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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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Of Coming Through & Coming Back

You don’t want to have to win a game by using five relievers to cover 8.2 innings, but you surely don’t want to lose a game under those circumstances. They were unavoidable Wednesday night once Bartolo Colon was forced to leave in deference to a liner off his right thumb from Royals leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield. The ball found its way to Neil Walker, who converted it into an out, but that was of little comfort in the first. Colon, tougher than leather let alone horsehide, departed amid fears of a fracture. X-rays indicated contusion. We’ll see; I’m trying to imagine a Met injury situation that winds up markedly sunnier than it appears.

We’ll know more about Colon’s condition in the days ahead. Of necessarily immediate concern Wednesday was there was one out, there were twenty-six to go, there was no starter on the mound and there was no obvious long reliever in reserve to take on the defending (bleech) world champions.

Who ya gonna call? Hansel Robles? Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Robles sure did, breaking out of his twin molds of fairly brief appearances and often shaky relief. Hansel kept the game a game when you would have wagered it would be a fiasco. He took the Mets to the fifth without giving up a run, by which time the Mets had posted a pair, each the way you’d expect, via solo home runs. Asdrubal Cabrera popped one just over the left field orange line in the first and Yoenis Cespedes blasted the black that surrounds the Apple in the fourth.

Robles couldn’t pitch forever, though Terry Collins likely thought about it. He let Hansel keep throwing into the fifth, which facilitated the first Kansas City run. Exit No. 47, enter No. 62, also known, if you don’t have a scorecard handy, as Erik Goeddel, approximately the fifteenth man on the Mets’ twelve-man pitching staff. If it felt a little like Terry stared up at the video board and saw INSERT INTERCHANGEABLE RELIEVER HERE where Ray Kinsella once read Moonlight Graham’s lifetime statistics, it’s only because which one is Goeddel again?

Wednesday night, Goeddel was the pitcher who got the Mets out of the fifth with no further damage and put up another zero in the sixth. Way to go, guy I had completely forgotten was on the active roster. Way to go as well to Travis d’Arnaud, who was catching his first major league game in ages while being thrown a figurative curve. Travis probably thought handling Bartolo would provide an amenable path for easing back into his routine. With the Mets, of course, little is routine.

Following Erik (and the Mets’ nightly offensive nap), the characters on the rubber grew more and more familiar.

Jerry Blevins, who impishly replied to fan questions during SNY’s pregame show, answered Terry’s prayers with a clean seventh.

Addison Reed, mostly unhittable in 2016, was completely unhittable in the eighth. As is his peculiar trait, Reed walked off the field with his cap brim pushed back on his head in such a fashion that I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s filming Bowery Boys shorts in the offseason.

Dillon Gee…oh wait, he pitched for the other team, but nice to see him again.

• Finally, with Alex Gordon and Lucas Duda both on the DL, Jeurys Familia finished off the Royals as you’d expect a lockdown closer to do. Familia has converted 23 consecutive save opportunities if you took your World Series amnesia pill.

It’s never too late for such an ending. I believe it’s called happy. It wasn’t Game Eight of the 2015-16 World Series, exactly, but it was an enormous 2-1 win, the specific opposition vanquished representing the least of it. We just lost three to the Braves. Losing Colon, hopefully not for very long, was a blow. Giving up this game before it got going would have been detrimental to the Mets’ mental health. Good for Collins for extending those arms he had to stretch. Good for Robles (65 pitches) and Goeddel (31) in particular for responding. I wouldn’t anticipate seeing Hansel again until July, but the game of June 21 was the one that had to get won.

***

Every possible pro and con argument for the Mets signing imminent free agent Jose Reyes has been made in the past 24 hours. I have nothing original to add that you haven’t heard lately. To me, the most compelling aspect of a possible bargain-basement reunion between our erstwhile All-Star shortstop and the club for whom he plied his trade brilliantly in his innocent youth comes from listening to how those pros and cons are put forth.

