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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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The Miguel Cabrera Traveling All-Stars

I do believe the Mets just got themselves barnstormed. Big, fancy hittin’ show done pulled into town and rolled over our humble, local baseball enterprise. Raised lots of money and entertained a whole lot of folks, so I guess it was all in a good cause.

It’s better to look at the weekend just past — particularly its final inning — as a Globetrotters @ Generalsesque exhibition series than to divine from it any competitive conclusions. There was nothing competitive about any of it. If you look at what the Detroit Tigers did to the New York Mets Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you won’t want to go back to the ballpark ever.

Ever.

Late summer’s considerable charms and the company of my buddy Joe notwithstanding, what a lousy afternoon to spend at Citi Field. Miguel Cabrera homered so deep into the Acela Club, Rawlings Splattered Prosciutto is now an official Market Table Selection. Dillon Gee held steady against incredible odds after that top-of-the-first keynote address by the delegate from Michigan — the Mets even led briefly as Travis d’Arnaud typeset a Rick Porcello pitch in all caps — but the ultimate outcome never didn’t feel inevitable.

That’s not lazy Mets fan fatalism taking the place of incisive analysis just so I can finish writing this in time for Breaking Bad. Prior to the top of the ninth, I had watched the Tigers spank baseballs and the Mets who delivered them for 26 innings…and pitching’s our strong suit. The only missing element from the pastiche of paw prints was a passel of Tiger runs. They’d scored but 13 times on 34 hits from the outset of the Matsuzaka experiment Friday to the middle of the eighth Sunday. I attributed their relative restraint to most of their players being aged, immobile and infirm.

But then — after the home team’s adorable attack of former and apparently current Met Lucas Duda walking, being bunted to second and taking third on not much of a wild pitch somehow failed to light up the various Citi Field matrix boards — the Tigers got what they came for.

Ohmigod, did they get what they came for. It was as if the basepaths had one of those nauseous headaches that you know is only going to go away if you reluctantly allow yourself to throw up. LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison gave the Tiger bats a sudden case of bulimia, simultaneously making those of us in the stands not rooting for the Tigers want to puke. In a flash, the game went from a teasingly tense 4-3 deficit that was going to bother us all the way home once we lost to a cleansing 11-3 rout that made it clear we were never going to win.

No, it didn’t feel good to watch the Mets get trampled by seven Tiger runs on seven Tiger hits and perhaps an actual rabid Tiger, but at least it reflected reality. The tally for the weekend wound up being Detroit with 20 runs on 41 hits versus New York’s 4 runs on 17 hits. And even the cumulative score makes the weekend appear closer than it actually was.

Given the Tigers’ other-league status, this one didn’t hurt all that much. They barnstormed into town, they made us ooh and aah and they left politely. Perpetually annoyed by the Braves and preparing to be incited by the sight of the Phillies, I’m not going to waste an ounce of animus on the Tigers (I even made sure to thank of one of their well-behaved fans for his team’s good deed last October). The Mets on the other hand…except for being stuck with being stuck on them, I can’t stand them anymore again.

Duda’s rematerialization from the agate type of the Basic Agreement rated warm applause from many in the crowd, probably for the same reason I once heard my fellow theatergoers give Mark Linn-Baker a hearty hand: they recognized him from having seen him on TV a lot. Duda’s familiar, but I wasn’t in the mood to welcome him back. I was more like Terence Mann with the insecticide sprayer in Field Of Dreams when Ray Kinsella shows up unannounced at Mann’s apartment in Boston:

“Out! Back to April and May’s horrible 17-29 start! Back! There’s no place for you here in the future! Get back while you still can!”

The same warning goes to Ruben Tejada if he’s thinking about showing his face in Flushing anytime soon.

To be fair, I also never want to look at erstwhile Renaissance Met Omar Quintanilla ever again. Have you ever seen a shortstop make more unnecessary leaps for line drives 20 feet over his head? He will strain something before he catches something. His seatmate for the next bus out of town can be Justin Turner, taking up space at third, jogging to first and too nice for me to actively dislike as a person but not good enough for me to endure as a player. Actually, I’m getting cranky about just about everybody who isn’t a consensus building block for Better Days Ahead. I’m in that dangerous mode of loving the Mets so much that I’m on the verge of despising almost everybody in a Mets uniform.

I can deal with a random opponent being as good as the Tigers were this weekend. I can’t take much more of the Mets being this bad. I mean, yeah, I’ll take it, because they’re the Mets but…uh…

Ah, you know what I mean.

