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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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Sweet Lack of Sorrow

The Mets won their 67th game ever at Turner Field on Sunday, or as reliable sources continue to insist, “They never won there; even if you present me with a list of occasionally stirring Met victories in that ballpark, I refuse to acknowledge it.” Mets fans who prefer misery as company (and there are a few) shall forever dwell mentally in Mr. Kenny Rogers’ neighborhood, where unfriendly postal carrier Angel Hernandez is regularly misdelivering the mail, and the local public works department won’t send a crew out to fix that pothole-size strike zone on Maddux Lane no matter how many petitions we sign, and can’t somebody do something about that offensive music they keep playing while encouraging everybody to partake in that equally offensive hand gesture?

Turner Field was a town built on perceptions as much as it was the home of the Braves for twenty years. The perceptions it ingrained in most of us veered to the permanently horrible side of the street, thus the common shorthand, “house of horrors”. Can’t argue with perceptions. You can throw the occasional counterintuitive fact at them, but as we’ve seen in this political season, facts that don’t match preconceived narratives tend to be chewed up without ever being fully digested.

Pleasant to speak of Turner Field in the past tense, though. The Braves still have home games scheduled and the building will be retrofitted for other purposes, but it’s dead to us, providing a rare episode of wish fulfillment. True, the request was filed before the turn of the current century, but these things have to go through channels, and I don’t mean TBS, yet another former home of the Braves.

The visitors departed departing Turner Field 10-3 winners, taking two of three in their unlikely quest to secure a playoff berth. They are in sole possession of the second National League Wild Card, while Turner Field remains in soul-possession of Satan. The Mets shoved the Braves into the officially eliminated pile, which was an incidental benefit of their romp. The real prize was pushing themselves past the Cardinals and continuing to shadow the Giants.

Despite flubbing the ballgame aspect of Shea Goodbye, the Mets have proven adept at final farewells to other people’s ballparks. They’re on a six-game winning streak where definitive au revoirs are concerned, making the most of their parting encounters at the Ted, Joe Robbie (2011), the renovated version of the original Yankee Stadium (2008), RFK (2007), circular Busch Stadium (2005) and the Big O (2004). Unlike the subsequent last roundups, Olympic Stadium probably deserves an asterisk since it wasn’t officially announced that the Expos were vamoosing to Washington when the Mets played them for the last time in Montreal, but the bilingual writing was on the wall.

When the Mets kissed off Turner predecessor Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on the second Sunday of September 1996, they did it in style as well, defeating the defending world champions, 6-2. Mark Clark bested Greg Maddux, with each of their records revising to 13-11. The headline from that September 8 contest was Todd Hundley blasting his 40th homer of the year, setting a new Met single-season standard (Darryl Strawberry twice hit 39) and tying Roy Campanella for the catchers’ power plateau six days before establishing a new mark at Shea. The 9/8/96 memory that stays with me most two decades hence is a conversation between Bob Murphy and Gary Cohen. Murph marveled at how many different streets in Atlanta carry the name Peachtree. Cohen commenced quoting the contemporary Presidents of the United States of America song, “Peaches.”

“Millions of peaches, peaches for me,” Gary impishly told Bob. “Millions of peaches, peaches for free.”

“Yes, Georgia is certainly famous for its wonderful peaches,” or something like that was Bob’s response before the next pitch was thrown.

1996 was a long season. 2016, however, has become quite peachy. Seth Lugo’s seven innings of six-hit ball was as sweet and juicy as could have been asked. Yoenis Cespedes crushed the cream out of a bases-loaded pitch from Brave starter Williams Perez to catapult the Mets to a 5-0 lead that made Lugo’s path down Atlanta’s many similarly dubbed thoroughfares a veritable walk in the soon-to-be-vacated park. Cespedes declined to embellish his hitting with insights afterwards. A Mets spokesman told waiting reporters, “His bat will do his talking.”

When asked to clarify, Yoenis’s lumber elaborated, through an interpreter, “OH YEAH!!!!”

