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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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Appreciating the Little Things

In a lost season, you appreciate the little things. Sometimes because they might grow into big things, and sometimes just for themselves.

You appreciate two-out singles by Phillip Evans (yet another victim of the Great Jose Reyes Fiasco) and Amed Rosario to tie the game and then give the Mets a two-run lead.

You appreciate that the timing of those hits delivered a first big-league win for Corey Oswalt, who’d been removed either because his hand was sore or because that’s what Mickey Callaway‘s Big Book o’ Managing told him must to be done. (Any and all explanations by the skipper are automatically regarded with suspicion.) That win came after a string of outings in which Oswalt deserved such a reward but one wasn’t forthcoming, because the Mets.

You appreciate a game marked by fine defense on both sides. There was Jose Bautista making a nifty running grab (his second fine play in as many days) in right to save one run (and maybe two) in the fourth. There was Bautista, again, alertly short-circuiting the San Diego fifth by nabbing pitcher Clayton Richard at second on a dunker in front of him. There was Freddy Galvis (temporarily) rescuing Richard in the fifth on an errant throw to second which he converted to a nifty spin and tag of Kevin Plawecki.

And hey, there was Brandon Nimmo making a marvelous leaping catch to take away a home run from Austin Hedges, only to have the replay meanies correctly note that Nimmo had trapped it off the back wall. Nimmo sold it, too — a little instinctive leftover from the days in which calls were made by umpires and reviews belonged to the historical record and what-if fiction.

All of that was good fun as the Mets won a matinee and — gasp! — a series, their first series win since May 20, when they were 23-19 and we were still trying to convince ourselves that a headlong plummet was a mere stumble.

But as that last sentence indicates, the problem with appreciating the little things is that the bigger things keep rudely shoving themselves into the picture.

Like Yoenis Cespedes being out until … well, it’s the Mets, so let’s not even speculate, but there are two heel surgeries involved and the talk right now is May. Perhaps we’d be better off asking, “Which May?” And this inevitable pass has been arrived at via the usual Metsian Stupid Watergate way: waiting too long to put a player on the DL, grousing about his inability to come off of it, anonymously insinuating said player is soft, navigating second and third opinions amid palpable mistrust between player and organization, sending flunkies out to prevaricate, and finally arriving at the dreary conclusion. This has been happening through multiple general managers and training staffs, so you don’t need Sherlock Holmes to figure out where the real problem lies.

Or like the Mets being likely to look different when they return from their current road trip after the trading deadline. Normally that would be a little thing to be glad about — the rot of a dead team is best turned into fertilizer as early as possible. But the Mets’ shamefully paltry return on Jeurys Familia makes this potential good little thing more likely to be another bad big thing. The Wilpons are playing their usual game of seeking salary relief rather than prospects, and meddling with an already ill-advised front-office arrangement. Which is a recipe for minimizing the return on useful pieces, and the reverse of the process that a competently run organization would follow.

Should the Mets think bigger and trade some combination of Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, and Jacob deGrom? In theory, absolutely — 15 games under .500 is excellent evidence that some other plan should be pursued. But that theory presumes the Mets would get something decent back in such a deal or deals. The 2017 deadline crop and the Familia trade strongly suggest they’d instead maneuver themselves into securing a pittance — the inevitable money back in the Wilpons’ pockets and a bunch of raw lottery-ticket bullpen arms that not even a connoisseur of agate-type transactions could get excited about. If you’re going to trade key pieces of a young, cost-controlled rotation, you better get a lot more than middle-relief maybes. Because if you don’t, you’ve all but assured there won’t be big things to appreciate any time soon.

8 comments to Appreciating the Little Things

  • LeClerc

    It was very good to see Oswalt and Swarzak pitch well.

    Good to see timely hits from Plawecki, Evans, Rosario and Bautista.

    Happy to see McNeil work out a nine pitch walk and maintain his OBP at 1000.

    Now that “Waiting for Cespedes” is no longer running Off-Broadway, maybe the young and the hungry can play a couple of months of entertaining small ball and give Mets fans something better to look forward to than bobble-head dolls and T-shirts.

  • Dave

    With you, Jason. Trading deGrom etc would at least demonstrate that there’s a plan in place other than “let’s keep doing the same thing and hope we get lucky.” “Lucky” happened in 2015 and isn’t likely to be returning any time soon. But on the inevitable other hand, trading deGrom would be M.Donald Wilpon and Jeff DeRoulet’s “whew, we dodged that arbitration bullet” moment. Stockpiling a bunch of guys who might luck out and be the next Hansel Robles does not constitute rebuilding.

  • 9th string catcher

    Don’t want to see any of the starters go. Even wheeler, mostly because we’ve waited so long for him to become useful. I would almost prefer to see him fail here than succeed somewhere else.

    • Curt

      If I were going to trade any of them it would be Matz. Only reason is that the fact that he’s managed to get through 2/3 of this season intact doesn’t prove to me that he’ll stay healthy long-term. Of course that would leave us without a lefty. But of course it depends on the return and as Jason said, there’s no reason to think it would amount to anything.

  • Orange and blue through and through

    Agree that anything out of the mouth of Callaway has to be looked at suspiciously. Two years in a row of trades that net us barely servisable minor league talent leaves me feeling that in no way should our troika be in charge of trading anyone. Besides, all trades have to meet Jeff’s needs; assuring us of nothing in return.

  • Jacobs27

    I just can’t take any more of Metsian Stupid Watergate way. But I’m glad for the little things duely noted.

  • Lenny65

    We all know exactly what the problem is. The team is owned and operated by scumbags whose main objective is not necessarily building and maintaining a winning baseball team. This is obvious. Nothing will change for as long as they’re acting in their own best interests, whatever those may be. Four years from now they’ll finally promote the Shlabotnik kid they got in the big deGrom trade, they’ll force him to play through his barking shoulder or aching ankle, he’ll hit the DL for a season and a half, he’ll return and finally live up to his potential and they’ll trade him at the deadline for even more prospects and the cycle of fail will continue.

  • mikeL

    missed most of the repeatbut ice to see another series win before 2019. was starting to wonder…

    that paltry return on familia reminds me of shopping at a last-legs radio shack last year. $100 dollars worth of audio cable and connectors for 19 bucks. unfortunately the wilpons won’t be going out of business any time soon.

    and yes leclerk, lets bring on the young and hungry.
    the starters (who need to stay for all the reasons articulated above) might even get some wins.

    telling (but not surprising) that the three most third-person-action-hero guys on this team have proven the most brittle and unreliable.

    please may we never call noah ‘THOR’ again!