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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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As Seasons Die

Applause for Kelly Johnson, upon the ninth-inning, one-out, two-run home run that tied Wednesday night’s game, was hearty at schvitzy Citi Field but not universal. The Metsnoscenti recognized false hope as soon as they saw it. Huzzah, Kelly, for you did what you were supposed to do, what none of your teammates managed to do in the eight innings before, but by firing a cannon shot into the branded beverage pavilion, you also prolonged the inevitable.

This was not hindsight. My old buddy Jim predicted this turn of events hours before, when the Arizona Diamondbacks sat and sat some more on an early 1-0 lead. You just know, he said, that this is one of those games where the Mets will tie it in the ninth only to set up a loss that will feel far worse because it was tied. I’d credit Jim with outsize prognosticatory abilities, except I was thinking pretty much the same thing.

We’re all Kreskin with this team. We’ve all seen this movie, yet we keep coming back for the next show. Maybe they’ll change the ending, we try to convince ourselves. But they don’t.

Pick your precedent of choice to best explain the Diamondbacks’ twelve-inning 3-2 win. It wasn’t altogether different from any of the Mets’ one- or two-run losses of late. It reminded me a bit as well of the thirteen innings spent shaking my head at the Mets and White Sox at the beginning of June, mainly because my companion at that game departed an inning before the whole thing went into the dumper, just like Jim did Wednesday. Sticklers for facsimile might recollect along with me back to another Mets-Diamondbacks game, played at roughly the same juncture of a season that refused to kindly go away until it completely, grudgingly and scarringly disappeared.

August 3, 2002, first game of a Saturday doubleheader at Shea. In the bottom of the eighth, Edgardo Alfonzo launches a two-run homer. Talk about your huzzahs. The Mets take a 5-4 lead. Fonzie is so clutch. Now all that has to be done is record three outs in the top of the ninth. We’ll simply call on Armando Benitez, and…

Yeah, right. Craig Counsell leads off with a home run. We’re tied. We go to extras. Scott Strickland hits a guy, gives up a single and then a three-run bomb to Erubiel Durazo. Mets lose, 8-5. Mets lose the second game. Mets are swept in the series. Mets don’t recover until maybe 2005. No kidding.

But who requires precedent when the present is doing a splendid job of cultivating fresh agony? Johnson was The Man for a minute, just as Bartolo Colon was the Mets’ Big Sexy finger in the dike for seven innings of seven-hit ball. Bart, in his quest to defeat the only major league team he’d never beaten, gave up a single run. Silly veteran. Doesn’t he know one run is a trick too tough for the Mets to untangle? Especially when you’re facing Robbie Ray and his cabinet full of Cy Youngs?

Correction: Robbie Ray has no particular portfolio of success in his relatively brief major league career, and he entered the evening with a 4.83 ERA. His peripherals suggest he sucked a little less than that, but not nearly enough to shut out the (try to hold your laughter) Defending National League Champions (giggle) on three hits and no walks over seven innings.

Robbie Ray, not Randy Johnson, not Curt Schilling, not Brandon Webb, not Patrick Corbin before Tommy John. Robbie Fucking Ray. This is the fucking Diamondback the Mets couldn’t touch except to shake his hand in a complimentary fashion inning after inning as he set them down.

Jesus Marshmallow Fluff on three slices of Wonder Bread. I swear. I’d use real curse words there, but the Diamondbacks stole the rest of them when Travis d’Arnaud threw his Funk & Wagnalls into center.

The simple 2-0 loss toward which the Mets were on a glide path (Addison Reed having been less invincible than usual) was averted when Johnson took Jake Barrett to the soda pop palace. We’d be lobbying Congress for a commemorative Kelly Johnson Home Run postage stamp had it been followed by an additional run of some sort. Neil Walker, who was Tuesday night’s innocent hope-raiser, singled. Jay Bruce didn’t single, but he accidentally moved Walker to second on a groundout. A team that is seriously contending from two games out of a playoff spot — which is where the Mets found themselves entering the inaction thanks to a Marlin matinee loss — gets Walker home. Chip Hale, however, changed pitchers a few more times and ultimately arranged the matchup he wanted: anybody against a Met hitter.

We went to the tenth. Jeurys Familia joined us. It wasn’t a save situation, unless you count saving the season, then by all means, get Familia in there. Jeurys did what he could for two innings (approaching midnight in advance of a noon start). He and Colon could compare notes on keeping their team afloat with zero support, just as perhaps they swapped stories on their flight home from San Diego about not being used by their manager in the All-Star Game. The only Met who tried to help Familia on the offensive side of the ball, or at least the only one who succeeded a little, was the newest Met, rookie T.J. Rivera. Credit Rivera, Met third baseman No. 162 ever (so we have one for every game of a given year), with some nifty defense and his first major league hit, a single delivered to no avail leading off the home tenth. Also, T.J. comes to bat to Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz’s “Déjà Vu (Uptown Baby),” which samples Steely Dan’s “Black Cow” and had its video shot at Shea Stadium, so anything he does once he actually bats is a bonus in my book.