Cespedes’s third-inning grand slam gave him the thirty-first 30+ HR season in Mets history, the first since Lucas Duda delivered his thirtieth on the final day of 2014, the first by a righthanded batter since David Wright in 2008, the first by someone whose default position is left field since Cliff Floyd in 2005. Those seasons all took place during the Turner Field era, when nothing good ever happened to the Mets, except for when it did. Like yesterday and this month.

26 comments to Sweet Lack of Sorrow

  • Gil

    Was it me, or did Gary Cohen seem like he was drunk? He was kind of fumbling around and slurring a bit, which is very out of the ordinary for him.

    Nice job by the Braves to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of 9/11. Classy that the players got together before the game.

    what a run. Lets keep going! LGM!

  • Jacobs27

    Glad we gave Turner Field of Horrors a good send off. And it’s kind of fitting that it was on the anniversary of the one time the Mets and Braves were ever friendly on the field at Shea. Kudos to the Braves for setting that up. Won’t miss the place–though I can’t imagine I’ll like the suburban stadium set to replace it.

    I sure do miss Bob Murphy though.

    • DAK442

      I miss Murph also.
      And isn’t it kind of weird that there’s a microphone plaque with Ralph Kiner’s name up among the retired numbers, but none for Bob Murphy? As far as I’m concerned, Murph was an equally important part of my Mets life and should be recognized as such. Add his name, or make another one.

  • Dave

    Hmm, Gary has shown quite an affinity for music of the Punk/New Wave era, I’m kind of surprised he didn’t quote the Stranglers’ song of the same name, except that some of the lyrics are not for polite company. But some fit the Mets visits to the Ted quite well:

    “I could think of worse places to be…like down in the sewer…or on the end of a skewer.”

  • Matt in Richmond

    Another Mets win, followed by a hilarious column with a reference to my favorite Presidents of the Untired States of America song. I must say, it’s been a good day.

  • Paul Schwartz

    Montero isn’t going to work.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Still happy Sandy did not pick up an actual major league starter in August when Matz went down? Or are many here still happy with Montero option (and concurrent chewing up of bullpen)? Imagine if we (he) hadn’t gotten lucky with Lugo and Gsellman.

  • Steve K

    Another game, another example of Terry’s propensity to leave in struggling pitchers one batter too long…

  • Greg Mitchell

    And then to compound matters, Terry (again) leaves in starter, if we can refer to an obviously shared to death Montero as that, two batters too long. And still has to burn pen.

  • Paul Schwartz

    we didn’t get lucky with Lugo and Gsellman. they are prospects. montero has been a suspect for more than two years. who would you have traded Greg to get a,decent starter when 3 weeks ago we were dead in the water? And who would you have traded before July 31 (when Degrom and Matz were fine). to win nowadays you need a little luck. and after 4 months of bad luck we had a couple of breaks.

    • Greg Mitchell

      They were never “prospects” except in the sense that they were in the minors where everyone is a “prospect.” They were pure “suspects.” True, suspects sometimes emerge and even become stars. But that doesn’t mean that wasn’t a surprise.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Adam Rubin of ESPN tonight: “It’s been a rough road trip for manager Terry Collins and bench coach Dick Scott. After Rafael Montero walked three batters in the first inning and somehow escaped allowing only two runs, Collins decided not to pinch hit for Montero with two on and two out in the top of the second. What happened when Montero returned to the mound? He allowed a pair of homers — to Mat Latos and Anthony Rendon. Montero was pulled after 1 2/3 innings, with the Mets trailing 6-1. He had thrown 60 pitches (30 strikes). Collins on Saturday in Atlanta did not pinch run for Wilmer Flores in the eighth. Flores ultimately was thrown out at the plate and injured his shoulder, and the Mets lost in extra innings.”

  • Matt in Richmond

    I think all other managers would love to have this supposed tough run that Collins is on. 16-5 in last 21 and poised to make the playoffs again after a World Series run last year. The over reaction to every bump in the road is quite predictable and quite hilarious. A severe dearth of backbone amongst some of our dear fans.

  • Dave

    I’m with you, Matt. I can’t blast TC for trying to get at least 2 innings out of his starter. And the long men are minor league callups too, not like there’s some shutdown guy he could have gone to.

