The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Zooming in on Mr. Smile

It’s a world that could use Francisco Lindor, a guy called Mr. Smile. It’s a world that could use a reason to smile. From our parochial perspective, it’s a world that could use Mr. Smile ceremonially slipping into Mets jersey No. 12 and smiling like crazy as flashes pop inside whichever title-sponsored club remains as a relic of the Wilponian vision that built Citi Field. Those photo ops don’t always augur well for the players who grip and grin — it didn’t work for Roberto Alomar in the season-and-a-half he wore Mets jersey No. 12 — but they sure do warm a winter’s day.

We’ll settle instead for the Francisco Lindor closeup we got via Zoom on Monday, January 11. He sat behind a desk in his home and wore a Mets cap. He spoke enthusiastically about being a Met in the tradition of Beltran, Delgado, Reyes, Wright and his idol Alomar, whose Cleveland rather than New York on-field performance Lindor would be wise to continue to emulate. Every time the native Puerto Rican was told “welcome to New York” — reporters graciously serving as de facto goodwill ambassadors — he expressed thanks and maintained his smile. He didn’t dare anybody to knock the smile off his face à la Bobby Bonilla when he zoomed into our lives in December of 1991. Lindor also didn’t commit to being a Met beyond 2021, but he’s gonna be a Met during 2021, which is something that until last week we had little idea would be a fact.

Lindor happily inserted himself (and his idol) into the big picture of Mets history.

We had little idea until last week about a number of facts in this country. We could have had we intently paid attention or been willing to comprehend what was being planned out in the open, but even after 2020, we entered 2021 as brightsiders. Last year was the worst. This year will be better.

The Mets announced they’d traded for Lindor on Thursday, January 7. On Wednesday, January 6, the U.S. Capitol was overrun by domestic terrorists. Like the Mets’ press briefing, the violence was visible on television. Some of the violence. We’ve seen loads more evidence of it after the fact. What we saw on January 6, as Congress met to certify the election of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States — something that had been confirmed beyond any reasonable statistical doubt again and again over the preceding two months— was enough to let you know you were seeing something unprecedented in our lifetimes. It was horrifying. Mobs of terrorists breaking through windows and doors and coming for lawmakers that they’d whipped themselves into believing the worst about. It was more horrifying because the current president, the one who lost the election, let the mob of terrorists know, out in the open, that terrorizing the legislative branch as a mob bore his seal of approval.

The Mets trading for Lindor on January 7 was a big baseball deal. And rather insignificant in the scheme of the America we lived through on January 6. But if this country can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. Still, Daily News columnist Bradford William Davis took a moment out of the ritual peppering of Sandy Alderson and Jared Porter with baseball questions on January 7 to wonder aloud what Alderson had to say about January 6.

“It’s not within the scope of this press conference,” Alderson replied, but he agreed that it was “a question that needs to be answered.” The Mets’ president said he found the terrorist attack on the Capitol “to be disturbing on many different levels, and I’m sure most people did.” The United States Marine Corps veteran continued:

As somebody like myself who spent a few years defending democracy, I guess in some way, not just yesterday but the last few years have been extraordinarily disappointing. But we have institutions that protect us from individuals in most cases, and it seems that those institutions have not only survived but guaranteed our survival as a democracy. So that’s my view.

It wasn’t much of a detour from the baseball talk, but as Sandy (and Bradford) indicated, the actions of January 6 didn’t constitute something you could put out four fingers for and let pass.

Maybe eventually this year will be better. Maybe after we hold our breath and hope hard. Maybe by being vigilant as hell. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to the other side and Mr. Smile will be there to welcome us. Maybe we’ll even be able to greet him relatively up close as fans customarily do.

This world and this country have a ways to go. So does this franchise, but the franchise has gotten a lot closer to where we want it to be. It’s gotten Francisco Lindor, not to mention Carlos Carrasco. That’s a lot of ways to have traversed on any day in January. The ways that’s left to go is to be named later, as soon as it’s acquired. The Mets in the first months of Steve Cohen and the second coming of Sandy Alderson warn us they’re not prepared to spend like drunken sailors.

How about soaking up the tab like sober yachtsmen?

For now, shortstop is solved. There’s a starting catcher who can catch. The middle of the rotation and bullpen have been bolstered. Other spots need to be strengthened. More pitching. A legit center fielder. High-end infield tinkering. Set sail, Steve and Sandy. Send the word across the high seas of free agency and to other sellers. We want you. We want you. We want you as a new recruit.

