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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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The Dallas Green Face

Well, at least the Mets showed me something tonight.

After Tuesday night’s slow-motion slide down the avalanche, I could barely work up indignation over the actual game — that was saved for my fears about what might be behind some curiously hasty decision-making. The Mets were bland and bad and I was uncomfortably close to numb about it — something that also happened to me down the stretch in ’09 and ’10, but at least those years had reasonably OK early stretches. Having the pain hardly register a couple of days after Tax Day was something far worse.

So tonight it’s progress that the Mets managed to anger me. First there was Angel Pagan scrambling home on a trickler of a wild pitch and getting tagged out on a blind lunge by a young reliever for a double play to end the eighth. Then Jose Reyes somehow managed to top that an inning later, short-circuiting an otherwise good night by falling asleep getting back to first on a horrible bunt by Josh Thole and getting himself doubled off. And why in God’s name was Terry surrendering one of our three precious remaining outs by having Thole bunt anyway? At least it was an inventive way to self-destruct.

I was mad, but I wasn’t enraged — the last 10 days or so have beaten the rage out of me. But I sure was astonished. Sitting there in the dark with the remote on my lap, I realized I was holding perfectly still, my mouth hanging open.

I realized I was making the Dallas Green face.

Those of you whose suffering extends back three famine cycles will remember Green’s voluble fury at umpires was often loud enough to be clearly and painfully audible at home — I found it entertaining that the announcers would have to generate desperate chatter to drown out Dallas’s metronomic profanity. But what was even better (in the misery-loves-company sense) was when the Mets did something so amazingly stupid that Dallas was dumbstruck and left staring out at the field with his jaw dangling. He’d be pretty mad in a few seconds, and someone out there on the field or the basepaths was wishing he could figure out a way to tunnel back into the dugout, but right now all he could do was try to force his brain to accept what his eyes were telling him.

As Greg noted earlier today, we’ve now chronicled 1,000 Mets games more or less as they happened. I know there will be ones that hurt a lot worse than this one, ones whose tragedy comes without so generous a helping of farce. But if I could ask a small favor of the baseball gods, could we at least go another 100 or so without one so thoroughly hapless?

Aw, who am I kidding? We’ll be lucky to get through the week before finding the new lowest point.

30 comments to The Dallas Green Face

  • pfh64

    And bunting on the first pitch, not giving Reyes a chance to steal. Not that he would have gone anyway, but still. How about something weird like a hit & run?

  • Thank heavens Angel Pagan isn’t alive to experience any of this.

  • Contained in this entry is a pretty good commentary of why this season has thus far been infinitely more frustrating than the myriad other bad ones through which we’ve suffered. Those Green-era teams were tough to watch at times, but by gum, one way or another, you were going to be entertained before the night was over. It’s a struggle to find any endearing on-field quality whatsoever in this current lifeless incarnation.

  • Andee

    Until Terry calls up Mejia, Harvey, and Familia and makes them throw 150 pitches a start, then publicly questions their manhood after their arms fall off, he’ll never equal the awful-awfulness that was Dallas Green. Green is truly the Poo Standard of Mets managers.

    But if the objective was to hire someone smarter than Jerry Manuel…oops. I suspect it wasn’t, though. It was to hire someone who would inevitably get ripped to shreds while the team went through its hideously painful transition period, then be unceremoniously tossed aside, and wouldn’t utter a peep of protest because he’s a good company man. I can imagine he’s flung a few cinnamon rolls around the clubhouse, though.

  • BlackCountryMet

    Man, this is soul DESTROYING(and I just watch the day games live!) Logging on every morning to find out the score is getting ever more gut wrenching. Seems to me if we do one thing well, we invriably do others things poorly, it’s like, how do we lose this one? The bullpen is abysmal, we need about a four run lead to have any chance of HANGING ON late in the game. I still believe the team is not fundamentally bad, but jeez we need some sort of spark SOON

  • rich porricelli

    A shame its happening so soon in the season- as to not be ignored..I watch in anticipation of a twist or turn that sends are chances and my attention span out the door..

  • Ken K.

    After all this time, Reyes still is not a smart instinctive player. He’s got so much talent it generally overcomes this, but there’s too many at-bats given away, too many non-attempts to steal a base, and too many plays like last night. At this point I’m sure this is never going to change. It’s time to unload him while his numbers are up and while he still looks good on paper.

  • mikeinbrooklyn

    We’ve already reached the non-relevant portion of the season. Maybe earlier than any year in my lifetime (yeah, I was alive in the early 60’s, but I was more focused on things like toilet-training and learning how to walk). What I do now is take pleasure in non-baseball Mets sightings. Like, maybe they’ll be mentioned in a movie (a la Men in Black); or The Onion might write a funny article about them; or I can see that storage company ad on the subway that makes fun of the Mets, and now I can chuckle along with it.

    Or this little tidbit I ran into the other night: re-watching The Last Waltz for the millionth time or so, I realized that mid-70’s, bearded Eric Clapton bears a remarkable resemblance to the once-great and still-beloved R.A. Dickey.

  • 9th string catcher

    I like Ron Darling’s comment – are you an inch away or a mile? I honestly think this team is not anywhere near impossibly bad, certainly not as bad as their record shows. A real problem, one the Mets may not be able to overcome is the horrible mindset of the veterans on this team. Wright, Reyes, Pagan and Beltran CANNOT LEAD. Coaching, executive management, even the fan base can’t look into a young player’s eyes and say “You’re playing like shit, get your act together, this is how it’s done”. Wright is a basketcase when things are tough, Reyes brainfarts all over the basepaths and Beltran is, well, Beltran. The reality is a little Julio Franco or Keith Hernandez or (god help me) Derek Jeter goes a long way on a talented but underachiving club.

