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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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Sometimes Boring's Not So Bad

Sometimes, it turns out, a dull baseball game is better without a little injection of excitement.

Wednesday night’s series finale between the Mets and Phillies started off glacial and boring and then turned glacial and annoying. The Phils nicked Jason Vargas for a run in the first but nothing else; the Mets couldn’t get the hit they needed against Vince Velasquez, with Wilson Ramos having a particularly frustrating night. And then Robert Gsellman came into a 1-0 game and got pounded and that was effectively it.

I could talk about Vargas being good, which statistically he undeniably was, but something just felt flat and off for both teams until Gsellman showed up and made you reconsider the watchability of flat and off. Take Vargas’s final pitch of the night, a 2-2 fastball to Bryce Harper. The pitch before had been a changeup that started inside and dove into the dirt, designed to get Harper looking inside. The next pitch, it was clear to me, everyone in the park, everyone watching on TV, and anyone you happened to wake up from a nap of between five minutes and five decades for a quick briefing, was going to be a fastball on the outside corner. It was, it arrived at a Vargasian 86 MPH … and Harper looked at it for strike three.

Yeah, that kind of night.

Anyway, Gsellman came in and was bad and that let all the air out of a game that had turned into a fallen souffle anyway. I’d spent an hour and a half waiting for the Mets to get a big hit, then downgraded my hopes to having someone on either team look vaguely awake. But then Mickey Callaway summoned Jacob Rhame because someone had to pitch the ninth, and Rhame had to face his Tuesday-night antagonist Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins came into that confrontation as wired as if he’d just hoovered up a bag of trucker speed, hit a home run down the left-field line, and should finish his trot around the time the other Phillies get off their bus back home.

And now let’s have 1,000 words about how baseball is a pale shadow of what it used to be, followed by a rant about how the pinkos banned leaded gasoline.

No, if you want that go listen to sports-talk radio or find dumb people on Twitter. (And, honestly, what are you doing here in the first place?)

Rhame wasn’t trying to hit Hoskins Tuesday night to avenge his sort-of-fallen teammates — he nearly hit him because he’s not a very good pitcher. To be more specific about something that doesn’t particularly deserve analysis, he nearly hit him because he’s one of approximately 90 raw chuckers stashed at AAA and called up to the big leagues when teams become disenchanted with their other not very good raw chuckers. They’re spaghetti at the wall, except the spaghetti is going nearly 100 MPH so you’re stuck with contractors in your kitchen all the time.

Hoskins was understandably upset because he could have been killed by the 25th guy on a roster demonstrating why he should be the 27th or 28th guy, but the rest was silly, which may occur to him at some point. (Or may not — I don’t know if Rhys Hoskins is a person things occur to.) Honestly, Hoskins doesn’t need to prove himself to the Jacob Rhames of the baseball world with a home-run trot that makes you think of continental drift; he does that by not having to live in an airport hotel when he’s in the majors.

At least the studious-looking Rhame showed some brains by being studiously uninterested in waving further red flags at this particular bull, noting that Hoskins doesn’t get to trot if he makes a better pitch. Points to him for that — and if there’s any sense left on the planet, that’s where this silliness will end. The Mets won’t see the Phils again until June, at which point if Rhame’s logged more than a couple of weeks away from Syracuse, something’s probably gone pretty seriously wrong.

Maybe in that series Hoskins can get mad at Drew Gagnon.

Morning update: The Athletic’s reporting says I’m wrong and this is all much, much dumber than I thought. Enormous sigh.

7 comments to Sometimes Boring’s Not So Bad

  • Daniel Hall

    “Rhame wasn’t trying to hit Hoskins Tuesday night to avenge his sort-of-fallen teammates — he nearly hit him because he’s not a very good pitcher.” – You, Sir, are a kinder man than me.

    Sigh. Could have done without this loss, but then again, it was a not even VERY VARGAS Vargas start, an occasion that should provoke to assign wins and losses before the ballpark opens its gates…

  • JoeyBaguhDonuts

    Vargas is an opener. One run in 4 2/3 innings. I would rather see him do that from the bullpen after the game starts. The way successful and Cy Young Award-winning pitchers sit home, unemployed, while the season runs is the latest tactic by the Lords of Baseball to save themselves from themselves.

  • Gil

    I have to say, the SNY opening montage did have me geared up for the benches clearing. I like baseball a lot more than fighting, though.

    Good to see Vargas throwing some clean innings and looking like he was going after guys a little more. I sure hope G man comes around.

    let’s go get those Brewers!

  • Robert Spooner

    The Mets do have a tendency to give away the final game of series, especially after they have one a game or two. Maybe the actual statistics will bear me out, but it just seems that they rarely win the final game of a series. This tendency includes playing 2nd string guys, patching together a lineup, and a general feeling of “playing out the string”. Teams that win pennants WIN those “laundry day” games… You’ll wish you had them back in September when you fall a few games short, and those few games against quality division rivals are lost.
    Mets should look to manufacture runs more early in the game. Zeroes on the scoreboard have a deleterious effect on the team, while even one run early makes a team more determined to work hard offensively. Just sayin”…

    • NostraDennis

      Small sample size, but you are factually correct, Robert.
      The Mets’ record in the last game of a series this year is 2-5.
      This includes dropping the finale of their four most recent series.

  • LeClerc

    I couldn’t surmount The Athletic’s paywall but Larry Brown Sports spilled the beans on Britton’s and Gelb’s article.
    So…, it all was started by Realmuto trying to steal second when the Phillies were down 8-0! How dare he!
    Then Lagares returned the favor and wound up on third after a Cano single. Hoskins then asked Cano “What is he doing?” Apparently that further broached “The Unwritten Rules”!
    It then followed (????????) that world-renowned headhunter Jacob Rhame almost beaned Hoskins (twice).
    The following evening Rhame returned to his usual pacific behavior and served up a tasty meatball – followed by Hoskins’ swat and trot.

    All this apparently = Hatfield vs McCoys 2019 (?)

  • Gil

    Rhame gets two games. Just unreal. Incredibly soft. MLB is losing its mind.