Batista’s looked at ball from both sides now. Now he’s on our side, for however long “now” lasts, which couldn’t possibly be very long. While he’s here, I hope he enjoys — per Bobby Parnell’s country & western warmup music — the rest of his eight-second ride.
—September 2, 2011
(Released, 7/26/2012; Signed with Braves, 7/27/2012)

MANUEL ALCIDES (Molina) “Manny” ACOSTA
April 21, 2010 – October 3, 2012

Most of the four-run homers, however, have been served up the ham-and-egger corps of Met middle relievers, including two by the generally competent if quickly forgettable righty Manny Acosta. The former Brave didn’t exactly have it goin’ on Sunday against his old club when he entered a tie game in the top of the seventh. The bases were loaded, two were out (a situation facing seven of the previous eleven grand slam pitchers) and Acosta worked Derrek Lee to 3-and-2. Manny threw a strike and Lee struck it. Twelve grand slams given up by Met pitchers this year…and the Mets’ record in those twelve games? 0-12, of course.
—September 19, 2010
(Free agent, 11/30/2012; Signed with Yomiuri Giants, 12/13/2012)

RONNY ALEXANDER CEDEÑO
April 5, 2012 – October 2, 2012

Ronny Cedeño drove in five runs. Really? The guy who nobody remembers is on the 25-man roster… and that includes his blood relatives. He hit a ball that clanged off Melky Cabrera’s glove, or as the Giants’ official scorer calls that sort of defensive lapse, a double. REALLY!?!
—August 3, 2012
(Free agent, 10/29/2012; Signed with Cardinals, 1/28/2013)

JON ERICH RAUCH
April 5, 2012 – October 2, 2012

Jon Rauch was so unhittable for so long this season, until the one moment in September when what he did had additional ramifications. Then Buck took him as deep as he had to, and a 4-0 Dickey shutout became a 4-3 Met nailbiter, and Marlins began to swim onto the basepaths and…Rauch got out of it. The satisfaction index plummeted like crazy, but a 19th win was a 19th win.
—September 24, 2012
(Free agent, 10/29/2012; Signed with Marlins, 2/5/2013)

PEDRO BEATO
April 1, 2011 – July 23, 2012

Collins, not surprisingly if you’ve been listening to him since he was hired, wanted to emphasize the “positive side” first. There was, he said, “joy” in the Mets clubhouse this week for and from the guys who had never made a major league roster before and for and from the guys who had no guarantee of making this one when camp commenced…[w]hen he informed Pedro Beato he’d be part of the Mets’ bullpen, there was a sense of “oh my god, it was worth all the work and all the bus rides.”
—March 29, 2011
(Traded to Red Sox, 8/14/2012)

ANDRES YUNGO (Feliciano) TORRES
April 5, 2012 – October 3, 2012

R.A. aside, the marquee name in the matinee was Andres Torres, who tormented Josh Johnson (and Chad Gaudin) with a double, homer and triple. (Nobody much mourns when you wind up a triple shy of the cycle, but the lack of a single stings, doesn’t it?)
—August 10, 2012
(Free agent, 11/30/2012; Signed with Giants, 12/14/2012)

CHRISTOPHER RYAN “Chris” YOUNG
April 5, 2011 – September 29, 2012

His Sunday in Milwaukee encapsulated the Chris Young experience in 2012. He pitched well enough to win for a club capable of clobbering the opposing pitcher. The Mets, however, aren’t that club. Ryan Braun extended his BrewerVision highlight reel by two long home runs off Young, and Aramis Ramirez added a spiffy clip on his own behalf. Each was a solo blast, which indicates Young was pretty much doing his job except for the moments he didn’t do it that great. It added up to three runs until there were two out in the seventh, which is when Terry Collins came and took the ball. The score was three-nothing. The score would stay three-nothing. The Mets and Young were the ones who would wind up with nothing.
—September 17, 2012
(Free agent, 10/29/2012; Signed with Nationals, 2/21/2013)

