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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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White Flag Day

The novice baseball fan might infer that a game lost by 15 runs is far worse than a game lost by one. I doubt there's a Mets fan after this weekend who wouldn't set the neophyte straight.

Sunday's blowout shutout in the wrong direction was, of course, a total embarrassment, but it was a standard whaddayagonnado? total embarrassment. Every team tastes a little of that medicine once, maybe twice a year. When 15-0 scores start being inflicted on you with regularity, then it becomes an issue. When it's novel enough so that your announcers are dipping into their mental archives for the time we lost 26-7 or the time Desi Relaford showed a pretty good fastball, it's less gargantuan of a biggie than it would appear at first glance.

That it happened against the Yankees made it less pleasant (if you were at Yankee Stadium III, you have my sympathies), but the unpleasantness meter has a ways to go before again approaching TILT! so soon after the unspeakable farce of Friday night. Even the Yankees looked bored after the fourth inning. That it happened not with Nelson Figueroa on the mound but with Johan Santana, well, that's certainly cause for concern. Johan swears he's fine. We have no choice but to believe him, just as we have no choice but to believe in him. It's been a little while since Johan was solving global crises in between opposing hitters, but he's Johan. He's entitled to a few less than Santanarrific starts, such as those he's been compiling since San Francisco, and perhaps one that's a total Brett Hinchliffe. If you can't have faith in Johan for the long term, you can't have faith in anything.

That it happened less than 48 hours after Friday night is what really gnaws here, because had Luis Castillo — still a Met, incidentally — caught that popup and (though you never assume anything) Fernando Nieve & Co. had still done their thing successfully Saturday, we could look at a hollow, punchless, gutless 15-0 loss not as an example of the Mets letting down, surrendering and stressing us about how they'll play the rest of this tough month, but as a sour note that ended an otherwise gratifying two-out-of-three trip to the Bronx. And had a couple of hits or breaks gone their way against Philadelphia during the week…word is ifs, buts, candies and nuts make great Flag Day gifts.

The only Met who showed a hint of fight Sunday, you might have heard, was Frankie Rodriguez, who told Looney Skip Bruney to stuff your sorries in a sack, mister after Bruney reportedly tried to apologize to K-Rod for mouthing off about…oh, whatever. It's Mets For Me covers the kerfuffle with its usual Amazin' aplomb.

My rule on this sort of thing is simple: the Met's point of view is the correct one. For example, if it were a Met complaining about Joba Chamberlain's idiotic histrionics, the Met would be correct. Because it is a Yankee whining that an all-time great like Frankie is expressing unbridled joy at helping his teammates win a game, the Met is right to take offense. Frankie Rodriguez didn't pitch in the series finale and he gets my vote for Met of the game.

Not that the Mets who did play provided anybody with anything resembling competition.

MUCH better Flag Day game recalled here, courtesy of the always fun Centerfield Maz.

METSTOCK: 3 Hours of Pizza and Baseball is coming to Manhattan on Thursday, June 18, 7:00 PM. Meet the authors of A Magic Summer, Mets By The Numbers and Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, talk baseball with us, watch the Mets beat the Orioles just as they did in '69 with us and have a generally great time. Details here.

Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

21 comments to White Flag Day

  • Anonymous

    Was there a game today? I don't think so. I am pretty sure that we didn't spend most of Saturday night looking for tickets to a game that didn't happen, and didn't almost spend $150 on a pair of tickets to see Johan Santana kill the Yankees, because there was no game today.
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

  • Anonymous

    Greg,
    Don't suppose that amnesia settled in after one game, do you?

  • Anonymous

    Too bad it was rained out. When's the makeup?

  • Anonymous

    What made it even worse for us out-of-town Mets fans was that Extra Innings only carried the Yankees feed. Man, those guys are just godawful. You'd think an exalted organization like the Yankees could at least dredge up a decent play by play guy. It really made me appreciate Gary, Keith and Ron.
    One of many examples that had me yelling at the tv: “David Wright is red hot. Hes 21 out of his last 64, which is a .661 clip.”
    Those tools, plus the score, drove me out of the house during the game.

