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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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Living and Dying by Inches

After last night’s thriller, today’s game was almost certain to be a letdown — but unfortunately it was worse than that. It was the inverse of last night, with the key plays going minutely but decisively the Giants’ way. Omar Quintanilla and Daniel Murphy were just a bit slow trying to turn the double play with runners on the corners and one out in the fourth, giving San Francisco what would be a decisive second run. With the tying run on third and two out in the sixth, Wilmer Flores cracked a hard grounder off Madison Bumgarner’s foot that took a funhouse bounce to Buster Posey at first. And with two out in the ninth and Matt den Dekker at second, Anthony Recker’s bit for Satinesque glory was denied — the hard shot he hit down the third-base line was foul by a couple of inches.

So it goes sometimes, in good years and bad. And now we’re down to the Mets’ pursuit of being bad enough to sign free agents without surrendering a first-round pick (because we’re of course going to sign notable free agents), and to awaiting the arrival of Wilfredo Tovar, slated to be Met No. 968 in The Holy Books. (Call off your vigils — he had a 2012 Bowman Chrome card I’d missed.)

Oh — and we’ll get David Wright back, probably tomorrow night in Philadelphia. Wright’s apparently still sore, but determined to give the few remaining fans some chunk of their money’s worth. (He’d also like to hit in Philadelphia — David Wright is no fool.)

If that seems like thin gruel as the fire burns down and winter begins to growl at the door, don’t mutter. You’ll tell your grandchildren how David Wright was one of the few things that kept us going through these lean years, and how awesome it was to see his faith and ours repaid with those three consecutive titles. Well, at least the first part.

Earlier this summer a little moment reminded me of why I should never take Wright for granted. The Mets were in D.C., and Wright wound up near the stands, in possession of a ball that had landed foul. He looked into the seats and found himself a few feet from three fans — a pretty young woman wearing a Nats top and two dudes in Mets gear who could charitably be described as nondescript.

The woman in the Nats top beamed at Wright. The dudes kind of stood there. Wright looked at her, hesitated — and handed the ball to one of the Mets fans.

We don’t deserve him, I thought — not for the first time, and not for the last.

9 comments to Living and Dying by Inches

  • metsfaninparadise

    For that reason among countless others, Wright is the anti-ARod

  • Andee

    At least three of the FAs the Mets would figure to be kicking the tires on are Boras clients: Choo, Ellsbury, Drew. And only the first two have a shot at getting a QO; I can’t see BOS handing one to Drew. Boras is notorious for dragging out the signing process for as long as he possibly can, often into the next calendar year, so I really hope we are not putting all our eggs into those baskets. (Also, Sandy playing it coy about that doesn’t really say anything much; “We’ll sign top free agents and we’ll do whatever it takes” is not a sentence you want to say to Scott Boras.)

    And so many high-priced FAs have been busts that if they decide not to go that route, I’m really okay with it. Didn’t Fangraphs do a story once about how finding outfielders on the scrap heap had about as high a success rate as signing the big-ticket guys, maybe even better? The Braves can absorb the shit contract of B.J. Upton because they are stacked everywhere else, and it’s mostly homegrown. This team is in a position where an Upton-like deal (or more than one) can sink them even further into the marsh. I won’t have a conniption if they sign Choo or someone like that, but I also don’t think not doing it is going to be a tragedy.

    But having a top 10 pick is good for other reasons besides that. Right now we’re at #7 in reverse standings, and the last time we got a pick that high, we got Matt Harvey. Not that I think they should tank on purpose, but in a way, it would kind of suck for us to once again win just enough games to cheat us out of a great pick and not much else.

    • It’s a bit of a puzzle: The fanbase badly needs some kind of sign that the forced austerity is over, yet it’s nuts to spend money just for the sake of it. So if the free-agent market isn’t spectacular (and I agree it isn’t), what should the club do?

      Makes ideas like Harper’s proposed swap (d’Arnaud, Gee and Montero for Tulo) seem more viable. But Sandy was saying/signaling that taking on salary via a trade might be the route to take this summer, and he didn’t do it. Possibly because the trade wasn’t there to be made, which is fine, and possibly because the Wilpons pulled the rug out from under him again, which is not.

      And so round and round we go.

      • Dave

        As far as free agents go, can’t let perfect get in the way of good enough. Successful clubs take some risks and know that not every contract works out great for the whole duration. The FA market might not be great, but can it be so bad that it’s got no one who can improve this Triple-A caliber lineup? Our trade chips are limited. Sandy, please just throw us a bone or two.

  • Dave

    Andee – I think the last thing anyone would suspect is that if the Mets lose games they’re tanking on purpose. They lose fair and square. So, high draft pick, completely safe from forfeiting by signing a free agent…bottom 10, we’re there, integrity intact.

    And what a depressing article in today’s Times. I had never actually done the math, but for more than half the years of their existence, the Mets have finished last or next to last, with of course 2013 very likely to add to that dubious distinction. Ouch. Was tempted to pour myself a drink for breakfast but couldn’t decide what paired well with vanilla yogurt and blackberries.

  • Consider Cubans and Japanese expatriates when considering that free agent market. Hard to measure how much that’s worth, as the exchange rates are as mysterious as ever, but it’s wroth something.

  • 9th string catcher

    Dave – Stoli Vanilla.

    • Dave

      9th – Good call. I’m normally more of a Belgian ale/Scotch or bourbon neat guy, so I appreciate the idea for stepping out of my breakfast comfort zone.

  • […] David Wright is awesome in Philadelphia, no matter the state of his legs. (Remember, he’s awesome everywhere.) He stepped off the disabled list, took one pitch for old time’s sake, and then smacked the […]