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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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Bad Poems Rhyme Too

I don’t remember when the thought first crawled into my brain. It might have been when our starting pitcher had strained his neck watching another ball explore the outermost confines of Oracle Park. Or perhaps it was when said starting pitcher was chasing down a ball caroming between fielders while Giants ran around the bases with more merriment than I was feeling. Neither of us those necessarily narrows it down with exactitude, so let’s just say it was somewhere during an excruciating 80-minute stretch of televised sports best described as “baseball-adjacent.”

Whatever the timing, here was the thought: I’ve never seen David Peterson and Aaron Heilman in the same place. Hmm. Do you think it’s possible that….

Ha ha. OK. Of course not. Heilman is 44 now, and whatever he’s doing, I sure hope he’s not on his couch remembering what a pain in the butt West Coast trips were. More than that, Heilman was one of the first Mets I identified as a Jonah — he hasn’t been a Met for a decade and a half, but I can close my eyes and see his hangdog mien and slumped shoulders as if I last saw them yesterday. Peterson isn’t a Jonah. He doesn’t go about his business with a little black cloud eager to dump rain, and you don’t automatically expect disaster when he reports for duty. He’s just a young pitcher trying to overcome the limitations of his initial skill set while enemy teams backed by ferociously good scouting and analytics departments work to exploit those limitations. That’s so much harder to do than those of us moaning “THROW STRIKES!” from the cheap seats or our living rooms would guess.

But I still couldn’t get the thought out of my head. Because, yeah, I was the guy moaning “THROW STRIKES!” from my living room. Right now Peterson is inefficient and frustrating, missing corners and the top of the zone and then leaving pitches in the middle, with disastrous results. I booted him off my fantasy team in the middle innings; the Mets might want to do the same with their actual team, giving Peterson’s innings to Joey Lucchesi and offering Jose Butto another turn in the upcoming stretch of ALL PITCHERS ON DECK. Or Dylan Bundy. Or, well, someone who isn’t David Peterson.

Some of that is fan pique, which I acknowledge falls a fair distance short of substantive analysis but certainly has its place here. (If poor Aaron Heilman is reading this, he’s rolled his eyes and muttered, “Dude, let it go already” in the exact same tone with which I urged that strikes be thrown.) But it also might be a good idea: Peterson’s slider is MIA, it’s affecting the rest of his approach, and it has to be affecting his confidence.

The late Marty Noble once answered a mailbag question about Heilman by pointing out the Mets didn’t have better options and asking the aggrieved fan, “Where do you want him sent? Prison?” Fair enough, and it’s true that now as then, better options aren’t immediately obvious. But maybe the Mets ought to explore them anyway, while Peterson searches for that slider in Syracuse. Baseball’s really hard, from out pitches turned disobedient to enemy hitters doing the pitiless things they’re paid to do, and at least for now, Peterson looks like he could use a setting where the wattage of the spotlights are lower along with the stakes.

4 comments to Bad Poems Rhyme Too

  • Seth

    Prison seems a bit extreme for Peterson, but maybe house arrest is appropriate?

  • Daniel

    Unfortunately I now live in California so I only see the Mets when they are out here. Last year I went to that game against the A’s were deGrom pitched and couldn’t get any outs which I think was probably their worst game all year last year which you recently wrote about. And then I was lucky enough to go to this game — perhaps their worst game so far this year, though those Brewers games may be even worse. Regardless, there was one highlight worth mentioning — Nimmo continued his incredible tear with a homer, oh, and other anti-highlights were when three former Mets beat up on us in one game (each with a RBI), including that now .273 hitter, Darren Ruf.

    On another note : at Oracle Park they sell “New York Style Pizza” — $10.75 a slice and $64.50 for a pie. That much for pizza, ersatz or not, is beyond comprehension.

    Peterson should just get probation, no prison time.

  • open the gates

    There are always other options. I’m sure if the Mets asked nicely, Jerad Eickoff would be willing to pitch for them again.

    No, I didn’t just say that.

  • Daniel Hall

    Is Mad Bum still available?