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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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Plan JV Looks Great (So Far)

It’s gonna be another summer without David Wright. Six to eight weeks of rest, and then they’ll see.

If you’re like me, you may have had an odd reaction to the news — a weird argument between head and heart.

Head sniffed that a .226 average, bushels of strikeouts and throwing woes at third didn’t seem impossible to replace.

Heart said, more or less, how dare you even think that about David Wright! He does more each day just to get on the field than you do in a week, and he’s been unfailingly decent to fans, teammates, owners and everybody else since the day he arrived all those years ago, with painfully little to show for it in return. We’re all diminished without No. 5 in the lineup, no matter what the stats say. Shame on you!

We’ll leave Head and Heart to fight it out, while noting that front-line Mets are vanishing with worrisome regularity. Travis d’Arnaud is supposedly going to start a rehab assignment this weekend, but at first just to hit. Lucas Duda‘s waiting around for his back to heal. And now Wright’s gone. That’s a big chunk of the lineup missing.

And so of course the newly reduced Mets went out and scored six — that’s a week’s worth of offense for those wondering why they’re still scoring at home — in Loria-Land against the odious Marlins.

What’s more, it was the JV — the Bomb Squad, the International League Irregulars, the Replacemets — who did the damage. Wilmer Flores, Wright’s replacement apparent at third, scored two runs and delivered a tie-breaking broken-bat single, proving that the Mets actually can post runs of the non swing-and-trot variety. Rene Rivera, who replaced Kevin Plawecki as backup catcher and is looking to replace him again as the primary, hit a two-run homer in the ninth to give the Mets breathing room and was his emphatic self as life coach, pushing an exhausted Noah Syndergaard through the seventh. And James Loney, imported to replace Duda, connected for his 100th home run, also a tie-breaking shot.

It was a good night, so it seems mean-spirited to note that it was just one night, or to wonder if Wilmer has the arm for third, or ask why anyone thinks Rivera’s ready to be a front-line player for the first time at 32, or to raise an eyebrow that Loney arrived after not finding a spot on the roster of the 21-34 Padres.

It worked for a night, and that’s good enough — particularly with the lowly Reds upending the Nats to leave the Mets two games out.

Still, perspective may be in order. The Nats look like a much more capable outfit than last year’s model, thanks to Dusty Baker and Daniel Murphy and perhaps a better roll of the probability dice, and it would be very far from a surprise if this much-reduced Mets lineup failed to keep up with them. But that’s not the only route to postseason glory these days. Barring yet-to-be-revealed horrors, the Mets’ gaudy starting pitching should keep them in the pennant race — Syndergaard didn’t have his A game Friday night and had to settle for two runs allowed over seven innings, with nine Ks. Get into the postseason, and the Mets are guaranteed to send a potentially dominant starter to the mound in each and every game.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is an invitation for baseball to make you look like a fool. Plan JV worked just fine for a game. Here’s to more such games.

* * *

You’ll find no shortage of better-informed takes elsewhere, but it’s sad to realize we live in a world without Muhammad Ali. The world seems a paltry place without Ali’s astonishing charisma and courage — which he exemplified not just in the sports world in which we are entertained, but also in the far larger day-to-day one in which we all live.

17 comments to Plan JV Looks Great (So Far)

  • eric1973

    R.I.P. Ali —- Now HE was ‘the most interesting man in the world.’ —- Though Norton WAS robbed in ’76.


    Wow, Christmas came early last night, as TC proved you CAN teach a (really) old dog new tricks!

    After previously creating a problem where none had existed, TC saw the team had another ‘4-run lead’ and sat down a warming-up Familia in favor of Henderson, the perfect choice for mop up duty.

    TC saw how dumb he had been, and decided to do the right thing! He realized Familia might actually have to pitch in the near future in a game where he was truly needed.

    Let’s hope these kinds of wise decisions carry over into the rest of the season and that this is not just a momentary bout of common sense.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Nope Eric. Completely different scenario than last time. Last time he had very little recent work and therefore it made sense to bring him in in a non save situation (as every closer who’s ever played the position has done from time to time). This time, having pitched plenty in recent days, there was no need to bring him in in a non save situation. He didn’t “learn anything” from last time. He was appropriately adjusting to different scenarios. To prove this all you have to do is ask yourself a simple question. Do you believe TC’s plan was to use JF in every 4 run game the rest of the year? Of course not. Each game and situation is unique.

    R.I.P. To the G.O.A.T.

  • Dennis

    Nice win and great to see Loney go deep. Another good performance from Thor as well.

    As far as the continued perception of Collins being “dumb” on his use of Familia (as if he was the only manager in the history of baseball who has done that)…. well I wish I was as dumb as him to have had a career this long in MLB.

