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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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That Kind of Day

Remember when the Mets were good?

Our once-promising team is now thoroughly rooted in all-time last place, behind such worthies as the 2018 Baltimore Orioles, the 1962 Mets, the 1875 Brooklyn Atlantics and the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. That seemingly pretty decent 17-12 record? An illusion born of sabermetrics or some other newfangled defacement of the grand old game. No, the stats lie. The Mets are terrible, they’re getting worse, and we all know it.

They’re terrible individually and yet somehow even less than the sum of their ill-fitting parts. If you want to know how Jason Vargas‘s 2018 is going, he gave up six runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings yet somehow lowered his ERA nearly six full points. Matt Harvey came in and was awful, which is no longer news nor anything that anybody particularly cares about. Jose Reyes started, presumably to keep a fuming Todd Frazier from excoriating more umpires, and did his usual nothing. Michael Conforto struck out some more.

It doesn’t end there. I have it on good authority that Mickey Callaway opened a bag of sunflower seeds and carelessly dropped it five seconds later; that Jay Horwitz let a ballpoint pen explode in his shirt pocket; that Chuck in community relations got phished and now everybody needs new passwords and a visit from the IT guy; and that various Mets fans forgot to walk dogs, came home from the bodega with the wrong milk, just realized Wednesday was mom’s birthday, dropped phones in toilets, mistook shampoo for toothpaste, and sped off with grocery bags atop cars.

If you have anything to do with orange and blue, it was that kind of day. Just like it was that kind of day yesterday. Tomorrow’s forecast? Iffy with a significant chance of horrific. Dress accordingly.

The Braves, on the other hand, are getting better a lot faster than we’d hoped they would. Freddie Freeman, a star in years both lean and kind, now has a supporting cast worthy of him. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. both look like special players, with the ball making the kind of sound off their bats that Buck O’Neil once beamed and told us to listen for. Add in excellent complementary players such as Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte, and now just wait for Dansby Swanson to relax and play up to his talent level. And I didn’t even mention Julio Teheran, who was coming off an injury so discombobulating that he only nearly no-hit the Mets.

The Braves aren’t this good; the Mets aren’t this bad. But the trend lines are disturbing, and being outscored 21-2 doesn’t lie. It’s said that when one door closes, another door opens. But that’s not so comforting when the door closing is yours and the one opening has your rival’s name on it.

24 comments to That Kind of Day

  • Greensleeves

    You are the best thing about this horrendous nosedive.

    • Greensleeves

      …and the Braves may just be this precociously good. Albies & Acuna
      play like the real thing.

  • Richard Porricelli

    Team was due to lose several consecutive games.. No major league quality shortstop or catcher. No offense from center..Harvey needs to go away and lets hope Vargas finds it before August..
    There are some very bright spots here to work with..Mets fans use to be comfortable with hoping for the best , lets not panic yet..

  • LeClerc

    It’s likely that the Mets offense will improve if Vargas pitches batting practice.

    Let Conforto play for Vegas until he gets his mojo back.

    Play Nimmo.

    If Matz – A) blows another game or B) whines again about some dysfunctional body part, then bring up Oswalt, and let Steven join Matt in the bullpen.

    Time for a new catcher?

    What’s with Rosario? If Albies is gold, Amed is looking very leaden.

    So much for today’s venting.

  • eric1973

    Looks like Vargas is already pitching batting practice.

    The analytics say the Mets will not win the WS this year, so let’s not be so fast to discount them.

    That fast start was supposed to be a cushion against the inevitable slump, but, boy, who among us thought it would be needed this soon.

    And who thought we would envy Atlanta and Philadelphia.

  • Dave

    This is weird. I had a dream that the Mets started the season 11-1. Won 9 in a row. Got snowed out one day. Was a nice dream, but as I believe that I’m fully awake as I write this, with an awful team and early spring temperatures hitting 90, I realize how unrealistic that all was.

    Can we do a DNA test on Vargas or something and see if he really is left-handed? Maybe he’s using the wrong arm.

  • Gil

    Guard against the blues, its only May. Wheeler tonight to stop the bleeding.

  • Michael in CT

    At least deGrom is all right, supposedly.

  • NostraDennis

    To quote Eminem, “…back to reality”.

    I think that was right after he threw up Mom’s spaghetti.