  • Anonymous

    “That it happened not with Nelson Figueroa on the mound but with Johan Santana, well, that's certainly cause for concern.”
    Why not with Fernando Nieve on the mound? or Jonathon Niese? Why are you picking on Nelson Figueroa?
    Figueroa's 2009 stats:
    10 starts at Buffalo (at 19-40, the worst record in Triple A) with a 2.90 ERA, 1.10 WHIP in 62 innings:
    April 11: pitched 7 innings, allowed 0 runs; Buffalo lost 1-0 after he left; no decision.
    April 16: pitched 2 innings, allowed 3 runs – taken out of game because he would be starting for the Mets in 3 days.
    April 19: pitched 6 innings at Citi Field against Milwaukee, allowed 3 runs, lost 4-2. Sent back to Buffalo after the game,
    April 29: pitched 7 innings, allowed 1 run, lost 1-0.
    May 5: pitched 5 innings (7 inning game – they played a doubleheader), allowed 2 runs, lost 3-0.
    May 10th: pitched 7 innings, allowed 2 runs, lost 3-1.
    May 14-15-16-17: Called up to Mets – on roster for 4-games in San Francisco, did not pitch.
    May 23: pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 runs; other team tied it after he left with 3-2 lead; Buffalo won 4-3; no decision. Sent back to Buffalo.
    May 28: pitched 6.2 innings, allowed 3 runs in 6 innings, retired first 2 batters in 7th; removed with score 4-0; 3 runs charged to him in 7th; lost 7-1.
    June 2: pitched 7.2 innings, allowed 1 run; won first game of 2009, 4-2.
    June 8: pitched 7 innings, allowed 1 run; won second game of 2009 season, 2-1.
    June 13: pitched 6.2 innings, allowed 2 runs, struck out 9; left with score 2-2, no decision.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. I've always felt Nelson Figueroa was worthy of another shot at Ollie Perez' Vacated Rotation Slot.

  • Anonymous

    Both losses were pretty bad.
    Friday's was more shocking and painful (inexcusable even), but this one was slow, humiliating torture. Both were absurd.
    That it was Santana, who's been showing some weakenesses in his last couple of starts is troubling. Seeing your ace get thwacked like that is wounding–especially when it's the Yankees. You can't just turn the page on that. The Yankees win Sunday will certainly be less infamous than Friday's Mets loss but it was also far less complete and resounding than Sunday's debacle.
    Leaving Yankee Stadium utterly flattened is not much better than blowing a game out of sheer the ineptitude and carelessness. The Mets banded together on Sunday to get steam-rolled and it's not going down well.
    We need revenge.

  • Anonymous

    Yes we do. A friend of mine at work who is a big Yankee fan stretched out his arm with a finger pointing in my direction and wouldn't stop laughing.
    The sad part is I was helpless and had to take it.

  • Anonymous

    OOOOOHHHHHH–
    We'll lose under Manny Acta when he comes
    'Cause it's certain, sure as shootin', that he comes
    We'll lose under Manny Acta. Our Mets won't be a factor
    We'll lose under Manny Acta when he comes
    We'll be selling off our assets when he comes
    We'll sell assets at the deadline when he comes
    Though we're really not that bad off, we must make up for Madoff
    We'll be sure to shed the payroll when he comes.
    The team will look quite different when he comes
    Yes, the Mets will look quite different when he comes
    Under Omar's supervision, the Mets invite derision
    you'll know only Castillo when he comes
    It will be a long long summer when he comes
    The summer will drag on when Manny comes
    We can sort of use a long snooze, in Fall we'll watch the Jets lose
    A new decade of failure when he comes.
    I'm not encouraged.

  • Anonymous

    Sweet Uncle Floyd reference, Greg.

  • Anonymous

    The answer is: “Y'know? 2000 is just as long ago for you as it is for us.”

  • Anonymous

    “OOOOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!”