Necessarily tossed overboard in the general direction of Lake Erie were two members in good standing of the SS Mets, two Mets SSes. One was the future not very long ago. One was the future literally last week. Today they are ex-Mets. You make this trade seven days out of every seven, Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez plus minor leaguers Isaiah Green and Josh Wolf for Lindor and Carrasco, but you don’t do it without an ounce of sentimental regret. I’ll miss Rosario and Giménez like I missed Neil Allen, Hubie Brooks and the package of potential and heritage represented by Preston Wilson (Mookie’s lad). I felt bad that they were no longer Mets. I felt great that Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Mike Piazza arrived because they departed.

Which is to say I got over their respective departures.

The same figures to be true once Mr. Smile flashes his grin after doing something more spectacular than say hello or the pitcher called Cookie makes opposing hitters crumble. Still, I was just getting accustomed to having my breath taken away by young Giménez and we’re not so deep into 2021 that I can’t remember the summers of 2017 — when we anxiously awaited the promotion of young Rosario — and 2019 — when Amed was among the kids making the Mets lovable and contenders. If everything went great for both of them, you could imagine either of them growing up to become our very own version of Francisco Lindor.

Or, you know, we could cut out the middleman and get the middle infielder they were trying to be. Andrés is 22. Amed is 25. Francisco is 27, might stick around and brought a pitcher with him. Maybe this year will be better than the last.

22 comments to Zooming in on Mr. Smile

  • Daniel Hall

    Still weeping bitter tears for Andres Gimenez.

    At least there is the cold comfort that it can’t come any worse than the similarly structured deal with the Mariners a few years back…….

    And I don’t know about anybody else, but Bauer and Springer are still on my wishlist.

  • open the gates

    It’s a one-year contract? Uh-oh. I guess the question is, does he become the next Keith Hernandez or the next Mike Hampton? (Let’s not even talk about Alomar, shall we?)

  • […] Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing zoomed in on Mr. Smile in his latest post. […]

  • I’m hoping that his lack of commitment beyond this year is just a negotiating ploy for increased money. I would have thought that a deal of this magnitude would have come with pre-negotiated contract, like Santana’s, but there’s gotta be some gentlemen’s agreement here…or is there one? They’d better be prepared to give him a Trout/Betts-type contract, and make sure he stays, or this deal will be truly a robbery.

    Nice paraphrasing of In The Navy from the Village People. I guess one has to be of a certain age to pick up on pop music allusions from circa 1979. You really went all out with your nautical metaphor. This Mets Love Boat soon will be scoring another run or two or three or four; its passenger manifest is almost complete, with a few guests to be added, as you mention. Sad to lose Rosario and Gimenez, but maybe they can come back on board as free agents in a few years.

    Glad to see Sandy weigh in on the horror at the Capitol. We’re by no means out of the woods yet.

  • Dave

    I feel as though in Lindor and Carrasco, the Mets got not only a pair of outstanding talents, but outstanding people as well. We’ve all been instantly captured and captivated by Lindor’s personality and facial expression without even seeing him play Gold Glove shortstop and be a base-stealing 30-HR switch hitter while wearing a Mets uniform yet. As for Carrasco – 100 % improvement over the last Met with that last name, no doubt – a Roberto Clemente Award winner and owner of one of baseball’s most inspirational stories. These are, someone my age can say, fine young men.

    If the Mets sign the guy who I think deserved 1/3 of a Cy Young for pitching 1/3 of a season, I will grit my teeth about a number of obvious character flaws and hope that he performs at the level he insists on being paid (maybe like another fairly recent Met I didn’t want on the team, he’ll block me on Twitter too). But Lindor and Carrasco are guys who I’m very proud to see in Mets uniforms, and let’s hope (as I suspect) that Uncle Steve didn’t give the green light on this deal with the expectation that we’ll be looking for a new shortstop in 2022.

    • Daniel Hall

      Carrasco the Former at least gave me an indelible memory of the first Mets game I ever watched live and in full with his walkoff balk in the Barves’ den. There’s a hurdle Carrasco the New One has to get over first! :-P

  • eric1973

    Anyone who can present a Met Yearbook from the 60s or 70s gets to move to the head of the vaccine line at Citi Field!

    How about it, Stevie??

    Of course, I’ll need it back.
    Otherwise, no deal!

  • Paul

    Political commentary on Faith and Fear in Flushing?

    Mrs. Joan Payson would be appalled.

  • Lou

    I’m very disappointed Greg, that you had to make allusions and references to politics in your piece. One of the tragedy of 2020 about the truncated sports season was the 24/7 media orgy of everything (anti)Trump. I vowed by the end of the year not to get sucked into the presentation of “news” being given to us by Pravda, and hoped to get back into what really matters…, God, and the Mets. Life is just too short to worry about anything else. (Met’s fan since 1964)

    • Vincent Albanese

      Lou, are you ‘disappointed?

