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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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Witnessing the Apocalypse

That’s enough baseball for tonight, thanks.

Honestly, it was kind of funny.

Your recapper was three seats behind the left-field fence for the worst loss — mathematically speaking — in franchise history, and can report that it really wasn’t that bad.

Losing 3-2 in 11 lingers unpleasantly in the memory. Getting jumped for a five-spot in a disastrous eighth will leave a mark. Falling behind 1-0 in the first and never making up the difference will get you muttering. But giving up seven in the first and then having things get truly out of hand? All you can do is try to laugh.

Getting your butts kicked all over the place is part of baseball, and thank goodness for it. Every team, from sad sacks to juggernauts, is going to have a day or two in the course 0f a season when they get shelled, shellacked, tattooed or what have you. You try to grin and bear it, to be a good sport, and to accept your licking with a stubborn insistence that baseball karma works in slow and mysterious ways.

There were a ton of fellow Mets fans in attendance at Nationals Park on Tuesday night, and we became one big support group as the Nationals kept putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard. “We got a third hit!” one member of the orange-and-blue faithful mock-exulted as I returned to my seat to find us down 16-0. Emily and I complimented the father of a pair of stoic-looking young Mets fans for raising his kids right, and assured the doubtful-looking kids that this kind of thing builds character. If nothing else, there were mutual raised eyebrows and head shakes as we passed each other in the concourse, trying to ignore that the crowd noise was gleefully swelling again. Everywhere, there was a sense that we were in this together, even though all of us would have found anything else to do with our night if we’d known it would be this breathtakingly bad.

The Nationals fans were invariably good sports too. While I waited in line for a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl (tasty!), a Mets fan and a Nats fan behind me got to talking. Surveying That Which Didn’t Need to Be Named, the Mets fan offered that “it’s OK, we know we suck.” To which the Nats fan replied, “We’re under .500 ourselves,” after which they both started discussing chili. It’s true: the Mets’ season has been a train wreck, but so has the Nats’ year, and you can make the case that it feels worse to go from March shoo-in to July mediocrity than it does to go from spring-training enigma to regular-season disaster.

As I said, we were all in this together. What was happening in front of our eyes — a 7-spot, followed by a quartet of 3-run innings and matters were far from settled — was pathetic and hilarious and above all else bizarre. Everyone seemed to understand that it was unseemly to gloat and undignified to mourn. The only thing to do was to marvel.

When it was 10-0 Emily and I decided there wasn’t the slightest bit of disloyalty in setting out on her first-ever stroll around Nationals Park. When it was not only 19-0 but also 19-0 and raining, we decided we had had the greatest sufficiency of baseball for the evening, thank you very much.

And so we departed, missing Jeff McNeil‘s first career home run, Jose Reyes‘s debut as a pitcher, and the Mets winding up losing by three touchdowns. I mildly regret not having had eyes on McNeil’s homer, though it seems I have a talent for this: at Yankee Stadium last year I was absent for Dominic Smith‘s first big-league round-tripper. That was worse, as the game was relatively close and I missed Dom’s milestone to get a revoltingly terrible hot dog.

The remaining unseen portion of Tuesday’s debacle? I regret nothing. The night had been amazing enough as it was. And should I go the rest of my life without seeing a Mets game quite so amazing in a similar way, that would be all right too.

25 comments to Witnessing the Apocalypse

  • Daniel Hall

    Thank goodness I chose not to exploit my day off by staying up so late for this one. Kudos to Mickey for trying to kill Reyes by having him pitch forever. Sadly, like anything else Mickey does, it didn’t work out that well.

    Although I saw all of the Anthony Rendon Game and that was amusing, too. Wasn’t that also a Matzie start? Do left-handers mean bad luck for the Mets? Is that really a noon start for another scheduled drubbing today? Should I go to work now so I miss it?

    All these questions…

    Addendum: it was actually a Thor start last April, of course, the one that led to a DeLuxe vacation. And he starts today. We’re doomed.

  • Harvey Poris

    Don’t worry! Pitching help is on the way. The Cyclones have a guy named Jaison Vilera. This 21-year-old from Venezuela is 5-1 with a 0.78 ERA in 8 starts. He has not given up an earned run in his last 4 starts covering 26.2 innings. For the season so far he has allowed 4 ERs and 23 hits in 46 innings with 15 walks and 56 strikeouts. He hasn’t allowed an HR and has a 0.83 WHIP. Last year in the Gulf Coast league he was 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 62.1 innings In 2016 in the Dominican Summer League he was 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA over 56.2 innings. In his minor league career to date, he is 13-3 with a 1.47 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and a batting average against of .184 with 156 strikeouts in 165 innings. Bring him up!

  • Shawn B

    Soooooooooo … just to be clear, we’re not doing the salt-and-pepper shaker thing anymore?

  • Dave

    Yea, the half-smokes at Nationals Park are delicious. Of course so is the Shake Shack and Blue Smoke and all of the other foodstuffs blatantly inspired by Citifield.

    Games like this are those rare train wrecks that I can’t help but watch, I was glued to this insanity. Forget all of the football score analogies, I was starting to fear we’d get to the point where people would be asking how many 3-pointers the Nats made.

    But we get to tee up against 2017’s Met of the Year today…so as you said, Jason, not as though Nats fans can laugh too hard.

  • Dave

    And Harvey – sounds like the Vilera kid has stats that on this club would give a pitcher a W-L record of about 5-6.

    • Jacobs27

      If we’re ignoring the damage to a player’s development bringing him up from Single-A to this smoldering ruin would cause, I’d rather have Jaison Vilera starting than Jason Vargas. On the other hand, the Cyclones actually have something to play for, so maybe I’d rather he stays in Coney Island for now.

      And yes, sounds like he’d fit right in at 5-6

  • LeClerc

    Reyes in the 8th inning: “kept us in the game”.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Reyes is batting 180. Let’s leave him alone, that’s not bad for a pitcher.

    The Mets fans you left behind did us proud. Very loud in the 9th inning, “Let’s Go Mets” came thru loud & clear on TV. I kept waiting for Gary or Ron to comment on it, but I guess they were worried it would have the same effect as panning the empty seats at that Yankee game in the 60’s.

  • LeClerc

    Matz ERA for 2/3 inning = 94.51

    Reyes ERA for 1 inning = 54.00

    • Daniel Hall

      Matz ERA for 2/3 of an inning was 94.50, and please don’t trigger my OCD with your rounding errors. (twitches weirdly with his left eye)

  • Gil

    When I reported the score to my 6 year old son this morning, he replied: “If we beat them today we get a split, dad.”

    We’re still watching. That’s about all I can say.

  • LeClerc

    Matz now to get MRI for “forearm tightness”.

  • Harvey Poris

    The Mets were, incredibly, 12-12 in July. Let’s see if they can build on that!

  • Ray

    “The Mets gave up 25 runs!”
    “Did they win?”

  • APV

    Feeling like I ought to sleep, spinning room is sinking deep, searching for something to say, waiting for the break of day.

    Was that how the Mets felt at about 4 am? I mean, 25 (or 6) to 4? Really guys?

    Appropos of nothing, I love Terry Kath’s guitar solo on that song.

  • 9th string catcher

    Still not sure why they went to Reyes instead of Plawecki.

  • mikeL

    is it too late to trade matz?

    yes terry kath ruled…

  • Lenny65

    Welp, looks like Matz might be hurt again. He was overdue. The worst part of it all was how it gave the Mets another excuse to continue trotting out the corpse of Jose Reyes (bullpen depth) and his two HRs today probably secured his 2019 roster spot too. Great.

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