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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 Wrong Way to Get to the Right Place

A game this weird really demanded to be played in the middle of the night.

The Mets had 20 baserunners, putting guys on in every inning except the sixth. They turned that into a total of two runs, which came on a leadoff homer by Ruben Tejada (of all people) and a bases-loaded fielder’s choice by Jordany Valdespin in the second. And then, well, it was time for the funhouse ride to begin.

Here’s hoping we don’t see a run of futility like this one again any time soon:

In the third the Mets had first and second with nobody out. Jason Bay — who had another miserable night — struck out. Mike Baxter then struck out on a questionable pitch with the runners in motion, meaning Ike Davis was thrown out by approximately 85 feet.

In the fourth the Mets had a runner on second with two out, and Valdespin lashed a Matt Cain offering over Gregor Blanco’s head in center field for a sure RBI. But Blanco dove and just snared it in the webbing as he crashed to the ground, making a catch you’ll see on highlight shows as long as there are highlight shows.

In the fifth the Mets had David Wright on second with one out, and Daniel Murphy grounded a ball to Marco Scutaro at third. Wright, for some ill-advised reason, tried to go to third and was tagged out by a probably startled Scutaro. Emboldened, Murph then got thrown out trying to steal second.

In the sixth, somehow, nothing happened to the Mets. 1-2-3 inning.

In the seventh Tejada walked with one out and Valdespin hit a sure-fire double-play ball to Ryan Theriot at second. Theriot, apparently auditioning to be a Met, let it go between his legs to put runners at first and second. Wright walked to load the bases, so Ike obligingly hit into the double play.

In the eighth the Mets loaded the bases with none out thanks to two walks and a Victorinoesque HBP by Baxter, who got away with it. Josh Thole grounded to Brett Pill at first, who fired home for one out. Buster Posey’s throw to first hit Thole in the shoulder, sending Mets scampering homeward — but Thole was called out (correctly) for interference. Justin Turner walked to reload the bases, so of course Tejada grounded out.

In the ninth, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out and Bay hit a rocket right back to Brad Penny, who doubled off Murph for the double play.

Meanwhile, Jon Niese was looking good — but he was also Jon Niese, whom I refuse to trust despite his obvious talent. Niese’s body language is reliably terrible when things don’t go his way, which is something I should really get over, as there’s no column in the standings for Deportment. More tangibly, Niese has a bad habit of letting ill luck and lapses snowball, creating disastrous starts where everything caves in and he waits for someone to end his suffering.

A 2-0 lead turned into a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Posey cracked a hanging curve off an ambulance parked behind the fence, but Niese hung in there, bad body language and all. In fact, he pitched a pretty great game before departing after seven (aided by several nifty plays from Wright) and leaving things in the rather iffy hands of Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch.

Byrdak and Rauch emerged unscathed, so the Mets handed the ball over to Bobby Parnell, who’s a magnet for weirdness and ill fortune even when it isn’t befalling his teammates in each and every inning.

So what did Parnell do? Pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the save, of course.

Baseball. Good luck outthinking it.

12 comments to The Wrong Way to Get to the Right Place

  • Andee

    Oy. Are you sure we weren’t actually watching one of those mid-70s starts with Jerry Koosman on the mound, for a team that’s dreadfully run-constipated and has a first baseman who either clears the fences or strikes out? Other than this first baseman not (at least publicly) being as much of an asshole as the 1970s version and having somewhat better hands, I could have sworn I was having a 1976 flashback. That team would have had an inning where they had four walks and loaded the bases twice in the same inning and managed not to score, probably at least five times a year. And Thole? Well, he’d probably have been out anyway, but yeesh. Only the Yankees get away with running that far inside the baselines, Josh.

    Still…I had penciled this game in for a loss, seeing as Cain was pitching, and it was a nice surprise that Niese really did channel Koosman and limit the Giants to a run. I really figured they’d lose to Bumgarner and Cain and beat Lincecum and Zito. So far, I’m 0 for 3. I’ll take it, but I hope I guessed right for tomorrow.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    According to what I heard on the radio today (not sure if they mentioned it during the game, I was long asleep by the later innings) that wss the first time in history a team hit into a double play with the bases loaded 3 innings in a row. How did the ’69 team manage to miss doing that (and win the game, of course)

    • Steve D

      I think I heard that that was the first time in MET history…don’t know if they confirmed first time in MLB history.

      • Ken K. in NJ

        Yep, seems like they have settled on first time in MET history. So much for the 1010 WINS early morning sports reports.

  • Metsfaninparadise

    Who ever said you can’t get there from here?

  • JPB

    If there was such a thing as a quadruple play, where the fielding team can save an out for the next inning, the Mets would have hit into one last night.

  • mikeL

    haha, for me the game might as well have been played in the middle of the night.
    around the second inning the eyelids were shutting for good.

    woke up in time for gary apple’s post-game summary – which seemed as suspenseful as some games – but youch! i was almost glad i got some needed shut-eye and was not around to see the three bases-loaded DP debacles!

    as gary approached the later innings, i was just waiting to see how the mets had lost this one, but alas…

  • Lenny65

    In other news, the “Will Jason Bay hit his weight in 2012?” watch is currently at an astounding -53. No worries, though: the “patience” will pay off as soon as he lights into one of his patented one-game hitting streaks.

  • Guy Kipp

    <>

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed this. I was waiting two months for Baxter to get his first CitiField at-bat after that catch. The least the fans could have done was shown their appreciation, especially considering how little Baxter has had to do with the usual post-All Star Break freefall that’s taken place.