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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 Grim Trainer

“Just brushed my elbow up against the baserunner, Ray. I think I’ll be OK.”
“Head down the tunnel, Lucas.”
“You’re the head trainer, you must know best.”

“My wrist and the guy’s bat made contact, Ray. No biggie.”
“Head down the tunnel, Travis.”
“Gotta do what the trainer says, I guess.”

“Something with my knee, Ray. Feels a little off, but I can play if Terry needs me.”
“Head down the tunnel, Wilmer.”
“Can’t argue with good advice.”

“Ooh, the hammy’s got a little shock or cramp or something. Chilly night, huh Ray? Lemme just get loose and I’ll be good to go.”
“Head down the tunnel, Yoenis.”
“You’ve got our best interests at heart, so, yes, I shall head down the tunnel as you strongly suggest.”

***

“Hey Seth. Hey Steven.”
“Hey Lucas.”
“Hey Travis. Wilmer. Yo.”
“Hey fellas.”
“Oh, hey David. I didn’t know you guys were all still down here.”
“Yeah, Ray sent us down the tunnel.”
“I don’t like the tunnel.”
“Travis, you always say that.”
“And I never like it.”
“I dunno. I think it’s kind of homey.”
“Steven, you would say that.”

“All right gentlemen. Who’s first?”
“First? First for what?”
“I needed an octet. I only count seven of you. Where did Mister Lagares go?”
“Juan’s taking grounders at short.”
“And Mister Syndergaard? His blisters and nails were so close to bringing him down the tunnel.”
“He’s pitching. Hanging in there, too, despite how much we kind of suck right now.”
“Seven shall do then. Seven souls has a nice ring to it.”
“Speaking of rings, I’m still hoping to get a ring. You’re gonna help me get back on the field so I can win one, right, Ray?”
“Shush, Mister Wright. Where’s my equipment?”
“You mean like your medical tape? It’s right there on the shelf, Ray.”
“Calm down, Mister Flores, you shall get yours out soon enough.”
“Get my what out?”

“Gentlemen, the sooner the questions cease, the sooner I can begin the procedures.”
“Hey, anybody got a score?”
“Your teammates are losing and shall lose, six to four. But all they are losing is a baseball game, Mister d’Arnaud. You gentlemen, on the other hand, shall be bereft of your souls by night’s end.”
“Say what, Ray?”
“Did you pull a hamstring in your ear, Mister Cespedes? Ah, there’s my scythe. Let me just sterilize it with a little rubbing alcohol…so do we have a batting order yet or what?”
“HUH?”

“Mister Duda, you’re awfully vocal suddenly. Is that your way of saying you want to be the first of my seven soulectomies? I didn’t know if you boys wanted to go by salary or tenure or I could just flip the seven-sided coin I carry in my cloak.”
“This is creepy.”
“Mister Lugo, you’re still fairly new here. You should really calm down.”
“Yeah, Seth, I find this relaxing.”
“Steven, man, you’re weird.”

“Mister Wright, you are the one they call Captain. You tell me how this proceeds.”
“I’m selfless, Ray, so I might as well be the first to go soulless.”
“That would be fine, Mister Wright, but you were just moved to the sixty-day DL, so time is not of the essence. You can just stand over in the corner and resume ‘baseball activities.’”
“Like work on my swing?”
“Sure, work on that swing. Sixty days will be up before you know it. Mister Cespedes, how about you?”

No hablo ingles, Ray.”
Gato got your tongue, eh? No worries. It’s not your tongue your trainer is after. Mister Matz, you seem too eager to be here, so your soul might jump out of your body and that’s no challenge for my ambitious scythe. Mister Lugo, I’d like your confusion to wear off before having you on my table. It’s less messy that way. Mister Flores?”
“Hey, wasn’t there a TV in here last time? I think Friends is on.”
“This is ‘The one without the shortstop’s soul,’ and you’re guest-starring.”
“I don’t really play shortstop that much anymore. You’d think I’d get a chance between Jose and Asdrubal slumping.”

