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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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Winning > Losing

No, I’m not being cute. Too tired for that. I’m acknowledging that we’ve reached a familiar point in the progression of a lost season, though this familiar point isn’t the big reveal.

The big reveal is that the games you’re watching are expository bric-a-brac, part of the lead-in to the real story, which you just realized isn’t being written this year. You’re in the Smudge, skimming the agate type, watching the stuff folks want to fast-forward through to get to the point where the action starts. Only there isn’t a fast-forward button. You just gotta wait.

That’s the big reveal, and it’s behind us. This is what comes after. And this is the point that always arrives as part of that falling action: the night when you stop fighting and just let baseball be baseball. You watch (when you aren’t doing something else) and cheer when things go well (though sadly that’s a little muted) and groan when things go badly (though that’s a little muted too, which you think is a kindness until you realize that actually it’s the saddest part).

There’s still some drama ahead, of course. There will be trades and moaning about trades and call-ups and stupid small-sample-size arguments about call-ups and a few exciting finishes. But it’s all lowercase from now until sometime next spring.

And so our world has shrunk to this: winning > losing. Simple as that.

So. Jacob deGrom was good, as he has been for a long stretch that’s been a balm for weary Mets souls. The Mets whacked Mike Leake around but good, the kind of outburst that often follows fallow periods of woe and is simultaneously pleasing and annoying, because when it happens it looks so easy and we have to remind ourselves that it’s anything but. We got a reminder that the Cardinals aren’t good, then one that the Mets aren’t good — they commenced to play stupid defensively, forcing deGrom from the game before his usual seven innings were recorded. At that point the game became more interesting though less entertaining, but Addison Reed put down the uprising (during which you could feel the appraisals in distant front offices) and the Mets had won.

They won. That will suffice for now. It’s no longer particularly important, but it feels better to watch.

21 comments to Winning > Losing

  • Matt in Richmond

    Nice prediction on Yo Greg!

  • BlackCountryMet

    That’s pretty much been my view for the last 3 weeks. My annual “baseball buffet” (copyright Mr Prince) starts tomorrow and whilst watching us play meaningful baseball would be nice, the thought of watching The Mets, in the flesh, in the sunshine with some cracking beers…that will do for me. A 4-3 haul from the 7 games is my aim(not greedy)

  • Gil

    If only deGrom could go every night.

    Dying the hair blond did not seem to work, but apparently dying your hair blue satisfies the baseball gods. If a Parakeet and a Racoon show up at the park soon, I’ll start believing in a magical second half run. But for now, winning > losing.

    Out of curiosity, is there any chance we can get a breakdown from our favorite two writers on the moves they surmise would make the Mets great again? Who should go? Who is untouchable?

    • Try and trade pretty much everybody who’s slated to depart: Duda, Walker, Cabrera, Reyes, Bruce, Granderson, Reed. Listen on Flores and TJ Rivera, neither of whom really has a position.

      In this day and age you’ll get back relief arms, depth and low-end prospect lottery tickets, but that’s all right — those things are valuable and none of the players in that first group is fundamental to the plan going forward. And you can always try to resign Bruce and/or Reed if you really want.

      Even before considering the free-agent market, you’ve still got the core starting pitchers, Conforto and Cespedes. See what Rosario and Smith can do added into that mix, hope Flores and/or TJ outhit their gloves, and mostly hope for better health. It’s not a rebuild but a reload.

    • I don’t really go for amateur GM’ing, because I’m generally gonna root for who they put in front of me. Y’know — make good trades, get good players, try not to leave us full of regret that you got rid of somebody of a haunting nature if you can help it. Sandy will let me know when he wants my input.

      Speaking through the prism of emotion, which is my currency, the process of emotional detachment has accelerated. They can trade who they want with my blessing, save for a few obvious building blocks about whom I’d scream bloody murder unless the return is overwhelming. I wouldn’t do whatever for the sake of generating a breeze, but if somebody sees something in our BEST IF USED BY pile and makes a reasonable offer, go ahead.

      I wouldn’t cling to him solely because of this, but I’d sure like Lucas to hit one more homer and pass Hundley for seventh all-time on the franchise list. Otherwise I will stare at that list for years and be annoyed that the tie eternally exists. And I wouldn’t cling to him because of this, but I’d sure like Jose to (finally) steal one more base and reach 500 for his career as a Met.

      Of greater long-term value, I do believe Reyes as mentor to Rosario is a real thing and — since I kind of doubt there’s a huge market for Jose — I wouldn’t off him ASAP just because his future ain’t what it used to be. David Wright always pointed to Joe McEwing being around in 2004 as a big factor in getting him started, and we already know Reyes and Rosario are regularly in touch.

  • 9th string catcher

    My rampant optimism is pretty much flattening out, though I think the team is going to make some kind of run to respectability this year. I still believe that. I also look forward to seeing the kids whenever they get up here, and hope to see some kind of Matt Harvey sighting at some point to see if there’s anything left there.

    Games like these also make me think about what I’d like to see the team do next. Getting rid of Reyes, Walker, Cabrera, Granderson and Duda would be terrific – I don’t even care about what we got back. But there’s a couple of potential deadline guys that I would rather keep.

    While I really don’t like the idea of Conforto as a CF, I have to say that Bruce has really grown on me as a slugger and clubhouse presence. Reminds me a little bit of Murphy. Worth keeping? If you lose Duda, Granderson and Bruce, you lose a lot of power. If you kept Bruce, you could feasibly have him as a starting RF, spelling Smith at 1b and have an outfield rotation of Bruce, Conforto, Cespedes, Lagares and Nimmo. Given all the injuries that the Mets and baseball players get in general, I would prefer the depth.

