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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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Mercifully Quick & Relatively Painless

Perhaps I’d forgotten how baseball seasons work since the last one concluded and the current one commenced, but I would have sworn through the first twenty games of 2013 that each and every one of the Mets’ first ten wins was brilliantly uplifting while each and every one of the Mets’ first ten losses was totally miserable. For a sport where you’re not supposed to get too high or too low, viewing the daily results this way can be hazardous to your mental health, particularly when you root for a team whose best hope (generously apportioned) is breaking even.

All the wins thus far have indicated that the Mets can be truly exciting or at least highly competitive. The five Harvey starts and the Harveysteria they stirred speak for themselves (with Jordany’s McReynolds-style ending Wednesday night adding its own piece of flair to the proceedings). Opening Day was a run-fueled festival. So was the first night in Minnesota. And how about that walkoff comeback when we were throwing Aaron Laffey at his diametric talent-opposite Jose Fernandez? Or those John Buck specials when we couldn’t believe this guy was this guy?

On the other hand, how did the Mets not sweep the Marlins and the Padres? What the hell happened in Philly when Harvey wasn’t eclipsing Halladay? What about that frozen disaster of a week at Coors Field? How could they let that game get away against the Nationals last Saturday? And, oy, the bookends of the Dodger series!

Finally, Friday night we got what I’d almost call a reassuring loss. Mind you, there was nothing reassuring about being blanked by Kyle Kendrick, 4-0. The Mets have, save for two of their last fifty frames, forgotten how to score more than one run in a given inning. Not many Met runners have crossed Citi Field’s plate, period, since Adam LaRoche told them what they could do with their five-spot seven days ago. They patiently worked all those plate appearances off Gio Gonzalez in the fourth and then they dutifully took a nap that continued mostly without interruption. In the succeeding aforementioned fifty innings, they’ve scored a total of fourteen runs. Four came on that marvelous Valdespin grand slam, which means mostly they haven’t scored at all.

So how exactly is losing 4-0 reassuring? It’s not. The Mets generated not a shred of offense against somebody who’s supposed to be Philadelphia’s fourth starter, while Dillon Gee has developed a serious allergy to Ryan Howard (where’s Pedro Feliciano when you need him?). Friday’s duel became a dud the sixth-inning instant Mr. Subway practically reached the 7 tracks. As was the case last Sunday, Gee functioned effectively for a while, but then he needed to be gone. By the time he was — like Howard’s long-distance voyager — outta here, it was too late.

The reassurance, then? It’s that these sorts of games happen. You’re not used to complete game shutouts that are signed, sealed and subpoenaed in 2:35 these days (and that was with the lengthy timeout devoted to Brian O’Nora’s pinch between his cheek and gum reportedly taking an unfortunate detour down his throat), but they happen. That’s the reassurance. There are slumps and there are shutouts and there’s no avoiding them. There was, when you get right down to it, nothing about this game that could be helped. Terry Collins rearranged his tepid hitters and they went frigid. Kendrick may have been too good this particular evening regardless. You could be disgusted — as no doubt anyone who encountered O’Nora in his moment of distress must have been — and you could be frustrated, but you couldn’t let it get the best of you.

Friday wasn’t Thursday, when Jeremy Hefner pitched his heart out to no avail (while thousands of nearby residents rooted for opposing pitcher Hyun-jin Riu because being from Korea perennially tops living in Flushing). It wasn’t Tuesday, when you worried about Jonathon Niese’s knee and then sat and sat and sat through the mournful bullpen parade that followed. It wasn’t like so many games this young year that have, per Gladys Knight & The Pips’ great hit from the Claudine soundtrack, gone on and on. It was just one of those dim losses you’re going to encounter across the Big 162. You know the drill: a third you’re gonna win, a third you’re gonna lose, a third will tell your tale.

This one told you to get over it right away and get on with it the next afternoon.

7 comments to Mercifully Quick & Relatively Painless

  • FL Met Fan Rich

    April was a pretty easy schedule and the Mets played more home games so far and we still are below .500

    The crowd (or lack of one) is really a tell tale sign. There is no fire or energy on this team and the fan base.

    Can’t see them drawing 2 million this year?…any thoughts?

    • Patrick O'Hern

      Thoughts on drawing 2 million? No way but we never get the real attendance figures anyway. Nervous this will go in the tank quick. What has Sandy done? Never improved the bullpen and my dog could trade a Beltran for a prospect. Bland team 4 out of every 5 games.

  • ticket prices are still to high to see this group.

    the marketing of the club leaves much to be desired especially in light of competition all season long from elongated BA/NHL seasons and playoffs and the ubiquitous NFL, schedul, draft pre season regular season, normal hype of everything involved…the mind share of the Mets is lacking and reflects in standings as compounded by the lack of talent or potential on team (please note Wheeler/Travis are lacking or injured still in minors and Betran is off to yet another good year turning 36) People will not pay for R&D products given above dynamics! Went twice this weeek but passing today since the pitching c/b dreadful and will watch CC at YS minus Jose Reyes who was main reason to see Toronto! Lots of competition the Mets d/n address or change their prices and marketing for!

    • 5w30

      It’s interesting that two NY teams who also share orange, blue, and white as their colors are in their respective leagues’ playoffs … hasn’t happened in years. Anything to divert fan attention from the sorry Wilpon product.

  • Tom

    Sometimes Terry Collins’s weird moves and lineup changes work in surprising ways, but what was up with that lineup last night? And today? Why in the world would anyone want Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter getting the most at bats out of the whole group?

  • […] Kyle Kendrick shut down the Mets’ offense and Dillon Gee pitched well until things imploded in the 6th inning, as the Mets fell to the Phillies 4-0 yesterday. Also, home plate umpire Brian O’Nora left the game after getting sick, presumably from swallowing his chew. Yes, that’s considered a highlight. At least this game was mostly quick and painless. […]

  • […] Kyle Kendrick shut down the Mets’ offense and Dillon Gee pitched well until things imploded in the 6th inning, as the Mets fell to the Phillies 4-0 yesterday. Also, home plate umpire Brian O’Nora left the game after getting sick, presumably from swallowing his chew. Yes, that’s considered a highlight. At least this game was mostly quick and painless. […]