  • Anonymous

    “Floyd! Floyd!”
    “What is it, Skip?”
    “My wife Gladys is up on the roof! She thinks she's a TV antenna!”
    “So why don't you get her down from there?”
    “What — and miss Wide World of Sports?”
    (Though I guess DTV conversion has rendered the premise of the LSR bit inoperable.)

  • Anonymous

    Pencil in emergency Quadruple-A sixth-starter type of your choice. Nelson happened to leap to mind. Glad to know he's putting it together in Buffalo. We might need him soon.

  • Anonymous

    I am sorry but I think the antics that got Bruhney all worked up have to go. FRod should act as though hes been there before. All thei celebrating on games in May and April is silly.
    Behave like a man.

  • Anonymous

    I vomited only three times this weekend. No, I'm not bulimic. And the beer wasn't tainted. Just another battered and bruised Mets fan. I think the picture on the back page of today's NY Post of a banged-up and bandaged Mr. Met says it all. Good thing I was on the “Happy Recap” show after Sunday's game, for it kept me away from high places and sharp objects.
    However, as a true Mets fan, I still believe! Here's to better days ahead.

  • Anonymous

    I was down in Ocean City, New Jersey, 140 miles from the ballpark, fiddling with my Walkman on the boardwalk, trying to get one of the three local broadcasts, and the one that came in first was the Phillies' on AM 1210. And it was 5-5 between the Phils and the Red Sox, and when the Phils' announcer (not the late Harry Kalas and not nearly as good) gave the score of the Yankees-Mets game as 13-0, I couldn't believe it. I thought maybe some static had kicked in. Nope.
    No more “Sweet Caroline.” The Mets' new 8th-inning singalong should be Rod Stewart: “Still I look… to find… a reason… to believe.”
    I suppose that's the difference between Yankee Fans and Met fans. Met fans say “You Gotta Believe!” and then are crushed when their belief doesn't come true. Yankee Fans don't talk about it believing, we just expect it, and if it doesn't come, we wait for the owner to fire the manager.
    Nine runs off The Great Johan Santana? I guess the Yankees watched Rocky IV: “You cut him! He's bleeding! You see? He's NOT a machine — he's a MAN!”
    Look on the bright side, Greg: I bought your book. And was thoroughly entertained. Though I think you've repressed the 2000 World Series more than you ever did the one in 1973.
    Then again, there've been some games at Yankee Stadium where I wanted to throw up (Bob Shirley flashbacks, Greg Cadaret flashbacks, Scott Proctor flashbacks)… and I literally had a guy throw up right in front of me at a Devils-Islanders game at the Coliseum this past February — he must've been sickened at the lousy performance of the Devils, too.
    Well, there was that Flag Day game… June 14, 1987. Mets, Phillies. A crucial Hernandez error opens the door to a five-run Phillies ninth, costing the Mets the game. The day was ruined. And then, behind the bushes along that gravelly road…
    Yeah, I looked it up, too: The Mets were actually in Pittsburgh that day and won. Way to go, Seinfeld.

  • Anonymous

    June 14, 1987 fact and fiction separated here.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, I think the condition of Johan's arm worries me more than absolutely anything else about this team. It's like they took his ulna and replaced it with Folger's crystals, and even in the couple of starts before this he hasn't been very Johanny at all.
    I know he says there's no problem (no physical problem, anyway), but doesn't every pitcher not named Pedro Martinez say things like that when there really is a problem? Especially when half his team is taking an extended trip to Owieville?

  • Anonymous

    An off day on the schedule is usually a form or purgatory for me. Now, more often than not, it's a welcome relief from the brutality we've been forcing ourselves to stare at like a fender bender on the shoulder of the LIE.
    Please, Lord, soon, let me get to a Mets' off day and think to myself, “Gee, I wish we were playing tonight”.

  • Anonymous

    “Floyd, Floyd”
    “What is it, Skip?”
    “It's Gladys…she thinks she's a refrigerator!”
    “So why don't you take her to the doctor?”
    “And let the food go bad?”