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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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1,001...1,002...

“Daddy,” Tatum Niese might one day ask his father, “can you tell me about the night I was born?”

“No,” would be the appropriate reply from the pitcher who had no answers for the Dodger lineup Friday but at least he had an excuse — the birth of the actual kid in this hypothetical conversation.

Far be it from us to cut Jon Niese slack, but if you’re not going to look the other way from a six-run outing thrown by a man whose wife is giving birth during his shortest mound stint of the year, well, maybe you need to calibrate your priorities the tiniest bit. Tough to blame Niese for being distracted (I clearly remember the Mets benefiting from similar circumstances eighteen years ago when the new dad in question was Curt Schilling). Not so tough to blame the Mets for not having a tighter contingency plan in place than “you sure you wanna pitch tonight?” but blaming seems out of place on one of the better Met days to ever include a 7-2 loss.

Mazel tov to the Nieses, but we had our own blessed events to contemplate as the Dodgers were forcefully slapping Tatum’s daddy on the rear Friday night. For one, we had Met No. 1,000 inscribing himself in the book of life. Michael Conforto showed up, faced live pitching, hit the ball hard a couple of times, drove in a run with a well-placed grounder and created a major league batting average for himself. Granted, it’s an average of .000, but he looked like he knew what he was doing at the plate (something most Mets haven’t) and he’s got a promising career in front of him and us. Conforto is 22, yet I see that facial hair and I can’t help but think he grew it so he wouldn’t be hassled trying to buy beer.

And while we finally got the Met we’d been briefly but sincerely lobbying for, Sandy Alderson quietly went out and snagged us a couple more. In an order yet to be determined, we have tentative Mets Nos. 1,001 and 1,002 on deck. All the way from Atlanta, prepare to meet the even newer parts of the solution, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, acquired in exchange for minor league pitchers Rob Whalen and John Gant. Hopefully you’ll have gotten over the sadness of bidding adieu Danny Muno (demoted) and John Mayberry (DFA’d) and be happy to step right up and greet a couple of veteran ballplayers whose most attractive quality is they haven’t been in the Mets lineup already this year.

This is all we’ve been asking for: the guy on the farm who might be preternaturally capable of contributing and a couple of guys to solidify that which has been made of cottage cheese. Unlike Leah Niese, the Mets front office has been overdue to deliver. Since that dreamlike eleven-game winning streak in April that presumably took place in an alternate universe, the Mets have played the equivalent of a half-season of baseball that counts. In 81 games, they’ve won 36 and they’ve lost 45. If you double that, you get a full-season record of 72-90, not championship caliber in any league.

Good thing the 13-3 part of the season counted and good thing the Washington Nationals still have Mets-flavored gum on their shoes. They should be off in the stratosphere — or Strasosphere — by now, but they’re not. They’ve had injuries. They’ve had letdowns. They’ve had a schedule that doesn’t include nothing but the Mets. That’s their problem. The Mets have, despite pitching their hearts out, done almost everything wrong since late April, yet it’s still a race: a race played out between narcoleptic tortoises, but a race nonetheless. Who’s to say, when you have our pitching and a lineup that’s finally vamped, never mind revamped, that a three-game deficit can’t be made up?

It won’t happen if starters last three innings and the likes of Justin Turner lurks round every non-tendered corner as the default response to “Who’s Your Daddy?” but soon the schedule will be kinder, Uribe will be ensconced, Johnson will be versatile, Conforto will be comfortable and Niese will be less distracted, if less well-rested. It should be too late, but it’s not.

You probably know what was going on the night Jon Niese was born. It would be nice if we could arrange an occasion like that before Tatum Niese is eligible for the amateur draft.

While I prepare to reveal unto you The All-Time Met of Least Consequence, this seems an opportune juncture to introduce you to a swell new blog called MetsDaddy.com. It’s not specifically about the paternity issues faced by Niese and Zack Greinke this weekend, but the timing is eerily fortuitous enough to make us particularly excited to welcome this bouncing, baby blog to the literary precincts of Metsopotamia.

23 comments to 1,001…1,002…

  • Matt

    Exchanging Uribe & Johnson for Mayberry & Muno undoubtedly strengthens our bench, but I’m curious/anxious to see how it plays out with the day to day lineup. The infield has finally seemed to gel these past couple weeks. Is Murph going back to second or sitting vs lefties? Is Tejada going to ride the pine again (he’s probably been our most consistent player recently, which is sort of terrifying). Should be interesting.

    • Eric

      I think Tejada is safe at SS for his bat and glove. Murphy is safe as far as staying in the line-up, but he may go back to 2B with Uribe taking up at 3B.

      I think Flores and Duda have been placed on notice with the trade. Johnson and Murphy can play 2B or 1B.

      The Mets need Duda to break out of his slump, but it’s fast approaching the point of a lost season for him.

      There’s been no rumor of d’Arnaud switching to 1B for the near term, but if he’s eventually deemed too brittle to stay at C with a bat too valuable, a switch to 1B would be the next logical step if Duda hasn’t secured the position by then.

  • Mets Daddy

    Thanks. You should also mention that it was fortuitous with the “Yankees are my daddies” Pedro Martinez being inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend.

  • Daniel Hall

    I’d be in for keeping Tejada at short, and platooning Uribe and Murphy for the moment. Murph hasn’t exactly set the world on fire recently.

    • mikeL

      if his bat warrants it, murphy could be kept in the lineup at first – for those days when duda is having trouble seeing the ball…

      funny, uribe could have been had several moons ago for dillon gee…who would have gotten a chance to start on a team where he was needed. anyone calculate what uribe’s WAR over campbell and muno would have been? maybe, like, at least 3?

      glad to finally see conforto oin the lineup. may travis noty be rained out a third time in a row!

