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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Oh, Let's Call It Karma

A sometimes irritating, sometimes amusing side effect of chronicling games as a blogger is the weird double vision you develop as events take their course. By the middle innings you find yourself wondering what your theme is — or wondering if this is one of those ho-hum games where you’re going to have to invent one and hope people think it sort of fits.

This game looked like the latter, and somewhere around the seventh I decided — with no great degree of enthusiasm — that I’d explore what you think games will deliver and how thoroughly that can differ from what you actually get. The beginning of the game was delayed by rain, spatters of storms were visible up and down the coast on radar, I thought about R.A. Dickey trying to grip knuckleballs and Tom Gorzelanny (not exactly an athletic-looking athlete) as his opposite, and figured this was going to be one of those 9-7 games that’s delayed five times and ends at 2:30 a.m with 200 people in the stands and both teams looking more relieved than anything else. The odds were good that I’d see the rest of the 1982 Mets Yearbook, which talked about the actual ’82 Mets for about eight minutes (which might have been about six too many) before retreating frantically to footage of Tommie Agee.

But that wasn’t at all what we got — at least not at first. Instead we got a rather lethargic, low-scoring show, one of those games in which you’re not sure if the pitchers are doing well or the hitters just feel like they’re underwater. Top of the eighth, Nats up 2-1, and maybe we were just going to have to accept it.

Nope. Things were just getting started.

There was Jose Reyes, rifling one up the gap and streaking around to third, where he arrived just ahead of Rick Ankiel’s admittedly rather awesome throw and stayed just on the bag despite momentum and Jerry Hairston Jr. trying to separate him from what he’d rightfully earned. SAFE! No wait, Marvin Hudson inexplicably said OUT, and cue the ballistics. “He’s practically climbing on Chip Hale’s back!” marveled Howie in a great call on WFAN — if Jose had been any madder he might have jumped over his coach. For some reason — every Mets fan immediately saw it as evidence of a guilty conscience — Hudson remained mild under unmild criticism from Jose and Terry Collins (so far more supplicant than litigant in rhubarbs), not excusing either angry man from further play. The way I was reacting in Brooklyn, I wouldn’t have been astonished to see Hudson take out his cellphone and excuse me from further watching.

Get me rewrite, blog-style: Mets robbed, winning streak broken, things said about Marvin Hudson that will need to be shamefacedly qualified tomorrow.

But wait a minute, rewrite desk — we weren’t done. Daniel Murphy, prodigal Met without a position, rose up against the sneakily deadly Tyler Clippard (whom I vaguely remember pitching for the Yankees as a small child) and imprinted a mighty statement upon the horsehide, a declaration that This Will Not Stand, that The Men of Metdom Shall Hold the Line Against These Nats and Their Allies in On-Field Judication. I was briefly thrilled before remembering that it should have been the go-ahead run, which got me mad all over again. (“According to Marvin Hudson, that’s a long fly ball caught by Rick Ankiel,” I tweeted, which I don’t feel bad about yet.)

Ah, but further rewrites awaited. The Mets then promptly sprang some defensive leaks. First Jason Bay nearly corralled an Adam LaRoche parachute on the left-field line, and would have had LaRoche at second after disentangling himself from David Wright, except Murph was gazing in wonder at the little outfield drama instead of covering the bag. Ugh. Then there was a passed ball and a sacrifice fly and, oh, things were fumeworthy again. Now what should we make of this game? The Mets had been robbed, but they’d then rather deftly picked their own pockets. Bad luck? The karma engineers showing us we were going to lose it anyway, so relax? Random noise in a long season?

Oh rewrite, how did you know it was me calling?

In the ninth it was the Nats (whose grasp of defense can be approximate) who fell apart. Little bleeder by Bay, an Ike Davis bloop that a year ago Willie Harris turns into a double play but this time eluded Roger Bernadina, then a Harris bunt thoroughly screwed up by Sean Burnett and their Hairston brother, then a long sac fly by Chin-lung Hu, of all people, an RBI groundout by Josh Thole thanks to smart baserunning by Davis, intentional walk to Reyes and a clothesline double by Murphy to put the game safely in our column.

