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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 Human Condition

Simple explanation for Tuesday night’s loss in Los Angeles: Matt Harvey was retroactively switched with a human baby (not the Bucks’) and the human baby was incubated in a lab for more than 24 years before being smuggled into Mets uniform No. 33 and being hit hard by the Dodgers.

Just like a human pitcher.

We all know Matt Harvey ain’t human, so when a performance is rendered as such in his name, there has to be a reason. That’s the one I’ve got.

As for the rest of the Mets, they’re just regular people who are sometimes polished at their craft, sometimes overmatched by more highly skilled professionals. The Mets of August — no Wright, no Parnell, suddenly no Flores, not even a crazy Valdespin, author of the only Met RBIs to put away the Dodgers thus far in 2013 — took the field against a team that had lost all of eight times in its previous 46 outings and measured up as you might expect, which is to say not very well. Baseball doesn’t necessarily work so neatly. Heading into Tuesday night, the Houston Astros, the inversion of the Los Angeles Dodgers, had won only seven of its last 38 contests, yet they went on to beat the Oakland Athletics, a club whose record was 30 games better.

That type of books-balancing will happen periodically in this sport, but it didn’t happen in L.A. Instead a team that’s been twice as hot as its opponent ever was this season doubled that opponent’s score for the second night in a row, with one 4-2 Met loss following another 4-2 Met loss.

This 4-2 loss wasn’t as close as the 4-2 loss that preceded it, however. There was no squinting umpire to blame for Harvey being lit up a little, maybe not even time-traveling babynappers. Manful Matt took it upon himself to shoulder the responsibility — calling himself “inconsistent,” finding he “couldn’t locate anything” and (in a partial quote begging to be taken out of context) admitting “I was yanking it a bit” — but this was a team effort. Everywhere you looked if you weren’t looking at Harvey and giving him the benefit of occasional imperfection’s doubt, you realized the Mets have reverted to fighting their battles with little more than paper clips and rubber bands. That might work in the creepy world of W.B. Mason, but it’s insufficient for taking down the likes of Hyun-Jin Ryu.

And it doesn’t make West Coast start times go over any easier. We accept that the Mets are probably going to suck every now and then as they play out another sub-.500 string. But do they have to do it at midnight? Do they have to turn Danny DeVito giddy? When DeVito first came to America’s attention as Louis DePalma, he had this to say about matters of the heart:

Love is the end of happiness! The end. Because one day all a guy’s got to do to be happy is to watch the Mets. The next day you gotta have Zena in the room watching the Mets with you. You don’t know why. They’re the same Mets, it’s the same room…but you gotta have Zena there.

Now it’s goodbye Zena, goodbye Mets, hello sweet embrace of Nick Punto, hello thoroughly human Harvey, and whatever happened to our twin pursuits of second place and the best record in New York, each of which seemed within our grasp just days ago?

Oh Louie. Oh Matt.

34 comments to The Human Condition

  • Steve D

    The Dodgers are the hottest team in the modern era right now…and I thought Mattingly was about to be fired.

    Question: The Mets have been playing a promo for Tom Seaver Bobblehead Day, showing a clip of him striking out Luis Melendez of the Cardinals. It looks like the early 70s and Ralph says “Seaver sets another NL record.” What is he referring to?

    • Seaver broke his own record for most SO by NL RHP in a season in the final game of 1971. Melendez was his 284th K of the year, topping the 283 from the year before. He’d finish with 289. (J.R. Richard would break Seaver’s record seven years later.)

  • kd bart

    No team has been as hot as the Dodgers over this length of time since the ’51 Giants overcame the Dodgers to win the pennant.

  • March'62

    It doesn’t seem fair that Harvey had to face the Dodger lineup and Ryu got to face this:

    1) Eric Young, Jr. – LF
    2) Juan Lagares – CF
    3) Daniel Murphy – 2B
    4) Marlon Byrd – RF
    5) Josh Satin – 1B
    6) Justin Turner – 3B
    7) John Buck – C
    8) Omar Quintanilla – SS
    9) Matt Harvey – RHP

    I mean, where are the runs supposed to come from?
    And I have to comment on your DePalma reference since he is the absolute best sitcom character ever: There she was: dejected, desperate, and stoned. Everything I could have hoped for in a woman.

  • open the gates

    What can I say?

    Louie DePalma was a (not so) humble NYC cabbie. Of course he was a Mets fan.

    Danny DeVito is a hot-shot Hollywood actor. Of course he’s a Dodgers fan.

    Actors.

    I’ll say this – it took the Dodgers being this hot to keep the fans in the building past the seventh inning.

    • Josh Lewin will be letting me down if he doesn’t make reference to Louie DePalma’s favorite player being “dispatched”.

      Bobby Wheeler had a Mets pennant hanging in his humble apartment, but mostly on that show you saw Tony Banta modeling the relatively new other NY BP jersey-model t-shirt.

