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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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Chasing Our Tails

I don't know why the 43,000-odd who accompanied Greg and me to Shea tonight were booing Chase Utley like he was A-Rod; I really don't. I have nothing against Chase Utley — hell, I wish he were one of ours. (Granted, approximately since Alfonzo left town I've had a habit of coveting other teams' second basemen — I'd love to see Utley or Marcus Giles in our unis.) This isn't to say I was rooting for Utley, but I certainly wasn't rooting against him. What was with the venom? As was discussed often earlier this year, the Mets and Phillies have approximately zero history considering their proximity in the division and on the eastern seaboard. Nor do Shea fans have a habit of booing visitors chasing records — hell, I found it infuriating the way moronic looky-loos and supposed Met fans cheered Mark McGwire as he juiced his way toward Roger Maris in '98, when every McGwire blow at Shea was a blow to our playoff hopes. (But we're not here to talk about the past.)

Other than the outcome, that was a tidy, intriguing game: lots of action, lead changes, some anger, something you've never seen before (OK, I probably have seen two balks in an inning, but I sure don't remember it), a laugh-out-loud moment (El Duque! A triple!) and plenty of tension. It did lack one thing, though — the right outcome.

But, hey, we stopped Chase Utley!

Sigh.

As Greg and I remarked while wedged into a Calcuttaesque 7 train, we'd have traded Utley a cycle for a W.

Addendum: El Duque's triple reminded us that we were in the park once before for a triple by a pitcher, none other than Al Leiter — an occasion that let us hear the sound of 30,000 people laughing. And it got us wondering — surely Met pitchers haven't tripled all that often.

Nope, they haven't — that was the 29th triple by a Met pitcher ever. In fact, El Duque's three-bagger moves him into a tie for sixth place in the Met Pitcher Triples ranks, with 1.

The full list (best I could determine it from Baseball Reference. Math/searching done by me, so it's probably wrong):

2006 — Orlando Hernandez

2005 — Victor Zambrano

2002 — Al Leiter

2001 — Al Leiter

2000 — Eric Cammack

1993 — Dwight Gooden (2), Frank Tanana

1992 — Dwight Gooden

1990 — Dwight Gooden

1988 — Ron Darling (2)

1987 — Sid Fernandez

1986 — Dwight Gooden

1985 — Sid Fernandez

1983 — Tom Seaver (2)

1981 — Neil Allen

1980 — Roy Lee Jackson

1974 — Jerry Koosman

1973 — Tom Seaver

1972 — Tom Seaver

1971 — Nolan Ryan

1970 — Tom Seaver

1966 — Dick Selma

1965 — Darrell Sutherland

1964 — Al Jackson

1963 — Larry Bearnarth

1962 — Bob L. Miller

(I'll save you the calculations: Gooden and Seaver are the leaders with 5; Darling, Leiter and El Sid [!] each managed 2. Now go forth and amaze your friends!)

11 comments to Chasing Our Tails

  • Anonymous

    I'll resist the opportunity to wallow in my personal-worst eleven-game start (3-8) and add three things about Mets pitchers and triples.
    1) Seaver's two 1983 triples came very early in the campaign, April 12 and 20, early enough so that Seaver NY 2 showed up at the top of the National League leaders in that category for quite a while. He did a promo on Channel 9 for Bat Day going on and on about what it takes to hit a triple.
    2) Gooden's second 1993 triple came as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth inning of the final game of the besotted year. He drove in Ryan Thompson as part of a five-run ninth that extended the seventh-place Mets' lead over the sixth-place Marlins to 9-2. In the bottom of the ninth, with one out, and a combined 200 losses on the field (two outs from it being 201), the umpires, including a prehistoric Angel Hernandez, delayed the game for rain and waited at least the requisite 1:15 to call it for good. When it was over, the Mets finished seventh for the only time in their history, presumably the last time any National League East team will ever finish seventh, the only time it was possible for a Mets team to finish seventh after the institution of divisional play. 1993 was the expansion year of the Marlins and Rockies — 14 NL teams — and the year before three-division realignment. When the Mets played in a ten-team league, they finished only ninth and tenth. In a six-team division, they finished first, second, third, fifth and sixth. Their only fourth-place finish came in the second half of 1981; they had the fifth-best NL East record overall for the year. Since three-division play, they have finished second, third, fourth and fifth. Unless 25 Mets take 25 cabs, they will fill in the missing piece in that last puzzle sometime relatively soon. But Dwight Gooden hit that second triple as a pinch-hitter, so you decide if it was technically a pitcher who hit it.
    3) I remember Cammack's triple for its sheer unlikelihood. It was his only hit in his only year in the bigs. More memorable regarding Eric Cammack (and there ain't much) is he was the Mets pitcher who recorded the final out of the top of the eighth inning on June 30, 2000, but only after surrendering three runs to make the score Braves 8 Mets 1. The Mets then went out and scored a then record-tying 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth. But because Cammack was so totally ineffective in his one inning of work, the official scorer awarded the win to Armando Benitez who, statistically, was in line for the save given the 11-8 lead he protected in the top of the ninth. Cammack had no decisions, meaning the only thing that kept him from being 0-0 with an .000 lifetime was his triple in Florida.
    Related thing: Gooden's PH triple came in a blowout. Zambrano's triple came the night the Mets set their all-time single-game HR mark. Cammack's came in a blowout. I know the Mets won the night Leiter tripled in '01. Seaver's second '83 triple came in a win but the first came in a loss as did El Duque's. Wouldn't you think that if a pitcher triples your team should win all the time?

