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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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A Seth of Fresh Despair

Recently, as in a day or two before a revised Spring Training schedule embedded with a pod of Marlins, Nationals, Cardinals and Astros was issued and my mood instinctively if temporarily brightened, I was feeling pretty nihilistic about the whole Mets baseball thing. “Can you imagine them trading…?” I asked myself about pretty much every player, and I decided I could. Tacitly approving the trading or letting walk as a free agent just about any Met I’d normally throw the bulk of my sentiment in front of so as to prevent his wrenching departure was a new emotional sensation for me, though I honestly wasn’t feeling much emotion. I’m told we nihilists rarely do.

Yeah, sure, hypothetically trade whoever if you think so. Make the team better. Don’t make the team better. What’s the point? Not endorsing anybody’s expulsion from Met ranks, not advocating immediate action, just deciding I could live without most any given current Met if I absolutely had to (not that various GMs ever seek my blessing). My lone, unmovable exception was Jacob deGrom…“and maybe Seth Lugo”.

Twenty-four hours into tentatively shaking off the crust of winter with the realization that camp is about to open, I had my “maybe” snatched away, at least in the short term. Seth Lugo, the sole fully dependable Met reliever of the latest pennus horribilis period, is out for a while with an inflamed elbow whose bone spur “broke off,” which sounds terrible, if not as bad as the official diagnosis that he has a “loose body” in there. For Seth’s sake, let’s hope the body is no larger than Freddie Patek’s.

Well, next thing ya know, ol’ Seth is David Altchek-bound, getting that pesky body surgically removed, which means six weeks until Lugo sees his curveball’s shadow. That brings us to the cusp of Opening Day, indicating Seth will have his very own extended Spring Training before we see him when we see him. One could project a timetable for competitive pitching, but as one who was silly enough to decide “maybe” I couldn’t do without him, I shall decline that option. Recover safely and speedily, No. 67.

We don’t get any Lugo, but we get loads of Marlins real soon.

The Mets’ bullpen without Lugo — which was what the Mets had the latter portion of last year when Seth talked his way into the mostly vacant starting rotation — now becomes something less than a confidence-inspiring destination. Granted, except for approximately two weeks in 2006 when Wagner, Sanchez, Heilman, Bradford, Feliciano and Oliver had it goin’ on in sync, that’s been the standard 21st-century state of affairs. Seth Lugo’s right arm has been a veritable security blanket to which our angst would cling; we were all Linus contentedly sucking our thumbs when he entered to pitch. Without Seth, the depth we might have been thinking upon counting is mostly numerical and reputational.

Lotta guys. Lingering doubts. Edwin Diaz is again slated to tease us with his talent and subsequently destroy our faith in a ninth inning coming to a ballpark near us (unless it’s the seventh inning of a Manfred-rigged doubleheader). Brad Brach was squeezed out for 40-man reasons, though the same basic subtraction could have been accomplished by excluding any among several other holdover relievers who’ve not lived up to our middling hopes. Newcomers Trevor May and Sam McWilliams I’m relatively high on mostly because I’ve never seen either blow a Mets lead.

The fact that I’m fretting how we’re gonna fill Lugo’s innings is a perversely good sign. It means I’m looking forward to 2021, albeit in a sleep with one eye open, gripping my pillow tight fashion. Wintry mix in New York notwithstanding, Spring is practically in the air.

6 comments to A Seth of Fresh Despair

  • Lenny65

    Failpit, shamehole, disappointment area…don’t mind me, I’m just workshopping new names for the “bullpen” at Citi Field. I suppose that reliable relief pitchers are scarce all over, but the Mets really have a knack for putting together relief staffs that put the fear of God into you. I will never not be terrified to see Edwin Diaz take the mound.

  • Dave

    “You can never have too much pitching” didn’t reach age-old, oft-repeated cliché status for nothing. Familia and Betances damn well better step up big time, and far as I’m concerned, it’s Gsellman’s last chance to show that he’s worth having on the roster.

    • Lenny65

      Familia just reminds me of what might have been and Betances reminds me that I don’t really care much for that AL NY team. As far as Gsellman is concerned I always forget that he’s still around, which says more about his pitching than it does about my memory.

  • eric1973

    Wow, Gsellman’s still on the roster?

    Whether he starts or relieves, he’s usually good for eating up 2/3 of an inning.

  • open the gates

    Hey guys, I wouldn’t worry. We still have Daniel Zamora on the 40-man, and Drew Smith, and Miguel Castro, and Franklyn (“OMG Yer”) Kilome, and…
    …on second thought, please excuse me while I run from the room screaming.

    • chuck

      Now that Jordan Yamomoto is on the team, Miguel Castro has no damn business wearing #50. It’s just too weird seeing that number in a Mets uni on such a scrawny kid.