The Diamondbacks have a player named Oscar Hernandez. Did you know that? On a team swimming in interesting monikers — Tuffy Gosewisch; Socrates Brito; Phil Gosselin, your State Farm Agent of the Day for all your pinch-hitting needs, to judge by his Jumbotron portrait — Oscar Hernandez doesn’t necessarily stand out, but he’ll be wandering through our nightmares alongside Craig Counsell and Erubiel Durazo for a generation or two. Hernandez, who had never homered off anybody in the majors, did so versus Jerry Blevins (whose status as “not chopped liver” I’m beginning to reconsider) to start the twelfth. The Mets trailed by one. They stayed in that position through the bottom of the twelfth, confirming the 3-2 loss that left the Mets 2½ games and a million emotional miles out of the last Wild Card slot.

These Mets reminded me of a postseason team in one sense, for I was overcome by my own déjà vu, baby, when Wednesday was over. I hadn’t been up on the first base side of Promenade quite so late after a stinging loss since Game Four of the World Series. That night I was pretty certain 2015 had reached its death throes, though it would take one more game to make it official. This loss to the Diamondbacks had that much in common with that loss to the Royals. Here, of course, 49 games remain and one hot streak (or three lukewarm spurts) could conceivably make all the difference in determining 2016’s fate. But sooner or later, our boys have to actually win games by the plural. They’re not doing it and they’re not exactly throwing off sparks in their sputtering attempts to be victorious.

Your individual Defending National League Champions (snicker) are the worst offenders. D’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores and Curtis Granderson, honest-to-god baseball heroes this time last year, went a combined 0-for-13, each of them failing at the most crucial juncture they could uncover. Travis was a disaster with opposing runners on base as well. The D’Backs have been robbing him sight-impaired. Catchers may take too much blame for stolen bases, but d’Arnaud appears to be aiding and abetting the thefts, which have totaled nine in eleven attempts these past two nights.

The 2016 Mets have not swiped my affection for the game they attempt to play. I had a wonderful experience talking up their immediate predecessors at beautiful Little City Books in Hoboken on Monday night and appreciate all my Jersey compatriots for coming out. Stephanie and I were tickled to spend Tuesday night literally behind home plate (you may have seen us on camera) alongside our friends Rob and Ryder as we executed our seventh consecutive August good-time get-together. And on Wednesday, in seats generously passed along by the geographically absent but spiritually present birthday celebrant Skid Rowe (in a section adjacent to the heretofore uncrowned Queen of Beers; she wore a t-shirt that identified her as such), Jim offered a multi-inning interpretation of Lorinda de Roulet that Elaine Stritch would have envied on her best day. It’s only when the games end and the season’s aspirations wither with them that this whole Met thing grows inexorably morbid.

71 comments to As Seasons Die

  • Dave

    “…the matchup he wanted: anybody against a Mets hitter” may be the coffee-out-the-nose funniest line of the year, Greg. Either that or the most sadly depressing.

    I will continue to stubbornly maintain my membership on Team Terry, but I must acknowledge that the notion of treating Whoever Ty Kelly Is as a platoon left fielder is testing my patience.

    And glad to be one of your compatriots here west of the Hudson, and we appreciate you taking your first PATH train ride to spend some time with us. If only our conversation could have included a celebration of the 2016 Mets too.

  • Mikey

    when Greg and Jason get super snarky and start dropping F-bombs, that is never a good sign (yet it feels therapeutic to read it). and yet that’s what most of us are feeling as we can see right in front of our eyes what is happening.

    I would like to know if there is a way to know how many games the Mets have had zero runs and zero hits through three innings this season, in particular against lefties. As soon as you hear that Robbie Fucking Ray has been pitching terribly as of late, it’s already a foregone conclusion that the Mets are going to not touch him. it’s getting really old really fast

  • Steve D

    Lenny65 said Well, I guess it’s looking more and more unlikely that they’re suddenly going to go off on a season-defining tear here anytime soon, huh? Man but they are a sorry, sad-sack bunch, are they not? Like most of you I’ve probably said this dozens of times over the years but man, this might be the most flat-out disappointing Mets season ever. They’ve obviously had worse ones, they’ve definitely had more crushing ones but as far as expectations vs. results go, maybe 1987, I guess. But I thought this team was going to make a spirited run at the division at worst and go all the way at best. My bad for believing in them, I suppose, I should have taken the more classical skeptical approach and poor-mouthed them instead. Freaking Mets.

    This got to me. Allow me to lend my experience to this board. My family rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers and early on instilled in me a skeptical approach to my home team. Their hearts were broken all but one time…and then massively obliterated by Walter O’Malley. You have to expect them to break your heart…also helps appreciate the once a decade satisfying season (we had that one last year).

    You can compare successes, but not really disappointments. In 1987, Gooden going into rehab devastated us…with all the injuries, it was actually a miracle season that we competed at all. The whole decade after 1988 was embarrassingly disappointing as were the years after 2001. Look at my avatar. It is a 1960s Mr. Met saying “why us?…why do I subject myself to this.” The best thing to do is to live through past successes. I live mainly in 1969 and 1986 and just visit modern times as appropriate. Even if you are too young to remember those seasons, you can do it through highlights. I am really too young to remember 1969 fully, but I know everything about them and it still is a memory I can rely on…like the days of blue and orange squares on Shea Stadium. I guess the older you are, the easier it is to latch on to something to keep your sanity. The other thing you have to do is pray for new ownership, otherwise we are ensured of much continued suffering. I don’t care much about firing managers…purely a band-aid, but firing one usually breaks the monotony…like rooting for a massive snowstorm. This one seems about to occur.