15 comments to The Miguel Cabrera Traveling All-Stars

  • beelza

    Your headline reeled me in. Best one I’ve seen in a very long time. This article was very refreshing. It had creativity. It was very insightful. It was a lamentation, but not whiney or annoying.

    Nicely done from a detroit fan.

    Cheers

  • Kevin from Flushing

    What, no Breaking Bad follow-up discussion? Well, perhaps that would start and end with “holy shit” anyway, and wouldn’t make for much reading.

    Perhaps you’re saving the big BrBa piece for a big series with Walter Weiss’ Rockies.

  • Jon

    Yes, but all those position players we have coming up gives us hope for the future…..right? Uhhh, right? That’s what I thought. Three years into rebuilding and Travis D’Arnaud is the only young player ready to contribute with his bat???? You can’t make this stuff up. Someone needs to remind the knuckleheads in the front office that there isn’t much of a difference between losing 6-1 and losing 2-1. So we have great pitching coming up…where are the bats to support them? HOW DO THE METS GO INTO 2014 WITH THIS MANY HOLES IN THE LINEUP AFTER REBUILDING FOR SO MANY YEARS??? (sorry for the caps….it’s just…infuriating.)

    • Dennis

      HOW DO THE METS GO INTO 2014 WITH THIS MANY HOLES IN THE LINEUP AFTER REBUILDING FOR SO MANY YEARS???

      Well, the off season isn’t here and the 2014 season hasn’t started yet….how do you know they won’t try and fill those holes?

  • kd bart

    This is what happens when you have a team like the Tigers that has a lineup that will put stress on a pitcher and will punish mediocre/bad pitching going up against a team with a lineup that basically has very little that scares anyone and in which a pitcher can basically pitch around the rare stressful moments that might pop up. For instance, that eighth inning situation you speak of with Duda on third and Byrd at bat. Rondon didn’t have to give Byrd anything to hit in that situation because there was no fear of what followed Byrd if he was walked. Byrd chased pitch after pitch out of the strike zone in a futile attempt to get a hit.

  • Chip

    Greg,

    Think you are wrong to give up on Tejada so quickly.

    As far as Mr. Duda, back in the Gotham Baseball days (remember those) I hated him when they picked him. Anyone who could only hit 9 home runs in college, and under .300 in those days simply wasn’t very good. And I could not even imagine his defensive limitations.

    Neither do I fear is Mr. Davis. I do not understand why the Mets management still holds him in such regard. Even his hot streak (primarily drawing walks) is uninspiring.

    Maybe packaging Davis with a secondary pitching prospect to the Indians for Cabrera (you can throw in Tejada if you like) would give the Mets a real infield for the future. Flores/Murphy/A. Cabrera/Wright is solid, although I would need to learn how to spell Carbrera’s first name. Maybe we can just call him Abby.

    • Steve D

      “I do not understand why the Mets management still holds him in such regard.”

      Who would take Ike? Every other team except maybe the Astos, has a better option at 1B.

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/1b/sort/RBIs/order/true/minpa/325

    • vin

      why would the Tribe want Davis? They have Swisher at !B for the next 3 as well as Santana!

    • Hi Chip,

      At midseason when I was in the throes of passion over the EY, Satin, Aardsma, Torres (et al) infusion of life, I decided anybody who wasn’t here was somebody I never wanted to see again. Most of them have come back. Tejada’s the only non-prodigal to date. I’m more down on what he represents in my mind — the lousy Mets who couldn’t get off the schneid — than what he is — which I have no idea any more, but after three months of Quintanilla, sure, let’s find out.

  • Joe D.

    “I can’t take much more of the Mets being this bad. I mean, yeah, I’ll take it, because they’re the Mets but…uh…”

    Hi Greg,

    You’re forgetting, this is part of the re-building plan. Sandy concentrated on the pitching which is good but I guess he forgot that one also needs to score runs in order to win. A minor oversight. :)

    • Dennis

      Rebuilding takes more than 1 or 2 years. Now that they have some good starting pitching, I’ll wait and see what they do in the offseason before I dump on Sandy.

  • Dave

    And who would have thought that after getting that type of ass whooping that things would then go downhill from there?

    • dak442

      These are the times that try men’s souls.

      Long since stopped caring if we won anymore, and just enjoyed the young pitching. Seriously, what have we done to deserve all this? Even accounting for using every bit of available karma on 10/25/86, this is too much.

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