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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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The Beating Goes On

Well, at least it’s another day off the calendar, what with the Mets all but drowned in the mire of another Mike Glavine season.

I keep thinking about The Other Glavine as a beacon of futility. He got his lone big-league hit on the final day of the 2003 season, a 4-0 beating by the Marlins. The Mets’ lineup on the day that wretched season finally put us out of our misery? Roger Cedeno, Jay Bell, Ty Wigginton, Tony Clark, Raul Gonzalez, Vance Wilson, Joe McEwing, Jorge Velandia and starting pitcher Jeremy Griffiths.

My first instinct is to say that assemblage makes me feel better about the 2017 Mets. That white flag of a lineup contained one formerly good player (Bell), an OK complementary player (Wigginton) and a couple of useful role players miscast as starters (Wilson, McEwing). There aren’t any guys whose only fault was being young and not yet ready.

But perhaps that’s hindsight. Faith and Fear didn’t exist yet, though Greg was unknowingly prototyping it through frequent emails to his baseball circles. I don’t know, maybe there are exchanges in which he and I wax rhapsodic about the potential of Gonzalez and Griffiths.

Or maybe it’s as I remember, and that season was a disaster whose only redeeming quality was that it ended — and which, more than a decade later, can be boiled down to grim shorthand: Mike Glavine.

So, anyway. The Mets got pounded by the Marlins. They were noncompetitive once again. Got swept.

Brandon Nimmo hit a home run and would have have been on base more than that if not for the baseball norm that the strike zone varies depending on one’s seniority, the quality of the matchup and the month on the calendar. (I, for one, am ready to welcome our new robot balls-and-strikes overlords.)

Kevin Plawecki got two more hits, continuing to look like the player we thought he might be not so long ago.

Rafael Montero wasn’t very good, but at least his recent performances have earned him the right to have “Rafael Montero wasn’t very good” games, as opposed to “Rafael Montero is perpetually timid and faked a shoulder injury and doesn’t know how to pitch and has failed 56,000 times and simply has to be released immediately because he is driving everyone insane” games. If you squint that’s kind of something.

That’s all I’ve got. Maybe, a decade or so from now, we’ll stumble across this box score and note the presence of Nimmo, and Dominic Smith, and Phil Evans and try to reconstruct if we grasped things would soon be a lot better. Perhaps we’ll be confused briefly over whether or not Amed Rosario was up by then. We might recall that yes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes were near the end but sure had some great Mets moments before that. I can imagine reminding each other that Montero’s career is an object lesson in not giving up on guys too early. Possibly we’ll salute Nori Aoki as the kind of useful bench guy good teams need.

Or, alternately, we’ll grimace and say “Tommy Milone,” and everyone will understand that means that whatever’s gone wrong with the 2031 Mets, at least it can never be 2017 again.

19 comments to The Beating Goes On

  • 9th string

    Could we call this the Tommy Milone season? I would vote him Nikon player of the year as he embodies the best intentioned yet hopelessly overmatched avatar for the 2017 Mets.

    • Dave

      For starters, thank you Jason, for the trigger warning on Twitter that this post referenced Mike G|@^ine. His place in Mets history is the moral equivalent of a husband/father running off with his son’s girlfriend.

      9th string, I can’t disagree with naming this the Tommy Milone Season or bestowing upon him the coveted Nikon Award, it’s well deserved. But you would still get some arguments in support of Neil Ramirez, Tyler Pill and Adam Wilk.

      • 9th string OF

        Dave – totally agonizing over this recommendation. Wilk absolutely epitomizes the “Where am I? What happened? How did I end up in an MLB stadium?” quality that belongs to this team. Ramirez gives you the Groundhog Day effect that every appearance was going to be exactly as horrific as the last one that the ’17 Mets embody. But for my money, Tommy gives you a certain “hey, he’s got no talent or place on this team; we should bring him back next year” aura that really belongs to ’17. Plus, extra credit for being injured as well as ineffective.

        • Yeah, I think 9th String nailed it.

          Most every team has a rando spot starter who’s terrible, a middle reliever who’s awful long enough for fans to revolt and a kid who learns quickly that he isn’t ready.

          But a dude who arrives with low expectations, fails at starting and relieving, gets hurt and still returns to be bad some more? That’s just so 2017 Mets.