    • Lenny65

      Too young to remember 1969, hazy memories of ’73 at best but I recall ’86 vividly. I’m a die-hard, still sporting the colors regardless of how good or bad we happen to be. I mean in junior high I actually had the stones to proudly wear my “The Magic Is Back” shirt without a trace of irony. I genuinely though last season was a beginning, not just a weird anomaly. I didn’t feel such enthusiasm going into a season since 2000. And here we are, not even a year removed from last year’s run and the talk is already centering on who’s gotta go, what must be done and etc. As Mets fans we all know where this is leading and it ain’t anywhere good. It’s as discouraging a kick in the teeth as I’ve ever experienced as a fan. It isn’t to say they can’t tweak this and duct tape that and piece together a contender going forward but the sick feeling that we already passed the high water mark is really tough to shake right now. And there isn’t anyone in particular to blame, it’s a combination of everything. I never should have gotten my hopes up but seasons like 2015 will do that to you, I suppose. Makes you really appreciate how rare and special runs like that are.

  • eric1973

    See, this is an example of why the “Those Who Want A New Manager (TWWANM)” crowd might have a point. TC should have taken those Goldschmidt/Lamb stats and threw them in the garbage.

    First, some appear to blame Rey Ramirez for playing injured players. What’s next? Blaming Dick Scott for those errant pitching changes/strategy?

    BTW, how many MVP votes is Lamb going to get?

    • Rob E.

      Lamb has more power than Goldschmidt this year and hits lefty (Lamb also has a higher OPS…just because he’s not as big a name doesn’t mean he’s not a very good player). You have to pitch to SOMEBODY. But that is the classic “damned either way” scenario. If they walk Goldschmidt and Lamb burns them, you can just ask why they walked a righty to pitch to a lefty.

      As for the Ty Kelly comment above…look at who Terry Collins has available these days. He let Colon hit leading off the bottom of the sixth partly because they had no righthanded hitters to put up against Ray (would you feel better with Eric Campbell?). They have been decimated by injuries, and now they have no L/R balance in a lineup that already sucked. There is only so much Terry Collins or ANYBODY can do under these circumstances.

      Unfortunately, this is a reverse of last year — and almost to the day. We are missing 3/4 of the infield (and Reyes on top of that), and an OF who is also our best hitter. Last year we had all these same hurdles until Cespedes came here. This year we lose Cespedes on Aug 2, and we’re right back where we were before Aug 1 last year. The lineups we are fielding now are just not playoff-caliber. That SUCKS, but that is NOT the manager! Last night they had Kelly, Reynolds, and a guy making his ML debut in the lineup. That’s a lot to overcome, especially when your veterans are going 0-for-13, as Greg pointed out.

  • Steve D

    Hey Greg…do you remember an extra inning game in the late 70’s or early 80s where a Cesar Cedeno HR crushed us? I was at that game and will try to find the date also…last night reminded me of it.

    EDIT: I found it…let’s see how good your memory is. Same score.

  • President of TWWANM

    Steve D, apologies for typo last night with my name

    Rob E. and Matt in Richmond, the comment about Gary and the booth was to point out that stats have a place but you also need to have the pulse of the game as a manager. Lamb has looked awful at the plate in the series and Goldschmidt has proven himself time and again.

    Furthermore, Rob E. stated those who are paid to comment aren’t questioning TC. Whether you think it’s fair or not is irrelevant. They ARE openly questioning his strategy. Gary’s head almost blew off in extra innings when he thought they might do it again. He rightly changed his thoughts on it once Familia had two strikes on him BEFORE 1B BECAME OPEN and was locating his pitches pretty well.

    Oh and Keith, before d’Arnaud’s awful bunt attempt, said the Mets should hit and run but TC doesn’t like it. As anybody who had watched the past week or so, all d’Arnaud has done is hit ground balls. It was perfect time to use that strategy but instead he tried to force a guy that can’t and doesn’t bunt to bunt, then gets quoted as saying, “All I can do is give guys opportunities,” which is garbage. He can give guys opportunities with the best chance to be successful. He doesn’t.

    • Steve D

      No problem…get it now.

      I play ball and have notice d’Arnaud keeps fiddling with his swing. Can’t settle on one (I’m the same way, but I’m hitting .450). Coaching?

    • Rob E.

      1) Regarding you “pulse of the game” comment — you are right, managing is not just about stats. The thing is that When Collins manages to the stats he gets criticized for being a button pusher (like yesterday — Jake Lamb is hitting .306 with a .629 SLG vs. righties this year), and when he manages by the “pulse of the game” (like the Blevins/Reed game vs. the Yankees), he STILL gets criticized.

      2) When I said that Collins doesn’t get second-guessed, I didn’t mean that he NEVER gets second-guessed. ALL managers do and he is no exception. What I meant was that his decisions are not routinely and consistently criticized by these guys. If he was truly terrible, he would be getting killed with the media that exists in this market, and by the Mets own guys, who have no problem saying what they think (which is one reason why they are great). Questioning decisions and deliberating strategies is part of the essence of baseball. But it’s not like you open the newspaper or turn on the radio and they are railing against him.

