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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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Today's Worst Roster in the World

I don't know. At a certain point it was so off-the-chart bad — it got funny. My central nervous system was telling me something.

—Aaron Altman, Broadcast News

Let's be clear that these things happen in the course of a season, no matter how good a club is. Teams lose badly sometimes. It can happen with no warning, even at home in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. The Mets have a history of such degradations falling out of the bright blue sky and onto their heads — even the really good Mets.

The 1969 Mets were spanked hard in a daytime doubleheader July 30, a Wednesday afternoon at Shea, by the Houston Astros, 16-3 and 11-5; things got so unseemly that Gil Hodges marched straight to left field to legendarily inform Cleon Jones he was injured. The 1986 Mets, behind Dwight Gooden no less, took it on the chin and probably up an orifice or two from the Reds, 11-1, on the Wednesday afternoon of July 9.

It happens. It doesn't necessarily reflect your overall operation. It doesn't mean you are what you ate, even if you just ate it big time.

Sometimes, of course, it does. I don't know that the Mets losing this afternoon, another Wednesday, by an undeniably embarrassing tally of 13 to 1 means they are the kind of team that is barely good enough to beat an otherwise lousy Pittsburgh Pirates one night and horrid enough to get their heads kicked in by them the next day. I do know that since the truly scintillating evening that Armando Benitez balked Jose Reyes around the bases and Carlos Delagdo took him deep into the Flushing night, your New York Mets are a strictly break-even proposition: 69 and 69 dating back to May 30, 2007. That's 138 games. That's 84% of a full season, all managed by Willie Randolph, all masterminded by Omar Minaya, all featuring the stars David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman and others.

69 and 69 is more alarming than 13 to 1. 13 to 1 is just plain ridiculous. Take it from one who witnessed nine frigid innings of it from Section 1 of the upper deck.

Yes! Yes, I went to this abortion of a debacle of a fiasco of a game! Yes, this was my chosen midweek afternoon in the sun! And yes, this was the absolute worst pounding I ever saw the Mets absorb at Shea Stadium in 36 seasons of Logging such matters. Except for one night in Detroit in 1997 when I was more concerned with the ballpark than the ballgame, I had never seen the Mets lose by as many as a dozen runs.

I have now.

Statistically, it was the worst home loss I ever experienced. Emotionally, it wasn't in the same ballpark as the Day of Devastation exactly seven months earlier, but having sat through September 30, 2007 and April 30, 2008, I detected some eerie parallels:

• Seven runs in an early inning off a starting pitcher who showed no gumption as things got worse and worse.

• Luis Castillo unhinging the starting pitcher with a fumbled double play ball.

• Luis Castillo making the last out.

• The Mets looking like amateurs against a team allegedly not on their level.

• No crowds to fight through on the way to the exits.

Differences? That was a numbing afternoon for reasons that have been exhaustively documented. This was just farcical. Also, today was like 40 degrees colder and the entire season was not at stake. Plus, we didn't start on time this time. I was with my friend Rich whose wife is expecting in about six days. Her water has yet to break, but the Mets' did. Add “been at a game delayed because a ruptured main wouldn't allow hosing of infield” to my lifetime attendance record.

Either way, the Mets delivered a twelve-run, bouncing loss.

Omar help us if there are any more days like this at Shea Stadium, but I mildly pity anyone who hasn't sat through one of these from late start to silent finish. Seriously. This was one of those days when you could really understand the instinct to boo, but after the umpteenth Met miscue, you didn't have the energy to take part. This was one of those days when you remembered what 1978 felt like every day, when you imagined what 1967 felt like all year. It was blustery and sparse and bad but not the end of the world because it wasn't the end of the season. You can handle this a little better in April, even on the final afternoon of April. This was one of those days when the Nikon Camera Player of the Game was either the school group that kept up a LET'S GO METS! chant as the innings grew late and the sun grew elusive or the school group that filed out after the eighth but not before shouting toward the field, BYE METS!

I hope we're not all saying that soon where the 2008 season is concerned.

21 comments to Today's Worst Roster in the World

  • Anonymous

    Dude, Greg! It's going to be a great season. It's April and we're not doing that bad. Man, your posts lately though, they make me want to put on a Leonard Cohen album and read some Eugene O'Neill to cheer myself up. Summer is on its way. Baseball weather. We've got a lot going for us, and our guys are putting September behind them. It's totally going to be a great season.
    -Matt E.
    BTW, man, I'm really, really sorry you had to see that game in person. Yikes.

