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.

Got Another Era Handy?

It took Lily Tomlin’s character Debbie Fiderer two tries to win the favor of President Bartlet when she interviewed for the executive secretary position on The West Wing, though there was a good excuse for missing on the first try (“I was high”) and, honestly, Fiderer wasn’t really about winning anybody’s favor.

“All right,” Martin Sheen as Bartlet said, exasperated as their second meeting seemed to go as badly as the first. “I think the interview’s over.”

“Yeah,” Tomlin as Fiderer agreed sardonically. “But let’s do this every once in a while.”

Debbie gets the job in the end, as the viewer knew she would, because — c’mon, you’re gonna bring Lily Tomlin on the show twice merely for fleeting comic relief? And somebody got the job as Mets general manager after it seemed nobody would because, c’mon, somebody had to.

The Mets made the hiring of Billy Eppler official Thursday night and set him up with his ritual Zoom presser Friday afternoon. The ritual isn’t Eppler’s personally, but it is what everybody the Mets install for a prominent role in the offseason submits to. I know this because the Mets install a lot of new people for prominent roles in the offseason. This offseason. Last offseason. The one before it. The one before that. We indeed do this once in a while.

This franchise hasn’t bridged the gap between seasons without at least one dog/pony show of a New Sheriff In Town nature since the winter of 2016-17. Making their media debuts live or virtually to varying degrees of fanfare since the relative period of stability that reigned during the Sandy Alderson/Terry Collins epoch have been Mickey Callaway, Brodie Van Wagenen, Carlos Beltran, Luis Rojas, Steve Cohen (he bought his way in), Alderson 2.0, Jared Porter and now Eppler. I don’t think Zack Scott got an introductory Zoom, settling instead for a vote of confidence in a prepared statement, befitting his “acting” designation. A manager to be named later will fairly soon sit in his parlor or maybe in front of the wall of dancing logos at Citi Field and keep the introductions coming.

That’s a lot of getting to know people from scratch or, in Alderson’s case, with a fresh perspective. Sooner or later, the tidbits and nuances that seem telling at first blend into a blur. Whose priority was making the players feel loved? Who pledged to build a new culture? Who forecast a world championship in three to five years? Some of them? All of them? Presented in the best light possible when they couldn’t have been more enthused to take on their challenge, they seemed like excellent individuals well-suited for running whichever portion of the Mets was supposed to be their bailiwick and we, therefore, were set to benefit.

Most of those named above are no longer with us in the Metsian sense. Nobody who isn’t here left in a blaze of glory.

Eppler is among us for now, though, and that’s swell, I suppose. With Cohen and Alderson hovering in the adjacent, larger Zoom window, he seemed quite happy to have signed a four-year contract and was sincerely glad to tell every reporter over Zoom that it was good to see them and that they’d each asked a great question. He complimented the passion of Mets fans, which was worth one brownie point, and tied it to experiencing our “rabid” ways first-hand when he sat at Shea Stadium in 2005, which was worth another. He preached the importance of depth for a franchise that deployed 64 players in 2021. He mentioned something about hitters needing to make better “swing decisions,” which sounds an awful lot like knowing when to swing, except in jargon. Also, “probabilistic” is apparently the new “analytic,” which replaced “advanced metric” a few years ago, which itself replaced “sabermetric” in baseballspeak.

I don’t want to be too cynical about what the former Angels GM brings to the Mets, but I also don’t want to read too much into Day One. After so many of these fellows have zoomed into and out of our immediate consciousness, it doesn’t seem worth getting attached let alone excited. If I’m overcorrecting to the point of blasé, I’ll happily recant when the champagne is flowing in two to four years and swear I saw something special there all along, I’m an Eppler, we’re an Eppler, wouldn’t you like to be an Eppler, too?

Good luck, Billy. Good luck to all of us.

10 comments to Got Another Era Handy?

  • Jack Strawb

    “I don’t want to be too cynical about what the former Angels GM brings to the Mets, but I also don’t want to read too much into Day One.”

    —Believe them when they tell you…

    It was telling that when confronted with a difficult question, on why the Angels did poorly under Billy Eppler, the farm in particular, that Eppler immediately threw predecessor Jerry Dipoto under the bus.

    (A Moment of Context: When Eppler took over as Angels GM their farm was ranked #27. Despite never drafting lower than 12th, by the time Eppler left five years later the farm had soared all the way from #27 to #25.)

    Eppler was asked why the Angels farm never amounted to much while he was there. He claimed an insider had told him that of the farm Eppler inherited, they had never seen a worse, more chaotic system. I’ll be interested to see what Dipoto has to say about this knifing. In his last full season, 2014, Dipoto’s Angels won 98 games. As for Eppler, he himself never once finished .500, never finished closer to 1st in the West than 21 games out. So… blame Jerry?

    This bodes ill, of course. Blaming your predecessor when you yourself failed and failed badly is poor form and symptomatic of weak character—especially when it isn’t true. The worst farm ever? Really? That Eppler would perpetrate this at his own, personal Opening Day with the Mets franchise was a grisly business.

    —From Cohen and Alderson we got rampant confusion. Cohen contradicted himself sentence to sentence, first implying he’d be the one to say ‘yes’ on moves, next that he’d be giving Eppler and Alderson a free hand, then back to he, Cohen, being the one to okay moves, then on to the claim that the checkbook would be open, no qualifier.

    As for Alderson, he made clear Eppler will be on one of the shorter leashes, with Eppler given more room to work, perhaps, as time goes on, but in a clearly subordinate position.

