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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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4-70

Actually the Mets aren’t 4-70. They’re 4-7, which is considerably different — smack dab in the middle of “small sample size” territory, within the bounds of which no wise person draws conclusions. And even if you can’t resist the temptation, a bit of further, mostly non-quantified reflection should be enough to coax you off the ledge.

Let me try:

* The Mets have been in nearly every game. Which hurts when you watch starters crumble in the middle innings or relievers get unlucky late, but isn’t at all the same as getting your brains beat in night after night after night. That isn’t happening here.

* Going into tonight’s game, Met relievers were getting socked around to the clip of a .375 BABIP. That’s unsustainable. (Granted, the bullpen was better tonight and the team still lost.)

* I don’t have the stats at my fingertips, but if I had to guess the Mets are something like 3 for 23,596 with runners in scoring position so far. Also unsustainable, though that says nothing about the incidence of bleeding ulcers in the faithful.

* There are positives. No, really. For instance, Daniel Murphy has been a joy to watch, playing adequate to pretty darn good defense, collecting some timely hits and being robbed of a couple of others, and most of all just being healthy and present again after a lost 2010 and no stock with the new regime in 2011.

* However much it may disappoint his bafflingly rabid detractors, Carlos Beltran looks very much alive. He’s not the lithe, gliding Beltran of old and never will be again — he looks thicker and slower on the bases and in the field. But that bat is still fast and deadly, and in the field he took several routes to balls tonight that reminded you of the Beltran who patrolled center so well for so long.

Granted, there are plenty of dark clouds one suspects hide dark linings, small sample size and all. Pelfrey looks awful, Niese can’t seem to prevent little skitterings of pebbles from turning into landslides, Reyes’s robust batting average isn’t masking that he’s neither walking nor stealing, Willie Harris is making us wonder if we acquired some player with the same name as the Atlanta/Washington outfield sniper but none of the same skills, and Scott Hairston comes to the plate with the bat already ground into sawdust in his hands. All of that is worth at least beginning to think of as problematic.

But again, it’s early — the ledger has a lot more empty space than filled-in lines.

Sometimes it’s a clammy foggy night and what sure looks like a fly ball to right somehow keeps carrying until it’s back in Utleyville (granted, this happens more often when the fly ball is swatted by a beast like Troy Tulowitzki) and your starter has a look on his face like a guy in a business suit who just got crapped on by the one pigeon in a cloudless blue sky. Sometimes that’s enough for you to lose. Sometimes you have a week’s worth of nights like that stacked up all in a row.

It happens.

It doesn’t portend anything, and there’s no causal link between it and grit or leadership or Bernie Madoff or the Yankees or abandoning the gold standard or Mayan prophecy or anything else.

We’re not 4-70. I know it feels that way, but we’re not. Be not afraid.

At least not yet.

Addendum: The Rockies were wearing one of the worst uniforms I’ve ever seen, if you exclude the Diamondbacks and baseball eras that are intrinsically terrible fashion-wise. There was the two-tone cap, which is awful in nearly every incarnation, particularly when one of the tones is black. There was the horrible spring-training-looking jersey, which also didn’t look like it matched the purple on the cap bill, or at least it didn’t on my set. And there were the road pinstripes, which any right-thinking commissioner would outlaw on the spot. What a trifecta of suck. At least we won the uniform competition, right?

17 comments to 4-70

  • Andee

    Why the flippity flip were they pitching to Tulo with two on, with Doug Flynn — er, I mean Jose Lopez — waiting on deck? Whyyyy? I’m not saying they should have IBB-ed him necessarily, but what about the Bobby Valentine special, the unintentional intentional walk? I swear sometimes somebody is getting money under the table to throw these games. Probably Warthen.

  • As presently constituted, this isn’t a team worth moving toward the ledge over. At best (or worst, depending on how you take your fandom), it’s a team worth moving toward the remote control over. Not because they’re not trying, but because they’re not — the joys of Murphy notwithstanding — particularly watchable at the moment; not as a unit and not all that much as individuals. I’m gonna keep watching because that, of course, is what I do, but I’m not gonna be expecting a whole lot more than what we’ve seen.

    The dollars will be short, the days will be late and the Mets will find a way to fall behind. Halle-bleeping-lujah when they provide some sense of proving that instinct wrong.

  • Daviault

    This Mets team has spunk and moxie. What it needs is Bay and Santana.

