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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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Something Missing

The  o gers’ lone concession to competitiveness Sun ay night was sen ing the rather won erful Clayton Kershaw to the moun , but in the early going not even a Cy Young awar -winning lefty with an evil curveball was enough to  ispel the funk that’s settle  over  o ger Sta ium for the last week — a week that ha  seen the  o gers possess a lea  for a gran  total of zero innings. The reason the collapse continue  in those early frames? Mostly it was the presence of the luckless  ee Gor on, son of Tom. He’ll be goo  one  ay, but right now he’s as ma  ening as young players often are, a rather immature fiel er with his heart stuck on his sleeve to an unhealthy  egree. The Mets an   o gers were tie  at 1-1 in the thir  when Gor on turne  an inning-en ing  ouble play into a fiel er’s choice an  a run-scoring error by heaving the ball into the  ugout. Was Ruben Teja a further en earing himself to Mets fans with a nifty take-out sli e at secon , you ask? Nope — Gor on just messe  it up. Then he promptly messe  up the next play too, pulling James Loney off the bag — an  Loney contribute  a mini- avi  Cone by arguing with the ump while  avi  Wright scampere  home with a thir  run.

It was enough to  rive Kershaw to  rink — but if he’  waite  a few innings, he might have hit the town with  illon Gee, who was un one by his own  efense.

That first  o ger run came on a Juan Rivera  ouble over Lucas  u a’s hea  — a ball that most right fiel ers woul  catch, but  u a was frozen for a fatal secon  an  then lumbere  after it to no avail, with the ball plopping  own on the e ge of the warning track. Unfortunate, but as his own manager will attest,  u a isn’t a right fiel er. Unless they  eci e to shift him permanently to left (which woul n’t be a terrible i ea provi e  it’s a one-way trip), the Mets will just have to live with such things.

What they shoul n’t have to live with is Ronny Ce eno making painful errors too. In the fifth, Ce eno turne  Tony Gwynn Jr.’s attempt to hit into a fiel er’s choice into an all-han s-are-safe affair, failing to erase Juan Uribe at secon . Two hitters later, the Mets gave L.A. another extra out (an  a run) when Justin Turner muffe  Gor on’s little bouncer at first. Another run came in, an  Gee ha  given up three where he  i n’t  eserve to have surren ere  any.

An , well, you ha  the  istinct impression this one wasn’t going the Mets’ way. There was Gor on, running wil  in an effort to atone, an  Kershaw hol ing the fort, an  the Mets’ bullpen in too early for the walls not to start blee ing. Though give the pen mil  cre it: With one out an  the bases loa e  in the seventh, Miguel Batista got Rivera to hit a little comebacker his way. Batista scoope  it up an  threw it to Mike Nickeas, waiting not terribly far away an  rea y to continue what sure looke  like an inning-en ing 1-2-3  ouble play, leaving the Mets  own just 4-3 an  with a puncher’s chance.

The ball went right by Nickeas. Of course it  i . After all, it’s har  to win baseball games when you’re lacking a certain something that’s conspicuous in its absence, something you take for grante  an   on’t miss till it’s gone an  you realize how often you  epen  on it.

Long plane ri e back through the night — but a  ay off tomorrow. Which is best, because I think it’s safe to say all of us involve  — 25 guys in blue an  orange an  several million frustrate  rooters — coul  use a blank spot on the sche ule.

9 comments to Something Missing

  • Jacobs27

    A decent G is no match for a lack of D.

  • Andee

    When I first saw this, I thought you had devowelized it! But removing all the D’s, ha!

    Are backup catchers who can catch a 90-foot throw from home plate that hard to find? Geesh, even Paulino was better than Nickeas. But mostly I hang this one on Terry, for stuffing the lineup with righthanded scrubs who were playing just because they were righthanded and No Lefties Not Named Joey Votto or Lucas Duda Shall Face Kershaw, So It Is Engraved on the Tablets. Why? Why??? I would have expected a loss to Kershaw, but not with six unearned frigging runs. Six!!

  • Dave

    I’m with Andee. I took one look at the lineup and figured it was an encore presentation of a game from March 20 or so, I expected to see the tiki bar down the leftfield line. Collins takes the lefty/righty thing too far sometimes, especially with Davis and Murph just getting hot.

  • Will in Central NJ

    I haven’t studied all the pertinent stats, but the question begs to be asked: is Mike Nickeas really a major leaguer? No power, low batting average, and as of last night, couldn’t play defense (catch the ball, dammit!), and couldn’t throw base stealers out. Can he really handle a pitching staff when Thole is getting a day off?

    If Nickeas is in the Mets clubhouse, it better be for a reason. Produce, dammit!

    • open the gates

      I checked the Mets upper-minor-league rosters, and Nickeas is probably the best of the bunch (relatively speaking). Next best would be Rob Johnson, who’s basically hit his level of mediocrity in AAA (and is pushing 30).

      On the other hand, I just discovered that the B-Mets catcher is a kid named Francisco Antonio Pena – a.k.a. Tony Pena Jr. One would assume his dad taught him to catch the ball.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    (If Nickeas is in the Mets clubhouse, it better be for a reason. Produce, dammit!

    Maybe he’s there because he has 12 RBI’s and Thole has 10…..

    Yikes!

    • Will in Central NJ

      Yikes is right, Ken K. Although, Thole was out for awhile with that concussion sustained from the Phils’ Ty Wigginton.

      I can’t help but wonder, if there were any talks last offseason with Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez for a backup/mentoring role. But he’s now officially retired, and Nickeas is what we have as a backup to challenge for a postseason berth….yikes.

  • GaryG

    Jason, way to go u e.