“SILENCE! THIS IMPUDENCE IS UNNERVING! MY SCYTHE IS SHAKING! I MUST HAVE SOULS! FRESH MET SOULS FOR MY COLLECTION!”
“Hey, Ray, what’s that hanging on the wall?”
“The soul of Kelvim Escobar, my finest work. Enough questions! I’ll just start with the catcher as I usually do. Get up on the table, Mister d’Arnaud.”
“Sure, Ray…ow! I think I just strained my soul again!”
“Mister d’Arnaud, your lack of health can’t even stay healthy.”
“I’ll do it, Ray.”
“Mister Duda, is that you?”
“Uh-huh.”
“Why so willing, Mister Duda?”
“Grandy said it would make a good video.”
“THERE IS NO VIDEO IN MY TRAINING ROOM! ALL OF YOU, GET OUT OF MY CHAMBER! GO SIT ON THE DISABLED LIST OR BE ‘DAY-TO-DAY’ LIKE COMMON INJURED PLAYERS!”
“See ya later, Ray.”
“Yes, I will see you all later. Sooner or later, every Met soul shall be mine.”

31 comments to The Grim Trainer

  • Matt in Richmond

    Funny stuff. I’m probably in the minority here, but I’ve tended to balk at the notion that Travis is “injury prone”. He has been injured a lot for sure, but to me there is a distinction to be made. Cespedes for example reminds me of a high performance car. Powerful and explosive, but temperamental and prone to various issues. Yesterday was another example of him hurting himself basically just jogging. In TDA’s case, his injuries are all different and kind of fluky and involving contact. If a human being is throwing a ball full force and their hand hits a bat there is going to be some degree of injury. His other recent injuries were being hit square on the wrist by a 90+’mph pitch and a violent collision at the plate. All different parts of the body and all involving contact. To me this is different from someone who is constantly pulling or straining something or has a recurring type of injury (hamstring, back etc).

    On a different note, I really want to know what the deal is with the scouts that said Conforto was a poor-mediocre fielder. Dude has made play after play. Loved Gary’s call of “Baxteresque”.

  • Keith

    Perfect. Just….100% perfect for today. Thanks for this, Greg.

  • LeClerc

    I just looked out the window, and the sky is NOT falling (although astronomers report there’s a mean looking meteor that just might make its way to Flushing).

    Let’s leave the infirmary now, and make some plans for tonight’s game vs the very healthy Nationals:

    1. Get Granderson out of the lead-off spot, and into an assisted hitting facility.

    2. Have a medical examiner determine whether Fernando Salas’ arm still has life.

    3. DL the wounded, and bring up TJ and somebody who can play first base – Hey! Where’s Eric Campbell when you need him ?

    4. Advise Reyes not to swing at pitches above the strike zone.

    5. Cabrera, Conforto, Bruce and Walker: don’t even look at Ray Ramirez.

    • Lenny65

      #4: I’d be pleased to see Reyes never swing at all. That way the pitcher will have to throw at least three pitches to retire him as opposed to the one they need now. The way he lunges at the first pitch he sees drives me absolutely batty, I just cannot for the life of me understand how doing that will somehow get him “back on track”.

  • Gil

    FWIW I fell off the couch last night and suffered a minor arm contusion when Cabrera botched the tailor made double play. You can get hurt just watching the Mets play baseball.

    I hope deGrom stays hot. We need a full 7 from him tonight.

    LGM!

  • ljcmets

    Ray Ramirez as Voldemort with 7 Horcruxes!

  • Pete In Iowa

    Another game another bad decision by TC. Why was Familia used at all? Oh. That’s right. He was used so he can’t be used on Saturday if he’s needed tonight. You know, we’re only playing the club we need to catch (already!) Much more important to use him down two rather than waiting for the Gnats.

  • Dave

    Got his 8th…deGrom can’t go tonight because of a stiff neck. His poor son, going to go through life with a headless father, as this no doubt will require a precautionary decapitation.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Pete, JF would’ve pitched if we’d been up or down 20. Nothing to do with TC decision making. And I think April 21 may be a tad early to sweat the standings.

    • Pete In Iowa

      Why would he have pitched if we were up or down 20? To get “ready?” Wasn’t that what the minor league appearances were for? Are you suggesting Alderson (or higher up) dictated he pitch last night since you say it had nothing to with TC? April games are every bit as important as September ones, especially against the cub you have to beat. Possible 6 game swing in the standings this weekend!

      • Greg Mitchell

        As usual, the problem is Terry is an automaton and cares too much about “appearances.” Familia could have been used for 15-18 pitches (as they had hoped, and which he probably needed) and removed, especially since they were down 6-4 already and showing no life. He didn’t have it anyway so why waste another 15 pitches? I know it might have “looked bad” to remove Familia but now he is, if not shot tonight, certainly not capable of pitching much this entire weekend (or pitching tired, as per Salas, who Terry has clearly ruined, or as I put it, “Henderson-ed”). We saw this so often last year and other years where Familia is used in non-vital spots and then drags for a few days (and see end of last year).