I’m sure lots of the game stories will talk about grit and fight and Things That Wouldn’t Have Happened Last Year. And maybe rightly so. Maybe Murph was spurred to greatness by the awareness of his employers’ short memories and the Emaus-sized hole lurking behind his position. Maybe this is just life with a young hitter still learning second base and refining the mental checklist of those aspects of baseball that don’t involve a bat. Maybe this is random noise that for one evening produced a result we found harmonious and pleasing.

Whatever it was, it sure was fun. Oh what the heck. Let’s call it karma.

21 comments to Oh, Let’s Call It Karma

  • Joe

    That was the type of game that makes you feel good all day! I feel like I just got laid!

  • Lenny65

    Something about seeing Jose go ballistic like that made me very, very happy. Murph’s HR made me happier. Is “streaky” going to be our 2011 buzzword? I could live with that. The upside is a heck of a lot of fun.

  • ShalomMetsJets

    Maybe not karma, but Reyes getting robbed as he was is not the way to end a long winning streak–getting bombed out in the fourth inning and losing 10-1 is–but Murphy is a player they have to find a position for. Second base seems to be the best place they can put him and hide his “glove,” just to have that bat in the lineup. Ike might have to get a bit faster so he can cover a bit more ground, but Murphy’s bat will produce more runs than his glove will give up, so I would take that trade-off.

    A great finish to what was a plodding game. But nice to see Dickey pitch a good one.

  • Andee

    Reyes totally got Galaragga-ed on that call. Not only that, but the ump seemed to know he was making a hometown call, so didn’t eject Collins (or Hale, or Reyes himself) for telling him his mother chews army boots, or whatever. Fortunately, Murphy was there to make it all better. Danny! Maybe our Danny has some Uggla in him after all.

    Even if we do lose 10-1 tomorrow, it’s still a series win. Now let’s see what happens when we have to play real teams. Twelve games against PHI, SF, LA, and COL, half of them out West…brrrr. OTOH, SF and LA are both hovering somewhere around .500, which the Gnats were before this series started, so who knows.

    • Andee

      Oops, calendar read fail. (I can’t edit my stupid comment in Internet Exploder, !@#$ work computer I can’t put Firefox on.) It’s the COL series that’s the road series, not SF/LA. Bleh.

  • Inside Pitcher

    It was nice to see that they didn’t give up after Hudson’s BS call. A couple of weeks ago they would have tucked their tails between their legs and given up after something like that.

  • We all shine on! Like the moon and the stars and the sun!

  • 9th string catcher

    I see it less as karma and more of ownership of the team by the players. I think that when Terry got himself thrown out of the game to start this streak, he either purposely or unintentially let the players know it was their team to play for, not ownership’s, management’s or the fans. All that has happened since is a group of guys who do not give up, not with two strikes, not with two outs, not with crappy calls against them. Just look at the production from the 2nd basemen last night – Turner, Murphy and Hu were all instrumental to the victory. They picked up Dickey who has been picking up the Mets since last year. If they continue in this mode, and not the horrendous uptight team of 10 days ago, they could have a very good season.

    • That’s a good point: We got superb aggregate production from second base, didn’t we? Wasn’t in the most conventional fashion, but what the hey. Viva Turphyhu! All hail the Humurphner!

      • 9th string catcher

        Murturhu? Murder you! YEAH!

      • dmg

        you cannot overestimate how big a sacfly hu delivered. couldn’t believe he was up at bat, thought the likely outcome was a strikeout, hoped it wouldn’t be a doubleplay. and then he hits a major-league warning-track, move-all-the-runners-up beauty. tied the score and totally set up the rest of the happy recap.

  • Mike

    Ease up on that Kool Aid, fellas. Yeah, it’s been fun, for the last week, but, before you jump on the bandwagon, remember how many times we’ve jumped off of it since 2007. I’ll feel better when we get series win, afer series win, after series win (etc.), against serious contenders. When we go into Bandbox Park, Turner Field, and stomp on the Philthies and the Braves, I’ll start to get teary eyed (allergies don’t count).