      3) I was watching yesterday when they said that about Goldschmidt, but again, Lamb is hitting .306/.629 against righties. You just can’t walk Paul Goldschmidt because he’s Paul Goldschmidt and ignore the stats of the guy behind him just because nobody knows who he is. Goldschmidt is .282/.467 vs. righties, by the way. When Familia got to two strikes, it made perfect sense not to walk him.

      4) Regarding the hit-and-run, he tried it with Matz yesterday and Matz swung through it and Reynolds got thrown out, so he DOES do it. I didn’t see d’Arnaud’s bunt attempt and I don’t know the circumstances surrounding that, but the first thing you said in your post was managing to the “pulse of the game” and not being a slave to stats. And then when he does that you criticize him anyway! This is exactly our point when we defend Terry Collins. You’re just looking for reasons to criticize…it doesn’t matter what he does. Here you have a major league player who couldn’t lay down a bunt, and again that’s the manager’s fault.

  • joenunz

    Mike Vail would have knocked in the winning run.

    #MakeTheMetsGreatAgain

  • Kevin from Flushing

    You just had to bring up the Counsell game.

    Didn’t the dbacks sweep another doubleheader in similar fashion in 03 or 04?

  • Steve J

    Let’s bring up a happy DBacks memory…Todd Pratt’s game and series-winning home run!
    https://youtu.be/NQ5BeunJRAs

  • Gil

    The Mets are 2.5 games back in the wild card. The Fat Lady has not sung.

    Repent, ye of little faith!

  • Left Coast Jerry

    I’m writing this before I head out to “take a haircut.” I’m not here to defend Terry Collins. He makes some moves or non-moves that leave me scratching my head. But then so has every one else that ever managed a major league team. You can go to a blog for any team, and you’ll find comments questioning the manager. This may not be true on Marlins blogs, because there are no Marlins fans, or on Braves blogs, because most of their fans are illiterate.

    With the injuries this team has suffered, is it realistic to think that the record would be any better if Bruce Bochy or Joe Maddon was the manager? Especially with the historically low batting average with runners in scoring position.

    What I’m seeing from the comments here is a theme that since the players aren’t executing, the manager must be executed.

    Happy times: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN198509060.shtml September 6, 1985. Mets beat Dodgers 2-0 in 13 innings in a game where Gooden and Valenzuela were the starting pitchers. I was there with my son.

    • Dennis

      “He makes some moves or non-moves that leave me scratching my head. But then so has every one else that ever managed a major league team. You can go to a blog for any team, and you’ll find comments questioning the manager.”

      Great points Jerry! That’s always been my contention in regards to Collins. I never feel he’s above criticism, but many think he’s the only manager in MLB making mistakes or bad decisions.

  • Steve D

    My gut feeling on Collins…his demeanor lately tells me he is not the cool, calming influence type. He also doesn’t seem to be the toss the banquet table over guy. He is stuck in the middle, which is not enough to shake the doldrums.

  • Rochester John

    So, yesterday, I’m teeing off on a 155 yd. par 3, and I skull it like the ball’s in a guillotine. It takes off toward the hole, never getting more than a foot off the ground, touching down about a dozen times before calmly coming to rest about two feet from the hole. I sheepishly tap it in, and accept the round of sarcastic “Nice Birdie”s from my foursome.

    That’s what it will feel like, if, somehow, these Mets are able to back into a Wild card with something like 83 wins. I’d rather we gracefully accept what we deserve this year, and chalk it up to all of the injuries and an innings hangover from last year, than to give Alderson any excuse to stand pat over the winter. Hopefully, 78 wins will force him to face some ugly truths at catcher, first base, second base, and the OF (should Walker and Cespedes bolt).

  • Matt in Richmond

    Does anyone not think that a healthy Harvey, Cabrera, Lagares, Henderson, Duda, Cespedes, and Reyes would be worth at least 5-6 games? Notice I didn’t even mention Wright or Wheeler because we knew it would be dicey counting on them. This is not a team that has given up. They are battling as hard as they can to the last out. They’ve just reached a point where they are missing too many guys to play at a high level on a consistent basis. We can grouse about it or assign blame if we want, but it’s just the normal outcome one would expect under the circumstances. Maybe there’s enough season to get a couple guys back, get a couple guys hot and go an a roll. But if not, I appreciate the effort even though it’s been ugly to watch at times.

    • Jacobs27

      Matt in Richmond, it’s hard to answer hypotheticals like that confidently. The injuries have certainly aggravated this team’s problems, and they are part of the reason they’re hitting rock bottom right now.

      But let’s face it. This is a fundamentally flawed team, even when healthy. They’re not just unlucky, they’re not just hurting. They’re bad. Last year’s run was the exception. This is the norm. It sucks.

  • mikeski

    Can somebody please explain to me what the hell is going on with Conforto? It seems like he is actively being sabotaged. Seriously, what am I missing here?

  • Founder and CEO of TWWANM

    Here are my last comments specifically on TC. And unlike Matt in Richmond, when I say this will be my last comments specifically on TC, I mean it.

    Rob E., the pulse of the game refers to what’s going in during the game and in the preceding games. Lamb looking completely lost at the plate was part of the pulse. What part of the Blevins decision had any precursors that I call the pulse. Had Reed been struggling in the preceding games? Was he not pitching well against lefties recently? Were Gardner and Ellsbury dominating righties? And if you want to insist that Blevins was the right choice, then why did Collins take him out AFTER he retired Ellsbury and could’ve had Teixeira hit RH and then faced McCann who is terrible vs lefties?