  • Anonymous

    Very recently happy guy here.
    I will take some of that weather you're hawking…and some of that native optimism, too, if it can be converted into consistent play (or Euros, at least).

  • Anonymous

    Ok Ok, man. Here's some baseball watching music:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx11oNHPDrA
    John Fogerty, it ain't, but it'll do until we become the Yankees.
    You love the Mets man. You were the most loyal fan ever in 2003. And I was there. The depths of your loyalty and love for a shitty baseball team were crazy to me. Inspiring!
    Man, last September was ungodly train-wreck Cooperstown apocalypse f-bomb Republican stupid lame. But this team is great! It's a great team! They totally have the tools, man. And they absolutely will pull it together. This team is good. You have to give them at least as much love as you showed that 2003 team, man.
    -Matt E.

  • Anonymous

    Don't forget Greg…
    ONE WORLD
    ONE DREAM
    FREE TIBET!!!

  • Anonymous

    Ah but you got away, didn't you babe,
    You just turned your back on the crowd,
    You got away, I never once heard you say,
    I need you, I don't need you,
    I need you, I don't need you
    And all of that jiving around.

    Oddly enough, that's Carlos Delgado's new at-bat music.

  • Anonymous

    Don't forget Greg…
    ONE WORLD
    ONE DREAM
    FREE TIBET!!!

    Ah yes, a banner expressing exactly those sentiments was hung from the loge between 3:14 PM and 3:20 PM before Shea security removed it even if Tibet rhymes with Met.
    May their cause meet greater success than Jorge Sosa did.

  • Anonymous

    I saw a news report on the Olympic torch protests, and some guy had a banner that said
    FREE 0
    TIBET 8
    All I could think of was: what inning were they in?

  • Anonymous

    Listen, it could be worse, my brutha: at least “we're” still over .500, unlike another team in the geographical area I could name…

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Yesterday was still better than being in Riverfront Stadium back on July 20, 1988 — that's when the Reds exploded for ten runs in the first inning off Ron Darling (who lasted just 2/3 of an inning). Pittsburgh at least waited till the second inning to score seven off of Oliver Perez.
    BTW – sinkholes were found in the outfield prior to that Cincy game and it had to first be declared safe in order to play. So the Mets should heed this advice: anytime a watermain breaks, sinkholes are discovered, etc., take that as being an omen of worse things to come and just cancel the game altogether!

  • Anonymous

    Before yesterday's game a co-worker said to me, “they'll be okay. I know you're worried, but really, they'll be okay.” I told him, “I know. That's the problem. We're okay, not good.

  • Anonymous

    It looks like Los Mets have tuned out Willie

  • Anonymous

    Now if you can manage to get
    your trembling fingers to behave,
    why don't you try unwrapping
    a stainless steel razor blade?
    That's right, it's come to this,
    yes it's come to this,
    and wasn't it a long way down,
    wasn't it a strange way down?

    ok, we're not there yet but this team is frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    Interestingly, during the water main delay, Rich and I had a fairly upbeat conversation: it's still early, we've had injuries, we've had slumps, we've endured all that and we're still over .500 and right in the middle of a mediocre divisional dogfight.
    I was going to mention that above, but 13 to 1 kind of knocked that train of thought off the rails.

  • Anonymous

    Greg,
    Did you stay for the entire game or leave early?

  • Anonymous

    All nine innings, Joe. All nine innings.

  • Anonymous

    After all, we're only disappointed. We're not devastated yet.
    I'm still thankful he got away.

  • Anonymous

    How is this for optimism: if the Phillies and Marlins both lose tonight, the Mets will be alone in first place by percentage points. I think the Mets are the only team in the history of any sport that can lose 13-1 then move into first place without playing another game!

  • Anonymous

    Admittedly, yesterday was also better than watching those dastardly Braves tack 16 runs on the board against the Mets' zero in July '99.
    The highlight? It was also Fireworks Night, so 51,979 fans were essentially held hostage for a few skyrockets and the ability to see Matt Franco pitch. I brought a date to the game and spent the evening pleading, “I swear, they're better than this…”
    That season ended well, though. Thanks for un-repressing that memory, Greg.

  • Anonymous

    .500 is as .500 does . . . this team is doomed

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, man. Leonard needs to think hard for a moment on that time that his parents took him to Disneyland Canada as a child. Jeez.

  • Anonymous

    I still remember fondly the banter that Gary and Bob used to have during these games. In one of them, Butch Huskey got hit by a pitch around the seventh inning, and Bob remarked how he was like the second Met to reach base. Gary said it would make him a candidate for Nikon Camera Player of the Game.