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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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Yo Marvin! Plate's Over There

Oliver Perez rocked me to sleep late Friday evening, which was a nice change from the nightmares one usually experiences from watching him pitch. He was smooth, the Mets were winning, the Padres were quiet, it was San Diego at midnight…except for the lack of Southern California sunshine, it may as well have been the fuckin’ Catalina Wine Mixer.

Then I wake up, groggily absorbing the ninth-inning score of 2-1. Here’s Frankie Rodriguez, who can pull down three outs like the rest of us might grab forty winks. We may have lost all cachet this season, but K-Rod gives us prestige worldwide when it comes to closing out games.

Right?

I was awake for this. Marvin Hudson, however, was dead asleep. And while I sat approximately 2,447 miles from home plate at Petco Park, I was closer to the game’s pivotal play than he was.

Which would be fine except Hudson was the home plate ump who may as well have been on this side of the continent, snoozing on the other side of the couch from me, given where he positioned himself to call rumbling Kyle Blanks safe when, in fact, Blanks’ hand was tagged short of the plate by Brian Schneider.

Where I come from, the catcher tagging the runner before the runner can touch the plate is out. Where Hudson comes from, this is not the case. But Hudson comes from a place too far away to make an accurate call. He could have been on Long Island, he could have been on Catalina Island. The point is he was nowhere near home plate in San Diego.

Was I so drowsy that I think the Mets were robbed of a 2-1 win by a lazy umpire who couldn’t be bothered to open his eyes or move his feet? Not exactly. Putting aside the Mets’ standard-issue pacifistic hitting attack after the first (with no hits after the fifth), K-Rod’s definitely going through another Bramando Fragner phase wherein the Mets closer of record can’t be counted on to shut the door of a dollhouse. He did walk Blanks and did he allow a very long hit to Will Venable as prelude to Marvin’s misjudgment — but instead of it being 2-2, runner on third, nobody out, it should have been 2-1, runner on third, one out. Big honking difference, I’d say. Without Hudson’s river of carelessness, we’re not semi-intentionally walking one batter and then handing out four purposeful balls to the next guy. We’re not loading the bases and playing five infielders and two short-centerfielders and that whole desperation thing that generally never works.

Guess what — it didn’t work. Everth Cabrera, whom Gary and Ron were talking about Thursday as one of those Padres who couldn’t possibly be ready for the majors, lofted a grand slam to right as you or I might toss a crumpled up piece of paper into a wastebasket. Game over, a good nap spoiled, Marvin Hudson a disgrace, Ollie’s unexpected effectiveness nothing but a gauzy memory and K-Rod’s S-Lump yet one more Met concern to throw on the teeming pile of them.

This was the seventh consecutive loss the Padres have pinned on the Mets at Petco, which I’m told is a lovely place under more benign circumstances. Four of those seven have been walkoff losses, which is to say the Padres have made a habit of trampling some downtrodden Met reliever’s carcass en route to jumping all over themselves at home plate like preteen girls winding down a pillow fight. Schoeneweis, Feliciano and Wagner did the dishonors last June. Now it’s K-Rod whose ass has been Friared. The Mets have lost all five games they’ve played in SoCal this season, too. The last time they unveiled the five-infielder conceit, Jeremy Reed was the first baseman and he mistook the Dodger Stadium grandstand for home plate.

And that’s a horseshit shirt they’re wearing.

The San Diego Padres, a festering blight twice a year but otherwise inconsequential in the broader portrayal of our existence, are barely mentioned in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

Meanwhile, the Mets are finally paying tribute to a Mets great at Citi Field. Thanks to Metstradamus for the great reporting.

11 comments to Yo Marvin! Plate's Over There

  • Anonymous

    What a nightmare to wake up to this morning and hear about the result. Are you sure the Mets aren't trying to trade the wrong closer? On SportsNite, the replay showed the ump very much out of position (in my opinion, I didn't hear Gary and Ron's call). It's been one of Keith's themes all year.
    But I gave up on the club back in May. Paraphrasing what I said the other day on Facebook commenting on a previous post, it's ok if we cry now after the game. But this season just fits in a pattern of bad behavior (something I want to get your take on, as unofficial fan historian).

