- Faith and Fear in Flushing - https://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

The Sixth That Made Us Fifth

It's that time again. No, not time to flail helplessly against Livan Hernandez, Chad Cordero and the powerhouse National pitching staff that is poised to bury us 14 games deep into last place. It's time for yet another installment of the Faith and Fear Short-Season Awards.

For those of you just tuning in, at the end of the first month or so of the season, we ripped off paid homage to Joe Gergen's old bit in Newsday and rushed to judge [1] the Mets based on a limited body of work. It went over so well, we decided to make this a fractional tradition after the second-sixth of the season [2] and honor the best and worst of the Mets during that particular 16.666666667% of the schedule.

Having just witnessed the Mets play games 55 (6/4) through 81 (7/3), we now present the Third Edition of the Sixthies.

Freude Mets

1. Cliff Floyd: Hey now, you're an All-Star to us.

2. Pedro Martinez: Hey now, you're the whole galaxy.

3a. Charlon Woonderson: He's great no matter where he plays.

3b. Mars Andward: Him, too.

4. Jose Reyes: It must be nice to outrun your flaws.

5. Victor Zambrano: Can you believe Tampa Bay traded a bulldog like him for an unproven minor leaguer?

Schaden Mets

1. Kaz Ishii: Norfolk's beautiful this time of year.

2. Tom Glavine: So is San Diego, big shot.

3. David Wright: Take a deep breath and try not to think when you field.

4. Braden Looper: You pick the worst times, I swear.

5. Gerald Williams: Granted, he hasn't done anything. And he never will.

Most Runyonesque* Episode

1. This is the way old “Marlon” Anderson ran last month, running his home run home. This is the way old “Marlon” Anderson ran running his home run home in a Met victory by a score of 5 to 3 in the second game of an interleague series in 2005. This is the way old “Marlon” Anderson ran, running his home run home, when there was one out in the ninth inning and the score was Angels 2 Mets 1 and the ball was still bounding inside the Met yard. This is the way —

2. His mouth wide open. His warped old legs bending beneath him at every stride. His arms flying back and forth like those of a man swimming with a crawl stroke. His flanks heaving, his breath whistling, his head far back.

3. Angel infielders, passed by old “Marlon” Anderson as he was running his home run home, say “Marlon” was muttering to himself, adjuring himself to greater speed as a jockey mutters to his horse in a race, that he was saying: “Go on, Marlon! Go on!” People generally laugh when they see old “Marlon” Anderson run, but they were not laughing when he was running his home run home last month. People — 34,000 of them, men and women — were standing in the Met stands and bleachers out there in Flushing roaring sympathetically, whether they were for or against the Mets. “Come on, Marlon!” The warped old legs, twisted and bent by many a year of baseball campaigns, just barely held out under “Marlon” Anderson until he reached the plate, running his home run home. Then they collapsed.

4. They gave out just as old “Marlon” Anderson slid over the plate in his awkward fashion with Jose Molina futilely reaching for him with the ball. “Larry” Young, the Major League umpire, poised over him in a set pose, arms spread wide to indicate that old “Marlon” was safe.

5. Half a dozen Mets rushed forward to help “Marlon” to his feet, to hammer him on the back, to bawl congratulations in his ears as he limped unsteadily, still panting furiously, to the bench where Willie L. Randolph, the chief of the Mets, relaxed his stern features to smile for the man who had tied the game. “Marlon” Anderson's warped old legs, neither of them broken not so long ago, wouldn't carry him out for the top half of the next inning when the Angels made a dying effort to undo the damage done by “Marlon.” His place in the lineup was taken by “Braden” Looper, whose legs are still unwarped, and “Marlon” sat on the bench with Willie Randolph.

Other Life-Affirming Moments

1. The CliffMonsta battles Brendan Donnelly for about an hour and wins.

2. Pedro throws a no-hitter against the Astros…except for the two hits he gives up (a mere technicality).

3. Call-and-response exercise wherein Gary Cohen says “Fly ball to center. Should be playable for Bernie Williams…” and I ask “or is it?”

4. Carlos Beltran blasts one out in Oakland when somebody not named Pedro has started.

5. Mike Cameron doesn't go to the Skanques for some jerk who doesn't want to be here and we don't want him no way no how, unless maybe…NO! Screw you, Sheffield.

Why Life Needs Affirming

1. 2-7 against the American League West.

2. Jose Offerman, first baseman.

3. Fucking Looper in the fucking ninth inning in the fucking Bronx. FUCK!

4. Except for the Sunday night half of the doubleheader against the Giants, we haven't won a home game all year on a Sunday. The “day of rest” thing isn't meant for you, fellas.

5. Upon closer inspection, the Times Piazza pin is a little blurry.

Key Transactions

1. ANNOUNCED: New York City will support an Olympic bid that will allow a new Mets ballpark to be built whether the Olympics come here or not. Or so they say now.

2. RELEASED: Aaron Heilman, from the mound at Safeco Field too soon when he could have done us some good.

3. DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT: More than half of the Opening Day bullpen. Woo-hoo!

4. RECALLED: Carlos Beltran's legs and his ability to use them.

5. INELIGIBLE TO PLAY: Mike Piazza's right arm, but it keeps insisting on making throws anyway.

Phrases I Thought I Might Get To Use But Didn't

1. I can't wait until they release him and turn him into Mike DeGone.

2. Abreu sliced through Manny like he was a stick of Hotel Aybar Butter.

3. With a name like Mientkiewicz, he must really know how to stretch.

4. Thankfully, Omar wasn't addled enough to sign Danny Graves.

5. It'll be a tough homestand, but at least we get four games in Washington after it's over.

*A classic play deserves a classic description. Damon Runyon penned this account of Casey Stengel's game-winning inside-the-park homer in the 1923 World Series when the Giants took on the Yankees. Eighty-two years hence, only the salient facts have been altered.