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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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Justin Turner Can't Do It Alone

And sometimes a lineup patched together with recently recalled minor leaguers gets beat. Go figure.

BuffaMets fever broke a little Saturday night, though Justin Turner continued to hit, which was good news for Americans from coast to coast wondering breathlessly whether Turner would break the longstanding record for most consecutive games with a run batted in by a Mets rookie. It was one of the most cherished records in all of sport, dating back to 1965 and embedding itself in the consciousness of fans everywhere since at least Friday when it was casually mentioned on SNY.

I love worrying about records I not only never heard of before but records I had never stopped to consider were records. “Most consecutive games by a Mets rookie with a run batted in”…who knew? Once I did know, it became imperative to me that Justin Turner would come to own it.

While I’m tickled orange and blue over Turner having knocked in a run in seven straight games as a relative neophyte, I have to admit I was disappointed to learn that until Friday night he had never heard of Ron Swoboda, the man who established the heretofore unbreakable consecutive rookie RBI game streak 46 years ago. It’s one thing to not know you’re making obscure history. It’s another to not know that you’re unseating a legend.

A Met legend, certainly. When I read Turner’s admission of ignorance, I couldn’t be disappointed in Turner. How can any Mets fan be disappointed in Justin Turner? I did ponder, however, how a player can be a Met/Bison for a year and not be properly indoctrinated into team history. You go to work for a sizable company, you are usually subject to some sort of orientation that may include, “This is what we do here” and “Here are some of our successes.” Given six weeks of Spring Training and all the downtime on flights and in hotels, the Mets don’t/can’t take maybe an hour and show their rookies a highlight video? Maybe one day at home, before the gates open and before BP is rained out, they don’t/can’t lead them through the tunnel in the other direction from the clubhouse and show them the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum?

Orientation doesn’t have to be overly formal. Just take a rookie around and say, “Hey, Justin, check out this silhouette of the guy making the sprawling catch adorning the Right Field entrance. It was one of the best catches ever made in a World Series and represents one of the greatest moments in the history of the franchise from which you’re drawing a fine paycheck and excellent meal money. You became part of that legacy when you put on the Mets uniform. Wear yours with Swobodan pride.”

Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

Ultimately, I hope some Met rookie of the future comes along and is thrilled to know he topped the record for consecutive games with an RBI set by the great Justin Turner in 2011, that magical year everybody remembers, but as long as I’m dreaming, I dream of the chain being unbroken and the torch being passed and Jason Bay maybe getting a big hit. Or any hit at all.

A Mets fan can dream.

8 comments to Justin Turner Can’t Do It Alone

  • It is great that Turner has gotten off to this impressive start, considering he only had four major league hits before the season started. I just hope he doesn’t turn into another Mike Vail, who went kaplooie after his 23-game hitting streak in 1975. Turner only had six major league RBIs before starting his rookie record streak. If Turner keeps this up, will the Mets trade their resident 100 RBI man, David Wright, to make room for Turner at third, just like they traded their only 100 RBI man, Rusty Staub, to Detroit after the 1975 season?

    Hold that thought. I’m going to have to write a “Turner Un-Vail-ed” blog on this.

    • Turner has obviously made Wright expendable, which is doubly good news because without extraneous David, they can afford to keep Jose. Perhaps we can somehow unload Bay in the process.

      I have not yet begun to overreact to a small sample size.

  • Chip

    You know, your idea of Mets Orientation for players is not wrong, particularly those who are expected to be in the major leagues at some point.

    But from what I understand, the Mets had the first sessions earlier in the spring, and Turner was bumped from the class by Brad Emaus. Really?

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Justin’s response was nothing compared to Hal Reniff’s reaction back in 1967 when on the post-game Ralph informed the former Yankee that he just set a Met record for consecutive scoreless innings by a reliever. Reniff’s expression seemed that he was thinking “who gives a sh*t?”.

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