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.

Rufless and Ready

The doubt’s benefit will not be getting its projected workout, as Darin Ruf is no longer part of the Mets’ plans at the outset of the 2023 season. Ruf was designated for assignment on Monday. His assignment prior to that decision was to overcome universal skepticism wrought by contributing next to nothing in his two months as a Met last year and providing even less indication that anything better was in the cards this year. Ruf did not complete the assignment. He wasn’t hitting a lick in exhibition games. Buck Showalter swore Ruf was really socking that ball, hitting those home runs over the wall on some unspecified back field of St. Lucie. Somewhere, Casey Stengel winked.

I was prepared to give Ruf the benefit of the doubt based mostly on it being a new year and Darin not seeming like a bad sort from a distance (also on thinking nobody expected a damn thing out of Ray Knight in 1986 after his own Ruf as hell 1985), but goodwill born of a clean slate needs to be filled in with stats before long. Until he started to produce, if he ever did, Ruf was mostly in line to be our scapegoat. Every team has one, merited or otherwise. Even the good teams have one. At no juncture does a roster of 26 individuals have everybody accomplishing at peak efficiency. If we had 25 Mets going to the All-Star Game and Ruf was the one who wasn’t, Ruf would hear about how he was dragging us down. Fans need a target, best of times, worst of times, baseball times. Somebody else will carry the burden after the first pitch is thrown Thursday. Somebody will go 0-for-4 or 0-for-8 or suddenly be saddled with a fielding percentage below 1.000 at the worst possible instant. Somebody’s ERA will be U-G-L-Y after an outing or two. Stuck in DFA limbo, Darin Ruf will be considering his future, perhaps convinced he should have been given the benefit of the doubt in reality rather than theory. Maybe he’ll be thinking, “I really got hold of that one pitch in that ‘B’ game.” Maybe he’ll keep up on his old team, notice who screwed up, and think, “I’m glad that’s not me.”

Congratulations 1969 Cardinals, it’s in the bag.

I’m glad the Mets are not a whole bunch of other teams. I detest season’s eve projections and predictions as nonsensical exercises in faux prescience — eleven of thirteen Daily News sportswriters were sure the Cardinals would repeat as NL champs in 1969; all of them agreed the 1969 Mets would not finish first — but a general sense is fine to harbor. My general sense is we have a good team that can win a lot of games and therefore win a championship. Can, not necessarily will. None of this is meant to come across as a revelation. Of course the Mets are supposed to be good in 2023. That’s what the Mets are designed to be every year in the Steve Cohen Era. In the Steve Cohen Era, the Mets don’t cling to their scapegoats and wait for the benefit of the doubt to kick in. The scapegoats are DFA’d, their contracts are paid off, and their space is taken by someone deemed more likely to contribute. In the Mets’ case, it will be Tim Locastro, a different kind of player — here to run on the bases and in the outfield rather than be expected to hit — but that jibes with the ethos of the Buck Showalter Era (so many Eras!). Buck looks for every little edge. He and the front office brain trust have deemed Locastro edgy enough to make enough of a difference in a given inning or game. One inning can add up to a win, one game can add up to a title.

I’m not looking that far ahead. I try real hard not to. In 2022, I was convinced by June the division title was in the bag and spent the next four months straining to avoid entertaining contrary possibilities. No division title appeared in October and the Mets didn’t make the most out of their fallback position. The long offseason after the short postseason seemed devoted to making the most out of the next 162 games (not every team operates that way). We, which is to say Cohen, made certain that almost every Met considered essential to winning 101 games last year stuck around unless one really, really wanted to leave, then additions were made. Maybe not every addition that was desired, but there was one that looms as enormous and a few that can be seen as potentially very helpful.

New Mets for Opening Day 2023 unless lightning strikes before 4:10 PM Thursday: Justin Verlander (he’s the enormous addition); David Robertson (bigger than we realized); Kodai Senga; Brooks Raley; John Curtiss; Omar Narvaez; Tommy Pham; the aforementioned Locastro; and Spring acquisition Dennis Santana. Santana is a pitcher we got from the Twins. The last time we got a pitcher named Santana from the Twins, it was an enormous deal. It worked out well.

That other Santana, you might recall, pitched the Mets’ first no-hitter eleven years ago. On Tuesday night, SNY showed the Mets’ second no-hitter, thrown last April by, in order, Tylor Megill; Drew Smith; Joely Rodriguez; Seth Lugo; and Edwin Diaz. Rodriguez and Lugo have moved on. Diaz is infamously on the IL. Megill, last year’s surprise Opening Night starter, is ticketed for Syracuse. Just like that, only one-fifth of our very recent no-hit corps is not around as the succeeding season opens. Neither is that no-hitter’s catcher James McCann (who absorbed some of the scapegoating that managed to elude Ruf). Ten years ago, the season after the first Mets no-hitter opened with neither Johan Santana nor Josh Thole — one injured, one traded — anywhere in sight, save for Mets Classics.

