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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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That Man Again

If you’d like some good news from Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Cardinals, there’s this: Somehow, we’ve reached a juncture where the idea that Jason Vargas might be absent from duty is a cause for concern instead of mild relief.

That sounds like a dig but isn’t — Vargas has been genuinely good of late, a sort of mini-Bartolo Colon (also not a dig), living off incremental changes in speed and precise location to baffle hitters wired for combating superhuman fastballs. I’m still surprised that it’s happened, but it has.

Fortunately, Vargas’s leg injury appears to have been a cramp, and shouldn’t impact his next start. Unfortunately, the Mets are shorn of Noah Syndergaard, for how long no one knows, just as no one knows what Plan B is behind him. Most likely it will be Wilmer Font, who pitched effectively on Sunday and has looked better of late, though he’ll always be “Font” when I’m yelling at the TV, “Wilmer” being reserved for another departed and dearly beloved Met. It probably won’t be Anthony Kay, who just struggled in his first Syracuse start and deserves time to figure out how not to struggle rather than being thrown in the Braves-Phils-Cubs-Yanks cauldron that now awaits the Mets, and that I suspect will be the stretch of the season that ends all fantasies in which the Mets are relevant come September.

I hope Syndergaard’s replacement won’t be Chris Flexen, who hung a 3-1 slider that became a souvenir and the fulcrum of Sunday’s loss. Flexen has been converted to relief, but he looked very like the Chris Flexen I had no particular desire to see ever again. On the other hand, the fatal pitch was a slider, and we know how that goes this year. Also, the Cardinal who hit that slider was Paul DeJong. You could take Tom Seaver‘s brain and download it into a diamond-thewed, nuclear-powered Transformer who threw 250 MPH and DeJong would manage to bang one off the pole. At this point, it’s a surprise when he doesn’t beat the Mets, and I would very much like him to be inducted into Cooperstown (because surely he beats everybody the way he beats us) and stop tormenting my baseball team.

Flexen’s return to duty was followed by the Mets debut of Brooks Pounders, a perfectly monikered baseball player. Pounders is 6′ 5″ and listed at 265, which should be assessed the same way you’d ponder a listing for me as 180 with Syndergaardian locks. Sticking with comparative adjectives, Pounders is Bohananesque, Bell-shaped, Colonnoidal.

We’re not selling jeans here, to quote Billy Beane, so if Pounders does well that will just mean there’s more of him to love — I have fond memories of the three hefty hurlers name-checked right above. His first Mets inning was a blameless affair, but that scoreless frame lowered his career ERA to 8.69, which is the kind of number you’ll have more trouble getting a kindly recorder of vital figures to shave a bit. He also has a career FIP of 6.31 … and the pitch he relies on is a slider.

I will temper my enthusiasm.

19 comments to That Man Again

  • eric1973

    You or I or Greg could have hit one off of Flexen, so let’s put an asterisk next to the Met-Killer legend regarding yesterday.

    Flexen has never impressed, ever, and for Mickey to put him in, in that situation, made no sense at all. We all knew he would give up a run. ONLY Mickey thought not.

    Wonder if Mickey apologized to the team after this one, because he sure let them down again.

  • mikeL

    for all the veterans the mets have unloaded these past several seasons, they’ve done nothing to successfully restock their starter core for the 8-man rotation generally considered a minimal requirement in today’s hyper injury-prone (inducing) state of the game.
    brodie for all his pre-thud splashes couldn’t see this coming?
    come get us was perhaps his nod to local outlets for sports-specialized surgery?

    and again, if sliders aren’t sliding, why NOT serve one up in a game critical situation. especially if you’re a call-up
    for whom mlb success has been elusive. and against a certified mets killer.

    please, to those on bench or behind the plate: stop selecting
    a pitch that seems to be at the center of at-bats that have erased mets leads time after time.

    there’s a standard feature of insanity contained in calling that pitch with this ball.

    if this is the week that once and for all ends the absurd talk about contending, may people less conflicted than brodie lead the way in re-stocking the farm system.

    brodie’s been playing poker-face with owners for so long i don’t think he’s able to make deals solely on the basis of good baseball sense.

    i hope he proves me wrong…

  • Harvey P

    Where was Paul Sewald when we needed him?

