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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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Word Association

David Peterson.”
“I don’t know.”

“It’s simple, I mention a name or something else, and you tell me the first thing you think of.”
“I understand how word association works. My answer to ‘David Peterson’ is ‘I don’t know.’ I’ve been watching him pitch semi-regularly for four seasons — with Jacob deGrom gone, he’s the active pitcher who’s made more starts as a Met without pitching for any other major league team, 57, than anybody the Mets have ever had — and I still don’t know what to make of him. High pitch count last night, but intestinal fortitude may be getting out of jams. Still young but not as young as he used to be. Sort of successful as a reliever, but that’s not what they need him for. So I don’t know.”

“Most starts as a Met without pitching for any other major league team…is that true?”
“Yeah, it’s a symptom of no Met starter who makes a lot of starts staying only a Met. I wrote about it when deGrom was almost gone. But you’re not asking yes or no questions, I thought.”

“Right, right. OK, let’s get back to that. Jose Butto.”
“Nice for a change. I didn’t even realize they’d recalled him before he started warming up. I read recently that he fell off the Mets Top 30 prospects list, then I realized a list is only a list that reflects where somebody put him. Butto looked pretty good against the Pirates until he ran out of gas.”

Grant Hartwig.”
“Disappointing last night, though maybe that’s another guy who’s pitching more than was expected. He won the John J. Murphy Award in Spring Training this year for most promising rookie. When Ronny Mauricio is eventually brought up — assuming he’s eventually brought up — that will leave only two John J. Murphy Award winners who didn’t eventually make the majors. One was David Thompson, who topped out in Triple-A, presumably not the same guy who played for the Denver Nuggets in the ’70s and was mentioned on Winning Time this week. He won the award in 2018, and, according to Baseball-Reference, last played professional baseball last year for the Kansas City Monarchs of the American Association, an independent league club with a majestic name. The other was Garth Brooks in 2000. Brooks was no relation to Hubie, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1981, but never won the Murphy.”

“Colin Holderman.”
“He was the Murphy Award winner in 2022. He also pitched a spotless inning for the Pirates against the Mets last night because a) we traded him to Pittsburgh for Daniel Vogelbach last year; and b) he was a pretty good relief pitcher to begin with, but that’s the kind of trade a contender makes. Notice neither the Pirates nor Mets are a contender now and it’s easy to lose track of which relievers are in the bullpen for the Mets on any given night.”

Jonathan Araúz.”
“No longer in the One Met Homer Only Club after last night, and he’d only joined it the night before. He’s got two! Funny thing about this guy. Last week he was my avatar of ah, crap, look at who we have to fill lineups out with griping, and this week, even before he homered, I found myself getting used to him, which either speaks well for how he’s been playing, or that I’m deep into acceptance mode with who the 2023 Mets are now. Anyway, he homered. Oh, and braids. Or are they dreads he wears his hair in? I wouldn’t want to be culturally insensitive.”

DJ Stewart.”
“Another escapee from the One Met Homer Only Club, having pinch-hit and gone deep just before Araúz. I saw him in the on-deck circle, focused on his number and thought, ‘Ike Davis,” which I don’t think I’ve done before. I mean I regularly see uniform numbers and get transported back. I see 20 on Alonso and I think Agee, that sort of thing. So maybe Davis has made it to some new level in my subconscious. “Start Me Up,” am I right? Anyway, that was quite a poke for Stewart. I’m used to him, too. Hey, both these Two Homer Guys got us close last night, right?”

“One Met Homer Only Club.”
“Two current Mets are still members: Omar Narváez and Danny Mendick. Wasn’t Narvaez an All-Star once? And he hit more than 20 home runs in another year. Maybe his second homer is coming soon. The charter member of the One Met Homer Only Club is Gus Bell, and he was an All-Star four times, with more than 200 homers in his career. He just wasn’t a Met every long. Opening Day right fielder in 1962, with Frank Thomas in left, then traded as the player to be named later for Thomas in May. Go figure, as they must’ve said a lot in 1962. Mendick…I don’t know what to tell you there.”

