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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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You Have to Admit That Was Kind of Funny

As chroniclers of the Great Mets Fiasco of 2017, we’d be derelict in our duty if we failed to record this sequence for posterity:

Hansel Robles, a reliever whose photo may actually appear next to the word “streaky” in baseball-centric dictionaries, faces Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt leading off the bottom of the eighth in a 1-1 game. After fouling one off, Goldschmidt demolishes a fastball right down the middle, sending it into the Phoenix night. The ball hits high off the center-field wall and is called a home run as Curtis Granderson fires it in, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead.

But was justice served? The Mets ask for a review. Footage is scrutinized from an infinite number of angles in Chelsea as the umpires stand around pretending they’re not bystanders. The call is reversed — Goldschmidt’s drive merely dented the very top of the yellow line in center instead of clearing it.

With the Mets’ condition upgraded from “deceased and waiting for attending physician’s signature” to “critical,” Robles is directed to walk Jake Lamb and pitch to Yasmany Tomas.

Tomas hits Robles’s sixth pitch so much farther than Goldschmidt did. To capture its flight, the camera behind home plate reduces Granderson to a tiny figure, like a tourist in front of a mountain range in a bad vacation photo. The Mets now trail 4-1.

Honestly, it was kind of funny. A little bit the good kind of actually funny, a little bit forcing yourself to laugh because otherwise you might put a fist through something funny, and a little bit the bad kind of actually funny because the universe has dropped its pasteboard mask and revealed that it is an uncaring void created to devour everything that anyone has ever fought for, loved or mourned, leaving only an unidentifiable whisper of waste heat that will cool to nothing over trillions of empty, unmarked years.

That last part is why I added the qualifier. It was only kind of funny.

Later in the inning, Robles manages to give up a home run to Jeff Mathis, a career .195 hitter. Terry Collins, having seen things no manager should have to see, summons Josh Edgin. Edgin throws three non-disastrous pitches before giving up a home run to Daniel Descalso.

You can analyze moderately good teams and moderately bad ones until your fingers cramp and your keyboard locks up. For great teams, a shrug, a smile and an attaboy will generally suffice — they’re baseball’s happy families, all alike.

But truly bad teams defy analysis. They’re mutable horror shows, bleak shapeshifting carnivals that will deliver torment in whatever way a situation demands. The starters will bog down with not enough innings completed, the bullpen will be a slapstick dumpster fire, the hitting will wither and vanish, the baserunning will be corrupted by ineptitude, the decision-making will be suspect and the luck will be dreadful.

That’s the Mets right now — antimatter magicians who will improvise until they gag up a game in a way you’ve never encountered before, producing something that strikes you as simultaneously novel and tragically preordained.

You have to admire it, really. Or, if you can’t do that, at least try to laugh.

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