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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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Bad Mets! Bad!

Sometimes you really want to take a rolled-up newspaper to this mutt of a team.

A night after a taut, inspiring win, the Mets were horrible, from Shaun Marcum’s little bit of Jekyll and a whole lot of Hyde to the hitters’ grinding futility when it mattered. The highlight of the game was Gary, Ron and Kevin holding a respectful and open-minded discussion of sabermetrics — my only moment of disappointment was the disdain for BABIP, which isn’t a perfect stat (such a thing doesn’t exist) but in my opinion is a useful indicator that a player’s run of success or failure is unlikely to last. Nice to see, but when the highlight is something involving the announcers you can guess the game wasn’t anything you’ll want to remember for very long. 

So where do we start?

I suppose we should remember that for Marcum’s arm it’s mid-March, and so not be too harsh about his inability to get through five innings, let alone do that having accomplished something positive. But man is it frustrating, and it’s getting old in much the same way Marcum is 31 but looks an Atchisonian 51.

Beyond that, well, if I were an opposing pitcher I’d consider immediately putting the first Met hitter in each inning on base, since that seems to terrify his teammates. The Mets got a leadoff double in the fourth, followed by a groundout and two pop outs; followed Anthony Recker’s leadoff home run in the fifth with a double, then flopped through a strikeout, pop out and groundout; got a leadoff single and a trio of groundouts in the sixth; and then got a leadoff single in the eighth followed by a groundout and a GIDP. See frustrating and getting old above.

Finally, why on earth are Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin limited to pinch-hitting roles? The Mets’ outfield is terrible (perhaps you’ve heard), but it’s not going to get better with two guys who have actually earned real playing time sitting on the bench. Sure, they’ve both shown a knack for pinch-hitting, but maybe that’s because they have a knack for hitting — Matt Harvey would undoubtedly be a solid ROOGY, but that’s not the same as it being a good idea. Baxter has never shown any ability against lefties, but he destroys righties, knows how to get on base and is an acceptable defender. Valdespin has had success against lefties in the minors, has shown that he can make adjustments and become a smarter hitter in the big leagues (which is really rare), and is a lot better outfielder than anyone thought. Isn’t their development more important than taking a flyer on Andrew Brown or watching Marlon Byrd get another day beyond whatever his peak was? Baxter should be platooning and Valdespin should be playing every day; I’m genuinely baffled that Terry doesn’t see this and the front office isn’t insisting that he do things differently.

On the plus side … well, the umpires had to go under the stands for a replay, emerged and made the proper call. Joe West can watch TV correctly, which is more than our old nemesis Angel Hernandez can say.

9 comments to Bad Mets! Bad!

  • metsfaninparadise

    I’ve been saying that about Valdespin for weeks. Lets see what he can do. I like Collins and he’s a sincere guy and apparently an effective manager of people, but I lose respect for him by the day as his personnel decisions continue to perplex and frustrate.

  • Tom

    Can we have R.A. Dickey back?

  • Matt in Woodside

    Jordany lingering near the plate to admire his own home run last night was the first time I thought ugh. Shades of Lastings Milledge.

    But how can Collins not recognize that he has placed some truly weird expectations on him? He’s sort of a young guy to be used primarily as the team’s best late inning pinch hit home run threat, and when he comes through, Collins doesn’t seem to be rewarding him with more playing time on any sort of consistent basis.

    If Collins trusts him in big spots and trusts his defense, and really does believe that his attitude is a problem, how does he expect Jordany to learn to play with more of a “team first” mentality as a bench player? Does anyone recall Ike Davis spending the better part of a season barking at every umpire in the majors over called strikes on the outside corner? To me, having a young player who regularly griped at home plate umpires seemed much more detrimental to the team than a guy playing with emotion or hot dogging a home run (and then getting promptly plunked for it today). Collins was plenty patient letting Davis work out those demons, though. Why not let Jordany play himself into or out of a job, and learn how to become a better teammate that way? It’s not like there aren’t jobs to be had in that outfield.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    Still believe that Buck didn’t drill Valdy with that pie on purpose after seeing his teammates ignoring him after he was hit by Morris?

