The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com.

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Like Royal and Water

I’m pretty sure the Mets won their game Friday night. Score says they did. My memory says they did. Eric Young, Jr., tossing his helmet into the air before stomping on home plate amid a sea of orange-trimmed blue jerseys says they did.

So why doesn’t it feel more festive? Probably because, in descending order of significance, David Wright left with a hamstring injury; nine simple innings became eleven stressful frames; and why the hell are we decent Metsopotamian types rooting against the most innocuous franchise in baseball, the Kansas City Royals?

I don’t want to root against the Royals. I don’t necessarily need to root for the Royals in any given context, but what have the Royals ever done to me except fleece the Mets out of Amos Otis when I was six? Through their 45-year history, the Royals have existed in a Mets-free vacuum, save for two prior Interleague engagements completed long ago. They’ve either been not very good, pretty darn bad or achingly close to great. The ache was from when they were at their best, between 1976 and 1980, and I cheered my adolescent heart out for them during four Octobers when the Mets were nowhere in sight. In the first three, they couldn’t quite put away the Yankees. In the fourth, they did a magnificent job taking care of the ALCS but fell to the fetid Phillies in the World Series.

The Royals were the ultimate Not the Yankees/Not the Phillies enterprise in their time. Had they come along as such at the dawn of this decade, we’d all have painted our faces a simpatico shade of powder blue. And even when their time was running out, they did right by us, posting their only world championship by sticking it to our bitter enemies of the mid-1980s, the White Rat Redbirds. And then, as if they still felt bad about Otis for Foy, they sent us David Cone and asked only Ed Hearn in exchange.

I ask you, why do I have to gear up to be down on the Royals for some stray weekend now? The Royals are making a legitimate bid to become the Pirates of the American League (assuming the Pirates are secure in their newfound position as the Pirates of the National League), winning nine in a row before arriving in Flushing for their first series in our borough since 2002, which in turn was one year before their most recent winning season…which was a year before the only detour the Mets ever took to Kansas City.

So we’re talking about a team that from 2005 through 2012 wasn’t any good at all and not remotely on our radar. All these seasons since they were a little threatening or of any fleeting concern, we have to be all, “Ooh, the Royals…gotta beat those lousy SOBs.”

Just wasn’t feeling it Friday night. Wanted the Mets to prevail. Didn’t have any interest in seeing the Royals be their victims. They served their purpose as the guys in the non-Mets uniforms on the same field as the Mets in that they scored fewer runs than the Mets — as if that’s mathematically possible — but c’mon. The Royals? The Royals are not a rival and they barely qualify as an opponent. They’re more like kindred spirits who happen to share three boxes on the same pocket schedule.

The Royals will be here through Sunday. Bobby Parnell will not be in evidence during the same period. Stiff neck, they say, which would be a great setup for a joke about all the home runs he’s given up, but Bobby Parnell’s been quite reliable, so the joke was on the rest of the Mets bullpen having to play musical chairs and discover their comfort zones within new roles. They needed to do this for just two innings, as Dillon Gee was superb for seven before being left in to put a runner on to start the eighth. At 2-0, it became it became try-your-luck time in the pen.

The only problem reliever to pitch Friday was David Aardsma, which was a shame, since he was the one who had been promoted to Parnell’s spot. Aardsma’s been terrific since becoming a Met, so you knew…I mean you just knew he wouldn’t transition seamlessly to the promotion. It doesn’t matter that he’s closed games before elsewhere. It doesn’t matter that a batter is a batter is a batter. You could feel him overamped to get this game over with when he came on in the ninth, which was a surefire sign the game would continue beyond the ninth, meaning more pitchers from the pen — a Pedro Feliciano sighting! a Carlos Torres (a.k.a. Saturday’s supposed starter) sighting! — and more innings for everybody.

But less Wright. Oh boy, was there less Wright when David aggravated the same hamstring that was apparently giving him trouble in Miami a few nights ago. Then it was labeled a “cramp” for which Terry Collins suspiciously didn’t sit him after seeing. It reminded me of Art Howe looking at a 21-year-old Jose Reyes writhing in agony at Olympic Stadium and not thinking it was worth resting him because the kid hadta learn to play with pain.

Art Howe didn’t manage the Mets after that season.

Wright, of course, was giving it his all, just as he has for ten seasons. He was beating out a bad throw at first to start the tenth and couldn’t race to second because he could barely hobble to first. David left. He won’t be back for a while. And the Mets — whose only runs to that point had come on Wright’s two-run, Piazza-tying, 220th career homer in the first — didn’t score the winning run he originally represented, same as they didn’t score the leadoff runner (generated by the bat of an “Ike” somebody or other) in the ninth.

The Royals appeared poised to extend their winning streak to ten, if only because they had extended the game into a fifth hour and because their version of being on a roll has been demonstrably more impressive than the Mets’ version of being on a roll. The Mets got incredibly hot in June and July and almost made it to six games under .500 last week. The Royals got incredibly hot and thrust themselves above .500 and into their league’s playoff picture. Their league is the American League. Why we’re getting tangled up with an American League playoff contender in August is beyond me.