      • Steve D

        He also wore an authentic jacket, which very few had at that time.

        • Now that you mention it, I think it was seeing Tony’s Starter jacket that made me crave my own, a wish that was granted on my 18th birthday. Wore the hell out of that thing. Hangs in the closet to this day despite its fit being, shall we say, for a much younger me.

          • Steve D

            Greg, that jacket pre-dated Starter…my brother had one. It was made by Aladen and was the same model as this one. They were really hard to find. Starter made them much more ubiquitous.

  • Dave

    Thank you for supporting my belief that those WB Mason commercials are creepy.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    One can look at the runs scored by both clubs and find we have only scored eleven times less than the Dodgers and virtually the same amount (4.05 to the Dodgers 4.08) per game.

    Does that mean we have the same type of hitting attack? Well, not quite.

    L.A. started out quite cold, scoring an average of just 3.38 runs per game for their first 26 contests whereas during our first 25 games we scored an average 4.76. It’s since then that fortunes have reversed. For the last 93 games L.A. has averaged 4.27 runs per game while we have dipped to 3.86 during our last 92. So early in the year, we averaged not quite 1.5 more runs per game compared to L.A. whereas since that time the Dodgers have been out scoring us by .41 more per contest.

    Yup, we’re third in the league in walks so we get on base. But being second from the bottom in team batting average and also second in the league in strikeouts means were not getting the ball in play to move those runners along. Now, what about the value of working the count in hopes of getting one’s pitch (as defined by Dave Hudgens being just 13 of the 22 total inches of the strike zone)or drawing a walk?

  • Gianni Privacio

    Accurate portrayal of the situation as usual. Every pitcher, unless you’re someone like Dickey that figures out how to throw a pitch no one can figure out, has hot and cold stretches. Was just a matter of time before Harvey had couple iffy games. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s meh for the rest of the year. Far as I’m concerned he proved everything he needed to in 2013 in the first four months.

    Apologies for the next unrelated topic…is there a Jets site anywhere near as good as this one? Because while the Schmets appear at least headed in the right direction, holy cow the Yets seem to be completely off the runway and headed for Jamaica Bay already. Thanks in advance.

    • I’ll keep an eye out though I’m not overly familiar with any that approach the Jets as we approach the Mets. If it helps — and even though I run more to blue than green come the gales of November — I’ve been known to kv(j)etch about them in this space when the mood strikes and no baseball is transpiring.

      (Thanks for the kind words, too.)

      • Joe D.

        Hi Greg,

        You realize that 30 years ago “Faith And Fear In Flushing” could have applied to the Jets as well?

        Of course, that was before Al Gore invented the internet….

  • open the gates

    In my experience as a Met fan (late ’70s to the present), there has been only one Mets pitcher who had an entire season that could be described as superhuman. And his name is Dwight Eugene Gooden; the season was 1985.

    No one else should ever be compared. Not Seaver, not Harvey, not anyone. Doc was pitching on a different planet that year.

    • Steve D

      For one year, Doc was the best. Unfortunately, he was never the same again…either the drugs or the workload or both did him in. Today, they would have limited his innings and maybe he would have dominated longer. His teammates knew in 86, maybe even late 85 that Doc was into drugs…I always wonder if Davey had been more hands-on if he could have nipped that in the bud.

      • open the gates

        No question about it. But that team was unlike any Met team before or since. With the lone exception of Gary Carter, they were rock stars, with all that implies. And Doc and Darryl were the biggest rock stars of all. Ultimately, that’s what did them in.

        My point was that whenever a young Met pitcher emerges as a star, people tend to expect an ’85-Goodenesque season out of them – and they’re inevitably disappointed. Harvey’s come pretty close, as did R.A. last season. But I don’t think we’ll ever see another season like that again.

        Me, I vote for staying power over one season of glory. Harvey may not ever give us a Doc Gooden season. But if he gives us 7-8 more seasons like this one, we’re talking potential Hall of Fame. Which Doc isn’t in, by the way.

  • Andee

    Before this series, LAD swept TB in three games and also won 3 out of 4 against STL. Those are pretty good teams, you know.

    But when your, ah, firepower comes from guys like Nick Punto, you know you’re having one of those years, one where you fart and the methane transforms itself into rose petals, every time. Is this kind of success sustainable, if those are the guys you’re relying on? You have to figure that they’ll turn back into pumpkins eventually; it happened to their hated rivals down south, and quickly too. But right now, all I can think is, “Damn, I wish we had a billion dollars to waste.”

    • Dave

      Yeah, pumpkins next year perhaps, but in the meantime the Dodgers are loving the aroma of those rose petals no matter where they came from. And if some of it is thanks to the likes of Nick Punto, well, every “team of destiny” seems to have one guy (usually a middle infielder, remember Al Weis) who is normally a very forgettable player but for a short and extremely important period of time turns into Ted Freaking Williams.

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