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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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Nip In Bud Now!

In the top of the first inning Saturday night at Tropicana Field, Curtis Granderson homered, Daniel Murphy doubled, Yoenis Cespedes singled and Lucas Duda doubled. The Mets led the Rays, 3-0, with nobody out.

This, I said to myself, is in the bag. Not just the game, but the season, the postseason and the dynasty to come. It was time to place every last one of my chips on this sure thing to win the 2015 World Series, maybe the next five if they’d let me. With Juan Uribe coming to bat to drive in Duda and keep the score tilting eternally the Mets’ way, I booked passage to Vegas, packed a bag, got a ride to Kennedy, boarded my flight, flew cross-country, found a cab and was taken to my favorite sports book on the strip.

As I inquired about placing my wager, I was told the first inning was still in progress in St. Pete. Of course it was. The Mets were never going to stop hitting because the Mets were never going to stop winning. The Mets had won seven in a row. As we all know, seven comes before eight, just as eight comes before forever. Forever and ever, amen, when it comes to the Mets’ success.

Oh no, I must’ve misunderstood what I’d just been told, somebody said. The first inning had continued while I made my continental sojourn, but it had nothing to do with the Mets continuing to score. In fact, the Mets had stopped scoring the moment Uribe came to bat. They went down 1-2-3 after that resounding start. Noah Syndergaard then took to the mound, threw a thousand pitches, fell behind, 4-3, and was still trying to get out of the inning.

Did I still want to place that bet?

I shook my head, turned around, reversed my trip and returned home in time to see the Mets lose, 5-4, ending their winning streak at seven and beginning their losing streak at one. A one-game losing streak, as all followers of the Mets have learned through bitter experience, encompasses a 50% chance of becoming a two-game losing streak. These odds suggest the Mets are doomed. Doomed, I tell you. They’re 0-1 in their last one, losers of one of their previous eight.

What a discouraging trend. It must be nipped in the bud ASAP. Here is what must be done to commence nipping pronto:

1) Trade Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud for prospects. See if we can salvage something out of the wreckage of these two once-promising careers by bringing in a couple of fresh faces who aren’t responsible for this monstrosity of a one-game losing streak. The culture must be changed. Noah was ineffective over four innings. Travis went oh-for-four. It is there-four a four-gone conclusion that they are beyond repair. While I was in Las Vegas, I heard about a couple of kids named Black and Herrera; we might want to trade for them. Doesn’t matter who we get. Syndergaard and d’Arnaud are 0-2 as a major league battery. They are ruining each other’s futures just by being on the same field at the same time.

2) Remind Wilmer Flores he’s not so special. A Milwaukee Brewers uniform in his locker would be a wise first step. Then the installation of a Groan-o-meter at Citi Field for every time he steps to the plate. Wilmer was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter Saturday night. The adulation has gone to his head.

3) Relabel the nickname on Terry Collins’s parking spot. Previous plans to stencil in TONALLY CORRECT, TENACIOUSLY CONFIDENT and TERRIFICALLY COMPETENT were obviously premature. Collins, like his ballclub, is 0-1 in his last one. TOTALLY CLUELESS it is going to have to be.

4) Adjust Cespedes’s contract immediately. The Mets must negotiate a clause that allows them to release the outfielder five days before the World Series and then never re-sign him again. A World Series can go as long as seven games, and in his seventh game as a Met, Cespedes was among fourteen players who could not prevent the club’s first loss in eight games. Clearly, we have learned, he is not a November player.

5) Decline use of designated hitter in Sunday’s game. This isn’t necessarily a season-salvaging move. This is just good taste.

All of the above may seem rash, panicky and unjustified. But the first-place Mets lost while the second-place Nationals won, representing the opposite of what had been going on mostly without pause for the preceding week. During that week, when everything was going beautifully, no reaction of ours was anything but calm, cool and considered.

When the Mets do nothing but win, everything makes sense. When the Mets lose…don’t ask.

13 comments to Nip In Bud Now!

  • Daniel Hall

    Up 3-0, nobody out, I mean, really, *nobody* out, my mind shifted into cruise control right before this thing ran off the cliff. Well, there’s always tomorrow. In Tampa, there can’t even really be rain tomorrow, since they have a roof.

    May I add how annoying Grady Sizemore has suddenly become since his dephilliation?

  • Whose stupid idea was it to jump to a multi-run lead? They’re much better playing from behind. Can we still blame Beltran?

  • Eric

    Tejada not circling a routine ground ball and then double clutching it with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd would help. (Of course, the walk, SB, and WP that preceded it didn’t help, either.)

    Odd play. I wonder if Tejada misread Longoria’s grounder off the bat and thought Murphy would field it, which would explain his odd route if his first reaction was to back up Murphy rather than run to the ball. It looked like Tejada switched his reaction midstream and was out of sorts the whole play from his footwork to his glove position picking up the ball.

  • Eric

    The runaway train was stopped and the pennant race is back on.

    It was a good day for the Nationals. One of the Mets’ vaunted aces fell flat at the same time one of their vaunted aces came off the DL and dominated.

  • Michael G.

    For some reason, Thor is mighty at home, but winless so far on the road. Of course, he’s just a rookie and one tends to forget that while he dominates at Citi Field.

  • Rob E

    Greg, that post was great for SO many reasons! Loved it!

  • Eric

    Positives: The bullpen did a nice job picking up Syndergaard. Gilmartin and Torres kept the team in the game. Syndergaard adjusting on the fly, which though rough, bodes well for his development as a rookie. It was interesting to see him rely so heavily on his change-up, which is considered a work in progress.

  • Robin Moore

    I opt to still BELIEVE in our Mets. I pray Syndegaard gets back on the winning track asap. I have tickets to see the METS in Baltimore this month. My Flores t-shirt is already packed and ready for the trip. LETS GO METS!!!

  • Daniel Hall

    And that makes two games in a row where an early 3-0 lead goes bust almost as early and the Mets lose.

    • Eric

      At least the damage was contained to 1 game in the standings with the Nationals losing a Scherzer start today.

      A 4-2 road trip is acceptable, but the burst of momentum has dried up. Now it’s back to the grind.

      I didn’t like that the revamped line-up went utterly dormant after the 2 early bursts of offense with a lot of Ks by the Mets hitters.

  • eric1973

    Great post, Greg!

    Agreed on all counts, except:

    No mention of ruination of franchise with impending return of D. Wright and his friend.

    • Matt in Richmond

      You are referring to the greatest player in franchise history, the ultimate team player, and future hall of famer. Interesting take.

  • […] pitch in predictable patterns. Syndergaaard led with his fastball to excess against Tampa Bay and got smacked around; the same thing happened in the first against Colorado — he threw 10 of 12 fastballs and […]