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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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A Quintessentially Metsian Loss

On Monday night, the Mets got not quite enough of what they needed and a bit too much of what they didn’t. While that may sound like a description of any given one-run loss, this one struck me as quintessentially Metsian. I know I’ve seen it before, again and again.

Their starting pitcher could have gotten out of the first relatively unscathed, but didn’t.

Their first baseman could have gotten out of the way of a baserunner, but didn’t.

Their slumping slugger could have delivered a key hit, but didn’t.

Their myriad fly balls that jumped off their bats could have traveled farther, but didn’t.

Their uplifting three-run home run could have completely turned the tide, but didn’t.

Their starting pitcher who righted himself after his rough first inning could have translated his momentum into a great overall outing, but didn’t.

Their perfectly placed bloop between second and center could have fallen in and sparked a rally, but didn’t.

Their relievers working out of potential trouble in tops of innings could have set the stage for redemptive bottoms of innings, but didn’t.

Their manager could have argued an umpire or two into more favorable calls or at least an agreement to seek help from other umpires, but didn’t.

Their last chance against a flamethrowing closer who had recently struggled could have paid off, but didn’t.

This is the Mets loss I saw in 1975 or 1983 or any number of seasons that didn’t — and were never going to — add up to much despite my youthful protestations to the contrary. The difference between now and then is I’m not considerably younger and don’t come away from 4-3 losses like this one to the Reds convinced that we should have won; that by coming close we sort of accomplished something; that because the likes of Shaun Marcum and LaTroy Hawkins pitched somewhat admirably and Marlon Byrd briefly evened the score and Rick Ankiel hit two home runs last week and Ike Davis hit 32 home runs last year and Brandon Phillips couldn’t possibly catch that kind of dying quail again and we really hung in there against Cueto and the umps kind of screwed us when we weren’t screwing ourselves and if only we had a Phillips or a Votto or a Bruce, that, no, the Mets are really good — why does everybody say they’re not?

They’re not. I’m older now and age has granted me the wisdom and insight to recognize the Mets for what they are when they’re not much.

Oh well.

16 comments to A Quintessentially Metsian Loss

  • Getting older and wiser sucks, doesn’t it?

  • Kevin from Flushing

    After the game, Collins again talked about trying to put together a consistent lineup. At this point I’m speechless.

    • azulnaranja

      Why does he think he has anyone other than Wright, Murphy and Buck who deserve to be everyday players? (And Tejada by default. And I’m actually not really sold on Murphy or Buck.) Platoon the rest of them – and really platoon them, not his mix and match nonsense.
      On a brighter note, Harvey pitches tomorrow.

  • Will in Central NJ

    I’ve come to realize that, to a certain extent, to be a Met fan is to be a middle aged person. If you look around on the street, and observe the few people who wear Met gear—the age demographic generally isn’t grade school, high school, or even the urban hip hop types. The Mets’ orange and blue isn’t sought out anymore….not at the ticket window or at the apparel stores. Sigh.

    • dak442

      Y’know what’s depressing? (Well, a lot of Mets business is depressing.) When you go in the sports apparel area of a department store (or even a Modell’s) and the Yankee stuff outnumbers the Mets stuff by a factor of 4 or more. One time about ten years ago when my daughter was much younger and more gullible she inquired about this. I told her that the Mets stuff was all sold already and no one wanted the Yankees junk.

      • kjs

        Go to a NYC/NJ airport. It’s all Yankee caps. Walk around various European cities. Yankee caps are cool. You’ll never see a Mets cap. Dead Team Walking – or striking out.

        Boycott the Wilpons.

        It’s gonna be more fun now that the Yankees and Manchester City are bidding for a MLS team. Steinbrenner presence in Flushing Meadows?

        • sturock

          It’s not gonna be like this forever. They have to put together a winning team and you’ll see a lot more Mets stuff everywhere. It’s as simple as that.

          And we may be waiting until there’s a new baseball commissioner with less loyalty to the Wilpons for that to happen. How much longer will MLB put up with a ghost franchise in the country’s #1 market?

          • kjs

            1974 to 1984 or so.
            1989 to 1997 or so.
            Briefly, 2002 to 2004 or 2005 or so.
            But 2009 to 2013 and counting. I don’t know. But we weren’t without financial resources then.
            But yes, hopefully we will be relevant again.
            However, I think the NYC baseball market is shrinking. High ticket prices and changing demographics.
            Yet somehow I think those Yankee caps in Europe are forever.

      • Will in Central NJ

        If I may carry on the morbidity a step further: occasionally, I troll the Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores for kicks, and to save money on certain articles to build up savings for the kiddoes’ college tuition. There is more donated Yankees stuff in these shops than Mets stuff, as well. I might venture that some shops have more donated NYY stuff than Modell’s might carry new. Mr. Wilpon: have your people do a demographic study on THAT data!

  • Steve D

    The only hope here is to boycott…otherwise, you will be stuck with Jeff Wilpon running the franchise. From everything I have heard from insiders, the guy is not capable of running a successful franchise. He will be taking more and more power over the next several years if the team is not sold.

    • kjs

      Maybe we can get Jeffy to team up with Fulham and buy a soccer team in Detroit. Rice is good at kicking, too.

    • Dave

      Jeff Wilpon can’t find his ass with both hands, let alone run a successful franchise. And from what I understand, he’s also a jerk. I used to work with a retired NYC cop who later did high-level security at Shea in the 80’s and 90’s (boy, did he have lots of great stories, I’ll leave it at that). He said that the employees’ name for Jeff was “The Little Shit.” He said that Fred was a very nice guy, but Jeff just reeked of privilege and treated everyone like they were beneath him. This is part of why I fear the team’s future is so dim…the overhyped farm system is average at best, and big name free agents’ incentive to come here is questionable. If the owner-in-training is so unlikeable, who wants to play for him?

  • open the gates

    Funny you should mention 1983. It didn’t seem so at the time, and the won-loss record didn’t reflect it, but in retrospect it was the light at the end of the tunnel. Some of the pieces were already in place – Mookie, Jesse Orosco, Darryl’s Rookie of the Year season, the reluctant arrival of Keith Hernandez. Plus, the Mets farm teams were killing the competition – the only bad team was the one at the top, and that wouldn’t last too much longer. I don’t see the current edition of Mets on the cusp of anything. And boy, do I hope I’m wrong.

    • 1983 gets all kinds of hindsight credibility (which it deserves, specifically for its final two months), but while it was in progress…”oof,” as they say. The 4-15 stretch between the first series of the year (headed by Seaver’s triumphant return) and Straw’s callup was very much in the spirit of the 10-22 slog we’re in right now, except I was 20 and convinced it didn’t reflect just how good the Mets really were. Even after the promotion of Strawberry and the importation of Hernandez (and the relative renaissance of Foster), they were muddling along at a 2012, if not 2013 Astros pace of 37-65.

      Then it began to get better. And as soon as modern-day incarnations of Hernandez, Strawberry, Orosco, Wilson and three more Matt Harveys arrive fully grown, watch out 2014!

  • Linda

    Not all is lost with the younger set.
    My niece is 10 yrs old. Her class chorus concert was last week.
    They were singing “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
    She refused to sing it!!! Only mouthed the words.

    Love that kid.

    • Will in Central NJ

      Thanks for sharing the glimmers of hope among the youngsters. Your niece seems to have the prerequisite independent streak required among Mets fans of that age. Good for her.

      My 12-y.o. daughter made note most of her classmates and even teachers root for the other NY team. “We’re not them,” I told her. “We are Met fans.”