      • Eric

        I nominate Chris Flexen and Fernando Salas.

        • Dave

          9th String and Jason make excellent points. Tommy Milone is the most 2017 Met, with time on the DL providing bonus points. The others get (dis)honorable mention.

          Eric, sorry, I can’t put Salas or Flexen in this group. Salas because he was here down the stretch in 2016, pitched well, and was actually lights out for about a week and a half at the beginning of 2017. After that, of course, he was lights on. Flexen was thrown into the deep end of the pool without floaties and has on a few occasions demonstrated a little bit of not-quite-sucking. Some time back where he belongs in Triple-A and he has a chance to be…well, probably best to just stop myself there, because he might have a chance to be a Gsellman.

          • 9th string OF

            Lights on!

          • Jacobs27

            Also, “streets behind”!

          • Eric

            Dave, Your reasons for not including Salas are why I nominated him.

            Salas well represents the points across the pattern of the disappointing 2017 season. His expectation-raising performance during the 2016 stretch run, along with Gsellman and Lugo, listed Salas as a reason to look forward to the 2017 season. Salas started the season only a tick behind Reed in bullpen status; Salas was considered essentially Reed II. He was a key piece. Then Salas was the poster child at the forefront of the early season burn-out as the rapidly collapsed starting rotation overtaxed the Familia-less bullpen. Then Salas broke down, didn’t recover, and was bombed like the Mets staff as a whole outside of Reed, Blevins, and deGrom. Like other pitchers the Mets counted on entering the season, Salas’s 2017 performance dropped off precipitously from his 2016 record. Then Salas was let go along with other veterans, except he wasn’t even traded – he was cut.

            Salas is a microcosm of the raised and dropped expectations for the Mets 2017 season.

  • Kevin From Flushing

    I for one had hope for Griffiths… I think?

    Nope! Sorry, I was thinking of Grant Roberts. Which of course leads the memory to Jung Bong & the final game of the 2002 season.

  • LeClerc

    Why doesn’t TC just stick a Post-It note on his forehead with the words “No Mas” inscribed there?

  • Pete In Iowa

    Glad to see you are on board with the electronic strike zone Jason. I’m sure there’s got to be a lot more than just me and you who hold this belief.
    Maybe we can start a bandwagon…..

  • Eric

    Hopefully, Nimmo will stick with it with his discernment at bat. He can build on it. Once his reputation and veteran status are established, he’ll get the close calls and more walks, and then he’ll get better pitches to hit.

    I like Aoki, who’s brought back the Mets version of Daniel Murphy at bat. His skill at not striking out stands out. Aoki is older, 35 years old this season, but as long as the Mets are committed to riding Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Familia, they’re a win-now team. With Conforto and Cespedes marked as unknowns, the Mets do need outfield depth, even if Lagares and Nimmo improve. I suspect though Aoki’s playing well enough now that a more stabilized contending team will sign him for their bench.

    Evans has looked good so far, like the 2nd coming of TJ Rivera with maybe a better glove.

  • mikeL

    Can’t top any of the current “insert hapless scrub’s name here” season suggestions, they all fit but i’ve got a funny:
    For a (very) short time i imagined that once the not-to-return veterans gave way to the young talent waiting in the wings, the mets were gonna go on a little bit of a run.

    Of winning.

    And wow, the next leap from 2003 to 2017 indeed puts us in the 2030s. Wow. If citi field isn’t being by then used to stage boat races….

  • Eric

    DeGrom sick with a stomach bug. Same thing that Rosario has/had?

    Pushing back deGrom’s start to Sunday means a marquee match-up with Scherzer, which has the potential to be a nice treat at the end of a lost season. But deGrom might still be sick on Sunday, and if he’s no longer sick, he might be weakened and otherwise not prepared like normal. He was also scheduled to pitch the last home game of the season, which would have been nice, but now deGrom’s last start will be on the road.

    Of course, deGrom only needs 4.2 more innings pitched to reach his goal of 200. Hopefully, illness won’t stop him from reaching it.

  • kdbart

    All I know is that Matt Reynolds is the new Soup Campbell. An ability to light up AAA but continually fails to get off the Interstate in the majors but somehow keeps returning to the 25 man MLB roster.