SCOTT ALEXANDER HAIRSTON
April 1, 2011 – October 3, 2012

I feel so bad for baseballs that are launched on a trajectory toward the top of the so-called Great Wall of Flushing. In most other ballparks, they’d be destined for their ultimate reward: some grateful fan’s loving mitts and a digit of immortality — anywhere between a 1 and a 4 — on the scoreboard. At Citi Field, the baseballs headed in that general direction mostly fall short of optimization, and even when they break free of the surly bonds of stifling architecture, they look like their little tongues are hanging out from all the effort it takes to surpass that hundred-or-so-foot-high fence. I swear I can see the sweat beads forming on the horsehide as it tries its darnedest to metamorphose into a home run. This, however, was not a problem for Scott Hairston’s mountain of a fly ball in the seventh inning Saturday. That baby, carrying the fates of two baserunners on it as it elevated, called to mind Crash Davis’s line about anything that travels that far having a damn stewardess on it…except in the case of Hairston’s homer, I’m assuming NASA assigned an entire crew to its journey. Scott Hairston piloted this mission perfectly. His ball did not look exhausted when it arrived in the Left Field Landing — and I can report first-hand it really did land up there, hard as it is to believe that a) it’s not still going and b) a Met homer can clear that wall that decisively.
—July 16, 2011
(Free agent, 10/29/2012; Signed with Cubs, 2/10/2013)

JOSHUA MICHAEL THOLE
September 3, 2009 – October 2, 2012

There’s forever a gold star affixed to his permanent record for coming off the disabled list on June 1, going into a crouch and coming away, two hours and thirty-five minutes later, clutching the last out of the First No-Hitter In New York Mets History. Since Johan Santana didn’t earn that milestone by pitching stickball — specifically the kind whose strike zone is a box chalked on a schoolyard wall — we have to assume Thole had something significant to do with his achievement. He was his catcher. Thole was also R.A. Dickey’s catcher for two one-hitters. When you think of Tim Byrdak casting a glare in Thole’s direction for pitch selection gone awry and Pedro Beato casually assigning blame to Thole for not blocking a blockable wild pitch, you have to pause and think of the good times, too.
—August 4, 2012
(Traded to Blue Jays, 12/17/2012)

JASON RAYMOND BAY
April 5, 2010 – October 1, 2012

We all need our scapegoats, and Bay is mine. I’d like to believe it’s temporary, though temporary is suddenly rounding third and heading for August. On a night when few did much and many did little, Bay continued to brave the storm in a skiff made of futility, standing in proximity to home plate six times for no immediately discernible reason. He produced a groundout, reached on an error and then struck out, struck out, struck out and…struck out. 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, none of which came with a Met runner on base, which prevents me, in all good conscience, from picketing the team hotel in L.A. this morning while chanting: HEY, HEY, JASON BAY! HOW MANY METS DID YOU STRAND TODAY?
—July 22, 2010
(Released, 11/7/2012; Signed with Mariners, 12/8/2012)

MICHAEL ALAN PELFREY
July 8, 2006 – April 21, 2012

That leaves us Mr. Pelfrey’s debut. All you need to know? Six feet, seven inches; 22 years, six months; 96 miles per hour, 104 pitches, five innings; one win, no losses. Mike Pelfrey is, by definition, our stopper. Upon early inspection, he’s also pretty much everything for which one could have hoped. Allow for some nerves and jitters and it was a tremendous debut. Unafraid, no nibbling, stronger as his day grew longer (as if he himself could grow any longer). If he’s not ready to stay on a permanent basis — John Maine, despite reminding me in aura if not stuff of John Mitchell, is more polished at this point — he will be very, very soon. He is as good as we hoped and dared to suspect. His postgame press gaggle was almost as much fun to watch as his pitching. The kid not only answered in complete sentences (as did Milledge in May), but he never ceased smiling. Why should he? He’s a big leaguer with a perfect record for a team in first place and his future has every likelihood of improving from there. The denizens of the visitors dugout can be forgiven if they are teal with envy.
—July 9, 2006
(Free agent, 11/30/2012; Signed with Twins, 12/20/2012)

