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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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Weird If You Think About It Too Much

I wish Jeurys Familia the best in dealing with the arterial clot afflicting his right shoulder: a speedy recovery, a return to full health, a refreshed ability to throw a baseball better than all but a handful of pitchers let alone people on the planet.

I wish anybody who has an arterial clot, a torn lat, a strained hamstring, an inflamed elbow, spinal stenosis and any other malady well. They don’t have to play for the Mets. They don’t have to play any kind of sport. Thing is, I don’t typically worry about total strangers who are in physical discomfort except in theory and only if they are brought to my attention. But I do reflexively worry about the well-being of individual Mets specifically because they’re Mets.

If you think about it too much, it’s weird. Familia, Syndergaard, Cespedes and so on (there may not be enough pixels to list them all) are gonna be fine in the broad sense. They are compensated at a handsome rate and they will continue to be so for the duration of their contracts. They can miss time and not fret the financial implications. None, to the best of our knowledge, is in a life-threatening medical situation. The absolute worst that can happen — no matter how much black magic we attribute to Ray Ramirez — is a baseball player won’t play baseball anymore. That’s the absolute worst, and that’s unlikely to occur. These guys will receive the best of care, rehabilitation and training. Barring the absolute worst, they’ll be back.

Their next-worst case scenario is they won’t play as well as they once did, they will endanger their long-term earnings potential and they won’t live up to the all the athletic promise that has defined their endeavors since they were kids. That would be legitimately sad if it were to come to that, and there’s no guarantee it won’t, but chances are what most of these Mets are up against is temporary in nature. The lone certifiable exception as far as we know is David Wright, and it can’t be said David Wright hasn’t had a helluva career. We want him to have more of one, but if he never plays again, he has achieved mightily.

So really it comes down to guys we’ve never personally engaged missing a few weeks or months or maybe a year. It will be a drag for them not doing what they do best, what they presumably love to do. It will gnaw away at their competitive nature that they can’t compete. They will have to channel their energy and desire into overcoming an injury instead of an opponent. But it will probably work out all right eventually and they’ll still be baseball players.

Which leaves us to wait for them so we can root for them to make us happy, which is why we shudder every time we encounter a bulletin that says yet another Met is going on the disabled list. We are concerned because they’re human and we’re human, but mostly, when you get down to it, because they’re Mets players and we’re Mets fans. I guess that’s OK to admit.

44 comments to Weird If You Think About It Too Much

  • LeClerc

    Harvey, DeGrom, Matz, Wheeler, Lugo, Syndergaard, Familia, d’Arnaud, Duda, Walker, Cabrera, Flores, Lagares, Cespedes – All have sustained/are recovering from significant injury 2016 -2017.

    Have any of the other 29 MLB teams endured a similar toll in that time frame?

  • Matt in Richmond

    The Dodgers in 2016 tied the major league record of 27 players going on the DL near the end of August (with over a month to go in the season), including losing Clayton Kershaw for significant time. It’s human nature to sometimes think our teams struggles are special but it is a myopic view. Just as all fan bases think their manager is a dunce that doesn’t know how to manage the bullpen or think strategically, all fan bases think their team is special when it comes to finding creative ways to lose and suffering from bad luck. That being said, we have had a particularly rough stretch lately, but to my way of thinking it just magnifies the accomplishments of TC and these players.

    • Eric

      For players the Mets can least afford to lose for big chunks of the season, Cespedes, Syndergaard, and Familia would top most any of our lists. They were supposed to be the reliable constants.

  • eric1973

    And many of them have sustained multiple injuries multiple times. Pretty weird, it is.

  • eric1973

    Except, in our case, our manager is a dunce. Whoever uses their closer as a mop-up man is a certifiable dunce, no two ways about it.

    • Dennis

      No he’s not a dunce. He just made what would be considered a bad judgement call. I’ll gladly be called a dunce by know nothing’s if I could have a career like Terry has.

