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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 Incredible Shrinking National League Champs

Here’s your roundup of another thrilling day rooting for the incredible shrinking National League champs:

  • Zack Wheeler‘s return to the mound was followed by not being able to throw because of elbow pain, so he’s off to see Dr. James Andrews. We’re all sure this will turn out great.
  • The Mets sent Michael Conforto down to Vegas again, where he will hit .300. He’ll hit .300 either because a) in Triple-A he isn’t “pressing” or b) in Triple-A he’s away from a manager seemingly hell-bent on destroying his development via irregular playing time and self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • Logan Verrett was horrible yet again, as he has been for four months, and was booed off the mound. Not to worry, as he’ll be replaced in the starting rotation by underachieving alibi-prone malcontent Jon Niese, last seen out-Verretting Verrett by giving up six runs in one inning. A steady diet of shit like this makes nihilism seem like a practical life philosophy.
  • The rest of tonight’s game saw the Mets annoy a pig by smearing lipstick all over it. I’m genuinely baffled by those in attendance who remained. And so I salute you. You are the true diehards, the bleeders of orange and blue who remind us all that despite trying times … oh, enough of that bullshit. You’re crazy people twice over — crazy for joining a sadistic tropical death march in the first place and crazier for staying to watch the ship sink and sharks take down the survivors.
  • The 2016 Mets are now officially below .500 at 57-58. Over their last 81 games — that’s a full half-season if you’re sighing at home — they’re 36-45. That gaudy-by-comparison 57-58 record is an illusion based on things done long ago by a team that no longer exists. You’re witnessing a 76-86 club finding its level. It hasn’t reached it yet.

I think that’s all the deplorable stuff that happened today, but if I missed anything, fear not: the Mehs will be back tomorrow to muddle around uselessly and depress us further. You’ve got 19 hours to do something life-affirming and not completely futile. Make the most of it.

36 comments to The Incredible Shrinking National League Champs

  • Lenny65

    And it’s official, the 2016 Mets are clown shoes. Yeah, terrific, Jon Niese, that’s just swell. Wheeler is hurt again? Of course he is. Conforto is back in Vegas again? Oh, fantastic, glad to see they’re taking his development so seriously. Brandon Nimmo, there’s another prospect you’ll be hearing about for days to come. Gotta love this Kelly kid and this Loney, he’s a MLB player. Hey, maybe Jose f*cking Reyes will return soon to “give the offense a jolt” with the skills he used to have! Then we’ll really be set. What a mess, I mean it just boggles the mind. I don’t know how they do it year after year but this team always but always finds new ways to be frustrating and weird.

  • 9th string catcher

    They’re not a 10 games under team. Little chance of playoffs, but they’re not as good as they were in April, not as bad as they are now. They’re losing to teams with nothing to lose right now and will have some wins against teams that are better than they are.

  • Dave

    The old adage is that you’re never as good as you look when you’re hot, and you aren’t as bad as you are when you’re cold. I think this might mean that everybody is about a .500 team, so there you are. That Niese is once again a member of this rotation…well, the Groundhog Day material just writes itself, I don’t have to bother. I’m sure Gabriel Ynoa and Robert Gselleman are awaking to WTF? moments.

    And the reason why Conforto will hit .300 in Vegas is because Whoever Ty Kelly Is hit like .380 there. It didn’t work last time, not likely to work this time, and all we can hope with him by now is that someday we look back on 2016 and say “sophomore slump” and not “Mike Vail.”

  • Jacobs27

    Call me crazy, but that was pretty encouraging for an 8-6 loss. Sure, Verrett was super lousy, but he shouldn’t be starting anyway. d’Arnaud looked like a new man, the offense actually put together good at-bats, the bullpen was spotless… Pig lipstick, it’s true. But still, not nearly as flat as yesterday. Could be the start of a more watchable club. Things are finally looking up a little…

    …What’s that? Jon Niese is the answer? And no Zach Wheeler after all? And Conforto to Vegas? Oh, brother.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Don’t worry, Sandy will ride to the rescue again, pulling another lefty hitting outfielder out of the hat. I hear Dave Schneck is available. But hey, we never needed an actual major fifth starter at the trade deadline. Oh, right, we did get Niese.

    D’Arnaud threw someone out last night and fans partied deep into the night.

    I love the argument that Mets lost 4 games to horrible teams this week because THOSE teams played with “nothing to lose.” Well, we can expect a Mets win streak in September then!

    Worse yet to come? See double-bones-chip Matz (120 pitches last start) and single-chip-plus-recent-“dead arm” Noah (over 112 pitches last two starts) the rest of this season and maybe beyond. Or DeGrom will have no-hitter going but with 139 pitches and Terry will send him out there for the 9th.

    • Left Coast Jerry

      And would you have been complaining about Gil Hodges in 1969, when 24 year-old Tom Seaver threw 273 innings and 18 complete games and 26 year-old Jerry Koosman threw 241 and 16? Although I can’t get pitch counts, I’m sure both pitchers threw more than 120 pitches on several occasions and were no worse for wear.