    —There’s a certain ilk of infantile fan who is upset by reasoned criticism of the team they root for. Now that the new regime is in place, plain notes regarding what actually happened are, if unpleasant too them, simply impossible to bear. That’s too bad, I suppose, but expect to see a lot of that in the next months.

    In any case the Mets are no longer more than barely interesting in a baseball sense. A billionaire in an era particularly friendly to sociopathic accumulators bought the team from a fellow thief and his idiot son, the common thread being the doddering, incompetent courtier (and his son, who has only ever worked for dad and dad’s friends) who flattered himself into a multimillion dollar gig with consecutive team owners, now resorting after numerous, public humiliations to one of baseball’s least accomplished executives, an obvious and even overt failure in Billy Eppler. Blame of course must be transferred, and at this point in Mets dysfunction we’re told it was all Angels’ owner Arte Moreno’s fault—at least that’s the cheap meat the Stockholm sufferers have been stuffed on to vomit forth.

    So where does that leave our Billy? Baseball reporters want access and will only go so far. Collective breath was held when Eppler was asked why the Angels weren’t better when he ran them. Don’t expect this follow up, however belated: “Why did you blame your predecessor and, by direct implication, the team owner?” Eppler will probably be permitted for a little while to fumble more or less in peace by the press, though not by his owner and that owner’s sycophant.

    How bad will it be? Cohen and Alderson because they’re Cohen and Alderson were actively interested in Javier Baez even with Baez’s legendary choke the month the Mets got him, when he put up a .667 OPS from July 31st through September 2nd as the Mets went from favorites in the East to a 1-in-200 long shot, and even though Baez did nothing for Lindor’s game. Take away Lindor’s spectacular September 12th against the Yankees, and he continued to be as bad as ever in New York. How much sense does it make, in sum, to give Baez one hundred million dollars because Lindor had a good game?

    If Billy signs Baez, for whom there’s no need (the Mets have McNeil, better than Baez in 2018 and 2020, for around 1/$2.8m, and have suppurating wounds all over the roster) will it be because he can read the tea leaves and doesn’t mind being a pet as long as he gets to sign all 104 checks he signed up for, or will it be because he still has no idea how to run a team?

    The Mets will need roughly 900 innings from their starting pitching in 2022. With the gentlemen on the roster they can project with any confidence perhaps 250 productive, MLB-caliber innings. With that sort of ghastly adventure awaiting would any GM worth a damn really spend $20m-plus by AAV for a projectable fraction of a win upgrade at 2B?

    It’s an early test, not just of Eppler’s acumen but of his character.

  • eric1973

    Do not re-sign Baez.

    Thank You.

  • Nick D

    Wow wow wow. Just when I started to get excited about this new regime, I read your sober assessment, Greg, and then – an even colder splash of water – Jack Strawb’s devastating report.

    I’ll admit I’m more hopeful and optimistic about the whole thing – and in particular that I am a total sucker for Javy Baez, thumbs and wild swings and all – but I very much appreciate these sobering reflections.

    That said — what are we to do? I continue to think it’s more 1985 than 1993.


  • Joey G

    I could have done without the corporate-speak b.s. organizational mission statements; but that said, Eppler came across as an energetic, knowledgeable, competent choice. Most of the press conference was just noise, but I did perk up when Uncle Stevie chimed in that he would provide “whatever is needed” in the resource department, which has been and will continue to be music to our ears in the lifeline department. Speaking of which, Sandy looked less like he is on the back nine of his career, but more like he had just planted the flag in the hole, tipped the caddy and was on his way to the clubhouse. It is also amazing to me how the writers can brazenly and without any back-up or support irresponsibly slander Eppler as somehow being complicit in the Tyler Skaggs tragedy, merely because he had a management role in the Angels organization. Somewhat like Joel Sherman criticizing the Mets for not stalking Noah on speed-dial every few minutes after extending to him a very generous qualifying offer. Somewhere, Red Smith and Dave Anderson are rolling over in their graves, while Dick Young is smiling while roasting a weenie in a hotter place down below.

  • open the gates

    It’s way early to be analyzing this guy. One can only hope for the best. Jack Strawb’s analysis is troubling. On the other hand, I’ve been a Met fan looking enough to remember Jerry Dipoto as a relief pitcher for us, and shall we say the memories are not fond ones. That obviously has no bearing on his front-office abilities, or lack thereof. But still.

  • I ra Noe

    Speaking of the Mets’ top executive, I’d like to wish a happy 74th birthday to Richard (Sandy) Alderson. Have a great day, and speaking for probably most Mets fans, I hope you
    celebrate your 75th birthday out there in sunny California, enjoying your well-deserved retirement along with your wife and children, including son, Bryn. Hope to see you at the Mets’ next Old Timers’ Day at Citi Field.

  • mikeL

    apologies to greg and all as i haven’t read the this post yet, but in the ny post i just read in horror that we lost loop…yes to the angels.

    who else on the mets roster will want to get, literally, as far from eppler as possible??

  • Harvey

    The rats are deserting the sinking Mets ship and heading as far away as they can get. Mr. Met is probably next.

  • mikeL

    sorry greg but i’m not drinking this dr. eppler.
    always glad to be wrong thoughwhen it comes to pessimism.
    (as in “i doubt i’ll see a great mets team any time in the next decade or so)
    time will tell…

    (if not we’ll always have those heady bench mob days…)