Any statement that begins with a solemn nod to the severity of the domestic violence charge made against Reyes — the one that ultimately turned him into an ex-Rockie — is an endorsement of bringing Jose, even the physically and perhaps morally diminished version, home since a) it won’t cost much; b) the Mets’ depth is as thin as Bartolo Colon isn’t; and c) everybody deserves a second chance, particularly those persons who might capture lightning in a bottle from the leadoff spot while learning to play third base on the fly.

Any statement that begins with an acknowledgement of how great a player Reyes was between 2003 and 2011 and how much affection one felt for him at his peak leads to a rejection of the potentially prodigal infielder, either because he’s probably not capable of contributing very much anymore or because who wants to root for a man arrested for allegedly hitting his wife?

Opposites attract. Or people just prefer to imitate Reyes in his prime and motor all the way around the bases to make their point.

Last October 27, during Game One of the aforementioned World Series, Jose Reyes tweeted an image from his Hawaiian vacation. It was of the game his original team was playing, airing on the TV above the bar at whatever resort he was staying. “Mets all day,” he typed, adding a string of flexed-muscle emojis for emphasis. How sweet, I thought, he still loves us. I’d given up on the idea that he’d return to the Mets anytime soon, but I hadn’t stopped adoring him in the baseball sense.

A few days later, on the same vacation, he allegedly used his own muscled arms against his spouse, which will cool your ardor for anybody from a distance.

The Mets have played 69 games in 2016. After they’d played 69 games in 2011, Jose Reyes was slashing at a rate of .348/.390/.531. No Met had ever been as exciting as Jose was in June of 2011, unless it was Jose Reyes in June of 2006. Those Junes were five and ten years ago. Jose Reyes this June is locked in at .000/.000/.000, or pretty much what the Mets have been getting out of everybody since April turned to May.

Worth a shot from a baseball perspective? Yeah, why not? At worst, he’s Rick Ankiel, and if he has nothing left, you sign his release. At best, you remember the uptight M. Donald Grant Mets picked up Lenny Randle off the Texas Ranger scrap heap after he punched his manager, Frank Lucchesi, in the face, and not only did Randle produce a banner season for an otherwise dreadful Mets team, lovable Lenny is certified in retirement “the most interesting man in baseball”.

Worth a shot from a sentimental perspective? You’re asking a preternaturally sentimental fan, someone who heartily applauded Bobby Bonilla upon his ill-conceived return to the Mets because there was a minute chance everything would work out and wouldn’t that be a wonderful story, so of course, yeah, as long as you take another amnesia pill to forget why Jose is so incredibly available.

Worth a shot from a “baggage” perspective?

You had to ask that part.

What Jose Reyes is hauling is not baggage. It’s an entire cargo plane, even as it’s understood charges were dropped (when Mrs. Reyes chose not to cooperate with authorities), an apology was issued and a suspension was served. I’ve overlooked all sorts of miscreant and/or illegal behavior in Mets over the years, partly because shades of gray tend to tinge my view of most everything, partly because I will get behind virtually anybody who can help my team win ballgames. Knowing a player has allegedly assaulted his wife, however, is a whole other ballgame. That I can’t think about one of my all-time favorite Mets without thinking about what he was arrested for…that I can’t bring myself to picture myself cheering him vigorously in his theoretical first Met at-bat in six years despite never replacing him in my heart as my favorite Met of the more or less current era…that I feel ridiculous for even worrying about such sports consumer transactional niceties in the face of what he is alleged to have done to his wife in Hawaii last fall…

I didn’t say I wouldn’t take him back if it were somehow left up to me. But I didn’t say I would.

16 comments to Of Coming Through & Coming Back

  • Greg Mitchell

    Ah, don’t cop out Greg. Got to take a stand one way or the other. I say a big NO. The Mets have a huge fan and moral advantage over the Yanks, given the latter’s long line of PED users and other misfits (and others suspected of cheating). The Mets, while not clean, are very easy to route for, in comparison, and at least seem to have a moral floor. Reyes may be done anyway and has never played third, but I wouldn’t take him even if that was not true.