        This also applies to his decision to pull pitches who are approaching pitch limit between innings instead of sending them out there for another batter or two because, presumably, “relievers like to start innings, not come in with someone on base.” Of course, unless they are pampered elite closers they often come in with runners on base. Anyway, it’s like he follows “rules,” which actually don’t exist and are often self-defeating.

  • Dave

    And we forgot Nimmo, that makes nine, and now Cabrera makes for 10. Good time for collecting souls.

  • Ken

    Bring back James Loney or Rico Brogna or even David Segui to play first base!

    And is Doug Flynn (age 66?) available to be a utility infielder for the Mets?

  • Greg Mitchell

    Bumgarner badly hurt in pitching shoulder and ribs in — dirt bike accident. And we were worried about Yoenis golfing….Wonder of Mad Bum has “dangerous off-field activities” clause in contract. Probably not. Earth hitting him harder than Mets did last October.

  • Eric

    Isn’t Kelly Johnson still a free agent? Juan Uribe, too.

    Maybe the injuries will be a blessing in disguise and a fresh prospect like Rosario or Smith will provide a spark. Maybe a more seasoned prospect like TJ Rivera and Plawecki will do well with a 2nd (or 3rd) chance. Meanwhile, I hope Lagares and Conforto will seize the opportunity for more playing time.

  • Lenny65

    Forfeit the weekend, wrap everyone in bubble wrap and put them in one of those oxygen chambers and re-start the whole thing on Monday. Seriously though, WTF? It’s only April and the Mets are already the walking wounded, they never make anything easy. Maybe in some weird perverse Metsian way it’ll break the spell and they’ll start hitting a little. If they get swept get ready for ten thousand “The Mets Suck Again” think-pieces, all detailing what went wrong.

  • Eric

    Add deGrom pushed back a day with a stiff neck (“stiff neck”). As Dave mentioned above, Cabrera hurt, too – hamstring.

    Granted, I’m no Mets historian like Greg and Jason, but I don’t recall when the Mets lost such a large cluster of players so close to each other.

  • eric1973

    “I don’t really play shortstop that much anymore. You’d think I’d get a chance between Jose and Asdrubal slumping.”

    Classic!

    I don’t know if it’s “we” or “they,” but someone really sucks.       

    I like JF in there down 2 runs, but not up 5 or 9 runs like he did last year. Baffling!

               

  • Curt

    Can’t get Kelly Johnson as a FA. Gotta be a July trade or this whole thing falls apart.

    • Eric

      Good point. You’d think the Braves would pick up Johnson just to raid the Mets farm system again, but maybe they’ve had enough of the Mets making the play-offs.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Okay, let’s hear from those who perpetually defend Terry on bullpen use (and especially overuse of Familia in non-save situations) after his idiotic–as some of us noted above–decision t let him throw 30 pitches on Thurs with Nats coming in and b) still bring him in at tough moment on Friday, not only failing but wasting him for rest of weekend. Well, he already blew out Salas, so that was not an option….

    Finally a lot of boos for Reyes after an 0 for fiver and not a good swing on the night.

    • Lenny65

      Reyes is off to as start as bad as I can recall any Met ever having. It can’t possibly continue for much longer (I hope), they can just sign someone off the street to hit .097. His ABs are jokes, he rarely takes a pitch and his swings are more like hapless flails at this point. I don’t care what anyone thinks, I cannot see any possible upside to keeping him on the roster. Literally any somewhat competent SS/3B could take his place and maybe draw a walk or pick up a cheap hit every once and again. Reyes would be better off just standing there and never swinging at all, at least the opposing P would have to throw more than one pitch to send him skulking back to the dugout.

      The way I see it, the Mets crappy offense is enabling TC and playing right into his worst BP tendencies with the never-ending parade of extra-inning games where they can’t eke out another run unless someone goes deep. With half the lineup in the trainer’s room I don’t see that changing anytime soon either, so I’d expect lots more games where they use eight pitchers and end up losing by one in extras.

      • Eric

        If it were up to me, I’d give Reyes through the next series or around game 20-25 to figure it out with the Mets. Then the next step is sending Reyes to hitters’ rehab at Las Vegas to find his groove away from the NYC heat lamp and bringing up Cecchini, Reynolds, or even Rosario for a spell.

  • […] can the preternaturally gimpy but relentlessly game Asdrubal Cabrera withstanding a visit from the Grim Trainer in the first. As can Jeurys Familia tossing his first immaculate inning of the year, albeit an […]

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