      • mikeL

        sorry for the typos…from my phone i get a chance to correct those…

      • Eric

        Was that trade on the table before Wright’s mild hamstring strain turned into a possibly career-ending broken back?

        I think Tejada is staying put. He’s been one of the Mets’ better bats and his glove at SS has stabilized the Mets’ infield defense. With the team relying so heavily on airtight pitching, it’s tough to poke holes in it with shaky defense.

        Murphy can share 3B and 2B with Uribe and Flores.

        Tough to lose Duda’s glove at 1B, but unlike Tejada, his bat is hurting the team. As far as “having trouble seeing the ball”, I hope the Mets have tested his eyesight, because Duda does look like he’s lost his ability to recognize pitches.

        • mikeL

          “Tough to lose Duda’s glove at 1B…”

          true that!
          and quite the full-split stretch last night, most notably for it not landing lucas on the DL!

          i’m somewhat sure that possible uribe trade had been discussed after the wright injury wasalready looking more serious…days later he was shipped to atlanta.

  • nestornajwa

    Most inconsequential: Terry Blocker, maybe? I confess I don’t understand the criteria. To be the “most inconsequential”, I think the guy has to be a paradox: “memorably inconsequential”. Someone of whom we were vaguely aware, but who never mattered. Blocker was the 4th overall pick in ’81, came up in 1985 when Strawberry was hurt, then had 15 AB in 18 games. He compiled 1 hit (a single), 1 walk, .067 BA. Then he collided with Danny Heep on Banner Day and we never saw him again. I think the ChiSox later offered us Seaver for him straight up. Naturally, the Mets refused. That’s “Memorably Inconsequential”. Dozens of Mets limited their Metsdom to a single half-inning, but Blocker was a slightly famous human-shaped vacuum. Hence: “Memorably Inconsequential”.

    I decided in April to stay away from the Mets (and Jets) in 2015, and I have. But I admit I was curious about when the total number of Mets would surpass the number of Lord Commanders of the Night’s Watch. With Jon Snow’s apparent death, the NW is going on 999. So congrats.

    • Eric

      The saddest part of Seaver’s career for me as a Mets fan isn’t losing him in the 1977 trade, but not finding a way to hold onto him in 1984 and not getting him back for 1986. Rightfully, Seaver should have closed his career coinciding with the 2nd rise of the Mets just as the start of his career coincided with the 1st rise of the Mets.

      How might Gooden’s career have evolved differently with Seaver as his early-career mentor?

    • The Blockers, the Hietpases, the whoevers will all have their moment eventually as we count up from 1,000 to 1, particularly in the 900s. But it takes a special kind of Met nonentity to claim the absolute floor of such an exercise.

      • joenunz

        Wait, you’re going to count up from 1,000 to 1. All of them? Holy crap.

        Upon further review, I’m not surprised, but if you actually do it, I’d ask for a raise.

  • Lenny65

    I nominate Butch Benton and Mardie Cornejo.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Not sure about the most inconsequential Met of all time, but Mayberry has to win the award as Most Inconsequential Cleanup Hitter in a Pennant Race of all time.

    I don’t get it. One day he’s batting cleanup, then the next day he’s DFA. It’s almost like Terry Collins was trying to prove a point with his lineups.

  • LA Jake

    “…yet it’s still a race: a race played out between narcoleptic tortoises, but a race nonetheless.” On a blog full of fantastic lines, this is my favorite so far this season.

    Hooray for the trade we’ve all been begging for the past two months. Hopefully Uribe and Johnson lift up the rest of the team as opposed to the rest of the team dragging them down.

    And yes, Niese gets a pass, especially considering how good he has been since May.

    Need to have Harvey be the Dark Knight of Gotham tonight and stop the bleeding and then have deGrom outduel Grienke and get this team going the right direction again.

    #LetsGoMets!

  • eric1973

    Hold it! So what you folks appear to be saying now is that Duda and Tejada should remain in the lineup, and Flores/Murphy/Uribe should rotate?

    So I guess our starting lineup was great all along, and this trade was just for the bench?

    Uh-Uh. These two new guys need to be full-time starters. Duda has been here around 5 years already, and last half-season notwithstanding, there is no reason to have any confidence in him. Does anyone say, “Now we got ’em. Lucas Duda is up!”

    • Matt

      No sir! First of all, even if they didn’t contribute much offensively Lucas & Tejada are our best infielders. Duda has suffered with zero lineup protection and been chasing bad pitches because nobody has any reason to challenge him. With a fortified lineup you can bet his production will surge. Remember, he had a monster second half last year. I wouldn’t mind him getting a day off here or there against tough lefties, but he needs to be in there just about every day. Patience my man.

    • Eric

      Tejada is the only true SS on the team.

    • Eric

      In Duda’s favor, he’s been a good glove. With Uribe and Tejada solid at 3B and SS, and Duda at 1B, the Mets infield isn’t a liability.

  • LA Jake

    Clearly the offense just needed Johnson and Uribe to explode. 21 runs in the first 8 games since the ASG, 15 runs tonight.

    One down, one to go to complete this gauntlet at 4-6. Would be awesome if deGrom beat Grienke but even if he doesn’t, just the fact management finally made a move clearly gave the team a boost. And the fact Johnson delivered early was a bonus and seemed to relax the whole team.

    I’m going to dream tonight about Duda getting on a roll and d’Arnaud returning and the offense proving competent the last 60 games and this team running down the Nats and ultimately winning it all.