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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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Still Sinking

Shockingly, flipping the calendar to July did not, in fact, mean an end to the Mets’ woes.

Here’s the faintest of silver linings about this terrible, horrible, no-good, very very very bad season: awful, soul-killing, rip-your-heart-out losses no longer even leave a mark.

The Mets led Toronto by a cool 5-0 early Tuesday night, with Asdrubal Cabrera, Devin Mesoraco and Wilmer Flores connecting for home runs off a Jays pen reduced to calling audibles, what with starter Marco Estrada out after a mere dozen pitches. Meanwhile, Zack Wheeler was mowing down opponents. Surely a laugher was under way.

But no, these are the Mets. Wheeler tired, homecoming kid Jose Bautista made an overaggressive error, and the Mets’ bullpen came in and was awful even by its low standards. Somehow, the Mets lost, 8-6.

When the wreckage of this season is sifted through, Anthony Swarzak‘s inexplicably awful campaign will be one of the exhibits to regard with sour disbelief. Swarzak had established himself as a pretty reliable reliever, and his signing seemed like an inarguably good move by the Mets. But he got hurt and has been simply horrendous since returning, pitching tentatively and ineffectively night after night. Swarzak made the mess worse and gave way to Robert Gsellman, who threw a not-low-enough change to low-ball hitter Yangervis Solarte. He clobbered it for a three-run homer, tying the game. Then Tim Peterson, who not so long ago we had anointed as a savior by default, came in and gave up a two-run jack to Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Those are the specifics, but we all know they don’t particularly matter. The Mets, being the Mets, were going to fuck up somehow, leaving everyone involved to look grim while Mickey Callaway calmly said his usual stupid shit. As the roof caved in I didn’t swear or sigh. I just shrugged. It’s been that kind of year. There’s a lot of that kind of year yet to go.

15 comments to Still Sinking

  • Jacobs27

    Sigh.

    Jason has already said a great deal on this, but this article from Deadspin lays out pretty well once again the ways in which this mess is fundamentally on the Wilpons, not so much for being cheap, but for being stupid and stubborn. It’s a narrative, and like any other it has its limitations, but I think it’s definitely the one that fits the best.
    https://deadspin.com/the-mets-would-be-better-off-if-they-embraced-being-a-s-1827272283

    Consider:
    “it’s worth noting the ways in which things might be different if the Mets were, say, the Portland or Tulsa or Richmond Mets and owned by people who were just a little less strident in their dopiness. The team would likely already have locked up one or both of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to contracts that bought out their remaining arbitration years, which would help Portland/Tulsa/Richmond both by locking in some roster and cost certainty for the future and, if it came to that, making those pitchers more valuable in trade. That team would invest heavily in the sort of unsexy and invisible places where comparatively small expenditures go furthest in the long run—domestic and international scouting, player development, conditioning—not just because it’s smarter but precisely because it’s *cheaper*.
    (…)
    “But even presuming that the Mets don’t need to have a Milwaukee Brewers-sized payroll, it’s worth noting how different things might be if they actually did. There’s no guarantee that the Mets would have done as well as the Brewers did last offseason, because there is every reason to think that the doofs making the final call authentically just think that Jay Bruce is a better player than Lorenzo Cain. But the Brewers committed themselves to a longer-term plan and a specific core, and then went out and got the players to match; the Mets, at about the same price, pursued short-term fixes for longstanding problems. They’re battling to stay ahead of the Marlins in the standings in part because they picked the wrong fixes but also as a result of their organizational dedication to building rosters out of store-brand duct tape and the sort of veteran free agents that the owners would want to have a beer with. There is no discernible plan and no longterm core, either.”

  • eric1973

    Is Gary Cohen a WANTED man in Canada? As I recall, last time the Mets went to Toronto, he did not accompany the team then, either.

    Nothing more boring than interleague games in Toronto with foreign announcers.

    I am watching this garbage now on Mets Fast Forward. Very loyal, yet pathetic at the same time.

  • 9th string catchwr

    This is a team that certainly has no identity or much in the way of baseball IQ. That’s how you end up here.

    I just don’t know why we don’t have starters that can go 7 fucking innings. Or why most of them can’t make 30 starts in a season. You can’t win this way.

    • Seth

      They don’t seem to be built that way. Wheeler pitches well and just runs out of gas by the 6th inning. Same with Matz. Pitchers just aren’t built to pitch complete games anymore. So any bullpen shortcomings are magnified.

