Extremely longtime readers from the ol’ Flushing Fussing days — i.e. my mom — probably don’t even remember that before the 2007, when the last good Mets team was starting to fall apart and I didn’t realize it yet, I advocated the Mets’ acquisition of then-Cubs Minor Leaguer Mike Fontenot to play second base because Fontenot had enjoyed success against Triple-A pitching and seemed to be stuck behind a logjam (including Ronny Cedeno) in the Cubs’ middle-infield mix.
After Jose Valentin went down with a knee injury in the 2007 season, I maintained a half-kidding regular section at the bottom of posts called “Fontenotes,” tracking Fontenot’s progress. I stopped, I believe, when the Mets traded for Luis Castillo.
Toby Hyde tipped me to the current Phillie-fan clamor for Fontenot on the podcast we recorded last night that should be up later today. The situation is very different than the Mets’ in 2007: For one, Fontenot’s actually in the Phillies’ system, so it’s a lot less ridiculous for fans to be calling for him.
For another, no Phillies fan is viewing Fontenot as a potential longtime regular — he’s not an unproven 26-year-old anymore, and they’ve got Chase Utley slated to return at some point. Fontenot will turn 32 in June, and he’s got five years of being a worthwhile but unspectacular part-time infielder under his belt (and a World Series ring on his finger). Phillies fans see him as a potential offensive upgrade over Freddy Galvis and his .538 OPS.
Still, with Met-fan optimism/delusion running high after the team’s three-game sweep of the Phillies in Philadelphia, the symbolism seems to rich to ignore. Fans of crumbling, aging teams hamstrung by a lack of roster depth demand Mike Fontenot.
I’m way too scarred by the last five seasons to say the Phillies won’t bounce back from their rough start. Plus, they’ve got too much pitching. But in this stretch, isolated by a small sample size and amplified in our heads by one woeful series against the Mets, the cracks are really starting to show.
Also, while writing this post, I became crushed by the overwhelming weight of time. In the time I’ve been covering roster minutiae on the Internet, Mike Fontenot has gone from one side of his prime to the other.