  • Anonymous

    I was at last night's game and was also surprised by the booing Utley received. I could understand booing Howard, since he beat David in the Derby, or Rowand because if I never see a replay of that catch again it will be too soon, or Burrell for having too big of a contract to get dumped to a team the Mets don't play 19 times a year, but I don't remember Chase ever doing anything specifically boo-worthy to the Mets. Honestly, once the 2nd inning ensured that an Utley hit would not be breaking up a potential no-no, I was kind of hoping he would single with nobody on base – and get thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

  • Anonymous

    I try to be very stingy with my booing: watching baseball is a leisure activity for me, and I don't want unneccessary negativity (let alone hatred) to mar the experience. I only boo guys on my team when I feel that they haven't given 100% physical effort, or if they make an egregious mental error that indicates that their heads weren't completely in the game. For example, I would have booed Aaron Heilman (for whom I'm generally rooting hard) for his lackadaisical play in covering first base a few games back. I was glad when Heilman sincerely apologized for his play; all is forgiven. I don't boo guys from the other team just because they play well against my team (e.g., I would never boo Derek Jeter or even Chipper Jones). I will boo when an opposing player is involved in something nasty external to the play of the game (e.g., John Rocker, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds).

  • Anonymous

    One of the Sid Fernandez triples came in the midst of a no-hitter against the Giants. I think you've written (or maybe I have) about that before…El Cid left after 5 and Doug Sisk (will he get booed on 1986 night?) immediately ended the suspense…

  • Anonymous

    May 15, 1987, only one of the touchstone games of my life. For all I remember about that night, El Sid's triple completely slipped my mind.
    I'm 50-50 on whether Sisk gets booed.

  • Anonymous

    As Greg noted, Gooden tripled on October 3rd, 1993.
    Well guess what. Gooden also tripled on October 3rd, 1992. And I should know…I was there.

  • Anonymous

    Not exactly Shots Heard Round the World or even Wild Pitches Reverberating Through Flushing, but once again, October 3 proves itself a pretty hot date in baseball history.
    Exactly ten years after Gooden's PH triple at the very same Whatever It Was Called That Week Stadium, Pudge Rodriguez drove in the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the eleventh against the SF Giants to take a 2-1 lead in the 2003 NLDS. It woke me from a drug-induced groggy hours after being diagnosed with acute bronchitis. Those Marlins were pretty good medicine themselves that October 3.

  • Anonymous

    Gary Cohen called that game for ESPNRadio. It was a great game.

  • Anonymous

    I was at the game Friday, and I booed Utley vociferously, and cheered vigorously upon the snuffing of his streak. Why? I was in a foul mood given what I considered a lackluster game. Plus the sheer pettiness of not wanting anyone else to succeed at anything. (Although in retrospect, I suppose I should have rooted for someone to break a record held by a Yankee (and spouse-beating) legend.) And all the beer probably helped.
    Most of all it was the residue of my dislike of Philadelphia fans, which stems from my days of attending college in PA with far too many of them. They were an obnoxious bunch, more so even than Yankee fans. You can usually often occasionally find an intelligent Yankee fan who can objectively talk baseball without being assualted with “26 rings, baby!”. But to a man, Philly fans were venal, jealous and pathetic. They are consumed with the “second-city” mentality and hate everything about New York, and bray loudly about how New York, New Yorkers and their teams all suck as if one winning WS in about 100 years is not an embarrassment. I traveled to the Vet to see the Mets clinch that year, and you would have thought the Phils' sweep that week (or weekend? I forget) was a Stanley Cup, WS, Super Bowl and Mardi Gras all wrapped up togeter the way their fans carried on. And not jus a postponement of the inevitable.

  • Anonymous

    Didn't Dae Seung Koo have a triple? I seem to remember being at a game where he had a triple, but I could be wrong.

  • Anonymous

    On May 21, 2005, They-Call-Me-Mister Koo doubled off of Randy Johnson. Jose Reyes then sacrificed him to third. Jorge Posada left home plate uncovered, nobody else picked up the slack, and Mister Koo, with weights in his jacket pocket no less, kept running and scored in a 7-0 Subway Series triumph for the good guys.
    Not a triple by a Mets pitcher, but a one-of-a-kind moment, to be sure.