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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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Hands Off, Harvey

The less said about Saturday night, the better, with the exception being another round of pat-on-the-back, don't-hang-your-head, go-get-'em-next-time kudos for Victor Zambrano. He's only gotten to live up to his name four times all year despite pitching like a victor (not to mention a new man) for the last two months. Hey Mets lineup, are those bats in your pocket or are you just unhappy to see him? Take out your wood and starting whacking home some runs for him. In fact, don't wait for Zambrano's next start. Act now.

Think about the wonderful starting pitching we've gotten the first three nights of the second half and try to figure out why we've derived only one win out of it. Don't think about it too much, though. You'll not want to face another dawn.

Now it's up to Pedro. It's always up to Pedro, isn't it? We wouldn't have it any other way in these circumstances even if we'd rather it not come to this. We'd rather Mr. Martinez be asked to put an exclamation point on a four-game statement, not erase the same aggravating question marks that always seem to pour down in buckets on our heads after these Brave abominations. Whatever symbol is called for, Punctuatin' Pedro will know what to do.

It was said during the winter that Pedro Martinez was, in effect, replacing Al Leiter in the Met rotation. Al won 10 games for a lousy club last year. Pedro won 16 for an eventual world champion. Al's ERA was almost seven-tenths of a run lower than Pedro's. Those who can't stand for any of us to be happy scoffed that given the numbers, it wasn't much of a tradeup. These were the same people who wrote off the opposable thumb as just another finger.

As Leiter attempts to resuscitate his career back where it all began (who else wants to bet that “in my heart of hearts, I've never taken off the pinstripes” will be uttered in some form or fashion by the Senior Senator from the State of Self-Absorption?), Pedro is tasked with saving our season…again. There isn't that much left to save, but a split with the Braves is a lot better for morale than losing three of four, especially if the final two come at the hands of pitchers — particularly Hampton (ptui!) — who had been disabled until five minutes before their first pitch.

This is a job for Pedro Martinez. He's going on six days' rest and avoided that trip to Detroit. He's our man. If he can't do it, no one can. But make no mistake about it, he's ourman. Not everybody's caught on to that inconvenient little reality.

In Saturday's Times, a generally good columnist named Harvey Araton genuinely offended every fiber of my being with the suggestion that Pedro is in the wrong place at the wrong time. His point was that the “best rivalry in sports,” between the first- and third-place teams in the American League Eastern Division, which of course is the axis upon which the world — never mind baseball — spins on, was better when Martinez was at the center of it. OK, as far as that goes, but Araton would reverse the events of the past eight months altogether in the name of saturation:

I miss Pedro. I wish he were here, still pitching for the Red Sox, who foolishly let him escape to the Mets, or for the Yankees, who stupidly spurned his advances.

Maybe Araton still wishes he were writing for the Daily News, which devotes most of its sports pages, a chunk of its news hole and an occasional Thersday feature to Red Sox-Yankees, Part LXXXVI. Regardless of where he works, the important thing the writer stumbled across is the need to embellish “the best rivalry in sports.” Why are we selfishly holding onto our ace when he could be doing the only organizations that matter some good? Let's get Pedro Martinez to Fenway tonight. He can pitch alternating innings for both clubs.

Better yet, how about Bud Selig declares a periodic draft of the best players from the 28 MLB also-rans so the elite two can fill in their respective trouble spots as warranted? Albert Pujols would look awfully good in a Yankee or Red Sox uniform…Miguel Tejada would look awfully good in a Yankee or Red Sox uniform…Jake Peavy would look awfully good in a Yankee or Red Sox uniform…see? It's easier than thinking!

It's not our problem that Boston is reduced to hiring distasteful, overgrown urchins like David Wells to take starts while its formerly imperious foe runs its rotation like Bob Barker. Sean Henn, come on down! Tim Redding, come on down! Al Leiter, come on down! More Gong Show than The Price is Right, really.

The Mets' guess was on the nose when they signed Pedro Martinez. He's better off with us (and us with him) than trapped in somebody else's tired storyline.

2 comments to Hands Off, Harvey

  • Anonymous

    I just can't stand it anymore. I want to jump into the TV and hit the **** ball myself when Zambrano pitches. For heaven's sake, what more can the man DO?! One game he's given up more than 3 earned runs… ONE in 17 starts!! How do you end up with a 4-8 record when you pitch like that??
    I can't stand it. I just can't stand it. Make it stop. Please, make it stop!

  • Anonymous

    Must be nice to be Pedro, and enjoy run support whether you need it or not. Grrrrr…