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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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Progress (of a Deeply Pathetic Sort)

Suddenly this is what amounts to progress around here: The Mets' loss was merely aggravating instead of disgusting.

Oh, it didn't look good when Daniel Murphy, cast as a hapless plaything of the cruel baseball gods, mishandled the first ball put in play since Jeremy Reed mishandled last night's final ball put in play. And, logically enough, that led to a run. But other than that the Mets had one other defensive hiccup — Ramon Martinez seemed to go out fairly slowly for a ball that Carlos Beltran couldn't reach. Logically enough, that led to a Dodgers run as well. (I've swiftly remembered that Ramon Martinez only looked good late last year because Luis Castillo looked so stupendously bad. He is, in fact, useless.) Without Jose Reyes back in the fold making several nice plays, goodness knows how much worse it would have been.

Oh, and everybody touched every base that needed touching, with the exception of a desired three more foot-plants on home plate.

Casey Blake's blow sounded fatal on the radio, even without Wayne Hagin's aggravating habit of being so leisurely on play-by-play that the crowd reaction tells you what's happened before he does. BAM! Far too long a time for nothing to have happened, cheering rising, Met chins falling.

It wasn't so long ago that the Mets seemed almost to be toying with the anonymous Giants, swiping bases at will and waiting patiently for big clutch hits when things didn't go their way. And all that without Reyes or Carlos Delgado. Then there was Mike Pelfrey's festival of yips, with all of us watching TV reduced to twitchy irritation by ESPN's festival of dips. Seemed like a bump in the road — a close game undone by a couple of flukey plays. But then came last night's epic disaster, with various Bisons screwing the pooch in astonishing fashion and Ryan Church choosing the wrong time for a self-administered colonoscopy, and now tonight.

We've been officially kicked out of first place; listening to this team over the last 27-odd hours, the astonishing thing is that we were ever in it.

Ramon Martinez is not mentioned (best I can recall) in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. There are lots of other reasons it's a great read beyond that, but it helps. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

8 comments to Progress (of a Deeply Pathetic Sort)

  • Anonymous

    The only good thing that I can see coming out of this is perhaps the realization that the problem with this team isn't that you have guys like Reyes who aren't as professional as Beltran, or that you have guys like Beltran who aren't as passionate as Reyes. All that stuff about character is complete nonsense. The problem with this team is THEY ARE NOT THAT GOOD.
    Having character has nothing to do with the fact that Santana is our only good starter. Maine is our third best pitcher when he is no better than a 5th starter. Pelfrey does not nor will he ever have ace quality stuff, and the rest of the guys we throw out there don't belong in the majors.
    I personally am not going to stop watching the mets this year. In fact, I got two games next week. But we really need to stop pretending like this team is a real contender.

  • Anonymous

    Most teams in this day and age don't really have to be good- they just have to be competitive. In other words; bide your time, hang around and in the end you might just have a shot at it.
    I know that this makes no sense to some- but think about it..
    This team with ALL its components is definitely as good as any other team in the NL, are they not?
    Besides, I love to pretend, it makes following the game more fun..
    Rich P

  • Anonymous

    I don't think the team is as bad as you think. However, I don't think the team is as good as a lot of people think, or want to think. I'm going to lead with this in my quarterly report this weekend – they're a .500 team, maybe a little bit better, that can be streaky. They can play so good one week and so bad (in many ways) the next. They have a lot of potential, but management (Omar, Jerry) is both making mistakes and paying for some past mistakes right now. Correcting some of those mistakes should make them a better club, but there's a fine line between a good .500 team and a really good team, and I think they're looking up to that line.

  • Anonymous

    I think this team is four legitimate superstars (five if you count K-Rod, which I'm not sure I do) surrounded by a very mediocre bunch of guys. Anonymous assessed the rotation perfectly. The bullpen is a plus. Corner OFers are maybe league average. 2B is serviceable at times, C is a black hole, as is 1B now. The bench is OK. The manager is not exactly Gil Hodges.
    The bright side is that no one else in the NL is lighting it up. The wildcard (if not the division) should be within our grasp if we can stay healthy, get a couple of breaks, maybe ream a small-market team in a trade. 2006 was an anomaly; we're not running away with anything for the foreseeable future.

  • Anonymous

    2006 was an anomaly because we were never that good
    so that's our ceiling? maybe we luck into a wild card and get tossed in 4 games, just so omar and jerry get to keep their jobs? sorry, i just don't see this version of the mets ending up in a parade down broadway. i'm not spoiled enough to think i'm entitled to a championship, but at the same time, teams with $140 payrolls and three seasons of underachieving don't get to claim moral victories.

  • Anonymous

    *pats you on the back*
    Saying this team is not that good is a defense mechanism against feeling the pain they're inflicting on us.
    Pelfrey has showed ace stuff, and he can be a really solid number 2. He had a bad game the other day (except he didn't, he had a very solid start given his being uncomfortable). Maine..well Maine is probably an average guy. He made one bad pitch. but he's pitched well the last 4-5 times before that. Sometimes you make a bad pitch, sometime sgood teams/players beat you there. Fine. Maine appeared gassed (and he was stretched the game before remember), but he looks like a solid contributor this year. Sure, they're both lightyears behind Santana. But remember perspecttive. Very good pitchers are light years behind Santana. The 4th and 5th are the issue. Livan is mostly tolerable so far. Redding had a good start, but you can't judge. Perez has been a disaster, but he's got enough of a track record to know he could come back and have a fair season.
    If you look at the statistic comparisons by position, we've got an average LF/RF woh are so far underperforming. We've got an above average SS and 2B, and a basically top of the line 3B and CF. Even C is around average. our bullpen is above average.
    But that's just by position.
    This team is better than the last two years. That's likely 92 games. they're better than Philly, who is worse than last year, where they were only the better team by results, not talent.
    I can't figure out any justifiable reason, except frustration, to think this team is not the best team in the division.

  • Anonymous

    I can't wait until Church hits his next homer….
    You just know Gary's going to break out the old Dick Enberg: “Touch 'em all!”

  • Anonymous

    It's probably true that this isn't a great team. Or even an especially good one. Even leaving aside all those players out of position, which is a fluky event, the starting pitching after Johan is sketchy at best.
    But pretty much every team in this division has holes you could fly a Cessna through. Probably the one with the fewest injuries (aside from Washington, an extreme long shot) will be the one that takes it. Right now, that ain't the Mets. But it's only May.
    And I agree, this “heart of a champion” nonsense belongs in the nearest dumpster. You can't have the heart of a champion one year and then not have one the very next year when your team goes into the crapper.