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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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We Believe in Setbacks

Jose Reyes is not running. He’s not swinging. He’s not fielding or throwing. He’s not functioning as a baseball player. We understand today he’s resting. With any luck, he’s healing.

But he’s a Met, so I wouldn’t go that far.

Reyes’s thyroid condition has sidelined him for a truly Metsian prognosis of two to eight weeks. Nobody is sidelined from two to eight weeks. Nobody is projected as out from doing anything — not just playing — within a range of 14 days to 56 days. What this means, I’m going to guess, is nobody really knows what exactly is wrong with Jose Reyes or, more pertinently, what it will take to get him back to being a fulltime Met.

Right now, he’s a ghost, hovering over this organization. He and Carlos Beltran, both still on the roster, neither by any means active, each allegedly en route at some point. When 2009 became 2010, we were told this team would be better than the team before it because we’d have, once again, two of our three indispensable men in the lineup every day. “Don’t count on it,” the little Met voice in my head said. “Don’t necessarily count on guys who played 81 games and 36 games the season before.” I wasn’t ready to count on anybody who missed significant time due to injury, including Santana, Niese, Nieve, whoever. In Beltran’s case, it was the knee then, it’s the knee now. In Reyes’s case, nobody could have seen the thyroid coming. We were worried about hamstrings. The hammies are supposedly fine. The thyroid?

The thyroid?

My mother had a thyroid condition. I don’t think it was overactive; quite the opposite, actually. Reyes is a damn sight more athletic than most people’s moms (and dads). Jose Reyes is as athletic a Met as we’ve ever seen. We look forward to seeing him again, on the run, turning the DP, lashing one into the gap that was theoretically created for him. We look forward to him being as healthy a human being as he can be and, because we’re Mets fans, we’d like that to translate into a permanent return that begins to shape up 14 days from now rather than 56…or never.

In the meantime, I looked at the early innings of today’s exhibition game. Cora was at short, just like a lot of last year. Pagan was in the outifield, just like a lot of last year. Castillo…to be fair, he’s supposed to be at second this year, but he reminded me of 2009, too. It was raining and it was 2009 on SNY. Then the rain got to be too much and they put a tarp on the field and the 1963 Yearbook on the air. It cheered me up. That team won 51 games and was a signpost of progress relative to 1962. Then the rain ended, and 2010 is back on the screen, and it’s just minor league scrubs per Spring Training usual, yet I can’t escape the sense that 2009 is in the clubhouse, getting ready for Opening Day.

It’s a lot closer than Jose Reyes is right now.

18 comments to We Believe in Setbacks

  • CharlieH

    Latest from the Met doctors: the only remedy for Jose’s condition is decapitation.

    What gods (or God) did we piss off to deserve all this?

    • Dak442

      I’ve said it before (and elsewhere)… we are still paying off a huge karmic debt from Game 6.

      • And what should be on SNY right now, joined in progress after the game ended? “Simply Amazin'” and they’re showing the World Series portion.

        I don’t know if I agree, but if it is karmic retribution, screw it; I’ll take Game Six.

      • CharlieH

        How do you explain the (if you’ll pardon the expression) Yankees (ew! I feel dirty!) then?

  • Joe D.

    The Daily News reports there might be a possible link between sudden, over-active thyroids and HGH. It might be unfair to make such a judgement at this time but I can’t help remembering how it seemed that Jose’s head was loose when he suddenly forgot how to execute funadamental fielding and base running plays before going on the DL. Could this explain why?

    Greg, remember during his last season with Florida I observed mannerisms on the mound by Dontrelle Willis suggesting they were indicative of anxiety which you didn’t feel was anything different than how he always acted when pitching? Unfortunately, I was later proved right. So let’s hope with Jose that this amateur psychologist and professional new breeder is proved wrong.

    It’s just that I don’t trust any athlete anymore.

  • Inside Pitcher

    Oy. Just, Oy….

  • […] I can feel the pain in Greg Prince’s blog voice over at Fear and Faith…er….Faith and Fear in Flushing: Jose Reyes is not running. He’s not swinging. He’s not fielding or throwing. He’s not […]

  • Joe D.

    Just thought of it. Jose’s been resting for more than nine months. Suddenly he needs more of it?

  • af

    As someone who went through the diagnostic process for hyperthyroid a number of years ago, perhaps I can shed some light. First of all, regardless of the cause of the over-active thyroid, until it starts to come under control there’s a very real risk from even moderate exercise. Second, a lot of testing is involved for diagnosis, as thyroid cancer needs to be excluded, and there are several different profiles for hyperthyroid, each with somewhat different treatment options. It’s all very complex, and even though I work in a biomedical research lab, I had trouble understanding the process and the disease. It doesn’t surprise me at all that an athlete, even a gifted athlete, would have trouble understanding what he’s been told. Furthermore, at early stages, overactive thyroid can be asymptomatic; I didn’t think I had any kind of problem until my numbers came back off-the-charts. And then, it turned out that things that I’d noticed that I hadn’t considered problems were in fact symptoms of the thyroid disease. With thyroid-suppressive medication, it took me 4 or 5 months to be back to normal, and that included a stage where I couldn’t walk 10 steps without stopping to rest and eating 1/4 of a chewy bagel took me 45 minutes. Better, more frequent monitoring of blood levels might have, in retrospect, cut a month off the process.

  • Greg, is the post title a reference to those “We Believe in Comebacks” mailers the Mets sent out begging us to buy tickets? My apartment got one too and it made me think of “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos”. Then again, Chuck is a Met fan, so maybe that’s alright?

  • I dunno, Greg. If they keep this up I think you’re going to have to change the title of this blog to “Skepticism and Resignation in Flushing.”

  • Joe D.

    Well, from what I hear the medical community says it is not the level but the risk to the heart if one does any exercising with the level up.

    But Francesca had a few doctors call and say the risk to the heart comes from a combination of medications and exercise. Jose has not been prescribed anything other than that rest. And then, another specialist called up and said it would be unlikely that shell fish would raise the level that high and that most treatments do involve some kind of medication – not leaving it alone.

    As usual, we’re getting mixed signals from the Met organization. Jose is miffed, the Mets said yesterday he had an over-active thyroid but after speaking with the doctors announced Jose would be back in uniform in a few days. This morning Omar tells Francesca the same thing on a phone call.

    I don’t know what’s going on with the Mets and neither does management – so what else is new?

  • Andee

    At least the Mets are doing the right thing this time. It’s likely they’re trying to treat this without drugs or surgery first because antithyroid stuff can be a major, major, major energy suck, one big enough to screw up Jose’s game for good. And if they had let him run around out there and he developed a heart problem from it, they’d never have heard the end of it, and justifiably so.

    Also, the time missed is retroactive to last week, so it’s likely that whatever they saw on the labs last week is beginning to resolve with conservative treatment. (Which could explain Jose saying, “My thyroid is fine”; it might well be doing a lot better this week compared to his first set of labs.) So next week we should know a lot more about this. I just hope he doesn’t have thyroid cancer or anything like that. (Remember Jerry DiPoto? He had that once, before he was ever a Met. He’s still among the living, but it took a lot out of him at the time.)

  • Jackabite

    Who would give an estimate of “two to eight weeks”?? Clearly, this is totally ridiculous, but stay off some of other Mets sites if you want to speculate on what this sure looks like: When I brought this up on other boards, I was all but tar and feathered. As a matter of fact, I need two to eight weeks before I’ll go back there again.

  • […] Jose Reyes returned. This was no mere undisabling. It was a month ago tomorrow that we received the news of the thyroid setback. Jose, it was said, would be restrained from “baseball activity” for two to eight […]