“I didn’t ask. But since we’re in the alphabetical neighborhood of Danny Mendick, Daniel Murphy.”
“He retired yesterday. He’d retired before but came back to give it another go with the Ducks, and when he quacked a few base hits — sorry, I couldn’t help myself — the Angels signed him and sent him to Triple-A. I thought he might be up with them when they came to Citi Field later this month. I guess not. Good for Murph getting it out of his system. Funny how we immerse ourselves in certain guys’ careers, then get steamed at them for one reason or another, in Murph’s case for going to Washington and beating our brains in mostly, and then he’s good old Murph forever more. A year ago he was in our Old Timers Game. Maybe he’ll be in another one. Oh, and Daniel Murphy never won the John J. Murphy.”

Pete Alonso.”
“One of Murph’s successors at first base. Soon enough he’ll pass Gus Bell on the all-time home run list, but since Bell hit only one of his 200+ as a Met, we probably won’t notice. Currently, Pete has 181, just eleven behind Hojo for fourth place Metwise. I see 20 on a uniform, sometimes I think of Hojo like I think of Agee. Mostly I think of Pete. I close my eyes and imagine him hitting his 253rd to pass Straw for most as a Met, then his 300th, all as a Met, maybe his 400th as a Met. Then I open my eyes, realize free agency beckons after next year and do we shop him around this winter for young pitching, considering we started David Peterson last night and are starting Tylor Megill today? Nah, ya don’t do that. Do ya?”

Francisco Lindor.”
“Someday, we’ll look back on Francisco Lindor’s time with the Mets and say he’s the reason we won it all or he’s the reason we almost won it all, which might be interpreted as the reason we didn’t win it all. Barring injury, he’s the constant. The other night when he had to sit out, he snapped his consecutive games played streak at 223, which was a Met record. I heard that and thought, ‘I didn’t realize that was the record or that he had the record,’ and I kind of realize everything like that. Then again, as franchise records go, à la Darryl Strawberry’s 252 home runs, it’s not exactly a towering record. But Francisco’s got it.”

Jeff McNeil.”
“I keep waiting for him to bust out. So hard not to root for. Can border on frustrating. Same person year after year, never the same player. Versatile, thank goodness. I don’t suppose Lindor ever gave him the car he promised him for the batting title. Hopefully there are no hard feelings.”

Justin Verlander.”
“Ex-Met who was in the news the other day for apparently having criticized the Mets for not having an analytics department on the level of Houston’s, then he came out and tweeted or X’d it was constructive criticism. I’m thinking if Verlander says something, maybe listen, even if he wasn’t a Met a whole lot longer than Gus Bell. Besides, Verlander was the winning pitcher the last time I got to write up a win, and that was more than two weeks ago. I give that man the benefit of the doubt in any uniform.”

Kodai Senga.”
“When I went to the game Sunday night — so I’ve seen a win in person more recently than I’ve written one up on the blog — the Braves scored three in the first, and a sense of doom began to set in, of course, yet I was almost relaxed. Even if doom had stayed, what’s to get nervous about these days? But I had the feeling Senga would settle down, and he did. Besides, my memory zoomed back to the Mets having fallen behind a couple of times to the Braves on Sunday nights, in 1997 at brand spanking new Turner Field and in 1999 at Shea, and rallied to win, just like they would this Sunday. Those were better years, though, even if the Braves proved the better team.”

“Atlanta Braves.”
“I’d like them to stop proving they’re the better team. At least they’re taking they’re taking their anti-New York bias out on the American League entry this week. That was men against boys for three games over the weekend, and watching it was a harsher indictment of whatever the Mets have done than anything Verlander might have said about our analytics department. That Saturday game, the 21-3 debacle, was as close to flat-out embarrassed as I’ve ever felt as a Mets fan. I didn’t realize until somebody asked me and I looked it up: it was the worst home loss by margin in Mets history. I wasn’t there, but I was watching on TV. With one eye open, as Metallica would say when Billy Wagner would enter games.”

Brandon Nimmo.”
“Leadoff homer last night, when we could dream David Peterson getting out of the first would lead to something other than a 7-4 loss to the Pirates. Nimmo used to seem so young and innocent. Now he seems like he’s seen some shit, you know what I mean? He and Lindor are the anchors of this team. Even though they’ve both slumped, I appreciate them going out there every day, playing through whatever they’re dealing with. Yeah, I know, they’re paid plenty to do it, but I’m for any Met who stays when he could have left.”

Daniel Vogelbach.”
“Could have he left? Damn. Listen, he sometimes does what Daniel Vogelbach was brought in to do. Then you see Holderman. Let’s not make Holderman out to be the second coming of Dave Giusti, but not a splendid trade.”