      • Steve D

        On a serious note Jerry, there is a major problems with your statement:

        Pitchers today do everything they can to get a few extra MPH to impress the scouts. Millions of dollars are at stake. They do so by sacrificing proper mechanics. The result is to much strain on the arm and Dr. Andrews living in a mansion. Harvey is a classic case. Seaver only threw low 90s, but back then that was a top fastball and his mechanics were flawless. For him, more pitching built up stamina. These guys today are babied and have poor mechanics and every pitch could be their last for 18 months.

        • Left Coast Jerry

          I hear you, Steve. But how is a pitching coach or manager to know what is the right number to replace the pitcher? Is it 90? Is it 110? Let the medical staff determine if Thor or Matz should be shut down for the rest of the season, and not the folks who comment on this board.

          Personally, I don’t want to see a rotation of deGrom, Colon, Verrett, Niese and Montero for the rest of the season. Although I think their chances of making the playoffs are slim, I’d like to see them win more than 10 games between now and the end of September.

          • Dennis

            Great points Jerry. Too many people sitting from their couches commenting about pitch counts as if they definitively know when the correct time is to take out a pitcher.

          • Jacobs27

            I wish I could have more confidence in the Mets’ medical staff. But given their track record, the Mets might as well consult witch doctors. Or so it seems from the couch, anyway!

      • Greg Mitchell

        Totally, sadly, different era. They pitched every for days ago. Pitchers today simply can’t do that–since they haven’t since high school, if then.

    • Steve D

      Ike Davis IS available…the poster boy of NEW YORK METROPOLITAN BASEBALL CLUB (1962-2016) batter development. He was cut by Scranton.

  • Steve D

    I’m the most skeptical Met fan around, but you guys are viscous…who am I kidding, it’s great to get your emotions out. We’ll have a few posts soon on how we are all overreacting to get us off the ledge.

    This season needs a slogan. In 1973, it was “You Gotta’ Believe.” The next year, which kind of aligns to this year, was “You Gotta’ Believe More in ’74” and I still have that badge in my drawer. Since I was reminded the other day of the Mets struggle to get to .500 in 1980, “The Magic is Back!” year, and we are now under .500 again, it has to be…

    The Tragic is Back!

  • Rob E.

    You ARE overreacting. Last year they were 15-5 after 20 games, and 52-49 81 games later. That’s 37-44…one game off of Jason’s “team that no longer exists.” THAT team went to the World Series. With very similar issues as THIS team, I might add.

    Secondly, yesterday was basically Logan Verrett putting them in a hole they couldn’t get out of (I hope they called New York 811 for THAT one)….hardly a fair barometer to measure anything. It was a throwaway game before they even got to bat. Again, not saying they don’t have issues, but there are reasons for all of this, and those reasons are NOT “our players suck” and “everyone associated with this team is incompetent.” You can THINK that if you want, but it’s just not true.

  • Dennis

    On the bright side, even if it’s due to the mediocrity of the other teams they are battling with, they are still only 3 out of the 2nd wild card. I’m keeping the faith that they will have a run in them. If not…..they won’t be the first team to crap out after a successful season and no reason for me to act as if the world is ending. I’ll keep watching regardless. LGM!!!

    • Greg Mitchell

      “3 out in the wild card” doesn’t sound bad, and isn’t, when you are competing with one other team for that, not the current flock. One of them is certain to get hot.

      • Dennis

        True…having only one team ahead would be better. I know it doesn’t look good with the recent performance, but hopefully we will be the one team to get hot.

      • Jacobs27

        With our luck, whichever team it is will wait another few weeks to get hot so that this season’s last fringes of hope have the slowest most painful death possible.

  • Bruce from Forest Hills

    Ya Gotta Believe. On August 12, 1973, the Mets lost 4-1. They were in 6th place, 7 1/2 games back. And that team went to the 7th game of the World Series. I’m old enough to remember that, and what’s Amazin’ about it is not simply that the Mets righted the ship down the stretch, but that all 5 teams in front of them fell apart. So it happened before. The other reason to believe is that on the whole, the team is relying on players who have had success recently. They went to the World Series last year. On the other side, of course, you have every number you can throw at me. But rooting for a team is not a rational act, so why root for a rational outcome?

  • Wheaties54321

    I cannot remember a less fun year to be a Mets fan.

    But in my judgement the reason this ain’t gonna a successful season is primarily due to injuries. Cespedes, Wright, Cabrera, Lagares, Duda, Harvey, Wheeler. Next time you want to criticize management or the manager (because, hey, I get it, it’s fun to do) ask yourself: How’d the ol’ Win/Loss record look if those guys were healthy and contributing?

    • Dennis

      Too many seem to dismiss the injuries and want to blame TC and Sandy when that has been the biggest factor so far this season. Not saying that Terry is beyond criticism, but facts are facts. You lose that many players, you’re bound to fall off a bit.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    Well… We’re a game better than the Royals at least!

    Meh, that doesn’t really cheer me up. Oh well.

