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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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In Another Life We'd Be Snakes

Welp, that first West Coast trip is out of the way, and the Mets went 3-4, but 2-87 if you adjust the results by Depressed Met Fan Black Cloud Overhead Factor.

2-87 is obviously horrible, and in our spiritual standings the Mets are now 10,462 games out of first place.

3-4, on the other hand, is not horrendous for a week of playing on the other side of the continent in the middle of the night, and fans who make do with primitive stats such as wins and losses opened the paper (an obsolete physical medium) this morning to find the Mets in first place in the NL East by an entire half-game over the Nationals.

So what happened? Jacob deGrom was great, and Josh Collmenter was very far from that. The Mets clubbed four homers off Collmenter: two by Curtis Granderson, one by Wilmer Flores (whose Shortstop-O-Meter is currently reading EH MAYBE NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL), and one by Eric Campbell.

Campbell had one of those redemption games: In the first inning he goosed a double-play throw into the dirt at second base, turning two out and none on into a mess that cost deGrom two runs and the lead and sent the Twitterati (including this representative) marching on Sandy Alderson’s house with virtual pitchforks. So in the second Campbell hit a long home run into the seats to give the Mets back the lead and restore his own karmic balance. SNY’s cameras then caught Campbell apparently apologizing to deGrom for the lapse, with Jake grinning and life-is-granding his way through the exchange like he was selling another Ford.

Another good note from SNY: The Mets and Diamondbacks could be some unfortunate mother’s bizarrely different siblings. The Mets can pitch but can’t hit or field while the Diamondbacks can hit and field (particularly their annoyingly gazelle-like outfielders) but can’t pitch. Which started me down the road of a post sagely explaining that starting pitching is the foundation of everything, until I started poking around the expanded standings.

The Mets are 31-27 and have scored five runs more than they’ve surrendered; the D-Backs are 27-29 and have scored seven more runs than they’ve surrendered. The Mets are a half-game up in a division that’s scuffling along, while Arizona’s 4 1/2 out in a tougher slate. The only real difference between these two clubs is the quality of their neighbors; subtract that and they are essentially the same team. They’ve just taken different routes to getting to that same place.

The interesting question for the Mets is whether they get to be a different team soon. Travis d’Arnaud should be back within a few days, displacing Kevin Plawecki, who’s shown enough to give you hopes about his future while thinking his present should still be in Las Vegas. Dilson Herrera also looks close to returning, which should put the aforementioned Campbell out of a job, followed in a couple of weeks by Ruben Tejada. Bobby Parnell is due to return Wednesday despite not looking ready for duty, while the slightly less-unready-looking Vic Black was activated and sent to Las Vegas, which struck some Mets fans smarter than me as a slightly shenanigansy prelude to a transaction that would do the opposite of what I just wrote. Whatever the case, one of them should soon replace someone, probably the not-yet-ready Jack Leathersich.

The point is that the Mets should look different in a week, and if d’Arnaud and Herrera are sound and Parnell/Black can improve on Leathersich’s body of work they should be better. That’s a lot of ifs, granted, but how many ifs were required to get us to being injured and profoundly weird and also in first place on June 9?

17 comments to In Another Life We’d Be Snakes

  • BlondiesJake

    Where’s the second win coming from in the 2-87 mark? :<)

    • Advanced stats. The calculations would take several pages.

      Re deGrom, I’m told that folks who aren’t Time Warner customers may not be familiar with Jake’s work on behalf of Ford Lincoln of Queens. You’re missing out!

  • Neal

    This is a great post. Hilarious. Especially if the “Eh Maybe Not So Bad After All” playback on the Shortstop-o-Meter is voiced by Fran Drescher and there was video of Alderson addressing how the 2-87 road record affects the Mets plan for a 9,000 win season.

    Why the snark directed at Leathersich? Does he not pass some kind of unwritten eye test? Eight innings with one earned run and 12 Ks in the majors plus 11 innings in Vegas with two earned runs and 20 Ks? I guess maybe I’d look for more of a bump in the road before sending him down. He throws harder than Parnell…

    • Didn’t mean to snark on Leathersich — not being ready isn’t a mortal sin, just normal baseball development. He walks too many guys, but that’s not news.

  • Dave

    For all of the “if only all of the injured players were back” prayers, Parnell has been getting lit up like a pinball machine in his rehab stint, with the triple-digit fastball hitting, we’re hearing, about 92. They activated Black from the DL yesterday and decided that they’re better off with Robles, Goeddel and Leathersich (and Sean Gilmartin, the most forgotten, disregarded Met since at least McKay Christenson, perhaps even fellow Rule V scholarship recipient Kevin Lomon). I’m a bit concerned that Black and Parnell are not going to be heroes galloping in on white horses to upgrade a pen that, Familia aside, is starting to show a few bangs and dents and scratches.

    Is there another fan base in any sport so fast with the panic button? At times it’s morbidly entertaining, it’s this odd part of our DNA. There are 6 first place teams in baseball, and for whatever the reason, the Mets are one of them, 10,642.5 games better than the standings quoted above. And that’s even after the 2-87 roadtrip. So let’s revel in tonight’s guaranteed non-loss, hope that Aramis Ramirez does not become a Met, and see what happens next.

