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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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Lots to Talk About

Terrible uniforms! Good starting pitching! Bad bullpen work! Questionable strategies! An umpiring controversy! And, finally, a walk-off!

That’s quite a lot for one game, even with two extra frames, but it wound up as a victory for the forces of good, with Ruben Tejada whacking a clean single up the middle, then showing his most surprising speed of the year as he mock-fled his towel-waving teammates into short left field.

What should we take from this game?

First of all and most importantly of all, that patience is a virtue. This isn’t a Get Out of Contention Free card for the front office or ownership, who should explain what the plan is to get back to, well, meaningful games in September and the kind of payroll the National League’s New York franchise should have. But it is a reminder that young players need time to develop, and their birthdate is more important than how long you’ve seen them or read about them online. Travis d’Arnaud, decried as a disaster before his tune-up in Las Vegas, is 25 with an injury-shortened CV. Jenrry Mejia‘s just 24 and lost time to Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel sabotaging his development in an effort to save their skins. Tejada feels like he’s been here forever, but he’s only 24. Zack Wheeler? 24. And Noah Syndergaard — somehow letting down the fanbase for failing to dominate Triple-A — is only 21. They’re going to have lousy weeks, make dopey mistakes and look lost at times. Which isn’t to say all these guys will develop into stars; just that it’s too early to say they’re failures. The only way to find out? It’s to let them play and live with their mistakes.

Speaking of mistakes, what happened to Eric Campbell and d’Arnaud in the eighth was interesting, to say the least. Christian Bethancourt dropped a single into short right, Curtis Granderson charged it, unleashed a throw — and Campbell cut it off. It’s impossible to say whether Chris Johnson would have been out at the plate or not — let’s leave it at “it would have been close” — and to me that’s not the critical question anyway. It’s what the communication was on the field and whether Campbell and d’Arnaud knew what they wanted to do as the play developed. If d’Arnaud thought Johnson would be safe and yelled for Campbell to cut it off, that’s fine. Same if Campbell thought that was going to happen and intercepted the throw. If d’Arnaud wasn’t sure what to do and/or Campbell automatically cut the ball off because he saw a Brave between second and third, that’s not good — and would be an example of the learning process that needs to take place.

Meanwhile, we’re all learning about the replay system and the wrinkles of it. The Mets won a questionable challenge in the ninth when the umps decided (after Terry Collins‘s entreaties) to review an apparent neighborhood play at second as Andrelton Simmons tried to turn a Juan Lagares bunt into a double play. Their ruling: Simmons had come off the bag and everybody was safe. (Terry then decided to confound even me by opting not to bunt in pretty much the only situation where it makes strategic sense.) Fredi Gonzalez was not pleased, the booth went into a tizzy, and I’m sure we’ll hear more about this one in the days to come. My instant take: I understand why the neighborhood play is allowed even in an era of endless replays, but that exemption was carved out to protect middle infielders, not so they could grab the few extra inches that might turn a force out into a double play. What Simmons did might have been OK by the current letter of the law (and it was a smart play), but I thought it violated the spirit of the rule, and the umpires decided correctly. That’s a case where an umpire’s judgment (backed up by New York looking at video) can still be part of the equation.

Anyway, I’m sure that play will spark further conversation, but let’s move on. Given a possible gift, the Mets promptly handed it back to the Braves and seemed ticketed for another infuriating/numbing loss. But they hung in there behind what was left of the arm of Carlos Torres (who was nearly killed by a scary-looking B.J. Upton line drive), long enough for Tejada to come through and send us all home, with lots to talk about. And for a night some of the conversation was even fun.

8 comments to Lots to Talk About

  • Dave

    When I was a kid I had a book called something like “The Knotty Problems of Baseball,” which described bizarre plays and how the umpires should rule on them. The 8th and 9th innings alone last night replayed about half of the replay era version of the book.

  • Shawn Butler

    I don’t know why all of these alternate uniforms annoy the Glavine out of me, but they do. Why can’t we just always use the home pinstripes and the gorgeous road grays? Is that too much to ask from our perrenial 70-something-win franchise?

    In any event, it’s always nice to beat the tomahawks. Way to go, Curtis and Ruben!

  • argman

    I was flipping in and out of the game, but what did GKR say when Terry pinch hit Young for Kirk after just double switching Kirk into the game? That seemed even worse than failing to bunt with runners on 1st & 2nd and nobody out.

  • The Jestaplero!

    Off-topic, I think the biggest no-brainer for SA is to trade Bartolo Colon to a contender if they can get an upper-tier prospect back.

    We’re out of it and don’t need him. We need to make room for Syndergaard, and we should give Montero another look, and send Dice-K back to being the swing man. We can clear his salary for 2015 when Harvey comes back, Syndergaard should be ready, and we REALLY don’t need him.

    He should command something good in return. He’s a proven, big-market winner, innings eater, crafty veteran presence, still healthy and on top of his game. I think NYY and BOS are logical fits, but everybody seems to need starters.

    • Yep. The two-year deal was an astute gamble, maximizing Colon’s potential trade value this year while allowing for the possibility of his serving as depth and a potential mentor for the kids next year.

      • 9th string catcher

        Definitely a no-brainer. Would you deal Dice-K as well?

        • The Jestaplero!

          I would, absolutely. Almost everything I said about Bart applies to Dice-K, except for the big contract. Again, BOS and NYY are logical choices since he can play in a big market.

  • Dave

    Still suspect that Alderson is going to have to agree to eat some of Colon’s remaining salary to get a good prospect, and who knows if the Wilpons are willing to do that. Colon is everything that Jestaplero says and a borderline miracle, but he’s at an age where it can go south pretty quick.