  • Lenny65

    It never ends. Nothing left to even say aside from get well soon, Jeurys.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Then eric1973 every manager who’s ever managed is a dunce. You either have to occasionally use your closer for mop up duty or risk going weeks at a time without him getting any work at all. There’s no guarantee that save opportunities will always pop up in the next day or two. If closers only pitched in save opportunities they would average 40-50 innings a year. Lastly, in the case of Collins you can only hold one of two beliefs. Either he’s a dunce, but has been wildly successful because the importance of managing is drastically overrated, or he’s an excellent manager. You can’t believe that managing is important but he’s still a dunce. There’s no way to square that with the against all odds success of the past few years.

    • Greg Mitchell

      Collins with record of being “wildly successful” manager–you’re aware of his career record, right?

      There’s always a reasonable debate about “good manager or just had good players” in all sports for decades.
      Imagine the Mets without the Cespedes trade two years ago or Lugo, Gsellman, and TJ Rivera coming through last year. Terry would be gone by now–as he would probably be the first to admit. But that can be said about most managers. Doesn’t make him a dunce. But to rarely question him? And call him “wildly successful”?

      • Dennis

        I always think its fair to criticize a manager/coach on their strategy. They are certainly not beyond reproach when it comes to questioning them. We’re fans…..its what we do.

        [Re the original continuation of this comment, no. Stop it. — Management]

        • Dennis

          All due respect, I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular. Just simply pointing out that while criticizing a player/manager is fine, before one is called a (insert name here), put yourself in their shoes and see that, just maybe, playing/managing at the highest level of baseball possible isn’t the easiest thing to do.

    • Pete on Iowa

      Wildly successful?? Under .500 for his career and with the Mets. And zero championships. Those are the facts…..

  • eric1973

    Agreed, if he needed the work, but he pitched the night before.

    Then he could mop up on Wednesday afternoon, no matter the score, with an off day on Thursday.

    Really excited to see what Harvey does tonight. With the Rangers out of the playoffs, now he can concentrate on baseball.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Yes, other teams have had as many or more players on the DL as the Mets (although I did see one study that also factored in WAR to the equation, the Mets were near the top of that list and this was before Familia).

    What’s weird is the sequence of events, seemingly every time.

    1. Good outing.
    2. Bad outing.
    3. My arm feels fine.
    4. Surgery. Out for the season.

  • eric1973

    Not sure those Dodgers DL stats provide any context. Our guys, including all our starting pitchers and starting lineup(s), are out for months and years at a time, or as Sandy calls it, 20-100 ‘weeks.’

    And don’t forget, all fan bases have their portions who defend their manager no matter what bad judgements they make, so that argument proves nothing as well.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Pointing out his career record proves nothing. Every manager has losing seasons when they have teams devoid of talent, but like Keith was talking about the other night, even his bad teams came to play in a way that many “second division” teams don’t. Guys hustled. Didn’t give away at bats. Played all nine innings. And often won games they probably had no business winning. Then in 2015 when prognosticators had them possibly flirting with .500 but not yet ready to actually contend all they did was beat the vastly more talented and ballyhooed Nats in the division and take out the mega hyped (and one year from winning it all) Cubs on the way to the WS. Then last year, despite all the injuries that we’ve discussed as well as bizarrely unlucky BABIP numbers and historically bad BARISP numbers he still finds a way to get us to the playoffs. I absolutely call that wildly successful.

    I dont understand how anyone holds these irreconcilable views. You can’t believe that A) our record of injuries is bizarre and totally exceeds what’s normal and B) Having a savvy field manager is extremely important and C) Our manager is an idiot, and get that to square with our success. It’s like believing that 1+1= pineapple. Or that the earth is flat.

    • Dennis

      If people want and like to bring up the argument that Terry would have been out the door had he not had Cespedes in 2015, and Lugo & Gsellman last year, then it should also be pointed out the lack of talent he had from 2011 through 2014 as well. Works both ways.

      • Seth

        I’m not sure you could classify those years as having a lack of talent. At some point during those years the Mets had:

        Jose Reyes
        Carlos Beltran
        Daniel Murphy
        R.A. Dickey
        Johan Santana
        Matt Harvey (the v1.0 who was actually great)
        Zack Wheeler

        And I’m sure I’m forgetting more… lack of talent wasn’t the problem.

        • Dennis

          All good players, but Terry didn’t have them all healthy or even there as one group for one full season, which would have made a difference. In addition, management did a poor job in supplementing him with any other equal or greater talent when those players were injured or left via FA or trade. He simply has a MUCH better roster (although not healthy) to work with from 2015 – 2017.

