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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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What Hurt Worst?

Was it that there was no need for this, not with Duaner Sanchez doing just fine and it not being a save situation? All afternoon I'd been thinking how weird it was to watch a Subway Series game and feel totally relaxed. I should have known.

Was it that I'd already let my mind skip ahead to Sunday night and how sweet it would be to arrive at Shea for my 2006 debut with my co-blogger awaiting me and little bands of overexcited Met fans shouting “SWEEP! SWEEP! SWEEP!”, knowing that the worst-case scenario was we took two out of three and fell short reaching for the cherry atop the sundae?

Was it wondering afterwards, “What's wrong with Billy Wagner?” If that had been his first appearance since Milwaukee, we'd be talking bravely about rust while wondering about the finger injury and what it may mean. But he was ridiculously dominant last night — just undressing the meat of the Yankee order. I don't know much about finger injuries, but if that's what's wrong, how could he be untouchable one night and unbearable the next day? This is the reason Heilman is such a dilemma: Julio could become the 7th-inning guy (he pitched OK today) with Heilman going to the rotation, but what if Wagner needs to go on the DL? One assumes Sanchez becomes the closer, and in that situation are you really going to trust Julio as your 8th-inning guy? If that happens you need Heilman in the pen, and if you made him a starter two weeks ago, how on earth do you reverse course?

Was it having to think of John Franco and Armando Benitez and Braden Looper, and wondering if they've got the Shea Stadium mound so screwed up that nobody can close from it? With a power pitcher like Wagner, you have to accept that every now and again a 97-MPH fastball gets hit just right and achieves escape velocity. But this was the death of a thousand cuts that we saw so often from Franco and Benitez and Looper — bad location, mental struggles, hits falling in and ground balls that couldn't quite be double plays.

Was it the fact that afterwards Joshua (lying on my chest) asked me, “What's wrong, Daddy?” and I replied “I'm unhappy that our team lost,” and he said, “Don't be unhappy, Daddy. They'll win the team next time they play”? It's a cruel game that can so unman a 37-year-old that he needs comfort from a three-year-old.

You know what? It's a five-way tie — all of the above has been churning around in my guts, and will do so for days to come. If this isn't the worst loss of the year, I don't want to know what the worst loss of the year will feel like. Sorry, kid, but I'm beyond comfort right now.

3 comments to What Hurt Worst?

  • Anonymous

    “All afternoon I'd been thinking how weird it was to watch a Subway Series game and feel totally relaxed. I should have known. ”
    Same here. My family usually goes to one Subway Series game every year, and today's game was the one we went to. By the 7th or 8th inning, when everything seemed wonderful, it really started to hit me that the atmosphere felt so different from previous years – the booing seemed more low-key, the interlopers cheering for the wrong team were nowhere near as loud, and most of all, I hadn't heard one round of the familiar “Let's Go Yankees/YANKEES SUCK!” chants in my section. That was just fucking weird.
    Then Wagner took the mound and the ghosts of seasons past came back to haunt us all.
    Oh well. At least Boston whacked the Phillies again, and things are looking good out in Arizona.

  • Anonymous

    You and Greg said everything better than I could about this game. As for Jessica's comment about Arizona vs. Atlanta, yeah, I'm glad the Braves lost, but I'd really like to see Webb get knocked around — a lot. Other than this start, he's given up a ton of hits this year but manages to work around them. I know he's a sinkerballer, but he must have a good defense behind him and getting a lot of DPs and possibly getting lucky. He's sure not striking out a lot of batters (only 48). I guess it just pisses me off that his peripherals don't really impress me, but he still manages to keep runners from scoring and has notched 7 wins, and people in Arizona are already talking Cy Young for him. Pedro should have 7 wins. Pedro is the one with the incredible BAA, K/9, Ks, WHIP, etc. Anyway, I know a lot of people think Webb is great and maybe so, but when batters are hitting him to the tune of over .250, I think eventually it'll catch up to him, and I hope it does. I guess I'm taking all my bitterness over yesterday's loss out on Webb, which might be a little weird, but soon enough, we'll probably be seeing Webb, and I want us to hammer him. Anyway, I could have taken my bitterness out on Wagner and Willie, but Greg especially already pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Anonymous

    Webb is getting lucky to an extent (or pitching to the strengths of the defense behind him), as the Diamondbacks lead the NL in double plays by far. By comparison, the Mets are last in double plays turned, but that's because you can't turn a double play if nobody's on base (we're first by a pretty wide margin in strikeouts and have the second-lowest number of hits allowed).