    You also said TC is routinely criticized. That’s the life of a manager. But if you are going to average a dumb move a day, expect to be called on it each day. Do other managers get defended to the death on other blogs? If so, I guess you’re in good company.

    Your hit-and-run statement reminds me of Michigan Wolverines OC Mike DeBoard, who when asked why he didn’t try a different strategy in a game said, “I tried it once, it didn’t work.” Without knowing I’m willing to guess TC has hit and run less than 10 times all season, perhaps less than 5. The example you picked was with the pitcher, who while a good hitting pitcher is paid to pitch. Further, the situation you didn’t see last night was with a catcher that is on the team to hit and rarely if ever is called upon to do so. HOWEVER, he has been making solid first pitch contact hitting ground balls. You have accused me of acting otherwise if it didn’t work, but I had already posted on FB that I wanted them to hit-and-run and Keith had mentioned it shortly thereafter. Had it not worked, I would’ve been fine with the attempt.

    Matt in Richmond aka Seriously I’m Done With This,
    I am willing to bet Joe Maddon and Terry Francona and other managers the Mets could’ve hired (and some they still can like Wally and Bobby V) would be worth 5-10 games per year. The catch of course is the Mets organization is rotten at its core. Ownership “needs” to handle everything on the cheap now because of ponzi scheme “mistakes.” Alderson wants a yes man. It adds up to hiring and keeping Collins around.

    Rob E., MiR, Dennis and other Touters of Terry,
    You have what you want, namely Collins on the bench, so I suggest not wasting your time arguing with folks like me and just enjoy the mediocrity. Smile while some prime years of stud pitchers get wasted. Bask in the glow of missing the playoffs and using injuries as an excuse while ignoring the 5-10 games a good manager would find a way to get in the W column that will be the difference in making the WC.

    Oh and go check out the rosters of the other WC contenders and tell me how much better they are, how many Syndegaards and deGroms and Matz’s and Familias and Reeds they have and how those other teams’ managers have so much more to work with. The Dodgers are playing without Kershaw and most of their staff is garbage but they have moved into comfortable WC position. The Marlins staff is lousy after Fernandez and their offense isn’t even half a run better than the Mets and they lost Dee Gordon for half the year for drugs and Stanton was an abomination for half the season and Bour is out with a foot injury but they have passed the Mets. The Pirates staff was better than Miami’s but nothing special and they dealt away pitchers including a main starter and their closer and are still doing better than the Mets with an offense just barely a half run better per game. And the Cardinals offense has been solid but their pitching staff is duct taped together.

    Sorry, but the excuses don’t cut it. Neither does the manager. Such is life for us Mets fans. I believe we deserve better. You don’t. What can I do?

    • Dennis

      Founder of TWWANM…….I think the additional 5-10 wins this season would have come from a healthier team more so than Terry. But I respect your opinion.

    • Rob E.

      I don’t care that you don’t like Terry Collins, you’re entitled to, but you are presenting flawed arguments as fact. You are the one who brought up “pulse of the game vs. stats,” how exactly are you defining that? Blevins/Reed and Goldschmidt/Lamb are both decisions that could have been defended either way. In both cases you are just blaming the manager for the player’s failure to execute. One guys wants the lefty to pitch to the lefties, another wants the 8th inning guy in…it doesn’t mean either is wrong. Just because he went against YOU think doesn’t make him an idiot.

      As for your Wolverines analogy…again, you imply on one hand that he should try it again even though it failed the first time, but with Reed you’re saying he should have put him in against the Yankees because it was the “proven solution.” You can’t have it both ways. The thought process was the same! You can’t just repeat OR avoid things because of the previous result. THAT is part of what you call “pulse of the game.” You are just criticizing a manager you don’t like because the players failed.

      As for the other teams, go look yourself and tell me how many of THEIR lineups are missing their best hitter, have four backups in them, and four guys hitting under .240. Out of all those guys you mentioned, only deGrom has been ace-caliber all year, and Reed has been very good. When Syndergaard goes out and has a game like he did today (and really since just before the all-star game), that’s not Terry Collins’ fault.

      No one is happy where they are now. And there are a lot of reasons for that. But Terry Collins is a pretty small part of the struggles. If you look at this season and think Joe Maddon or Dusty Baker or Bruce Bochy would have done more with this team and what has happened to it, then you have not been watching the same games that I have.

    • Matt in Richmond

      Yep, you got me. I really wanted to be done with the TC discussion, and tried to extend an olive branch to you guys in the hopes of moving on to something more interesting. Unfortunately, the discussion carried on and on and on and I was unable to resist jumping back in. Why that bothers you so much is a bit puzzling and humorous.

      It is comical to suggest that a different manager would have won 5 to 10 more games than TC. Even the best managers have years where too many things out of their control go wrong and the team suffers. Often a great deal more than the Mets have this year in fact. Pointing out the injuries is not an excuse it is the reality. You use the Dodgers succeeding without Kershaw as a rebuttal to this. Kershaw is great. But he is one player. Please point out to me if you will, which teams are doing better than the Mets that have lost one of their best starting pitchers, a setup reliever, starting first baseman, starting shortstop, starting third baseman, replacement third baseman, starting centerfielder/left fielder/best player, and platoon starting center fielder.