    The other person in play is Addison Reed. The one good thing that has come out of this season is getting him closer experience, and has been in general one of the only bullpen guys anyone can count on. When Familia gets back, who knows if he will regain his form? Strengthening the bullpen is critical – Familia and Reed would be a great 1-2. Reed is worth the money.

    Now I know we could have the best of both worlds – trade these guys now and re-sign them during FA season. But I’d rather see commitments earlier and stop screwing around with guys. 2018 is going to be here fast and there needs to be a real plan, not the excessive winging it that management tends to do.

    Finally, I hope to see Wheeler and Lugo improve throughout the rest of this season and figure out what we have with Gsellman, Harvey and Matz. A lot of ??? next year with a recovering Syndergaard, a questionable Harvey and Matz, an improving Lugo, inconsistent Wheeler and a broken down Gsellman. 2017 should be about really seeing what they can do.

  • LeClerc

    Bruce and Duda are the players that should be moving on. Given that Bruce is producing this season – he’s not going to stick around in NYC as a free agent.

    Smith, TJ, and Wilmer can play 1B (keep Rivera and Flores away from 3B please). Duda isn’t worth a multi-year deal.

    I see no reason why the Mets shouldn’t retain Reed now and sign him to a multi-year deal post-season. It’s only money.

  • Greg Mitchell

    [It is unlikely] the Mets can or will “keep” Bruce. They don’t have option year. He will want a zilion dollars for 4 years and Sandy already foolishly yoked team’s fate largely to Yo for that period. You think Mets, or virtually any other team, would tie up $50 million a year on two OFs? And one-dimensional sluggers are a dime a dozen now. Mets need better defense, speed, youth. Bruce, of course, worth it if modest contract–see Murphy, Daniel–but that’s not happening.

    Edited by moderator.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Sandy is quite possibly–we will see–taking too long to deal anyone. Lot of teams already trading or on verge of trading prospects for players, even mediocre relief pitchers. Soon the teams you can deal with will be limited or at least with limited decent trade chips. Time to move is now unless he is foolishly thinking team can still make a run.

    • Matt in Woodside

      If the trade that the Diamondbacks just made with the Tigers for J.D. Martinez is any indication, it’s a real buyer’s market for outfield sluggers this year. I’m not that confident we’ll be getting much in return for Bruce. This just isn’t a Beltran for Wheeler sort of year.

      Same with Reed. There’s a ton of teams that are looking to trade their top relievers right now. Reed is arguably one of the best available, and if they can get a great prospect for him, then Alderson will go for it. He’s no dummy. But, there’s no reason to get impatient and trade Reed for a couple of bags of doorknobs. Alderson is also aware that the Mets will become absolutely unwatchable for the next two and a half months if they attempt a closer by committee situation.

  • LeClerc

    For teams making a playoff run: are Cabrera, Reyes, Walker and Granderson attractive rentals?

    Bruce and Duda can provide LH power to teams lacking it.

    Waiting for Sandy to pull the trigger…,

  • Matt in Richmond

    Signing Yo to a 4 year contract at arguably below market value wasn’t foolish. Even with the knowledge of what happened this year, which nobody predicted, im still glad to have him for 2 more years. He’s also not a one dimensional player.

    Had it been a longer deal, carrying past the likely prime years I’d agree. But this was a prudent and perfectly logical signing.

    • 9th string catcher

      Agreed. The guy is hurt. Hamstrings and quads take forever to feel better and are never 100% again. He’ll be better.

    • Dave

      I agree as well. I think Yo often plays hurt, and while sometimes that isn’t the smartest thing to do, I think it’s because he wants to show that he isn’t a lazy guy who was just waiting for the big paycheck so he can start mailing it in. If Sandy had let him walk last winter, an awful lot of Mets fans wouldn’t have stopped screaming since. We know what he can do, and there’s no reason to think he’s done doing it.

    • Pete In Iowa

      I think signing Cespedes was a huge mistake. Said so at the time. Here’s why:
      1) First year of the deal has been a complete busto. Doesn’t matter the reason. A bust is a bust. That makes the contract a quarter of a bad one. Already.
      2) He looks a lot more like Kingman or Duda in the outfield than a Griffey or Edmunds. He seems shaky on almost anything hit his way. They either drop in front of him, or like last night, he nearly over runs them. But, he can throw, for what that’s worth.
      3) I can’t stand to watch the way he plays. Flails wildly nearly every AB, and NEVER hustles. He’s a less disciplined Cano.
      4) If you really think he was a good signing, ask yourself this question: would any team trade for him? With all the talk of trades, names like Bruce, Duda, Walker, Cabrerra, Reed and a host of others are always mentioned. But NEVER Cespedes. Wonder why?

    • Jacobs27

      Cespedes was a huge part of the Mets success in 2015 and their rebound in 2016 (when he came back from the DL). His presence alone was worth something, and when he’s right he’s a game-changer. His recent struggles shouldn’t make us forget that.

      The issue with the contract was and (is even more now) how often and for how long are we going to get Cespedes “right”? The hope was that this would be his big year. It might still work out next year, our last chance at this proverbial “window”, I think. But if the current pattern continues, chronic injuries, inconsistent play and performance, questionable decisions and lapses, even if he is occasionally and dramatically great, the contract will have been a big disappointment.

      But its status as a potential disappointment speaks to how much the move made sense, at least on some level. A risk, but a calculated one, given what he meant to the team.

      He looks to be in a deep funk at the moment, physically and mentally. I expect he’ll improve and give us at least one more shot at finishing what the 2015 squad started.

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