  • 9th string catcher

    I guess for those who thought at 11-1 that the Mets were going to run and hide with the pennant, this is earth shattering. From my perspective, it comes down to 2 things – offense needs to score 4 runs a night and pitching needs to do its job. That won’t always happen, but if they do those two things 60% of the time, these 12-0 scores won’t really matter.

    The pitching will be all right (barring injury). DeGrom and Thor will probably be averaging 3 runs per 7 innings. Wheeler will be inconsistent, but generally has his stuff back. Vargas needs to get into game shape which is going to take some time. And even then will really only be a #4 pitcher. Harvey is as good as gone by mid June. So that leaves the number 5 hole which will either be Matz or Lugo, with Sewald in the Lugo role.

    The offense is a little more tricky. Calloway seemed like he was the kind of guy to play the hot hand, but his commitment to guys like Bruce, Conforto, and Gonzales is Collins-like.

    • LeClerc

      Your concluding paragraph has the ring of truth, 9th String.

      Why is Conforto not in Las Vegas getting his batting-eye back?

      Bruce has a distinguished resume – but his bland temperament seems more appropriate for an accountant – less so for a power hitter.

      Gonzales will be riding the pine if Wilmer heats up – hopefully Flores will respond positively to the warmer weather.

  • sturock

    They don’t have an Albies or an Acuna, but the Mets have several useful young players– Flores, Lagares, Nimmo– who need to be in the starting lineup more often. They’re not as good as they were at 11-1, but I don’t believe they are as bad as they’re looking this week. And now it’s on Callaway. Can he “fix” one or more of Harvey-Matz-Wheeler-Vargas? Isn’t his facility with pitchers the main reason he was hired?

  • Pete the Midnight Golfer

    I know it’s not prudent, but the bad mojo was initiated by sending Nimo down while he was stupendous. Lagares was also hitting well but riding pine. Upper Management wants the big money veterans to play regardless. I want the boundless joy of the younger players.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Note: Lagares is 29. This is a very old (for MLB) team: 1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF, no catcher, CF and SS not hitting. Can’t get more depressing than that. Love Wilmer but he is exceedingly limited. Love Nimmo, but totally unproven as everyday player.

    As someone pointed out a day or two ago: MLB this year (and recent past) filled with young, sometimes very young (see Braves), who are not only very good but also contribute right away. Consider the different directions the Yankees have taken, with all their young talent–even Clint Frazier about to come back–vs. the Mets where Smith has flopped this year and Rosario and Conforto may follow. You simply have to have big time young players, or at least, not to succeed bigly.

    Perhaps it all comes down to farm system development. Again, see Yanks, and also their ability to timely trade for big young talent–which they correctly IDed. The Mets? Not so much. Even last year’s summer fire sale of the older pieces they had–all Sandy did was deal for relievers, none of whom are on the big league roster right now.

  • sturock

    All salient points, Greg, but this team was conceived and constructed around the pitching staff. (Whether that was a good idea is of course a whole other discussion.) Callaway and Eiland need to get some of these guys right. If that doesn’t happen, this may be another lost season.

    • 9th string catcher

      I think the pitching will rebound, but they can’t do anything without at least some offense. With nothing at the catching position, pitcher or SS, you have a lot of pressure on OF and 1B, of which only Cespedes is getting anything done. And when there’s no offense, it puts a mental and physical toll on the pitchers. So, yes, it is about the pitching, but they have to have at least some offense to speak of.

      • Matt in Woodside

        I agree, but I think it works both ways. When Wheeler, Matz, Harvey, and Vargas are giving up enough runs for a combined ERA of 6.29 over their past 15 starts, the Mets’ hitters are going to start pressing as well.

  • LeClerc

    Harvey’s now DFA.

    • Daniel Hall

      Gee. That was quick.

      Speaking of which – how about bringing back Dillon Gee now? Or some other scrub that can out-do Vargas’ ERA near room temperature.

      Garrett Olson could do better than THIS!

  • Dave

    Well, going to be a other quiet night of Mets baseball.

  • Paul from Brooklyn

    Farewell Matt Harvey,you were given a multitude of chances on and off the field.
    Thank you Greg and Jason for putting things in perspective as always.You are our brightest stars now but blue and orange will get hot again.

    Let’ go Mets! Gil belongs in the Hall of Fame!

  • Lenny65

    I blame the Cubs. They made the 2015 NLCS way too easy and nothing has really gone right since. In fact, since the final out of Game Four every single flaw in the entire organization has been exposed.