    • Daniel Hall

      The Mets have/had the first player suspended for life for juicing, so unless the Yankees have some kidnappers and murderers I don’t know of yet in their rows, I don’t see much of a moral advantage.

  • Dave

    The conversations on Twitter yesterday about Reyes were, well, pretty toxic. I am of the opinion that we’re better off comforting ourselves with our memories of him as a homegrown star in his prime; he is not the player he once was, and the DV issue is for me a final deal breaker. As the astute Mets blogger on another site, Maggie Wiggin, said yesterday, what if that was your daughter…although everyone should understand that beating up women who are not your daughter is 100% wrong too.

    But I will also add this; the Mets are set at SS, the hole is at 3B (and 1B, but nobody is crazy enough to propose that). I give you the following images: Jim Fregosi at 3B; Howard Johnson in CF; Howard Johnson at SS; Todd Hundley in LF; Daniel Murphy in LF; Mike Piazza at 1B. Do not make plans that include guys playing new positions. You need a 3Bman, get a 3Bman.

  • Dave

    It was one incident for which he wasn’t found guilty in a court of law. If it was the second time even, I would hold it against him, but at this point it’s one alleged and unproven incident. This should be a baseball decision, plain and simple. Having said that, it’s hard for me to make it a baseball decision in isolation because I can’t help imagining David Wright coming back healthy in October and Jose finding some magic in his legs and the wonder twins of Flushing leading us to the World Series again. For the cost of a major league minimum salary, that lotto ticket is worth buying if you ask me. Sign him.

  • BlackCounryMet

    I would hope we don’t sign him. However, lets face facts, they’re a sports team who wants to win. The front office took Mejia back after 2 failed tests and they’re still in charge now. I suspect they’ll take him if they can get him. And, when he does come back, bet you he’s not HALF the player everyone expects

  • otb

    Sandy Alderson was not around when Jose’s name was being chanted by the Shea crowds, so I don’t think he has any sentimental attachment to him. I may be wrong, but I don’t see the Mets acquiring Jose again. Personally, I hope my prediction is correct. He’s not nearly the player he was, he had a poor attitude after he was traded to the Rockies, and, most of all, there’s the Domestic Violence incident. I agree with the comment of Dave, above (the first one). Let’s confine ourselves to the memories of Jose in his prime in a Mets uniform.

  • NostraDennis

    Anyone know (Greg probably does right off the top of his head) how rare it is for a pitcher not to get the third out of the fifth inning, yet still get the win? I’ve got to think it’s rarer than hitting for the cycle.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Forget the domestic violence (not that I am forgetting it at all), he’s a shortstop, and we’ve got a shortstop. Not a fit at all.

    At 3rd he’d be Wilmer Flores with slightly more speed and slightly less power and a Domestic Violence episode in his history. . And we’ve got Wilmer Flores.

    At 2nd he’d be worse than any other option the Mets currently have. And a Domestic Violence episode in his history.

    Why is he even being considered.

  • Dennis

    I wouldn’t consider it all…..primarily for the domestic violence charge. To think when a MLB team adorns its uniform with pink on Mother’s Day welcoming back a player who has done this….it would come off as a total embarrassment. Not to mention his less than stellar attitude over the last few seasons. I’ll pass.

  • af

    I don’t get why anyone would consider bringing Reyes back: (1) the domestic violence, for which there is far less wink-wink tolerance now than there was a few years ago (and that’s a good thing); (2) it’s hard to believe that he’s as good a player now as he was when the Mets let him go to the Marlins, though the calculation might be different if he’s getting paid league minimum; (3) the current need is for a 3B, not a middle infielder, and there’s no indication that Reyes could adapt as well as, say Ripken or ARod, especially without a full spring training of taking ground balls at third. So,that’s 3 strikes, and we know what that means!