Anyway, for all that was aggravating or anomalous or just plain ominous about this game, the Mets won it. Eric Young hit his first Mets home run and the scoreboard titled definitively in our favor.

Nothing wrong with that part.

15 comments to Like Royal and Water

  • Doobie

    Amen! And…don’t forget…the nearly endless parade of players (usually, creaky veterans) who’ve been both Mets and Royals in their career! Not so much this year as there have been in years past but the Royals do currently have Bruce Chen and, up until about a month ago, Jeff Francoeur. On the flip side, you guys currently have John Buck.

  • vin

    Why?

    Seligs continued dilution of MLB over the past 2 decades (on the field, over expansion, on the schedule on Tv etc.) force an inter league every day thru the season and this is what you get! Royals are better than you say but I understand. Before inter league these week ends were filled with another Padre or Houston series also non inspiring but at least some NL nexxus! Wouldn’t it be nice if StL/Cin/Chic/Pitt could make additional games with Mets like the old days with historical significance such as this series lacks.?

    Also..very strange how injuries are handled either 100% pre emptive coddling or indifference like with Wright. Cleraly he was hampered earlier this week…why not take him out of game with Marlins treat/rest and see if he is ok? Also as you suggested /drat another extra inning affair…keeping all on field longer and later only to play at 1 today…that is the toughness of baseball but can not help to think if DW was in clubhouse resting and treating leg this could of been avoided!Watching pure NL game today Braves at Phillies!

  • Ljcmets

    I’m no fan of Terry Collins’s managing. ( I almost screamed aloud in frustration when he put Wheeler, an integral and valuable part of the plan going forward and cold off the bench, in to run for Wright. Anyone other than Harvey would have been a better choice, IMO ). But there’s plenty of blame to go around for Wright’s possibly season-ending injury.

    Sometime over the past week, when David slid into second and came up holding his right hammy, Gary and (I think it was) Ron made reference to Wright playing through a broken bone in his back for a month a couple of seasons ago, and how you really couldn’t “play through” a hamstring injury, and questioned whether David’s commitment to the team and general toughness might override good sense in his disclosing any problems to TC or the doctors. Sure enough, later that evening and the following day it was explained away as a “cramp.” I never bought that for a second; after 45-plus years of watching baseball, it was pretty obvious to me that David had done something, however minor, to his hamstring. Both the trainer and Collins made separate trips to check on him during that inning, and Wright waved them off. That, to me, is all on Wright. He has to be honest with his manager, trainer, and above all, himself, with regard to possible injuries. Otherwise he is doing the team a disservice, which I’m sure was not his intention.

    But Terry gets a large portion of blame from me, as well. The team just invested a gazillion dollars in Wright, he is the Captain, and clearly its MVP. The Mets, whatever delusions they may have, are not and almost certainly will not be factors in any pennant race. The risk-averse, sensible and future-oriented course of action for a manager in his situation would have been to take Wright out of the game immediately and to sit him for several days if not a week. Instead TC (or someone calling the shots above him) allowed David to play the next several games when even to an untrained eye watching on television he was favoring the injured leg and was not at full strength. He even sat Murphy one game, and yet Wright, the new Face of the Franchise, continued to play in meaningless games against the Marlins. What was TC thinking, if he was thinking at all? From a business perspective, as well as a baseball one, this behavior left me baffled.

    Unless….and this is a chilling thought…a cold, even if subconscious, calculation was made to keep Wright playing
    for as long as possible to a) save Terry’s job, b) save Sandy’s job, and/or c)save the owners money by continuing the fiction of a pennant race and by putting as many bodies in seats for as long as possible this season, as David is by far their best (if not their only) everyday attraction? Of course, the whole thing can be relatively innocently explained away as part of the continuing bumbling and poor handling of the Mets’ medical/front office/PR staffs, and by David’s tough-nosed approach and his work ethic. But it kind of makes me wonder, and it also makes me angry that the Mets have sunk to such depths that I have to wonder at all.

    But Terry also has to bear a lion

  • ljcmets

    I’m no fan of Terry Collins’s managing. ( I almost screamed aloud in frustration when he put Wheeler, an integral and valuable part of the plan going forward and cold off the bench, in to run for Wright. Anyone other than Harvey would have been a better choice, IMO ). But there’s plenty of blame to go around for Wright’s possibly season-ending injury.

    Sometime over the past week, when David slid into second and came up holding his right hammy, Gary and (I think it was) Ron made reference to Wright playing through a broken bone in his back for a month a couple of seasons ago, and how you really couldn’t “play through” a hamstring injury, and questioned whether David’s commitment to the team and general toughness might override good sense in his disclosing any problems to TC or the doctors. Sure enough, later that evening and the following day it was explained away as a “cramp.” I never bought that for a second; after 45-plus years of watching baseball, it was pretty obvious to me that David had done something, however minor, to his hamstring. Both the trainer and Collins made separate trips to check on him during that inning, and Wright waved them off. That, to me, is all on Wright. He has to be honest with his manager, trainer, and above all, himself, with regard to possible injuries. Otherwise he is doing the team a disservice, which I’m sure was not his intention.