    Having said that, the last two days, are the first two I can recall – in a “glove-ful” of seasons – where I was able to feel relaxed about the prospects of the Mets getting the victory (no nervousness preceding the thought of “how are we going to “f” this one up”). I was even relaxed when Jose got called out, and the loss was seeming evident. This time, it was “I think they still have a chance.”

    Maybe that bandwagon has room on it, now.

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    Say what you will about the Mets eventually regressing to the average (from both extremes), but I’m content that the Mets are actually playing like the game means something to them. Far too often batters stepped up to the plate like lambs led to the slaughter, fielders back on their heels waiting for a ball to eat them up, and pitchers serving up BP. I’m glad Reyes got exercised over the bad call. Best part about his jumping up and down was that it’s clear his calf, hamstring and thyroid are 100%. Also great that the Mets (in this case Murphy) took that bad call as a chance to pick up the team rather than phone in the rest of the game. I don’t expect this team to be even a .500 one as the season closes, but I require every player wearing a Met uniform to play his butt off and not accept losing.

  • Kevin From Flushing

    Reyes’ reaction brought back memories of LoDuca and Milledge in 2007, which in turn brought back memories of Willie charging from the dugout to do nothing but corral his player and give the umpire a silent treatment, surely a great, defeatist message to send a drowning team.

    My jury is still out on Collins, but it was a delight to see him be an anti-Willie when it comes to arguments.


    I can’t believe I’m still hung up on this stuff. I guess Jerry didn’t help me get over it.

  • Joe D.

    What a game, what a game!  What a team effort!  What a gem!

    When Hu was sent to pinch hit in the ninth, my wife and I both groaned.  We figured it was a wasted at bat, expecting an out but hoping for wildness on the part of a nerved up pitcher or Hu putting some wood on the ball causing the Washington to foul up.  We feared by doing nothing the Nats could then get out of the jam with a double-play.  Never expected a fly to the outfield for a sacrifice and NEVER one so deep to not only get Bay home but also advancing both runners.

    Hu would have ever thought that possible with our best bunter?

    Of course the Mets were robbed on that blown call but did not play dead afterwards.  Despite his lack of concentration not covering second, Daniel Murphy came in the clutch BIG TIME!   Not to mention we came back with four runs in the ninth.   

    Would we have come back from that blown call in the eighth last week?  I don’t think so.  Just last week Dickey said the Mets had to look in the mirror to decide what they were made of.   But tonight he said the team had an “enough is enough” attitude which showed the resiliency of the players  R.A. also called tonight’s game a ten so even Murph’s miscue in the eighth followed by the passed ball sending the go ahead run to third can hardly be considered a blemish on an otherwise gem of  a game.   

    Two problems.  Last year the Mets had a hot streak after playing cold and was able to sustain their great play for about a month and a half before fading so we have to be cautious and not caught up in the moment, just like we were when things were going opposite.   And the reality is that Met tickets are still un-affordable and winning won’t change that for even the Yankees have almost 10,000 empty seats daily.  Yes, tickets can go for rock bottom prices on Stub Hub but if the Mets continue playing exciting ball, the demand will go up and so again will the tickets on the secondary market.  Then we go back to watching them on TV.  

    Still, Hu would have thunk it?

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Best moment of the night: Reyes the first one out of the dugout to greet Murphy after his Home Run.

    Made me feel good each of the 4 times I watched it on the MLB website today.

  • BlackCountryMet

    ABSOLUTELY BOSTIN!!! What a gutsy, in your face, take that you STUPID UMPIRE victory. I don’t pretend to know all the facets to the Trade Reyes arguement but im my eyes we gotta keep him. He’ll be a key component in a winning team, with more offense around him he can be superb. Daniel Murphy, you gotta love the commitment of the guy. No way we’d have won a game like this last year. We may not be a brilliant team(I’m NOT blind,although always an optimist)but you can’t fault them for their attitude. GO YOU BLUE & ORANGE BEAUTIES!!!

  • TonyB

    LETS GO METS !!!