      I don’t think TC is the greatest of all time. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disagreeing with his decisions from time to time. I simply have a problem with someone having an agenda against him that seems to be based on nothing. Someone who constantly bickers about decisions that any manager would potentially make as an example of some sort of shortcoming. Using a closer in a non save situation. Bunting down a run with a runner on 1st and nobody out. Pitching to a hitter with a .464 slugging percentage vs. righties instead of walking him to pitch to a hitter with a .620 slugging percentage vs. righties. It’s okay to think he should have gone a different way, but these decisions are not managerial misconduct.

      You exhorted us to enjoy missing the playoffs and to revel in the wasting of talented young arms. Well there’s a true blue Mets spirit! As a matter of fact, I greatly enjoyed making the World Series last year. It was about as fun a couple months as I remember in quite some time thank you. And for this year, I am proud of the fact that we have hung in as long as we have with as much adversity has been thrown at us. It’s been ugly at times, but my hope remains intact and memories of last year are fresh in my mind.

      LGM

  • Pete the Midnight Golfer

    Sell the team Fred Wilpon! Take your real estate marketing talents elsewhere! “Hardball is back!” “Los Mets!” “Slick fielding, base stealing, pitching oriented in an extra large field” “We’re going to ride our low budget superstud pitchers along with timely hitting” Fact is we stood pat during the winter. Resigning Céspedes, downgrade at 2nd, upgrade at short and hoping that, given a good breeze at our backs, we’d get lucky again, was amazingly sad. And it was standing pat. The Gnats upgraded, even at manager. I will go on listening to the games. I hope Fred sits behind the dugout for every one of them!

  • Mikey

    i just checked the boxscore on Yahoo and saw that Thor just got tagged for consecutive hits and three runs by the bottom of the D-backs order–Socrates, Tuffy and the pitcher. I think it’s safe to say the sky is now falling.

    • Steve D

      The boxscore will not show Syndegaard swinging at the first pitch, then failing to successfully bunt with one and two strikes. He should have been bunting on the first pitch, but those bunts were so pathetic, it probably wouldn’t have mattered.. It will not show the pitcher stealing second and the throw not even going down to second, but over Noah’s head on the return throw.

      The most important thing it won’t show was Syndegaard throwing his hands up at Bruce letting a ball get by him for a triple (he may have been able to hold that to a double) or throwing his hands up after a line single…did he think Walker had poor range on that?

      This is embarrassing….they are stealing at whim.

      • Mikey

        oh damn. and now it’s 9-0, with Niese going full Bastardo on us. Remember Niese shut the Mets down in Pittsburgh? those were good times.

  • Bob

    Enjoy hearing Keith, Gary & Ron chat & joke–the other night about Bullwinkle and pulling something out of a hat–to which somebody said–must be the wrong hat…
    Not fun watching this collection of Mets try and hit–granted crippling injuries we’ve had–but a few minutes ago I checked & found: of 30 MLB teams
    Mets are-
    BA 30th–.237
    Runs 29th
    Hits 30th
    RBIs 28th
    RISP .204–30th 22 points below any other team
    RISP 2 out .169 30th- 35 points below any team
    Does not help that every time I check DC Expos games,I see Murph–hitting .350 and going for batting title & MVP…more agiata…
    Sure glad we enjoyed the ride last Aug, Sept, Oct..
    OY!
    Met fans since Polo Grounds-1963
    Let’s Go Mets

  • Steve D

    The answer to my question to Greg about Cesar Cedeno doing something similar:

    Greg would probably remember this, as it practically ended “The Magic is Back” – which in the summer of 1980 meant the Mets weren’t as bad as usual. In fact on August 3, 1980, against the Astros, they could have gotten to .500 with a win to get to 51-51! Claudell Washington tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the 8th with a single. The game went to the 10th…Jeff Reardon came in and Cesar led off (just like his 1985 HR and the HR last night) with a HR over the auxiliary scoreboard in left to make it 3-2 and the Mets never did reach .500 that summer.

    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1980/B08030NYN1980.htm

    • The Cedeno hitting a homer didn’t ring a bell, but I do remember the sting of not sweeping that series. I also remember Steve Albert saying that since the Mets had come from behind Friday and Saturday, “it’s only fitting” that the Mets have to fight from behind on Sunday, which may have been one of the first serious instances of “great, now you’ve jinxed them” in my nominally rational fandom.

      The Magic hung in to 56-57, until the five-game sweep at the hands of the stupid Phillies. What a wakeup call.

      • Steve D

        I can picture that ball going over that scoreboard like it was yesterday….Retrosheet filled in the rest of the details…I can’t remember all that either.

    • Dennis

      Thanks for posting that Steve!

  • Greg Mitchell

    Waiting for the “young star” D’arnaud defenders to show up again. Can’t throw at all. A bit of a problem for a catcher.

    Thor terrible today? As I keep predicting. Terry let him throw over 112 pitches his last two (mediocre) starts. Despite bone chips and “dead” arm from just a month ago. He will NEVER pitch better this year due to…whatever. We’ll see how ultra-bone-chips Matz does next start after his 120 pitches this week. See Wheeler two years ago when Terry let him throw over 110 regularly and he led league in pitches thrown at similarly tender age. You can say, “Hey, Steve Carlton used to do it,” but that’s another era, my friends. Thor is still only 23, which would normally lead to pitching limits anyway.

