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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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Funhouse Team Without the Fun

Chronic misdiagnoses of injuries and the incomprehensible roster machinations that follow? Half-assed trade rumors in which they can't even make the right hypothetical decision? Club executives saying ridiculous things? Doing ridiculous things? The Mets are, to borrow a phrase from the former Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin, more fun than a barrel of Mookies leading up to and coming out of every game. They are a sideshow attraction par excellence.

It's the main event that's the problem.

At the end of a day when Omar Minaya was sent to meet the media to defuse allegations that Tony Bernazard is doing the impossible by making the Mets look more unprofessional than their recent record would indicate (I still can't get over the nonjudgmental ESPN headline, “Mets exec dares prospects to fight him”) — and after the GM defused nothing thanks to speaking remedial legalese and squirming characteristically uncomfortably — the Mets put aside all the distractions that seem to trail them around like a scrap of public restroom toilet paper on the heel of a shoe and went outside to play ball.

Which is too bad, because the distractions have surpassed for entertainment the dreary business the Mets are obligated to transact 68 more times this season.

Wait…these Mets are required to play 68 more baseball games in 2009? Now that's the alleged misconduct Omar ought to be investigating.

The Washington Nationals won their second straight over the New York Mets, giving them a series win. Losing two of three to the now 28-66 Nats is like being swept eight straight by anybody else, including the first nine pregnant ladies to whom you'd offer your seat on the bus (though I wouldn't count on Tony Bernazard ceding his spot without first unleashing a profanity-laced tirade). The Mets were four-hit Wednesday night by Walter Johnson. Or was it Walter Cronkite? Does it really matter who they face on a given evening with the herd of stray Bisons they're dressing as Mets? If Tony Bernazard wants to take on a bunch of minor leaguers, he need only travel with the so-called big club. Chances are he'd beat them, too. Showing fight isn't exactly the Mets' forte.

The highlight of the evening (at least until I caught the latest episode of Metstradamus) was hearing that Fernando Tatis was playing, and not because I took the “under” on total hits. I had seen the lineup and Tatis wasn't in it, yet early in the game, Wayne Hagin mentioned our only remaining Fernando doing something in the field. Ohmigod, I thought, I went and wrote something nice about David Wright and now Wright must have left the game with what Met doctors are calling a slight pull of the brain that we'll find out next week is really aggravated mental anguish that will keep him on the shelf for two years but they won't disable him just yet.

No, it turned out, Tatis wasn't in for a debilitated Wright. He was replacing an ejected Luis Castillo. Phew! What a relief! Thank goodness nothing happened to Wright. Without David, imagine how bad we'd be. Why, we'd probably be losing series to the Washington Nationals.

And bonus points for Castillo getting himself ejected. That makes at least two Mets who won't back down when Tony Bernazard storms into town itching to rumble.

Off day Thursday. As if the Mets aren't off every day.

While you prepare your anecdotes about how you stayed a Mets fan in the worst of times, even in 2009, relive equally bizarre and occasionally uplifting seasons with Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook. And check out one blogger's take on Citi Field in the latest edition of Metropolis Magazine.

10 comments to Funhouse Team Without the Fun

  • Anonymous

    As if the losing iteslf weren't enough, now we have nothing to hold over the Yankee fans this season…
    “Oh, yeah? Well at least we didn't lose 2-of-3 to the Na…what?…nevermind…”

  • Anonymous

    2009 will be remembered as the season that will not be remembered.
    It's a write-off, everybody. Pitchers and catchers report in 7 months!

  • Anonymous

    Jerry: “You don't even know what a write off is.”
    Kramer: “Do you?”'
    Jerry : “No, I don't.”
    Kramer: “But they do…and they 're the ones writing it off.”
    Not really appropos of anything, but I figure a classic Seinfeld quote beats talking about the Mets.

  • Anonymous

    What is this “2006” you speak of so fondly? I have no recollection…

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    If even half of what is reported about Bernazard turns out to have been true, then we must question why Omar kept him on this long. K-Rod has all the confidence in the world to tell the assistant G.M. to blank-off, but kids in in the low minors don't and can't. How can their confidence levels not be affected when chewed out like that?
    While some might think Omar is too loyal to those working underneath him, no matter how he might appear publicly he still has to have the business-type toughness needed to reach the status he has achieved (it showed in the way he handled the Randolph situation, remember?). Doesn't mean he's a good or bad general manager, just that he's got the coldness required for executive level decision making. Could be this is a trait he wants in Bernazard but cannot admit it publicy.
    You know what I mean, don't you Greg, being the tyrant you are?

  • Anonymous

    I picture a write-off as what Dennis Miller used to do on Weekend Update.
    I don't really know what a write-off is either. Something about taxes or something. All I know is that I've never gotten to write-off anything.

  • Anonymous

    I mean this season is def “write off” worthy…
    In pathetic 02-04 seasons, it was understood from the get go that we stunk so the underwhelming record was to be expected.
    06 we made it deep into the playoffs yet come up short in the end(thanks again heilman)
    07 and 08 – collapses back to back. embarassment of the woprst kind for a sports fan.
    09 – injury ravaged, clown mgmt ran disgrace of a season…the high expectations combined with the season (and a big part of summer's fun) a punchline in july (effin July!) make this the toughest to swallow of all. We choked it up the past 2 years yet at least baseball had some meaning all season long. This is torture (in sports terms)

  • Anonymous

    I think Bernazard is Jeff Wilpon's boy. Omar may not be allowed to fire him. Which sounds incredible — you can't fire someone under you? — but if he's not your hire, maybe so. Who knows what the hell is going on over there.
    Before Omar, Jeff Wilpon pretty much ran things into the ground. Firing Omar now would just mean the return of that. Instead, what I think they should do is bring someone else in to work with him, sort of the way the Cardinals brought in Branch Rickey when Bing Devine was their GM.
    There are things Omar has done that are valuable, like convincing management to break the bank for players like Beltran and Santana and get Wright and Reyes locked-up long term at below market rates. There are things Omar has done that are brain-fryingly ridiculous, like giving huge untradeable contracts out to people who are, quite frankly, scrubs.
    So he could use some help. If he doesn't want the help? He can quit. And firing him and eating his contract and then hiring a replacement isn't going to cost any less than just hiring the help. It might even cost less, if he quits.

  • Anonymous

    They tried that when Duquette was still here and Omar opted to remain in Montreal when presented with that option…