  • Mezz 14, Row 3

    This is a good back and forth. Agree that the injuries have been key. We’ve been bitten that way before… Underdog shirts, anyone?

    Melting up in the Promenade reserve IF seats (which were even full below the shady back rows thanks to those screaming campers) on Thursday afternoon, it was the listlessness of the team again (even considering the heat and humidity) and the curious case of the pitcher formerly known as Thor being so damn Dylan Gee-like, that distressed me. Then, I escaped into the mobbed and semi- air conditioned Promenade club where business was brisk but I was the only one keeping score as I watched the game on TV. And then when Noah folded, Niese imploded and the offense could not bring in the 2 runners in their half of the sixth, it was time to leave for cooler places.

    I am hoping that Verducci’s theorem from about 10 yrs back about pitchers’ problems after their first really extended season, innings-wise explains Harvey (in part) and Noah, that the spurs explain Matz and Jake can keep keeping on– he was meh early but great lately! And that they will land, next season, somewhere between their 2015 and 2016 performances…

    I’d like to see TC eased out to a Lasorda-like role, and wish he’d left on-almost top last year. Not convinced Wally’s the man; am convinced Viola should be the next pitching coach.

    All we can do is keep the Faith and look for a 88 type Division season next year (ideally with a better ending, but you know what I mean).

    LetsgoMets

    Howard

  • Jacobs27

    Seriously, though. Minus Verrett, the team looked better last night than they have in weeks. Baby steps, as Nelson Figueroa put in the post game.

    Also, not Jon Niese in the rotation again. Please, don’t do that to us.

    It’s worth noting that the Royals, our new comrades in the sub .500 club, are just as desperate. They’re turning to Dillon Gee today. Not sure he’s really any better than Niese at this point. But since he’s way more likable, can Sandy Alderson pull another familiar junk trade? Niese for Gee. It would probably have the distinction as saddest trade of all time between teams having played in the World Series the previous year. But at least we wouldn’t have to sit through more Niese.

  • LeClerc

    Bring up Ynoa. Send down Verrett. Give Lugo a shot at starting.

    Pitch by committee – rather than allowing starters to put the team in a too-deep hole.

  • Matt in Richmond

    For once I’m not going to do my “everyone calm down” bit, as Rob E summed it up fine, and I’m getting a little tired of repeating myself. Gotta give a shout out to Jacobs27 for his hilarious idea of the “saddest trade of all time”…”

    The runner d’Arnaud threw out last night was the 12th he has gunned down on the season, so if people are partying every time he does so they must be getting pretty tired. Sure his throws have been ugly at times and his percentage is abysmal, but anyone with common sense would note that he has had shoulder issues this year and that the VAST majority of the steals the team is giving up are on the pitchers, not the catchers.

  • Mikey

    Yep maybe the worst staff ive seen at holding runners on. And i dont have stats to back ut up but travis seems to at least be quicker to second than before his dl stint. But you have to have quite the rocket arm when noah and matz pitch

    • Rob E.

      The thing is is it’s not just d’Arnaud. If you remember, the Royals started to exploit this in the World Series…they had stolen bases in every game except the deGrom game, and they stole four bases in Game 5. It’s something that’s definitely got to be fixed, and other teams are RIGHT to take advantage (though it sucks to watch). For Matz and Syndergaard, this is part of second season adjustments. For d’Arnaud, we’ve got to see what he’s got when given a fair chance to throw guys out. And just as important, the Mets have totally ignored speed on the offensive side. They are completely incapable of doing what is being done to them. Speed is a part of the game…you have to at least have SOMETHING. You can’t just punt that. So, yeah, work to be done. Hopefully Thor got embarrassed enough by Shipley’s steal that it lights a fire under him.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Of course it’s not just d’Arnaud. Not even mostly or substantially. He’s just a convenient target for those that like a simple narrative for their cynical snark as opposed to nuance and actual analysis.

  • mookie4ever

    Kevin, surprisingly, KC being in the same boat does make me feel a little bit better, given that early in the year the “experts” pronounced that the Mets hit too many HR & needed to play like the Royals. How’s that worked out for them?

    Anyway, snark aside, I agree with ya, Bruce. I still gotta believe, as irrational as that is, because I’m a Mets fan and that’s how we are. Can’t help myself, a turnaround must be coming just any game now.

    It’s just not fun for me to approach it any other way. I’m a fan, not a manager or GM wannabe. My job is to root and have faith in the Mets, not pick them apart or kick them when they’re down. We each have our own way of fandom and that is OK. If I don’t like yours, I just scroll down, as is my right and all of yours.

  • mookie4ever

    Thanks Dennis! The only way we know how, right?

    PS Maybe tonight is a start. Weird there’s another Wilmer walkoff if it does get them on a run. Not so pretty, but it smells like a lucky win and I’ll take it!

  • sturock

    Luck *has* been in short supply.

  • Now that’s the positive can-do attitude I like to see. Coming this close to giving up the ghost to concentrate on football with the Patriots (yes, you can insult me now, but at least they know how to deal with adversity).