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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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But a Good Lagares a Smoke

Howie and Josh mentioned a 1-0 lead during our brief half-inning together, but that’s all I absorbed before I had to reluctantly click them off. My phone flashed a lot of “Young” and “Murphy” whenever I gave it a borderline-polite furtive glance, yet I also spied a bit too much back-and-forth on the scoreboard for comfort. At 4-4 and the Mets-Braves game going to the seventh, you know what I needed?

A tavern with a TV tuned to the proper channel and Juan Lagares up with runners on. As it turns out, if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need. And want.

And Juan.

Happily pulled between two compelling baseball events in Manhattan Thursday evening— Dusty Rhodes’s family gracing the New York Giants Preservation Society meeting in the friendly confines of Bergino and a knockout Varsity Letters lineup hosted a little further downtown by that Jason Fry fella — I wasn’t able to sit down and stare intently at the Mets for the duration. I could only divine what I could divine on the fly. And what I divined most, even as EYJ and Murph piled up numbers and the bullpen (!) strung together zeroes and the whole team took two of three in Atlanta, is there’s nothing quite as divine on the Mets right now as Juan Lagares.

So wonderfully Juanderful. Mostly glove (and arm), but not without some bat, as his go-ahead RBI that I just knew he would produce showed. Juan’s in that golden phase of Metsdom at the moment. He’s been here long enough to not be a total surprise but hasn’t been around so long that he doesn’t continue to represent a revelation. Like Dickey when Dickey was still becoming a thing. Like Fonzie after he was deemed more than a garden-variety utility player but before the entire industry recognized him as the epitome of class.

I find it fitting that I watched Juan coming through like Dusty Rhodes in the ’54 Series on a bar’s television because he seems to be in the bar band phase of his potentially brilliant career. He doesn’t have that big record contract yet, no starmaking machinery behind the popular song. It is up to us to serve as his word of mouth. Right now we’re mostly making “ooh” and “aah” sounds, punctuated when appropriate by “WOW!” Someday we’ll be telling people, “You should have seen Lagares when he was just starting out. You think he’s great now? Early Juan was the goods! Wait, I have a bootleg of his 2014 Brave series right here…”

It’s still early. The nine-game Mets are at least temporarily OK (or as OK as a 4-5 team can be). It’s also still early in the context of a magical center fielder who hasn’t been a major leaguer for a calendar year. Of course it’s too soon to say what Juan Lagares will be beyond the hot start to his second go-round. But isn’t it fun to believe we’ve stumbled into something worth knowing about?

Speaking of Met outfielders, get to know all over again one of the best we ever had when we had yet to have much. Straight outta 1967, enjoy the rhythmic recollections of Tommy Davis and all that jazz, via David Jordan at Instream Sports.

9 comments to But a Good Lagares a Smoke

  • Scott M.

    VERY satisfying series win. I hope the Braves miss the wild card by 2 games…

    On the flip of side of Lagares being in “the bar band phase of his potentially brilliant career”, when do we start to wonder how bad the Granderson signing is in the context of our signing players way beyond their potentially brilliant career phase? I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing when he lost the ball in the lights.

    • Dennis

      “when do we start to wonder how bad the Granderson signing is in the context of our signing players way beyond their potentially brilliant career phase?”

      How about waiting more than 9 games?

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Some great repartee between Howie and Josh after Chris Johnson struck out for the 4th time. Josh was trying to determine if it was the first time in his career that Jones had struck out 4 times in a game.

    Looking in the Atlanta Braves media guide, he’s mumbling to himself (and all of us of course) that there’s so much useless information in there but not a hint of anything remotely negative. Finally, with total frustration in his voice, Josh says, “They’ve even got the name of the Atlanta Braves Locksmith in here!” For the next couple of batters, Howie and Josh were off to the races with that. Priceless.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    After a rough start, we’re back on pace for a 72-90 season.

  • Mike from Atlanta

    I’ll gladly take 2 of 3 from the Braves home or away but it’s especially sweet at Turner’s House of Horrors. Nice series.

  • jim from NJ

    Your right Greg,
    Hope we can say we knew him when….
    That would be awesome.
    About time we have a possible superstar position player find.
    Sure we have quite a ways to go….so what?
    We can dream, We can write.
    Greatest fun is in the “chase”.

  • Stephen Luftschein

    Great to see you give a shout out to my dear friend Jay’s, Bergino Baseball!!

  • K. Lastima

    Juan Lagares roams CF with a jaguar’s elan

  • […] the game. Lagares seems destined for the DL, which is wise with a hamstring and sad when he was generating the most fun a Mets fan could see this side of a Matt Harvey rehab update. EYJ, whose speed has convinced nobody he’s much of a […]