  • Hopefully Wilmer will be given the month of June to prove he can or cannot handle the job at third. I don’t think too many younger players are capable of maintaining excellence when only playing sporadically. I understand he didn’t do a lot this year when given the few chances he has gotten, but I believe off of last year’s performance, he deserves first shot at David’s job. I don’t expect Gold Glove caliber fielding, but 80 or 90 at bats should give a good indication of his hitting ability. Time to give Rivera a steadier job also.

  • eric1973

    Wrong again. Actually, it was the ‘perfect’ scenario:
    —Day off before
    —Team not hitting and desperate for a win
    —First game of a series (TC has used that reasoning before) with a division rival
    —He was even warming up already (with a 2-run lead)

    At least give TC credit for doing the right thing!

  • Mikey

    Boy do i have an unhealthy hatred for the marlins. I was rooting last night like this was a playoff game.
    Felt great watching thor escape damage a couple times and how do you not love rivera?

  • 9th string catcher

    Spot on, old geezer. Flores is here for this very reason – what is he exactly? We should know by mid July. If Rene can hit even a little, he should start. His defense and game calling is worth at least 1 run a game. If he can help generate any offense, he’s worth 2 runs before the game even starts.

  • Matt in Richmond

    I’m bored with the debate over TC’s intelligence. Some people just don’t like him or respect him for whatever reason, and that’s how it is. I’ll say this;

    A big part of the beauty of baseball is the numerous decisions that have to be made and the endless possibilities emanating from those decisions. Whether or not to: hit and run and on which pitch, bunt, steal, try for an extra base, pinch hit, intentionally walk a hitter and on and on. And of course bullpen decisions which often get the most attention. The thing about all these decisions is virtually none of them are black and white right or wrong. They are all to varying degrees playing the odds and/or gut decisions. The most logical decisions can backfire and the most outside the box moves can work.

    So since there are no (or very few) completely right or wrong decisions to be made, there is always endless room for debate and second guessing. This is fun and part of baseball. Speaking with too much certitude on these decisions, or the people that make them, is a fools game for those same reasons. And no fan knows all the details that went into making any of those decisions.

  • Dave

    Nice way to start a road trip after a somnambulist homestand, especially being that it was being played in that godawful overgrown snowglobe passing off as a stadium.

    Everybody is going to have to acknowledge the fact that the post-Wright era has begun. Even before this latest malady, the team was forced to play with 24 players every 3rd day or so, now another summer without him. It happens. It’s kind of now or never for Wilmer. I don’t see him as productive hitter off the bench (and he’s done nothing to disprove that) and it’s hard to use someone who’s a liability at multiple positions as a utility man. But the calls for moving Walker over for Dilson will continue, as Herrera is the only major league ready position player in the farm system right now.

    RIP, The Greatest. Cat Power’s song of the same name has been going through my head all morning.

  • Bob

    Odin is pleased!

    Met fan from Polo Grounds—
    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Rob E.

    The problem with using Familia with that four-run lead wasn’t that Collins put him in, but that Familia sucked that day. He had only thrown 23 pitches in the previous week…it was not an egregious move on TC’s part. If Familia had thrown a 10-pitch no-drama inning, no one is talking about this. There was no reason to think he would get lit up like that. When a major league pitcher — whether it’s an elite guy like Familia or a fringe quad-A guy — CAN’T protect a four-run lead for one inning, that’s not the manager’s fault. These guys are human and I’m not a fan of assigning blame every time someone “fails,” but if you insist on blaming someone for that game, blame FAMILIA, not Collins! Familia would say the same thing.

  • Eric

    If they can’t hit anyway, might as well ratchet up the defense to double-down on the pitching.

  • Paul from Brooklyn

    Henderson was spectacular and Reed is always intimidating. Loney seems to be the player Collins said he was. The captain will be missed for his presence as well as his play.The man just sends out good vibes.
    Now we are starting to hear them whispering………..Wheeler!
    Let’s all say it together “Let’s go Mets!”.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Exactly Rob E. I’ve said it ad nauseum. Closers pitch in non save situations routinely. They have to. What would these folks suggest if the Mets had a 10 game stretch where they went 1-9 and the one win was a 6 run blowout? Keep fearfully holding him back because they don’t want to waste bullets? It’s just Monday morning quarterbacking at its worst. And I’m just waiting for the game that they go to the ninth with a big lead and someone else coughs it up. These same people will be blaming TC for not bringing in Familia sooner.

  • MURPHY!!!! I know I know, I’m gonna be that guy, I desperately wanted to resign murph for this exact reason, funny as it sounds murph could play all those positions servicably, except catching.. I knew last year there was no way in hell that davey was gonna last the whole year, not even half, and Duda was contract year guy.. Not only this, but murph was the true heart of that team last year and he carried us through that playoff run.. Until the World Series happened..

    • Eric

      Right. Walker vs Murphy isn’t the apt comparison. Wright and Duda vs Murphy is the apt comparison. Duda may not have spinal stenosis but he missed a lot of time with back problems last season, too, and he’s not young in baseball years, either. Hopefully, Flores picks up his play as Murphy’s replacement.