    If 16 of 21 is good, I’m not losing sleep over 16 of 22.

  • Paul Schwartz


    You said we got lucky
    I asked who you would have traded to get that “major league starter”. You didn’t answer.
    Now he did get Jon Niese for Bastardo and Niese got hurt. I know we all hate Niese here but I’m still curious who you think we could have gotten.
    And BTW, we really ripped the ball tonight. Bad games happen. Ask the Cardinals.

  • LeClerc

    Adam Rubin’s remarks regarding the failure to pinch hit for Montero in the top of the second inning were right on point.

    The brain trust in the dugout are going have to press Noah to hold runners on in tomorrow night’s game.

  • eric1973

    These are the ones you just gotta chalk up. Totally different from Saturday night, when poor decisions turned a winnable game into a loss. A few more of those and Ces will have a lot of company on the golf course come October.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Yeah, can’t win them all. There’s the saying that everyone’s going to win 1/3 and lose 1/3 and what’s important is what you do with the other 1/3. So ok eric1973 I guess Sat could fall into the latter category, but we’ve also won our fair share that were in that category as well. I remain perplexed as to why it’s so important for some to assign blame whenever we lose a close game. It certainly doesn’t work the same in reverse. I’ve yet to see us come from behind to win a 1 run game and see someone comment, “thank goodness for TC sending up that pinch hitter to come through in the 8th”. But if we lose a 1 run game it is a flat out guarantee that someone will blame him and poInt out alternative strategies he could have used. [Edited. Stop personalizing arguments. We’re not doing this again.]

    By the way, SF is getting shut out and the Cardinals lost. Everyone step back from the ledge.

    • Dennis

      Bad game…..but no loss of ground as both SF & Cards lost. I often wonder if everyone who agonizes over every loss while constantly criticizing the manager and GM feel that this team should really be 162-0 this season.

  • eric1973

    [Edited. I know you responded to being baited, but we’re not doing that either.]

  • Matt in Richmond

    Unfortunately eric1973, I’m not really sure what you mean. Have confidence in others? I absolutely do. I have been pumping up our bullpen as a strength almost all year. I’m absolutely not opposed to using “others” in certain scenarios. I can only assume you are referring to the 3rd game of the last series vs Washington when we used Reed and Familia up 4. That situation was completely different from some of the recent examples and was the right call at the time.

    My earlier comments weren’t meant to be directed solely at you other than the 1/3 stuff. I respect you and your right to your opinion, but I stand by my contention that it’s absurd to assign managerial blame to virtually every close loss while not being willing to give credit for any success.

  • Rob E.

    Montero wiggled out of the first inning jam, and he was one batter away from wiggling out of the second inning. He clearly had nothing, but I understand Terry Collins A) not wanting to get into his bullpen in the 2nd inning considering the shape of the current rotation, and B) giving a young pitcher a chance to learn to get through spots like that.

    It still makes me laugh how both fans and media are so negative and bloodthirsty. The guy is 16-5 in his last 21, and five times we heard how he was the worst manager in the history of the world, and 16 times we heard…crickets. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that if they win tonight, it will be because some player stepped up (Syndergaard, I hope), and if they lose, it will be because Terry Collins mismanaged something (most likely the bullpen) or put in a player that everyone but he would have known to not put in. I would bet the ranch on it.

    • Dennis

      Of course……everyone knows that Collins is solely responsible for every loss this season. And never has anything to do with any win either.

      In addition, Sandy should have gone out and acquired a front line starter, a top reliever, another team’s starting 2nd basemen, and a power hitting first basemen as well.

      • 9th string catcher

        Seriously. At some point, you have to remember that all the sparkling moves in the world won’t work if the players can’t do the job. Sandy has made a lot of great moves this year without mortgaging the future.

        The fact that 4/5ths of the expected rotation are injured and we’re still in a pennant race speaks for itself.

  • open the gates

    And in other news, the recently…um…”resigned” Wally Backman is granting no interviews, but “will have plenty to say when the time is right.” Should be fun…