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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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Going For It

You remember where you were for the truly big trades that reorder a franchise, the ones that you know are lines between before and after.

The winter day when I saw in the newspaper that Gary Carter, the ebullient yet tough-as-nails All-Star catcher for the Montreal Expos, was coming to the Mets.

The summer afternoon spent eyeing the wire feed in my office until the cascade of rumor turned into a single, amazing fact: Preternaturally gifted slugger and pop-culture icon Mike Piazza had been sprung from his brief captivity in Miami and was on his way to Flushing.

The night I was walking around with friends at a bachelor party in Las Vegas and spied on a betting parlor’s TV that Johan Santana, the Twins’ Cy Young winner and indomitable leader, would indeed be a Met.

And, of course, the frenzied afternoon/evening of bombardment via Twitter and sports radio and SNY and probably random planes equipped for skywriting that the Mets had somehow fallen backwards out of a deal for Carlos Gomez and into one for the Tigers’ monstrous destroyer of baseballs, Yoenis Cespedes.

Each time, what I remember most is the happy sense of satisfaction and how it immediately had to make room for anticipation: They’re going for it. Oh this is gonna be fun.

The Mets — you’ve probably heard — struck a deal with the Indians for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, sending back Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario and a pair of lottery tickets from the low minors in Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene. Carrasco — 2020’s Comeback Player of the Year after battling leukemia — will slot in behind Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman in a rotation that badly needed upgrades. And Lindor? Well, he’s only one of the best players in the sport, electric on offense and defense and the kind of guy who lights up highlight reels, scoreboards and social-media feeds with his joy for the game. And he’s only 27!

Cleveland is heartbroken, and I feel for fans of the team that will soon no longer be the Indians — their franchise hasn’t celebrated a title since 1948, and they’re in a weak division that certainly seemed within their reach. The current team is being torn down despite its owner — Larry Dolan, uncle of the thoroughly loathsome James — being worth $600 million.

That’s a disgrace, plain and simple.

But it’s also baseball. And we’re all too familiar with such disgraces. We’ve just been sprung from the dungeon of Wilpon ownership, freed from their daily displays of dishonesty, incompetence, interference, nepotism, paranoia and stupidity. If you live in Cleveland and you’ve ever teared up at a video of shocked animals tentatively exploring impossibly soft grass after being sprung from puppy mills or factory farms, well, that’s our fanbase right now. Sorry, Cleveland. It shouldn’t be this way, for any of us, but since we can’t change the rules, let us have this. Goodness knows we’ve done our time.

So we promise to take good care of Lindor, hopefully after a contract extension to ensure he’ll stay for a long time. We’ll embrace Cookie. And we’ll wish the best for Gimenez and Rosario. I know it’s no consolation, but you’re going to appreciate Gimenez’s instincts for the game, nodding at how he’s always in the right place on the field and wondering how he just seems to know how to do that. Be patient with Rosario and you may find yourself — as we did at intervals — enjoying a slash-and-burn hitter who makes everybody’s tempo a little quicker. Here’s hoping they’re part of the team that rises in the place of the one being dismantled, and that it’s soon.

The Lindor-Carrasco news came in an awful hurry, moving startlingly quickly from one report to two and then three and then a couple of iterations of the personnel involved and then to a WELCOME TO NEW YORK graphic complete with Photoshopped new Mets. (Among other things, the Steve Cohen regime is so far pretty watertight as far as leaks.) And it arrived as a lot of us were cooped up in front of our computers, trapped by the pandemic and winter and profound worries about our country.

Under those circumstances, I would have been grateful for the distraction of a waiver-wire deal for a potentially still canny pinch-hitter or an nonroster invitation to camp for some lefty reliever who looked good as a minor leaguer a few years ago. But this? This was just a little different.

This was the arrival of a high-wattage star who’ll look perfect in Mets pinstripes, whether he’s going into the hole for a grounder or flying around second with his eye on more — and a big piece of the answer to the pesky question of who’s going to pitch. And this was the formal acknowledgment that things really are different — that we no longer have to grouse about the scratch-and-dent aisle, or nickels in the couch, or parse disingenuous garbage from serial liars in search of hints of a plan, despite our suspicion that there isn’t one.

The Mets are going for it. Oh this is gonna be fun.

11 comments to Going For It

  • UpstateNYMetFan

    Gotta love it when the new stud on your team is already one of your favorite players. Admired Lindor while in Cleveland; will absolutely adore him in the Orange and Blue. If this is it for 2021, I can be content. Anything more, and I daresay, it will feel like another scoop of ice cream on my cherry (which by the way, is on top of a “Cookie”;)). May I never get used to this (or I shudder to think I’d approach the asymptote of Yankee-esque avarice).

  • chuck

    The somewhat recent experience the Mets had with two other all-star infielders who came from Cleveland can precipitate at least a moment of nervousness. The knowledge that Lindor is a bit younger may pacify that.

  • Seth

    Let’s just hope Lindor doesn’t own a ranch. Also, Cleveland still has the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and Andres Gimenez is a pretty nice pickup. So it’s not all doom and gloom.

  • Seth

    There is an elephant in the room of course, and its name is 2021. We shall see…

  • eric1973

    We thought we were getting the goods when we got Baerga, Alomar, and Jason Bay. And Jim Fregosi. And Foster and Valentine (Ellis, that is).

    So I’ll believe it when I see it!

    • UpstateNYMetFan

      I get the apprehension, because hey, I’m a fellow Met fan. And like anything, you never know; it just may not pan out. But I don’t get the comparison of Lindor to Baerga, Alomar, Bay, Ellis Valentine etc. Seems like a fairly cherry-picked lot of bad trades/moves by the Mets. What about Piazza? That seemed to work out okay. Beltran was no slouch, either. There are plenty of others that worked out too (Keith Hernandez being my favorite. Even if we just got him as an announcer, we WON BIG on that one!). I know it’s way too early to start scheduling any victory parades, but isn’t it also a bit premature to be predicting rain?

  • Matt

    Mets team shop tweets have me wondering if it’s not too soon to acquire a nice blue Lindor jersey. :)

  • open the gates

    Well, the Clevelands are not quite being fleeced. Gimenez was one of the few bright points of 2020, and Amed has had his Met moments. And sometimes lottery tickets do pan out. On the other hand, Hubie Brooks and Preston Wilson were pretty good players too, if you know what I mean. Lindor was the most sought-after young baseball player in the universe, and Carrasco slots in real nice into what is suddenly once again looking like a rotation. And the Wilpons are still on a permanent vacation. This is pinch-me-am-I-awake stuff, on a day that we all desperately needed some good news. The Steve Cohen Era has begun!

  • Daniel Hall

    (weeps bitter tears for Andres Gimenez)

  • Vincent Albanese

    Going for it is fine if it doesn’t kill the future.
    Look at the Nets. They aren’t going to get a decent draft pick for almost a decade.

    I would rather now pick up a Musgrove or a Wheeler(!) by trade than break the bank for a Springer or Bauer and be told in 5 years that because of the contracts of mid-30s Bauer and Springer and Lindor…we couldn’t afford to keep Alonso and McNeil and Conforto.

    I know Cohen is loaded, but I do think that the first time he gets burned…and he WILL get burned…he is going to be very hesitant to pull the trigger again.