“Pittsburgh Pirates.”
“I didn’t think I’d seen a more fundamentally flawed ballclub than the Pirates who came into Citi Field last September, when Jacob deGrom toyed with them most of the day, yet here we are and they are with the same record. I know they had a couple of big streaks early this year and were ahead of us in the standings, holding the third Wild Card, right around the time it became abundantly clear we could forget about the division because we’d just been swept by the Braves. If the Pirates tell me anything, it’s that it’s a long season — and it’s not good to have the same record as them. It’s been a long time since 1973 and 1990. I miss the National League East constructed as God or Chub Feeney intended it.”

“Jacob deGrom.”
“I miss him a little less every day. Earlier this season, when he went on the IL for Texas, I thought, ‘no, that’s wrong, it should be us who’s waiting for periodic updates on his health only to be told it will be a little longer.’ I’m kind of over that now. Still, I can’t believe that when I saw him last September toying with the Pirates that that was the last time I saw him pitch for us. I wonder if he’s bumped into Scherzer when he stops by the ballpark down there to pick up his mail or anything.”

Edwin Diaz.”
“I only miss him when I remember he’s not here. They gave away his bobblehead last night, which is not an advertisement for planning your bobblehead giveaways way in advance. Social media was full of Edwin autographing bobbleheads and greeting fans, and I was thinking I wish he were in the bullpen too busy to sign and greet. When I start to remember what it was like with him coming into the game, then I really miss him. I can’t hear ‘Narco’ without welling up a little. Of course, it’s not like I hear ‘Narco’ unless I go to YouTube and seek out Edwin Diaz coming into a game highlights. I did the same with ‘Enter Sandman’ last night, just to see if I could get nostalgic for Billy Wagner’s entrances. They weren’t filmed as well — they were all by fans with 2006-era cell phones — but, yup, I can. And between you and me, I wasn’t even that crazy about Billy Wagner.”

“All right. Very interesting. Our time is up…”
“Up: where the Mets need to go in 2024, but maybe not in 2023, what with all the draft pick implications of finishing in the bottom six. I don’t want to root for a last-place team, but we’re practically already there, and does it really matter if we lose to Pittsburgh today and dip below the likes of them and Washington and St. Louis, and there are only a few teams absolutely, prohibitively worse than us. Wouldn’t a Top Six pick, maybe No. 1 if the lottery cooperates, be the cherry on top of the Steve Cohen Supplemental Draft? Then again, whenever there’s some bulletin about how one of these prospects we got did ‘tonight in Binghamton’ or wherever, I kind of cringe, because part of me doesn’t want to hear it. It all feels so far away.”

“No. I mean our time is up for this session. You can stop now.”
“Oh, OK. Shoot, it’s almost game time anyway.”

6 comments to Word Association

  • eric1973

    David Peterson has made 57 starts as a Met? Those 171 innings just do not impress.

  • eric1973

    Me too. I saw 26 on Locastro and immediately thought of Kingman.

  • eric1973

    Dave Giusti! Love it!

  • Eric

    Holderman’s 100 MPH sinkers were a reminder of how poorly the 2022 trade deadline trades turned out, which may help explain why Cohen balked at buying again. (That and the Pete Crow-Armstrong-sized hole in the Mets outfield.) Have any of the teams in similar shoes as the Mets at this season’s trade deadline but who bought or stood pat, eg, Padres, Angels, Yankees, made a run?

    I’m fine with Verlander’s criticism of the Mets analytics department. Cohen’s money is supposed to buy an Astros-caliber analytics department, among other things. It reminded me that the Ruf and Vogelbach trades were based on analytics.

    Murphy was hitting credibly for the Angels AAA team. I don’t know the rules: Is it possible for the Mets to sign Murphy to finish out this season? I’d take him over the likes of Mendick or Arauz.

  • Joe D

    Speaking of Daniel Vogelbach, I read this in yesterday’s NY Post:

    “The 30-year-old will enter his final year of arbitration this offseason, when the Mets will have to decide whether to bring him back or nontender him.”

    Bring him back?


  • Cobra Joe

    Dave Giusti had cool sideburns, just like Art Shamsky and the late Jim “The French Okie” Beauchamp had on the Mets.