    • March'62

      I was at the game last night (my Citi Field baptismal) and I saw neither spunk nor moxie. I saw a Reyes double with nobody on base, a Wright single with nobody on base, a Pagan triple with nobody on base. There were no stolen base attempts, no bunt attempts for hits, no hit-and-runs, no life. They fell behind and stayed behind. They scored their fourth run only after, as expected, the Rockies scored their fifth. There was no fight, there was no extra hustle, there wasn’t one person to step up and take the game on his shoulders to win this very winnable game. This team needs to be taken to the woodshed and have a major personality adjustment. On the bright side, Citi Field is awesome. I can’t believe all the whining about the place. Now if only there was some exciting baseball played in the place…….

  • GregH

    You forgot one big positive. Frankie has finished only two games. That projects to 36 for the year. Yaa.

  • REMAIN CALM!!! ALL IS WELL!!!!

    / animal house’d

  • kd bart

    They were 4-7 after 11 games also in 2010. Then, won 10 of their next 12. What I dislike in the pattern of the past few games. Take an early lead. Then, give up in the middle innings. Just not have enough in the late innings to pull off the victory when there is a chance. They seem to be a one hit, pitch or defensive play short every night and it’s very frustrating. 4-7 could easily be 7-4 or 8-3 with one thing here or there.

  • ninth string catcher

    Jason – I’m totally with you. It’s 11 games. Small sample, and a lot to learn about this club. Collins hasn’t managed in years, so there is a learning curve for him. A lot of these guys are young, new to the team, learning new positions or combinations of all three. Lose a little, learn a lot. At 50 games in we’ll know what this team is and if there’s hope. Oh, one other thing – Pelfrey is not now, nor will he ever be a #1 pitcher. He did well last year as a #3 and they should either move him down to take off pressure or lower the expectations so he knows he’s the sacrificial lamb against real #1s and let him chill out when he takes the mound.

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    Was at the game last night, my first of the season. Was hoping for R.A., but the rainout the day before pushed Niese back a day.

    My friend and I, and apparently anyone who had an eyeball on the game except the Mets themselves, fully expected Collins to tell Niese to walk Tulowitski with first base open, two on and two out. I turned to go to the bathroom. Before I make it to the end of the aisle I hear a collective groan and turn to see Tulowitski in his home run trot with the two runners crossing the plate.

    Collins can call a team meeting, but if my friend’s five year old can figure out you walk a power hitter to face a guy flirting with the Mendoza line in that situation, you have to take the loss on your own shoulders.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    I agree that 11 games is a small sample and “It is still early”, but I am wondering if we are going to get WORSE!

    Thank God for the Astros or we would be the worst team in the NL.

    Throw in a bunch of bad managerial decisions to go with a lousy team and you have a receipe for- THE PIRATES OF THE NL EAST!

    I have a feeling that its “Gonna get late a lot earlier this year”

    Get the April plan for tickets!

    Hoping for a spilt today! Its sad but a doubleheader sweep doesn’t even enter my mind!

    LETS GO METS!

  • NJMetFanJack

    Nice comment on Daniel Murphy. I’m not sure the front office sees the value in his work ethic, hustle and persistence. The fact that he’s faced a full season of major league pitching should mean more playing time as a starter.

    People pretty much forgot that he made some really great plays in ’09. In my opinion, Murphy helped make that season somewhat watchable.

    I hope Terry Collins doesn’t underutilize him like the way Manuel mishandled Chris Carter (among many others) or how Willie mishandled Heath Bell. Painful, just painful.

    How do you feel about moving Dickey to #1, Pelfrey to #2 and Young to #3? I suspect Mike’s issues are 60% mechanical (as in tipping his pitches) and 40% mental. This might take some of the pressure off of him.

  • kd bart

    Today’s first game is following the same pattern as the previous three games. Take the lead early. Give it back in the middle. Let’s see if for once they can come back late.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    ^kdbart: Thats a good one! Certainly you jest!

  • kd bart

    This is a shoddy and boring ball club. They offer you know reason to watch them. Even if they take a lead in a ballgame, you know they’ll just give it right back and any comeback will fall just short.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    This is painful to watch this team!… The outfield is a 3 ring circus today! They don’t even know how to play the outfield in their “HOME BALLPARK”!

    Oh thats right!….It’s still early…What else can go wrong?