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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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Things to Celebrate

Francisco Alvarez connecting for a long home run. Ronny Mauricio driving in a run and making some nifty plays afield. Mark Vientos tripling. Brett Baty driving in runs and ending the game with a highlight-reel play.

There was a lot to like from the anticipated future of the Mets on Tuesday night: They beat the Nats by six, with the margin that slim only because of some unfortunate bullpenning, and the yout’ of America went 5 for 13 with 6 RBIs in advancing the cause. They had help from more veteran Mets, too: Brandon Nimmo went deep twice, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso hit big flies, and Jose Quintana didn’t break much of a sweat after a first-inning bump.

Alvarez was the story to be most pleased about: The rookie catcher never let his dreadful slump at the plate carry over to his work as a backstop, with that aspect of his game remaining impressively precocious and marked by a laser-beam focus on detail. Still, the slump really was dreadful, with Alvarez looking completely lost in all the ways that can snowball on a rookie: too aggressive when he had to be selective, too selective when he should have been attacking, seemingly always looking for the opposite of what the pitcher decided to throw, and hitting in lousy luck even when contact was made. Over the last couple of weeks you saw a slow but steady sea change, though: more patience, better contact, and finally the payoff against poor Patrick Corbin. Maybe Alvarez needed his workload cut back, maybe he just needed some time to make the necessary adjustment against pitchers who’d adjusted to him, or maybe it was some of both. Whatever the case, it was a welcome sight.

So too is being ahead of the Nats again in the standings, whatever one might think about draft order and continuing the Steve Cohen restocking of the farm. On the one hand it seemed karmically appropriate for the Mets’ gold-plated season to land with such a thud that they were actually a last-place team; on the other, that seemed like taking the bit a tad too far. Yes, the Mets were a pile of money thrown into a dumpster and set on fire, but the point was made without the Mets actually being worse than the Nationals. Now they aren’t, and even with my October calendar free, that makes me a little happier.

* * *

On a sad note, however the Mets finish their season they’ll do it without Carlos Carrasco. Cookie’s season and Mets career came to an end when he smashed his pinkie with a 50-pound dumbbell in the weight room over the long weekend. Carrasco had a confounding time in orange and blue: He arrived as a surprisingly robust addition to the deal for Lindor, one of those “wait and they also got…” players; saw his inaugural season ruined by injury and ill luck; had a quietly excellent second go-round in which he proved to be every bit the well-liked, steady veteran Cleveland fans mourned losing; and then dove straight off a cliff.

I suspect five years from now Carrasco will be remembered with a shrug when he’s remembered at all, which will be simultaneously a shame and no particular injustice. Just one more reminder, as if the entire season hasn’t been enough, that baseball can be unpredictable and cruel.

* * *

You have to read Tim Britton’s piece in The Athletic, which finds him walking Tom Seaver‘s vineyard in Calistoga, Calif., in the company of the Franchise’s daughter, Anne. It’s a deeply felt, sharply observed elegy for Seaver and a tribute to how he brought his perfectionism and drive to an entirely new pursuit after his playing days. Read it and then, if you haven’t already, subscribe to the Athletic.

We were lucky in having our first years as Met bloggers coincide with the initial wave of ambitious baseball blogs, the high-water mark of online media, and the still vibrant autumn of traditional beat writing. Much of that trifecta is gone now, but at its best the Athletic’s smart, deep and rich Mets coverage reminds me of those days. That’s worth celebrating and supporting.

9 comments to Things to Celebrate

  • eric1973

    Keep Cohen away from the stats. Once he notices Alonso has a 23% chance of getting a hit, it will be time to ship him out.

    I hope all his plans succeed, of course, but at the time of the trades, his 12% reasoning was really dumb, as playoff percentages change every day, and this team had the horses to make a run.

    And speaking of dumbbell accidents, the player it happened to was extremely appropos.

    • Michael in CT

      I go back and forth with the trade-deadline moves. It’s clear the Mets would have competed for a Wild Card spot had they kept the band together and maybe added some pieces. But they still would have been inferior to the Braves and the Dodgers so a deep playoff run would have been unlikely. Thus building a stronger foundation with talented prospects then makes sense.

  • eric1973

    Love Len Ferman’s 1973 blog (Thanks Greg!), but he totally left out the Millan-McCarver brawl in his recap. I still have the original photos, captioned ‘Feeling the Crunch,’ with the 7-4 loss ‘dimming Met hopes.’ To his credit, he said it was his birthday, and it appears he was busy at the US Open.

    All Good!

  • Rumble

    You and Greg are things to celebrate too.

  • Joey G

    As for the kids, we all have suffered and empathized along with them through their “growing pains.” It is so rewarding as a fan when a guy like Alvarez “breaks on through to the other side” and figures it out (see Murphy, Daniel). Alvarez, who has recently been grounding into so many double plays as would make Joe Torre blush, is an extraordinary talent that will be punishing pitchers for many years to come, and seems eager to learn on both sides of the ball. Over the last few games, Baty appears to have added a pep to his step and Mauricio is so much fun to watch. There is reason for hope, especially if David Stearns can get Proba-Billy Eppler to put his abacus away for a little while. Reminds me of when Mookie and Hubie showed up on George Bamberger’s doorstep as the first wave, with more tools in the shed to come. LGM.

  • Ken K. in NJ.

    Descision time. My $1 per month trial subscription to the Athletic ends next month. You should get a commission; your recommendation is probably all I needed. Best Seaver article since the Pat Jordan profile.

  • Curt Emanuel

    You are very generous saying that Carrasco finishing the season on the IL is sad.

    I’ve been hoping he’d go on the list with some mysterious ailment so we wouldn’t be subjected to his pitching any more. Instead we have another bizarre injury though not hedge trimmer bizarre

    Good professional who I respect but his time is clearly past.

  • Seth

    He should just tape up the pinky and get back out there – he couldn’t possibly pitch any worse and the Mets need to eat some innings.

  • eric1973

    Hey, just wanna be clear, I am not calling anybody dumb who believes it was correct to make all the trades and to give up on the season in exchange for the future.

    Each side has valid points.

    I just said it was dumb for Cohen to trumpet ‘12%’ as a valid reason, as this percentage was just a day in time, should not have been used to project the future.