ROBERT ALAN “R.A.” DICKEY
May 19, 2010 – October 2, 2012

Did the Citi Field scoreboard start every Oriole batter’s count at 0 balls and 2 strikes Monday night? You know, just to save time? I’ve seen hitters obviously overmatched by pitchers. I’ve seen hitters who it could be assumed had little chance against dominant pitchers in ungodly grooves. I’ve seen hitters who had to know it would take a near-miracle to get good wood on an approaching baseball when it left the hand of a pitcher on his best night. But I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never seen hitters so absolutely defeated across the entirety of every encounter with a given pitcher. I’ve never seen so many endings appear determined in advance since those scenes in Quiz Show where you knew the contestants had been given the answers. I’ve never seen a pitcher carry a veritable shutout into the (how appropriate) 43rd inning of what amounts to an extended game of catch with Mike Nickeas and Josh Thole. I’ve never seen anything like what R.A. Dickey is doing to opposing batters. When he began throwing from Olympus rather than a mound in late May, it was pretty standard stuff within the realm of competition. They tried to hit him and they couldn’t. We’ve seen that before. These last two starts, though? Somewhere in the midst of Dickey’s one-hitter against the Rays and through all of Dickey’s one-hitter against the Orioles, the other side simply sent its regrets that it could not attend. I’m not saying a series of professional hitters gave up rather than attempt to make serious contact with Dickey’s assortment of devastating knuckleballs and complementary fastballs. I’m saying it was like they weren’t even at the party.
—June 19, 2012
(Traded to Blue Jays, 12/17/2012)

21 comments to Are Gone

  • 5w30

    This one wins an Oscar. Madison.

  • FAFIF truly is the only baseball blog to publish a Joni Mitchell Reference.

  • Al in Japan

    I just saw Fred Lewis yesterday on TV here in Japan. He’s now playing for the Hiroshima Carp.

    • Thank you for the update. His status has been update above.

      • Al in Japan

        Speaking of ex-Mets in Japan, I’ve not yet seen Manny Acosta who is now with the Yankees of Japan, the Yomiuri Giants. He’ll have to play without his sweet goatee because they, like their evil twin, have a no facial hair policy.

  • I forgot who heartbreakingly promising Mike Pelfrey’s debut was. Y’know, before he went batshit crazy…

    A cautionary tale for one young Mr. Wheeler, perhaps?

    • Fernando Martinez, trying to nail down a slot on the undisputed worst team in baseball after failing time and again to establish himself in the big leagues, homered off Matt Harvey yesterday. There’s irony and caution laced in that encounter.

      OTOH, you can smother yourself in precedent sometimes. Wheeler and Harvey and everything’s marvy!

  • Val Pascucci signed with the Atlantic League’s Camden Riversharks a couple of weeks ago.

    http://www.riversharks.com/news/?news_id=1409

  • NostraDennis

    One wonders whether next year’s memorial will include Lucas “Guess Who Just Struck Out Again” Duda “Duda”.

    I know it’s early, but in seven at bats, he’s had eleven swinging strikes, seven called strikes, and exactly one pop-up to center field. The man hasn’t taken a called ball yet. Troubling…

    • NostraDennis

      Mea culpa, mea culpa. My post above is not factually accurate. MLB.com’s pitch by pitch count is not fully activated in spring training. EVERY strikeout is logged as three pitches, every walk as four pitches, and everyone else hits the first pitch for whatever the result turns out to be. So Duda’s not historically awful. Just regular awful.

  • Geez, you scared me. I thought this article was about dead Mets.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    It was the last on your list that got me to cry.

  • [...] Faith and Fear in Flushing Source: MetsBlog   [...]

  • Burrito88

    Where have you gone Elio Chacon?

  • Will in Central NJ

    Having briefly chatted with veteran LHP C.J. Nitkowski near the visiting bullpen in Pawtucket last August, I thought he might get a callup last September. Alas, it was not to be, and thus no appearance on this list for C.J. (who, like RHP Greg Burke who’s now in camp, had reinvented himself as a submariner).

  • open the gates

    Ah, Jack Egbert – we hardly knew ye.

    And that comic strip was “Eggbert”, with two g’s. Awesome strip. My favorite panel is just after he’s finally born, and getting smacked on the tush. Caption: “Now wait just a cotton picking minute!”

    As a Met fan, I can relate.

  • Jon

    I suppose on some level we can take comfort knowing that with one glaring exception, every one of these departed Mets, um, sucked.

    (I mean, I liked Rottino, and I really wanted Pelfrey to succeed. But geez. What an apt format for the annual rundown. And a nice reminder of why we read this stuff). RIP, Dead Mets of 2012.

  • open the gates

    Make that two exceptions. Scott Hairston led the team in homers, for crying out loud.

    Given the general state of powerlessness on the Mets, not really a ringing endorsement. But given the extreme lack of outfielders on this team, his departure hurts.