    But Terry gets a large portion of blame from me, as well. The team just invested a gazillion dollars in Wright, he is the Captain, and clearly its MVP. The Mets, whatever delusions they may have, are not and almost certainly will not be factors in any pennant race. The risk-averse, sensible and future-oriented course of action for a manager in his situation would have been to take Wright out of the game immediately and to sit him for several days if not a week. Instead TC (or someone calling the shots above him) allowed David to play the next several games when even to an untrained eye watching on television he was favoring the injured leg and was not at full strength. He even sat Murphy one game, and yet Wright, the new Face of the Franchise, continued to play in meaningless games against the Marlins. What was TC thinking, if he was thinking at all? From a business perspective, as well as a baseball one, this behavior left me baffled.

    Unless….and this is a chilling thought…a cold, even if subconscious, calculation was made to keep Wright playing
    for as long as possible to a) save Terry’s job, b) save Sandy’s job, and/or c)save the owners money by continuing the fiction of a pennant race and by putting as many bodies in seats for as long as possible this season, as David is by far their best (if not their only) everyday attraction? Of course, the whole thing can be relatively innocently explained away as part of the continuing bumbling and poor handling of the Mets’ medical/front office/PR staffs, and by David’s tough-nosed approach and his work ethic. But it kind of makes me wonder, and it also makes me angry that the Mets have sunk to such depths that I have to wonder at all.

  • ljcmets

    Ok, now I really am angry….apparently Collins said at last night’s press conference that he knew that Wright had a hamstring injury, and yet he allowed him to play and was just praying he wouldn’t have to run out anything at full strength: “The one thing [Wright] said is that he knew he could play but didn’t want to have to any fast burst,” Terry Collins explained on Friday to reporters. “He extended it trying to help us win a baseball game.” (from MetsBlog).

    I just…can’t. This is baseball. And the Mets apparently don’t use any judgment in making these decisions, just prayer. Didn’t TC realize that eventually, and probably sooner rather than later, David would have to run hard down the line? Just mind-boggling.

  • 9th string catcher

    Not looking good for TC. Ever pull a quad or a hammy? They take FOREVER to heal. If you’re on the cusp of an injury like that, you have to stay off it and stretch it out (carefully) until it’s better. Baseball with all it’s stops and starts is horrible for this. He’s already being blamed for Johan (unfairly) and now if Wright’s out for significant time the Mets will finish in last place. Not great showing in a contract year.

  • BlackCountryMet

    Shocking. Any feelings of joy in the win immediately dissolved upon learning of the injury. You DO NOT play on through a hamstring injury. Yet another black mark against the physio/trainer/medical dept of Mets. Part of the role of a manager is to tell players stuff they don’t wish to hear and TC should have had the balls and sense to tell David he wasn’t playing. Not acceptable

    • Steve D

      Exactly right…I tweaked my hammy last year…I played on it a week later, but of course, I only play for fun and can run half speed to first so as not to aggravate it. A week off helps. Lots of blame to go around…Wright should know better also. Now it’s at least 3 weeks and no need to rush him.

  • vin

    LJC

    agree 100% with comments as I briefly alluded in prior post…here is the thing , I too have been watching 45 years /we are are not really untrained eyes but most likely have more perspective and baseball wits than many working in game..I worked 2 years in an organization and was in disbelief of the type of hires they make and that is 100% true for the Mets…thats why there is bumbling incompetence at many levels of organization especially w/o a strong leader as both Mets and yankees suffer among others.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Overlooked because they won, but while watching that pitiful pinch hit at bat in the 9th, I thought to myself it’s time for Robert Romano’s brother in law to join his former Also Good For Like Half a Season Years Ago teamate Mike Baxter in Las Vagas. Instead I wake up this morning to find out that not only is that not happening, but that Baxter is back as a Summer Replacement for David Wright.

  • Will in Central NJ

    Somewhere in Mercer County, NJ, my 9-year old nephew is pouting, since days ago my brother signed him up for a credit card-sponsored David Wright kids’ clinic at Citi Field, which is/was to start at 7:30 AM sharp, August 29th…

  • metsfaninparadise

    It’s great to be a “player’s manager” but sometimes you have to be the grownup in the room, not one of the guys. TC should have put his foot down and sat Wright for a game or 2, at least til he could be examined. On another note, if not for this tragedy we could’ve grooved in a minor way on the symmetry of DW’s tying Piazza for 2nd place on the Mets all-time HR list on the same night EYJ tied for last place on the same list (or next-to-last if you count zero as a place), neat little bookends.

  • […] my blog partner, I have nothing against the Royals — in fact, I have a certain distracted, information-free affection for them. Back in the late […]

  • […] He’s provided a pedigreed major league presence that had been missing since he came up lame against the Royals on August 2. And he’s manned third base like he was born […]