  • Anonymous

    I stayed up until the top of the ninth – the Yankees had just won that marathon (they were in the small picture-in-picture window with no audio), I was too tired, unable to keep my eyes open and had to get up a bit early for a Saturday to drive to Monsy to see the family.
    Doesn't matter if the home plate umpire blew the call. If Francisco held the Padre bats in control the play would never have occured.
    What's worse – I went to sleep with that forboding feeling that KRod was going to blow it. Such is my confidence level even in Krod this season.

  • Anonymous

    Living in San Diego makes it worse for me since it's the only time I can see the team in person. Do you know how tough it is to take shit from fans who bring beach balls to games? I didn't think it could get worse than the Paul McAnulty HBP walkoff last year. Last night proved me wrong.

  • Anonymous

    The Phillies and Giants both lost. The Mets squandered a golden opportunity to gain some ground on both.
    This is starting to look dire.

  • Anonymous

    starting?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Greg. I FLEW 3000 miles to see that piece of crap. Glad i planned a detour to Anaheim and LA to see teams that actually HAVE something to play for. Check ya later

  • Anonymous

    Once again, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory!!!
    Pat in the Rep. of Panama

  • Anonymous

    The entire Omar era will eventually be remembered as the era when the Mets re-defined the crushing, demoralizing, alienating-the-entire-fan-base-type loss. If the Mets ever decided to release a video package featuring the most brutal losses of the last four seasons, it'd be a twelve DVD set. One DVD could be called “Walk-Off Bombs”, another could be called “Ollie's Follies”, “Goofs, Gaffes and Glavine”, “Bullpen Buffoonery”, and so on. There's just so much material there to work with considering the wide variety of epic defeats to choose from.
    And it isn't just the never-ending series of soul-destroying losses. It's also the ceaseless stream of bad news too. The injuries that never heal, the freak accidents, the front office weirdness, the new food court….I mean ballpark that appears to have rendered the Mets homer-phobic. It's been full-spectrum disappointment on a scale I've never experienced before.
    Now I almost dread a torrid hot streak that appears to put them back in the thick of things because I know they'll merely find a new and novel way of tearing my heart out and stomping on it before I collapse and die. It's perverse and unnatural but I'm sort of relieved that they don't seem to have any hot streaks left in them right now.

  • Anonymous

    Our boys are in a full bathtub, holding the toaster, and Manuel is inches away from plugging it in.

  • Anonymous

    This season, injuries or not, was a long time in coming. Omar Minaya has taken half of his lineup and weakened it almost systematically since 2006. Catcher, Second Base, Left Field and Right Field have gotten almost unstoppably progressively worse over time, give or take a blip upward here or there. He has done nothing to substantially right those situations, so when you finally saw your luck give out as three of your four stalwarts at the other positions went down (which wasn't inevitable, but after 159+ games apiece last year it seemed a little overdue that somebody in that quartet would miss time), there was no foundation on which to rely besides David Wright and David Wright alone. You can't expect to replace Reyes with a Reyes, a Beltran with a Beltran, et al, but the problem came from replacing a Floyd with an Alou, a Valentin with a Castillo, a Lo Duca with a Schneider and a Green with a Church.
    Santana and Rodriguez were great moves, but the rest of the rotation has not received that kind of attention (as witnessed by the hunt for a “fifth starter” in the offseason as opposed to a good starter) and the bullpen is always going to be a bit of a crapshoot. Just by random chance the pen couldn't have been any worse in '09 than it was in '08.
    Cry after the game? Like after any game, we'll moan if we lose and hoot if we win, but there's no greater context for our emotions until 2010. They're just games in a string being played out by whoever. That's the crying shame.

  • Anonymous

    Many fundamental questions have not been addressed, leaving this house-of-cards exposed..A key injury or two was all that was needed.. It seems we 'celebrate' this inaugural season by going retro- back to the bad old days..
    Rich P