          2011: Beltran was traded mid-season; Murphy injured from August on; Santana out for the season; Reyes won batting title
          2012: Reyes was gone in the offseason; Dickey won Cy Young, but Santana was out after July/August that year
          2013: Dickey was traded in the offseason; Harvey was outstanding but injured in August
          2014: No Harvey for the entire season

  • JerseyJack

    I generally don’t believe in curses, but wow! just wow …

  • eric1973

    Hey Dennis, you left out the part about “wiffle ball in the backyard.”


    And LGM!

  • Greg Mitchell

    Duda activated, named 8th inning bridge to Reed.

    • Eric

      Duda doesn’t have a promising history with control on throws home. Of course, that was from 90 feet, not 60 feet.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Now it’s time to set all the finger pointing and name calling aside, and see if this hardy bunch and their fearless leader can go make it 5 series in a row.

  • Gil

    In an incredible turn of events, a player not for the Mets has been put on the DL… against the METS! Ryan Braun will sit out the series. And just like nobody feels sorry for us with the injury problems, I won’t miss Braun in their lineup.
    PS – does that mean we’ll see Kirk Nieuwenhuis tonight? I had such a soft spot for the Kaptain when he wore blue and orange. Message to Matt Harvey – throw him breaking balls.

  • Curt

    To turn this in another direction, obviously Reed is the closer for the time being but if he can get his walks under control, to me Robles would be better long term. Of course the 8th is just as important as the 9th – and with Mets pitchers never going more than 6, I suppose the 7th is as important as the 8th.

    With Duda back, is it Rivera or Reyes at 3rd?

  • eric1973

    I agree with Matt in Richmond.Time to band together.

    We can debate Duda again when he goes O-for-July (sorry, could not resist).

    LOL and LGM!

  • Eric

    Chris Bosh’s NBA career recently was ended suddenly by blood clots. Any word on whether Familia’s condition is like Bosh’s condition?

    Ken K. in NJ’s sequence above pretty well describes the sequence with Familia: good outing, bad outing, mild symptoms but on balance feeling okay, medical check, surgery, may miss rest of season.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Easy to say from the comfortable distance of my living room, but Harvey seems to have caught Montero-itis. Pitching almost timidly. Constantly falling behind. Defeatist body language. Failure to put guys away when he does get ahead. It’s hard to watch. I think he clearly still has plenty of ability to be effective, if not quite the Dark Knight of old, but he just seems to be mentally not there. One thing that would be nice, but is almost surely not going to happen would be for the fans to remember all the great things he has done for the team and pull for him to snap out of it. Some will, but many in these disturbed times of ours will take a sick joy in observing his downfall and make themselves feel superior by mocking him. Many of these will be the same people that gleefully reveled in the heady times of the “Harvey’s better” chants as he went toe to toe with and surpassed the far more hyped Strasburg. It’s chickenshit hypocrisy if you ask me.

    • Jacobs27

      It certainly is painful to watch. Hard to tell whether all those pitches out of the zone are from fear of contact or just inability to put the ball where he wants it — but he’s constantly putting his own back against the wall. The strike out of Thames was impressive and encouraging, but I don’t think he can have any sustained success unless he finds a way to avoid so many hitter’s counts.

      Another problem — and this might not be fixable — is that, at least from my vantage point, the once formidable Matt Harvey slider is just not an effective pitch anymore. No bite. The change up is really the only pitch he’s getting consistent​ good results with at the moment.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Scott Boras to Matt Harvey when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season: Matt, I can get you a minor league deal with the Padres with an invite to spring training. You can make the team if you quit giving up the long ball to guys who look like they should be the team statistician.

  • sturock

    Harvey is still recovering from a serious injury and will need time to adjust his entire approach. He may also be suffering from who-knows-what personal problems. Fans are gonna need to be patient because this could take the better part of the season to work itself out one way or the other.

  • Gil

    Pretty bummed about the comment closed fiasco. I don’t have facebook. I’m a grown man.

    Talk to you when the road trip ends. Hope you guys change your mind. Still, you guys are the best in the business when it comes to blogging. I’ll still be checking in every day.