    • Rob E.

      I’m not going to defend d’Arnaud, but they stole all day on Rivera today, too. Problem not just Travis, maybe?

      As far as Thor, he struck out 6 in 5 innings with 1 walk…the stuff is still there, so I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the recent pitch counts…he has been below his average for most of the past month.

      Finally, they are already missing Matt Harvey. The BEST option to replace him has an ERA of 4.66 and a WHIP of 1.46. WHO do you think is available to replace Syndergaard and/or Matz? For the record, Matz pitched his best game in months the other day. Yeah, they have both been under their game for a while…what’s your solution?

      • Greg Mitchell

        Below his pitch count lately? No, as I pointed out, over 110 in his previous two starts.

        Striking out people, especially these days, does not indicate that someone has not lost “stuff.” In fact, Thor’s fastball is down a bit, as is his slider, and he can’t bend his curve (possibly due to elbow) and can rarely pinpoint fastball (indicating fatigue). If you think it’s wise, or productive, for him to be throwing 110 or more pitches a game, see me next year when he is even worse than his recent record this year– 2-5, 4.20 era in the past half season…

  • Pete In Iowa

    As much as I reveled in what this team did in 2015, it is now time to be realistic.
    With the exception of the regular season months of April, 2015, August 2015 and April 2016, this club has basically been a .500 team in every other month in that time span (just barely over .500 last September). It is also fair to point out that they have not been bad (record-wise) in any month during that span – except of course for the torture that this month has become.
    Point is – they are basically a .500 team – nothing more, nothing less. Which is absolutely the worst place for a ball club to be in this day and age.
    The bottom line is that we CAN’T HIT. One can lament those who are missing, but the fact is it is hard to find a good hitter among those who have been missing (with the exception of Cespedes). Duda? Lagares? A diminished Wright? Nary a good hitter in the bunch.
    Granted, we’re built on pitching, which has been good, but I’m afraid that without consistently good professional hitting, you can’t be a consistently good ball club. It’s as simple as that.
    Making matters worse is that we’ve got a lot of holes to fill for 2017 – 1B, 2B, 3B, C, CF. Since our youngsters seem to be gagging on their chance to showcase some talent, I can’t see filling these holes via the trade market (w/o giving up proven pitching). And I certainly can’t see Wilpon doling out a few Free Agent (if there are any good ones to be had) contracts this winter.
    As a Met fan for over 50 years, I will also have faith. A lifetime of following baseball has taught me that anything still can happen. My biggest fear is that last season was a flash in the pan, in much the same manner as 1973 proved to be.

    • Jacobs27

      Exactly, Pete. Well-said.

      I also don’t think I’ve ever seen a major league team so glaringly vulnerable to the stolen base while simultaneously so utterly incapable of stealing any themselves. (Or taking the extra-base, beating it out, moving runners along…)

      Anthony DiComo put it best:
      “This stolen base thing is getting obscene. It’s like a videogame when you’re playing your friend but he doesn’t know the controls.”
      https://twitter.com/AnthonyDiComo/status/763790482078138368

  • Steve D

    Very apropos that the score was 9-0, because that is the score recorded if you don’t show up at all.

    I don’t see Collins being a good natured manager emeritus.

  • MetFanMac

    I don’t see why we should bother rooting for this team to nab a wild card spot… the competition for it is so weak it would feel almost like a humiliating “participation award”, and even assuming that by some miracle they survive the one-game playoff can you imagine them lasting a full series against any of the other vastly superior teams? I can’t. Seeing the flag for such an “accomplishment” at Citi Field would *NOT* evoke positive memories. It would be much more preferable if this whole season quietly slipped away into our subconscious as soon it’s over, only venturing forth to give us intermittent nighmares over the next couple of decades.

    • Rob E.

      I see your point, but they are going to have Cespedes, Cabrera, and Reyes back, and they still have deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz. They have the pieces here to do the baseball equivalent of a hockey team with hot goalie in NHL playoffs. They haven’t shown any sign of turning it around, unfortunately, but even if they get the second Wild Card and lose, you would have to count that as somewhat of a victory and would be a more positive outcome to take into next season than not making the playoffs after the high expectations everyone had.

      There are teams in history that have dug out of deeper holes….last years Rangers were a game under .500 and 4.5 games out on this date, and the ’73 Mets were 10 games under and 7.5 games out.

  • eric1973

    On AUG09-10,2016, using what we know about everything, it makes no sense letting Goldschmidt hit in those 2 situations. Ok, maybe ten per cent, but that’s all you get.

    • Matt in Richmond

      That’s just flatly inaccurate as we’ve explained ad nauseum. The numbers and the lefty/righty matchups all point to going after Goldy. I’ll magnanimously grant you that by the eye test and name recognition I can understand how some might think going after Lamb would be the preferred option, but that’s it. At most it’s a 50/50 tossup, but even that’s really a bit of a stretch. Sorry.

  • Jacobs27

    Well, on the bright side, Reyes has a couple walks and a couple steals so far for Brooklyn tonight.

  • eric1973

    Great, another minor league success whose talent does not translate.