    As for Robles getting the win, when the starter doesn’t make it through 5, it’s scorer’s decision which pitcher gets the win.

  • Matt in Richmond

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think Jose is Greg Hardy. As far as I can tell this is a one time incident and he hasn’t been found guilty of anything in court, so it actually is a one time “alleged” incident. I’m not giving him my unwavering support as a man of unimpeachable character, but I don’t think his situation merits a total black balling. From a baseball perspective then, it probably makes sense to give him a tryout. There doesn’t appear to be a lot to lose. What’s a lot murkier to me is what exactly to do with him if we obtain him. Pinch hitter/runner? Start at second move Walker to 3rd? Our middle infielders have been our most reliable and productive players on both sides of the ball (barring Cespedes) all year. I kinda hate the idea of moving either of them around too much.

    As for last night, great win. Sure glad to hear the results on Bartolo’s hand were negative. Tremendous job by the entire bullpen with special props to Robles. Talk about manning up and going above and beyond.

    Eric1973 continues to swing and miss wildly with bizarre and inaccurate comments. Familia is having a stellar year, and has still yet to blow a save, so I’m not at all clear what you are whining about there. Noah wasn’t used last night for a couple of reasons, none having anything to do with his last start. They are lining his starts up for KC/Wash/Chi/Wash. Also, I would think it would be extremely unlikely they would ever want to send one of their young guys out 5 minutes into a game when they have been preparing to start another game. And oh yeah, by the way, we won so what the heck are you complaining about? Lastly, you really topped yourself the other day. “Only a simpleton would be optimistic at this point”. Direct quote from supposed Mets fan eric1973. Wow buddy. Honestly, if I were smarter I wouldn’t take the bait. I would say, this guy has gone round the bend and that is beneath comment. But I am not that Zen. You must have one hell of a short memory. Things looked far bleaker for this team at several points last year and that turned out pretty well. As rough as these last couple of weeks have been injury wise, I would still wager that 20-25 teams would trade places with us in an instant. And lastly, optimism is part of the beauty of baseball and being a fan. Remember the Brooklyn Dodgers and “wait until next year”? I think you are under the mistaken impression that constant pessimism and withering cynicism make you sound smart or deep. They don’t. They make you sound like either you aren’t a real Mets fan, you don’t really understand how a baseball season works or both. We’ve had plenty of seasons the past 25 years or so where there was precious little to be optimistic about. This is not one of them. Not even close.

  • Gentle readers,

    Debate points, not personalities.

    Thank you,

    The management

  • eric1973

    Great post(s), Greg, two for the price of one! I vote ‘no’ on Reyes. He was a hothead then, and its only gotten worse.

    Used to be you got suspended and/or fined for baseball-related, or team transgressions, like breaking curfew, bumping an ump, and yes, punching out your manager. Or doing cocaine, which does hurt the team.

    Gotta say I agree with the old way. Suspend a guy 60 games for DV, even though not convicted, but we all know he did it? What about the guy who gets suspended, but really did not do it, whatever it is? Just suspend him for the arrest?

    How many games for a speeding ticket? One? Two? Five? Does it depend on how many miles over the speed limit? Where do you draw the line? Slippery slope and all that.

    Hey, what do you say we stroll down to the local hospital to see how Syndergaard is doing, after getting his right elbow examined. Of course he was pushed back due to the 115 pitches. Collins admitted it. (Only a s——– would believe otherwise.)

    BTW, only the Mets would call up a reliever from AAA who cannot pitch for two days because he threw 100 pitches two days earlier. Very Metsian, to be sure.

    Asdrubel goes, so goes the Mets.

  • Steve D

    The way our society works, if Jose’s actions occurred while a Met, we would clamor to get rid of him. Since it happened as a Rockie, some want to give him a second chance. Since charges were dropped and he served his suspension, I would give him that chance, but with a leash made of dental floss. He has to do good for the team and the community. Make him volunteer to efforts against domestic violence. There ARE ways to turn this into some positives.

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