    • mikeinbrooklyn

      you had me until “derek jeter”. i thought his only “leadership” consisted of refusing to move off of ss for a superior fielder, refusing to move down in the batting order for a superior hitter, and allowing his jealousy of a-rod to take precedence over his role as “the captain”. plus, i think he drove mariah carey crazy

      • 9th string catcher

        MIB – I humbly retract the Jeter portion of the comment. I cannot disagree with any of your points. Maybe all the Mets really need is an extra $100M to cover their mistakes…Can I substitute Gary Carter?

        • mikeinbrooklyn

          On a serious note, though, I TOTALLY agree with you re: the lack of leadership. What made the 86 team so great is that they had 2 guys filling that role: sort of the yin of Hernandez’intensity and eccentricity, with the yang of Carter’s All-American boy persona. Throw in an assist from Knight, too.

          This current version hasn’t had a leader since Floyd. I was always surprised Delgado couldn’t fulfill that role. Beltran, Wright, and Reyes obviously aren’t up for it. Dickey’s a pitcher. I truly believe Minaya gave Castillo that ridiculous contract thinking he could fill that role–which, of course, is the kind of mistake that gets people fired.

          • They do come off as lost little lambs, don’t they?

          • 9th string catcher

            Floyd had potential to be that kind of guy, but got injured way too much to be taken seriously as a leader. You can’t inspire anyone from a seat on the bench, regardless of talent or personality. Delgado was much too much of a diva. Great player, but way too self absorbed. I remember Julio Franco egging him on to take a curtain call, which he reluctantly took. I remember him breaking out of prolonged slump soon after. Coincidence? Maybe, but that’s leadership. Guys like Hernandez, Carter, Thurman Munson, are rare in that they play hard, produce, and inspire. The team has talent, but are too uptight to win.

          • Beltran was the one Franco egged on for the curtain call.

  • kd bart

    Maybe they’ll win today for me on my birthday.

  • gary

    Just to add to the misery, since the season started at citifield (1-8 record), by my count we have lost 6 home runs (2 grand slams).If the imbecilic owners had just kept the shea dimensions (which were fair to pitchers and hitters).Instead they constructed the Grand Canyon of ballparks.We would still stink, but al least the couple of thousand people who still show up for the games might have something to cheer about.

  • James Allen

    Wow, only April 21 and we’re at the “that was a new & creative way to lose” phase. I thought we’d hold off that stage till at least mid-June.

    But at least the league finally took charge and seized control of a franchise with incompetent ownership and questionable financial practices. It’s 3000 miles from here, buy hey, progress is slow.

  • kd bart

    As bad as they’ve looked and as down on them as I am, they wouldn’t be the first team that has looked awful at the start and reversed fortune during the season and gone onto make the playoffs. I’ll give you four in the last decade. 2003 Marlins started 19-29 and went on to win the World Series. The 2005 Astros were 16-31 on May 27th and went on to the World Series. The 2010 Reds started 7-11. finished 91-71 and won the NL Central. Worse of all, the 2007 Phillies. Started 4-11 and didn’t see above .500 until Memorial Day Weekend. We know what happen to them. Do I expect the Mets to reverse fortunes? No. Is it possible? Yes.

    • To cherrypick the Marlins example, it would be fantastic if we could call up Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera and fire Jeff Torborg all over again — even if all it leads to is the Dallas Green face.

    • 9th string catcher

      Absolutely possible. Would not surprise me at all.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    Memo to Angel! The next time you try and steal home, make sure when you slid that you ACTUALLY TOUCH THE PLATE!!!

    Fundamentally Sound Baseball?…What a crock of S**T!

  • The Bard

    How long until David Wright does everything in his power to be traded to a team with a shot of October baseball in the next 2-3 years?

  • metsadhd

    Greg/Jason
    Can you conceive of any way this can get worse?
    I am at a loss to think of anything.
    Maybe if Shake Shack pulls out or the Mexican and Italian sub places also exit.
    I used to joke about meaningful games in April, buy was I ever right.
    Make every day a bring your Mutt to see the Mutts day is my suggestion.

    Actually with every paid admission, comes a coupon for one free head shrinking session.

    Maybe if we are also going to be masochists, maybe the gift shops should have whips and bondage gear with the Mets logo.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    When Spring Training started I tld you guys to get the “April Plan Package” for tickets!

    I apolgize, I was wrong i meant to say get the “First Half April Plan Package”!

    I haven’t even been to Shea 2 yet but I have seen in person the only series the Mets won this year!

    That seems eons ago!

    LETS GO METS!

  • dak442

    I actually had a great time at the ballpark last night. My companions showed up late and inebriated, which provided me with much amusement. For the first time ever, neither my sausage nor the peppers and onions were burnt on my hoagie. The more inebriated companion decided to eat his sausage-and-pepper sans bun in observance of Passover, making for comical sloppiness – not to overlook the hilarity of his eating pork and swilling beer for Pesach. I missed grabbing my first foul ball by inches. Murph hit a HR right after Trafemaster General pronounced “Thish guy sucks! Why don’t they just give it up already?!”. And then to cap it off the Mets found a wacky way to wreck two consecutive innings.

    We are already at the stage where we look for small happinesses to take away from games. I think much of mine this year will be rooting for Murph. I like him. He plays hard and really wants to succeed and he got a bum deal last year. I saw an interview after his boneheaded steal attempt and he stood up and accepted blame and was so upset with himself he seemed on the verge of tears.

  • gary

    Yeah, that’s just what we need.Ballplayers who cry.Murphy should watch a “league of their own”.THERE IS NO CRYING IN BABEBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!