      A few years ago, my mother bought me a fan written book about the Mets…it was memoir/diary…Not too well written, but interesting to me at the time. Every 20 pages or so, he would go on for a few pages about the wonders of Christianity. I skipped those parts but I did NOT write to the author that I was disappointed in him.
      Lou…I suggest you skip those parts, too.
      Oh. And what REALLY matters? Ahead of sports? I will give you family and even though I don’t agree, I will give you God…but an attempted coup on the government of the United States? Incited by the sitting President? That matters…even though you don’t want to think about the FACT that Trump is a traitor to our Constitution.

  • eric1973

    The allusion to politics was made because Sandy commented on the situation, and he works for the Mets.

    Now let’s all go out and have some bleach.

  • Eric

    Most of us experienced a collective trauma on January 6th. Not dissimilar from 9/11 in that we were attacked, but plenty different in that anyone paying attention knew it was coming. Which is why it was so shocking to see how easy it looked. It was completely appropriate to juxtapose the two events providing context to the moment in time. To be included among the oral history.

  • Paul

    During these troubled times, I find much wisdom and comfort in the sage words of that New York Mets savant, Mr. Marcus Stroman.

  • Seth

    Dear Cleveland, don’t feel too bad. Andres Gimenez has a nice upside potential. We will miss him. And don’t let the Lindor hit you on the way out…

  • open the gates

    …sigh…I wasn’t going to go there, but since we’re going all political again, I’ll have my say. First of all, any American who is not an actual Neanderthal was horrified by what happened last week at the Capitol. And speaking as someone who voted for Trump twice, I hope he sees the face of the officer who died there every day for the rest of his life. Having said that, I find it ironic that people who gave BLM a pass for fomenting the same activity as last week’s, every day for months on end, are suddenly anti-riot. And please don’t tell me that “it wasn’t BLM, it was some fringe lunatics, the protestors were mostly peaceful,” because the same exact arguments could be made about the Capitol protestors. Wrong is wrong, whether in the US Capitol or on the streets of Seattle and Portland. There. I’ve said my say. I was planning on restricting my comments to the acquisition of our new star shortstop, but it was not to be. Folks, please don’t make the mistake of assuming that all your fellow Met fans are of your political persuasion. And there’s nothing wrong with that, either. LGM.

  • Paul

    open the gates,

    Amen to your insightful and eloquent statement!

    The great Joe Beningo, formerly of WFAN, said that’ all he wants to do is turn on the t.v. and watch his beloved Mets play without any discussion of political turmoil, social unrest, etc., ad nauseam. Please leave all of that divisive talk to the Matt Drudges and Lucianne Goldbergs of the internet.

    By the way, Evan Roberts must be REALLY missing his longtime friend and co-host, “Jersey” Joe Beningo, on WFAN after only a few weeks. Maybe WFAN management can reunite Craig Carton with “Boomer” Esiason on the morning show, so that “ Boomer” & Carton can discuss future, possible Caesarian surgical procedures for any expectant Met players’ wives, who are about to give birth right before the start of the baseball season?

    Long live Rod Gaspar!

  • eric1973

    Hey guys, please tell us, as we need to know, since you guys obviously know:

    Does ‘Q’ think we are going to win the World Series this year?

  • Andy Thomas

    Any rioting is wrong and criminal, but BLM riots spun out of demonstrations to assert equality of rights for all people, an assertion that is American to the core. The Capitol riot spun out of a demonstration to overturn the results of a properly completed and certified election expressing the will of the voting majority — and thus was an effort to assert the right of the minority to engage in tyranny, an assertion that is UN-American to the core. THAT’s the difference!

    But let’s get back to baseball. Lindor will wear uniform #12. How good does he need to be to become the greatest Mets player ever to wear #12?

    • Dave

      Exactly. Comparing a armed insurrection led by a President who is lying about election results that were re-re-recounted to BLM protestors demanding what the laws and Constitution supposedly guarantee them is extreme false equivalence.

      Among #12’s, Lindor is already better than Jack Heidemann and Shawn Gilbert without even putting on the uniform yet. I’m thinking the one he has to eclipse is Ron Darling, who is humble enough that he’d say he already has. Lindor doesn’t have RJ’s splitter, but Ronnie has won one more Gold Glove in a Mets uniform than Lindor has so far :)

  • 12 is one of those numbers made by the player. Feisty for Stearns. Sleek for Darling. Graceful for Lagares. Dependable for Boswell. “Oh, just give him 12” for Alvaro Espinoza. Alternately dignified and clueless for Randolph.

    Carrasco with a good month will own 59.