I’m not sure if this indicates pitchers and catchers who want to stick around in Flushing should avoid making the best kind of regular-season batterymate history, or it’s another example of time circling the bases at its own pace. Last week I noticed another recent pickup, Dylan Bundy, warming up wearing No. 67. Seth Lugo was No. 67 forever. He made No. 67 more than a Spring Training number. Now it belongs to Dylan Bundy. That is baseball. I also just saw that Daniel Murphy, an authentic Mets Old-Timer in 2022, has opted to traverse the comeback trail in Central Islip with the Long Island Ducks. He’ll be a teammate of Ruben Tejada, a couple of 2015 National League champions trying to keep going in the Atlantic League in 2023. Murphy turns 38 on Saturday. He thinks there’s a chance he can still hit like he did eight Octobers ago. That, too, is baseball.

Looking forward to further realignment above right field, but not taking it for granted.

The Mets, meanwhile, are Rufless and ready for the new season, a season slated to start truly on time for the first time since 2019. May the start adhere to its schedule and the season encompass one Amazin’ Days after another en route to an indisputably Amazin’ Year à la those that have occurred periodically in our past. The Mets have updated the postseason banner procession above Citi Field’s right field promenade so it acknowledges first the franchise’s two world championships (the first of them from 1969, as later editions of the Daily News would confirm), then its three National League pennants (the last of them clinched when Daniel Murphy was 30 and on a roll), then all six division championships listed on one placard, then the four Wild Cards listed on another, with 2022 receiving its due therein. Seven banners covering ten Amazin’ appearances in October, not all equal in stature, but varying degrees of achievement fairly noted. Even in the Steve Cohen Era, landing in the postseason six months hence is the most you can ask hope for before April.

• First place would be swellest.

• A playoff berth might have to suffice.

• Just get there and then do something with it.

Pete Alonso has mentioned how the heightened stakes of the WBC will have him ready for this October. I’m glad he’s confident. I’m confident. But worry about March 30 versus the Marlins in Miami first and take it from there, Pete…and everybody else. Never take for granted a seventh month will be affixed to a baseball season, no matter what you’re projecting or predicting on the eve of the first month.

For the season about to be in progress, an enormous scoreboard has been installed at Citi Field to post all the zeros imported ace Verlander and incumbent ace Max Scherzer will post, along with the hits and runs that will be registered by the home team as balls fly over the right field fence that’s been pulled in to create space for that fancy “speakeasy” with the fancier price tag. If you can’t afford the membership fee to the Cadillac Club at Payson’s, there is now an eatery/drinkery called the K Korner setting up shop as the in-house saloon where all are welcome to invest and imbibe. Old-timers among the fans recognize the K Korner as a Shea homage. Old-enough timers may reflexively refer to the K Korner’s spot as McFadden’s, which hasn’t operated in several years, except as an injection point for vaccines. Citi Field is entering its fifteenth season. It’s old enough to have old-timers. Remember those impossible to reach black fences? Remember the Ebbets Club? Remember when the Wilpons owned the team and probably wouldn’t pay a Darin Ruf to simply go away?

Time just slid into home and is coming up to bat again.

It’s daybreak on a new baseball season at National League Town.

7 comments to Rufless and Ready

  • Seth

    Maybe Darin can find a home in Texas — I hear they’re committed to building a winner. It’s OK to call him a scapegoat, but “scapegoat” implies some level of undeserved blame.

  • Bob


  • eric1973

    As I recall, Ray Knight had Vertigo for basically the whole 1985 season, and so had a good excuse. The only excuse Ruf had was that he saw the movie Vertigo.

  • open the gates

    Ray Knight is the ultimate example of the exception that proves the rule. We’ve had lots of Darin Rufs over the years. We’ve had only one Ray Knight. I tried to think of other players who suddenly rebounded to their prime after an awful start with the Mets. The only other name that immediately comes to mind is Francisco Lindor, and his rebound was more a reversion to the norm after a single career-worst season. Ruf, on the other hand, seems to have more in common with Jason Bay than with Ray Knight. His release, like Robinson Cano’s last year, is classic addition by subtraction.

  • Cobra Joe

    As Darin Ruf departs the team, he also enters that pantheon of truly lousy New York Met player acquisitions, including Juan Samuel, Gene Walter, Jim Fregosi, Don Hahn, Joe Foy, Roberto Alomar, Phil Mankowski and Victor Zambrano, a/k/a Victor “Zamboozled.”

  • Cobra Joe

    Oh, yes, the “immortal”Jason Bay, another one of former Mets COO Jeff Wilpon’s most inspired and cost-effective free agent acquisitions. And, let’s not forget, arguably, one of the most “beloved” players to ever don a NewYork Mets uniform, Vince “I’m a Base-Stealer-Man” Coleman!