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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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Yoenis Alive

Perhaps the reason Yoenis Cespedes accessorizes like he’s part of a road work crew — highway-cone orange elbow and ankle pads outlined in traffic-redirecting neon yellow — is he likes driving his team toward victory. Just because he hadn’t done much of it lately didn’t mean he’d lost his taste for it.

Perhaps it was just a matter of time before he got behind the wheel of the Mets’ bus again. Perhaps it was being so relatively close to Oakland that has shifted him to another gear. Whatever it is that’s gotten Yo hitting like Yo, Yo is hitting like Yo. Two nights in California, two nights of Cespedes extra-base flair. Suddenly you notice him not just by all the stuff wrapped around his limbs or hanging from his neck. In case you’d forgotten, this fella can hit a bit. Can hit a lot when he’s hot.

Right now, he’s hot.

Tuesday night in San Diego, Cespedes’s sizzle was palpable. A homer to start the Mets’ scoring in the first. A double to tie the game in the fifth. A triple that untied it in the seventh, featuring a Padre error that allowed Yoenis to come all the way around as Mets have been doing delightfully regularly recently without bothering to hit balls that leave the park. The so-called Little League home run, the third the Mets have engineered with a little help from their foes since the All-Star break (and the only kind I ever managed in tee ball), put the Mets up, 6-4. That extra run would become more than a marine layer of icing on the cake in the ninth once Addison Reed came in to further diminish his trade value. Addison gave up an RBI double to Dusty Coleman, who I believe San Diego acquired from a random baseball-name generator, to cut the New York lead to 6-5. But that was all that would be given back. Reed got a save, Seth Lugo and the Mets got a win and Cespedes…

Where did Ces go? Not back to the loving embrace of Bob Melvin, not yet anyway. Terry Collins removed his re-emerging superstar after his home-to-home dash because Archie Bell & the Drells phoned in from Houston, Texas, to dedicate the “Tighten Up” to Yo’s quad. Cespedes looked great yet didn’t feel quite right, so, cycle possibility or no, better safe than sorry.

Not sorry Cespedes is a Met for a few more years, regardless of last month’s cold spell, the lower body parts marked fragile and the general sense that he’s marching (hopefully not limping) to his own drummer. Anything could go wrong physically at any time, one supposes, but plenty can go right competitively when Cespedes is all in one piece.

He’s a helluva piece to have.

Helluva time ahead at Turn of the Corkscrew, 110 N. Park Ave. in Rockville Centre, L.I., Friday night, 7 PM. I’ll reading from and discussing my book Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star. Copies will be for sale from the fine folks at this fine books & wine establishment, but admission, conversation and inscription will be gratis. If you’re in the vicinity, I do hope you’ll drop by.

8 comments to Yoenis Alive

  • Kevin From Flushing

    “The Little League Home Run” starting to trend upward in the Nikon Award!

    Happy Cespy finally got that HR monkey off his back. I have a feeling he’ll rattle off another 6 on this road trip.

    • I’m reminded of the repeated incidence of Ike flipping over railing to catch foul balls, three times in a very short period and then never again. We’ll see if we’ve got a trend or a “remember when the Mets had a bunch of those things in like a week?”

  • 9th string catcher

    I will never get tired of the LLHRs! And thanks for a thumbs up to Ces, one of the most exciting players we’ve ever had.

  • Eric

    deGrom pitching and Cespedes hitting remind us why the Mets were expected to be contenders this season.

    Cespedes feeling confident enough in his legs to run extra on the bases was a good sign. Coming out of the game was not a good sign.

    Lugo pitched credibly enough for a 5th, spot starter, which is what he was supposed to be this season, not the 2, 3 starter he is now with the battered rotation. I forgot that he’s pitching with a partially torn UCL.

    I’m anxious about Reed’s trade value dropping at the last minute, too. This has to be a strange spot for him. He’s pitching for the Mets, but he’s really pitching for the as yet unknown contender that will trade for him. After he’s traded, I hope he tanks for his new team so he’s cheaper and easier for the Mets to sign back for next season.

    I won’t hope for a post-season chase until the team is back to .500. But they’re 9 back in the WC race, and none of the teams in front of them (assuming the Cubs catch up to the Brewers) look too tough to chase down. That’s enough like last season to hope, if the Mets can get back to .500 sooner rather than later.

    • LeClerc

      Cespedes could be one of the truly elite position players – if – and only if he gets his legs together. Kevin Long wisely suggested that Yoenis lose some weight and stay away from the power lifting. If he’s chronically gimpy he’s not a $110 million dollar man.

      I’m hoping against hope that they don’t deal Reed – and sign him to a multi-year contract in the off-season. My view is that he’s that he’s the best reliever the Mets have (I’m counting Familia in that assessment – when NL hitters learn to lay off Jeurys’ sinker and force him to throw strikes his value may have to be re-considered).

      The guy to deal is Cabrera. His departure opens the door to allow Rosario to come aboard.

      If they can’t trade for Bruce and Duda they’re both perfect candidates for qualifying offers in the off-season.

  • Gil

    What a game. Nice win with some nice plays in the field. Bruce with an assist and TJ making a highlight reel catch amongst others.

    Can anyone remember the last time Cespedes slid? I couldn’t believe my eyes that he got down going into third, and then the headfirst into home…. no wonder he came out. He’s not used to getting his uni, or his colorful body armor, dirty.

    I keep hearing rumors about Duda going. I have to say it makes me kind of blue. Flamenco sketches blue. The poor guy will forever be remembered for the WS wide throw home, but he’s been an awfully good Met by my standards and always played the game the right way – quietly went about his business and always said “got lucky” when asked about a homer or a big hit, giving the opposing pitchers and the game respect. If he does go, I’ll miss him. I really liked his brand of baseball.

    • Whereas Murphy’s Game Four error blots out everything else I remember about him, Duda’s off-target throw in Game Five doesn’t much register. I think mostly about the 30 HRs in 2014 and the tear Lucas took off on as the Mets were getting going in 2015. Should a trade come to pass (pending what comes in return, if I’m being honest), I’ll be a little blue, too.

      • dmg

        the duda abides bigly in my house, too. my son and i have fond memories of him as a player — he’s a far better first baseman than is given credit for — and his hitting his 30th in 2014’s last game at Citi sort of summed up the promise of the next year.