    • Left Coast Jerry

      I’m with you, Dave, regarding Black and Parnell. However, I think the kids in the pen have been mostly successful. If what I read is correct that the Mets must activate Parnell by Wednesday, I would not be particularly disappointed if they designate him for assignment. He’s a free agent at the end of the season. The team has already been paying him not to pitch for a year and a half. What’s a few more months? The way he’s been getting lit up in the minors, I would be less panicked to see Robles, Gilmartin, Goeddel or a Torres come in in a tight spot than Parnell.

  • Rochester John

    Re: Dilson Herrera “Returning”

    Here we go again with the replacements for replacements thing. Herrera was a replacement (for whom, who knows…hard to keep track at this point). Having missed the part where Dilson showed himself to be major league ready, I don’t see his return to the major league roster to be much of a plus.

    • Rob E

      The thing with Herrera is that he IS the future, he is a legitimate prospect, and he will almost certainly be the starting 2B next year. So in the absence of a better option at either 2B or 3B, you might as well invest in your own future. For what it’s worth, I think he can handle the job. There’s going to be a learning curve, but he didn’t look overmatched last year or this year. Both he and Plawecki will be better because of what has happened this year.

      With Parnell, the Mets are forced to do SOMETHING. His rehab time is up and they are required to. I don’t know if they can send him down or DL him or if they need his OK to do so, but I think they’re hoping for the best knowing that they can’t waste too many major league innings if he’s not ready, and other guys still have options. It’s procedural more than having any real immediate hope attached to it.

  • Dave

    Herrera is also a hell of a lot more useful than Danny Muno, Eric Campbell or the real Ruben Tejada, even at this stage of his development. Scouts have said that he’s a future All-Star, which may or may not turn out to be true, but I have no problem seeing him getting more playing time now.

    • Daniel Hall

      I saw Moneyball, once. Scouts say tons of crap in that movie. Like “Bobby doesn’t have guts”. Well, if you’d cut Bobby open …

      Point is, we have a roster full of people that were or are supposed to be or to do this and that. None of them has done it. Even the one guy that constantly amazes me, even with just the glove right now, Lagares, wasn’t supposed to *be*, since then den Dekker was supposed to be this and that. I tend to view scouting as grumpy, old, obese men that didn’t cut it at double-A going out and evaluating youth at random… I believe in hard numbers, and not a grumpy old man’s projections for the 2017 All Star Game.

      Herrera’s MLB sample size is small, but .226/.301/.387 is not quite within the definition of “reasons to believe it will all be well” for me. If he comes back Wednesday, that’s fine. I’d still like to keep the universally resented Ruben Tejada at third rather than the bland Campbell or useless Muno, and bat him second. Mets need base runners and he’s had a good week at that.

      • Rob E.

        It’s not just about what a guy does in a small sample (not to mention Herrera is extremely young by major league standards). If you look at Herrera’s minor league numbers, you’d see where the hope & projection come from. If you take into account the typical learning curve (Duda, Lagares, d’Arnaud all struggled at first…as did Mike Trout, for that matter), that .226/.301/.387 for a guy who just turned 21 IS a reason to believe. If you believe in hard numbers, that’s what these numbers say.

        Also, it’s a little premature to call Danny Muno useless after 20 scattered at bats. Jeff Keppinger and Marco Scutaro were also deemed “useless”…

      • Dennis

        “I tend to view scouting as grumpy, old, obese men that didn’t cut it at double-A going out and evaluating youth at random… I believe in hard numbers, and not a grumpy old man’s projections for the 2017 All Star Game.”

        I think most scouts who actually have played professional baseball (AA or not) and have been invlolved in the game their entire lives might know a bit more than those us sitting behind our computers or sitting on our couch. Not all of them are going to be correct 100% of the time in their assessment of these young players.

  • eric1973

    So Parnell is coming back soon, is he? This is the same guy who was anointed the closer 3 times, and then REMOVED 3 times due to ineffectiveness. The only time he ever showed any toughness in his life was when he threw Thor’s lunch in the garbage in Spring Training. Too bad that toughness never carried over into any regular season. Procedurally or not, Spare us, will ya please.

    • Dennis

      Wow……that’s pretty harsh. Were you ever talented or tough enough to play professional baseball at it’s highest level?

    • Dave

      It took Parnell quite a while to transform from thrower to pitcher, but once he did (largely under Isringhausen’s tutelage as I recall), he performed pretty well as closer. You can’t teach someone to throw 100mph, but if he can’t do that – and reports say he can’t – then I do question his potential for effectiveness. But Robles, Goeddel, etc, have all been non-prospect minor leaguers, and I’m not sure that throwing them into the deep end of the pool is going to work for the duration of this season. Maybe Robles becomes a good 8th inning guy by next year, because he does have a lively arm. But he’s still learning, and Goeddel looks like a Chris Schwinden to me.

  • eric1973

    Does this really count as a Major League no-hitter?