  • eric1973

    Anyone else think TJ Rivera looks like A-Roid?

  • open the gates

    So I get in my car, turn on the radio, and realize that I forgot the Mets had an afternoon game today. (Notice my chagrin at having missed thus particular fun fest.) The reason I knew I missed the game was because of the man bellowing on the radio that the only guy on this team that shows any passion is Neil Walker, and as for the rest of them, there are a bunch of young guys in Vegas who would love to swap places with them. It wasn’t until Wayne Randazzo replaced the shouter that I realized that it was Terry Collins.

    Yep – Terry Collins, the player’s manager. The guy who spent his entire career in NY defending the Mets players in public right down to their very last Omar Quintanilla and Chris Schwinden. His entire career until today, apparently.

    And good for him. Good. For. Him.

    • Steve D

      I would think if the team does not respond now, he HAS to go.

      They showed Collins in the dugout seeking out Granderson and laying it all on the line to him. When asked after the game what Collins said, Granderson played dumb…saying that he doesn’t remember any thing special…that Collins speaks to him several times a game. This strikes me as typical Mets subterfuge…from the front office down, now including the players. Just say it was a private conversation…don’t insult our intelligence.

  • Matt in Richmond

    So in your mind it’s the manager’s fault that a team comprised of mostly backups and AAA players isn’t playing over .500, and making it to the WS last year counted for nothing? That’s pretty harsh, but have it your way.

    • Steve D

      I don’t know if you are talking to me, but I don’t like the way he is handling himself or the team lately and that is not harsh, it is my opinion of watching and playing baseball and softball for 45 years. When you call out the team like that, you have played your final trump card and it has to work or you are done.

  • Matt in Richmond

    As far as I can tell (and correct me if I’m overlooking someone) the closest parallel I can find to The Mets of a preseason favorite to contend that has suffered so many significant injuries to Opening Day starters is KC. They still don’t have as many as we do, but they are the closest I am aware of. Their record? 54-59. Just a little perspective.

  • I love you guys collectively and individually, but I can’t believe this argument rages on.

  • sturock

    Making it to the World Series last season did *not* count for nothing, it counted for a lot, and it created expectations for 2016. As one of you pointed out, Alderson didn’t do a whole lot this past off-season, and we were all complaining about it until Cespedes dropped into our laps almost at the last minute.

    Now, a lot of bad things have happened this year, just the way a lot of bad things happened to the Nats last year. But what worries me is I don’t see much of a future. We don’t have Scherzer, Strasburg, Harper, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, et al., a group that was supplemented by an out-of-his-mind Daniel Murphy. We don’t seem to have much of a core at all beyond the three uninjured starters and Jeurys Familia. Is there a single hitter we can depend on going into 2017. Maybe Cespedes if he opts in? Jay Bruce? These are not exciting young players who are going to get better. These are veterans who at best will maintain and at worst will begin to decline.

    Where are the young guys who were going to lead us to victory? What happened to Michael Conforto? Who screwed this guy up? What happened to d’Arnaud? Is there anyone in the minor leagues who can come up to help? I don’t think Matt Reynolds, TJ Rivera, and Ty Kelly are going to take us anywhere. These are career minor leaguers and once-and-future MLB scrubs.

    That’s a big problem, more than Terry’s questionable in-game managing. (Really, he has nothing to work with and hasn’t for most of his tenure.) (And do we really want another aged 86 hero like Wally Backman running the show when what this team needs is some fresh young leadership?)

    What is Alderson’s plan for this team? Is there a plan? Or will there be more seasons like this one? I am coming to expect that what can go wrong does and there are no creative solutions.

  • metsfaninparadise

    Regardless of what this team may accomplish, I don’t know if I even want to remember them, fondly or otherwise.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Greg, you are right. I’ve never been good at knowing when to shut up. Growing up I can’t tell you how many times my dad would either call me boca grande or remind me that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. I like to think he did so with equal parts affection and exasperation, but likely it was more the latter. Last year was so much fun, and as frustrating as this year has been, it both pains me and baffles me to hear so much negativity coming from people who presumably care as deeply as I do. Perhaps though it’s time to remind myself of yet another saying, this one not my dads, “tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than speak and remove all doubt.”

  • mikeL

    hat’s off to our hosts and to all of the commenters for being able to actually write anything about – let alone *watch* this team!

    for years i was angry about reyes and wright for celebrating on-field so endlessly after *finally* clinching the division – after plastic sheeting and champagne had to be re-packed 3 nights in a row in pittsburgh.
    bad optics/worse karma given the way he next two…and then next 6 seasons went.

    it’s fitting that after so many farm animals, sports cars, superhero publicity stunts spring training and beyond – the mets would be *here*.

    there’s something to be said for a workmanlike humility and for truly appreciating the luck and magic that made last year happen.

    as said so well above, these mets are essentially a very mediocre .500 team with a few hot months/streaks thrown in.

    this year minus the-one-guy-who-could-always-actually-hit.

    thank goodness for the one big (old!) guy not part of the BIG FIVE or things would have been even worse by now.

    can’t help but feel like the dynasty-in the-making has already left the building, but hope come next spring that feeling’s proven wrong.

    LET’S NOT GET!
    ANYONE ELSEI
    HURT!

    an awkward cheer but with the right phasing it could catch on…