  • Greg Mitchell

    Among the many sad Mets bullpen problems you can add the apparent belief that you can’t pitch Seth Lugo on consecutive days. Added to you have to pitch Familia, Gsellman etc. at all. People seem to look at Gsellman as one of actual major league arms but check out his stats since his first partial year as starter: the high 4’s every year. So a massive infusion is needed, not a quarter-Pounter, followed by a Big Mac (is Jack McDowell of Brandon McCarthy available)?

    • Daniel Hall

      I wonder whether “Seth Lugo can’t pitch on consecutive days” was concocted in the head of the same confused person that once insisted that “Michael Conforto can’t hit lefties”. They drilled that into the poor boy’s head until he couldn’t hit anybody for a good while…

      Man, the Mets are not recommended on an empty stomach…

      I still love Brooks Pounders. Sometimes relievers blossom at 28, don’t they? No? Please?

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Lolichlike? Reuschelish?

  • Seth

    I loved the use of “Somehow” in your second sentence. With that one word you’ve managed convey all the angst of this season so far…

  • Dave

    Somebody pointed out on Twitter yesterday that all’s good with Flexen because lately his fastball has reached 98mph. Except so has just about everyone’s, and all I see as a result is no balls remaining in the park. And surely the ones he throws often don’t. I say see if he’s actually a lefty who’s been pitching with the wrong hand, and if that’s not the case, then please. I’m sure the Somerset Patriots could use him.

    Everybody’s got Brooks Pounders’ doppelganger wrong. Surely I’m not the only one who remembers the last Met to wear #42…this guy looks more like a nose tackle.

  • mikeL

    when i hear the name brook pounders i can’t help but think of (Boogie Night’s) brock landers!

  • Jim

    These days the only pleasure in being a Mets fan is FAFIF. It’s hard to watch such bad baseball.

    • Daniel Hall

      You need to find a friend who also follows a tire fire of a team, in a different sport. Then you can always have fun trying to out-do another in horrendous stories that the other guy hasn’t heard yet. I have a Lakers guy. Okay, the Lakers don’t have 56 years of being a tire fire. But that means I usually win!

  • Greg Mitchell

    Wow, just heard Howie on radio uncharacteristically go all whoop-ass on Rosario’s fielding after Braves took lead. Apparently there’s some stat that shows he is worst fielder in the majors (counting errors and range). Rather than letting it go, he started quoting scouts on how he gets bad jump etc. THEN as he’s still talking Conforto hits a ball than Swanson makes good play on and Howie says, “Right there shows you difference between the two shortstops, couldn’t be clearer.” Never heard him go that far, although perhaps….fairly. So now we have Cano, McNeil and Rosario as true…secondbasemen….

    • Daniel Hall

      A Met Evoking Disappointment.

      Maybe we can try McNeil at short? He’s got chase in him! He’s a squirrel!

  • eric1973

    All in on the Rosario comments.

    Appears as if he has less range than Jeter did in his final year with the Yankees.

  • Steve D

    Alderson and Collins did pretty well considering they were hamstrung by this ownership. Now, ownership has clearly picked a GM that is not anywhere near ready to select players in an unbiased manner, which was obvious to any sensible person from day one. We are setback again multiple years from any sustained winning. Callaway might be an ok manager, but not with this bullpen. More questions now than answers.

  • mikeL

    agree steve D. i predict bvw will slink back life as an agent after his inevitable release. his once and (future?) outfit will have dumped so many toxic assets (contracts) on the franchise, effectively burying it for many, many (more) years to come. what other owners would be so wiillfully taken??

    i fell asleep down 5-3 with familia set to enter. he and drew G outdid even my worst expectations. quite impressive!

  • peggy

    What they need is an acid tongued manager who can light a fire under them not a nice boring Micky. As for Bode I think it was nice he found being an agent boring but you have to crack the whip at some point. This whole team is coasting along while the rest of us grit our teeth and mumble “Can’t anyone here play to win”.