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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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The Magnanimity of Pedro

Y'know when I was reminded how much I love Pedro Martinez? Not Saturday night when he calmly put away the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven innings. It was last Monday afternoon when his surefire win was pissed away by his bullpen, none of whose members will be joining Pedro in Cooperstown for more than a few minutes spent staring at his plaque.

I hated our bullpen. You hated our bullpen. But Pedro, he whose line sagged most at the hands of the Flushing Arson Squad, was magnanimous in team defeat.

“With me,” he was quoted after that calamity, “it's OK. Everybody out there was trying, was trying to reel in and win.” Pedro even gave the Pirates credit that day: “They never quit; you have to give them credit.”

It pained me to admit it but yes, the five relief pitchers who allowed the Pirates six runs in three game-killing innings weren't working for Bucs Inc. They were trying. I have a tough time remembering no Met sucks on purpose or with intent even though it often seems that way.

Johan Santana has practically broken his face trying not to act grumpy when one of his wins is ND'd or worse. It's obvious Santana is suffering bullpen foolishness ungladly. He can't speak in more than code about doing all he can because it would be poor sportsmanship and poor team protocol to do so. Santana could take a page from Pedro in that respect and just roll with the punches. Johan's got his contract. His W column is immaterial. If he does everything he can to win, the team's wins will take care of themselves and I sense he'd be saner in the long run.

Pedro's fine right now. More than fine. Pedro is a legitimate starting pitcher again. That's no small feat when you add up the physical duress his body and the emotional anguish his mind have endured in 2008. I saw a wire service photo of Pedro placing a baseball in his father's burial plot last month. It's tough enough to go through the death of a loved one. Then it's photographed and disseminated and everything he does is watched. Then he has to go get himself together and pitch and pitch well and pitch like he's completely healthy. He's paid and paid well to do it, but he's a person. So are each of his relievers.

Martinez and his support crew took care of the Pirates for nine full innings Saturday night. Pedro got seven of them done with minimal fuss. It's tempting to say, oh, it's the Pirates, but we know from the fallacy of oh, it's the Pirates. Eddie Kunz and Joe Smith aside, Pedro's relievers took care of him at the end, just as his hitters took care of him early (for fun, let's count Pedro — a hit and a run — as one of his very own offensive weapons).

It's not a bad rotation, occasional mogul on the slope aside. Maybe it will be an OK bullpen, Wagner or not. And this team surprises you often with its resiliency. Could there have been a more discouraging loss than the 7-5 choke job on Monday? Could there have been a better response than the five straight wins that have occurred since? Remember the ten-game winning streak that changed the tenor of this season came off a dreadful defeat in Philadelphia. We were 5½ back and in third after that. We're in first now, two games over the Phillies, 3½ ahead of the Marlins. We have Pedro, Johan, Pelf, Maine and Ollie in any order you like. We have every reason to be magnanimous on those nights when the wins don't come so simply.

FYI, I'll be joining Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest to talk Mets (what else?) Sunday night at 7:00. Give us a listen and call in if you feel like it.

1 comment to The Magnanimity of Pedro

  • Anonymous

    Enjoyed tonight's game from one of PNC Park's SRO areas. My brother is pretty convinced we were on TV during Jose's home run. It was great as almost the entire section was comprised of Mets fans. I don't know if it showed on TV, but there were a LOT of Mets fans there, even more so than Friday night.
    My section and I would like to apologize for the 9th inning agita inducing action. We had all remarked as the Mets started to pull away that we'd like to see Eddie Kunz get the 9th to see what he could do. Jerry picked one hell of a time to grant us our wish.
    Still, all's well that end's well. Or as Howie says, “Put it in the books!”