  • Curt

    The Mets have the ability to make me feel smart. Was working on some things at home yesterday pm, got in around 8:30. Looked at the score, Mets are up 5-0, have options. Can watch the rest of what looks like a certain win or, if I feel like staying up late, can choose “watch from beginning” on MLBtv.

    My choice? “Nah, they’ll just fuck it up.” I was right! I’m smart! What’s cool about it is it works whether you’re talking about a single baseball game, an entire season, or some cosmological line of inquiry such as asking why, indeed, do we exist? Hate that I’ve become so sour on an entire season – there’s usually something, some young player or players, that makes it worth following. Don’t feel that here. Maybe after September call-ups.

  • Manchester Met

    Well, where to start? Last night England won their first ever penalty shoot out in the World Cup (fourth attempt – previously the worst record in the competitions history), to progress to the quarter finals. It has sparked joy in the country (and my house!) and some hope that the team might not be as bad as previously advertised (they are young, inexperienced and really just starting out on the big stage) and we might even continue to make progress.
    So my day was going well.
    Then along came the Mets, my little rays of sunshine. At 5-0, I was practically humming happiness. Perhaps, with back-to-back wins from Sunday and now in Toronto, a corner might be turned, just like England earlier.
    Ah well, at least one part of my sporting life is consistent. We are not bad. We are beyond bad. The words to describe the current team have not even been invented yet. For my fellow Mets fans who have forgotten the joy of sport (and after what we’ve suffered since April, who would blame us?), please check out the reaction to England breaking a long standing curse. If nothing else, it might make you smile.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-44711374/world-cup-2018-how-england-fans-celebrated

    Keep the faith. LGM

  • Jacobs27

    So, the Blue Jays bullpen had to get 26 outs yesterday. They gave up 6 runs. The Mets bullpen got 5 outs. They gave up 6 runs, plus an inherited runner.

    What I’m saying is, this L is on Zack Wheeler. Did you notice he couldn’t even be bothered to bat for himself?

    Gary Apple was surprisingly adequate at play-by-play, though. Didn’t see that coming.

    Edit: Sorry, I shortchanged the Jays pen, they only gave up 4, of course. The joke doesn’t work as well now.

  • K. Lastima

    The Mets are the modern day equivalent of the St. Louis Browns, laboring in the shadow of the consistently superior and more popular cross-town rival from the other league, playing a brand of baseball that is generally mediocre, frequently awful, occasionally competitive and rarely championship caliber, complete with the parallel maddening World Series lost to the cross-town rival to dampen one of the team’s few shining moments. Well, at least we’re not destined for Baltimore, so there’s that, I guess.

  • Shawn B

    Meet the new half. Same as the old half.

  • Seth

    Still sinking, still stinking, I’m thinking, better start drinking.

  • Steve D

    The Wilponz used to spend money…Beltran, Johan, Pedro. They always had an ace in the hole…they invested with a guy who delivered them 8% or whatever no matter what the market did. That is why they deferred money to Bonilla and others. They would invest with Madoff in the meantime, like an annuity, to cover the deferred payments. They actually made money with Madoff, but of course they counted on and leveraged those gains and much of it evaporated.

    Barrons had an article years before the collapse that Madoff seemed to good to be true. Could you say the Wilponz are the biggest dupes in one of the largest Ponzi schemes ever? Probably. That was mainly Fred. Now Jeffy is a big part of the decision process. Never met him, but people I know who know people in MLB say they do not think very highly of his abilities. But that is kind of obvious really. They also trusted Charlie Samuels for years.

    So where does this leave us? Forced to live out our fandom rooting for a stupid dupe of an ownership. Really you have to hand it to Sandy for getting us into the World Series. He had a rare mix of good young, cheap pitchers that will be hard to duplicate. They have to hire a great baseball person, then bring on a top manager and then spend some money to rebuild the farm system. The odds of all that happening in my lifetime is zero.

  • sturock

    What Steve D said. And yet I keep watching, keep listening, keep reading, keep caring. What’s wrong with me?

  • SeasonedFan

    This is what this Season has become: When the Mets were up 5-0, my immediate reaction was to remain calm as they may still find a way to lose.

  • Orange and blue through and through

    It is absolutely MIND-BOGGLING that the Mets, as awful as they are, are not (yet) in last place in the East. The Fish continue to flounder there. Then think about the fact that the completely, without a doubt worst team in MLB, the Baltimore Orioles; a startling 24-65, 41 games under .500 and 37 games out of first place (17 back of 4th place Toronto), SWEPT us in a 2 game series AT HOME! I need therapy.