    • Matt in Woodside

      I still think that was just an accident. Didn’t Buck apologize? I think last season’s much-reported t-shirt gate incident may have led to frosty relations between Turner and Valdespin, so Buck took it on himself to ensure the continuity of the pie tradition and was a little overzealous. If the entire team dislikes him enough to have Buck deliberately punch him in the face on live television after he hits a walk off grand slam, then maybe the problem is worse than I thought.

      • Joey D.

        Hi Matt,

        Notice when Valdy came back to the dugout he was completely ignored by all his teammates? Nobody came over to see if he was OK.

        And notice the greeting Morris got as he returned to the Pirate dugout when the inning was over?

        Last season Terry Collins took Wright out of a blowout because he was afraid of retaliation after Carasco intentionally threw at a Brewer player. In a close contest where putting one on base could cost a team the game, the Buc might have held back today. But this wasn’t the case. It too was a blowout. So instead of protecting his player, TC sent him up as a pinch hitter, knowing what was going to happen.

        John Buck has been around long enough to know the difference between tossing a pie in one’s face and smashing it into one at full force.

        Yes, I believe the problem is indeed much worse than you might suspect – there have been so many indications of it.

        • Matt in Woodside

          Hi Joe,

          JV1 seems to be a talented player, so maybe everyone (including Bryan Morris I guess) is hoping to show him how to get the bigger picture. The hazing is part of that, and he needs to develop a better sense of humor about it. But I think ignoring him in the dugout afterward seems like a case of “I told you so” by his teammates. Kind of irritating regardless. Admiring your own homerun when it only made the score 7-2 really was immature. Morris throwing a 94mph fastball at the kid’s arm the next day was totally uncalled for though. Hey Pirates. You were kicking our ass on Friday. You were winning an even more lopsided game on Saturday. So we’ve got an immature kid on our team who stares when he hits a ball onto the Pepsi porch. Get over it.

          I’m just thinking that since he seems to have the talent, his attitude might be vastly improved with more regular play. He’ll have days when he’s humbled by going 0-4. He’ll have days when a single or a bunt is a better idea than trying for a home run. He’ll have days when he gets three hits and the team still loses. He’ll have days when he doesn’t feel so enthusiastic.

          Basically, I agree with Jason. Why aren’t him and Baxter the regular outfield starters at this point? It’s ridiculous that a kid who hasn’t even been on the team for a full season has already broken the Mets record for pinch hit home runs, and that Baxter is 5 for 9 pinch hitting, and they’re both still riding pine in the middle of May. I don’t understand what Collins is thinking.

          • Joey D.

            Hi Matt,

            I think we’ve all experienced having to work with somebody who was so egotistical and showed such lack of respect for everyone else thinking he was better than the rest of us that we too would want nothing to do with him.

            It’s more than showboating Even after the reaction to his home run on Friday night, he said he didn’t care what others felt.

            How long does it finally become a matter of enough is enough?

            Valdy has been suspended in winter ball and in the minors. It’s because he is an athlete with unique talent that he is able to do things the way he does. If he was pulling such antics in an office environment, he would have been fired a long,long time ago.

            If one looks at this not as a ball club but within the confines of an environment we’ve all been in and all that one can do making coming to the office miserable, what would then one feel?

            Again, he’s lucky that he is a talented athlete in order to have gotten this far with his attitude and utter disrespect.

  • open the gates

    When the team batting average rises above .158, or whatever the heck it is these days, they can afford to take their brash young outfielder to task. Meanwhile, maybe they should just watch the kid. Maybe they might just learn something.

    I just see a few years from now Jordany sparking some other team to the World Series. And all the pundits will be lamenting how, when the Mets had an outfield full of Byrds and Cowgills, they let Jordany Valdespin go for a song and a dance. The same pundits who are crucifying the kid now.