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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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What I Wrote Instead

As Wednesday night’s game became Thursday morning’s game, the storyline seemed pretty clear — clear enough that I scribbled some notes for myself to peruse around now. Let’s see if I can decipher them:

No aces
Noah’s struggles
Alonso show
Gomez/Seager comedy -> Frazier do or die, see that play a lot with catchers
Adeiny
Walked Buehler twice
116 pitches

And in a better world, that’s the recap I’d be writing: How Noah Syndergaard continues to navigate life stripped of his once-immortal slider, the pitch that left the 2015 Royals trudging and muttering reduced to something stubbornly ordinary. Is it mechanics? The juiced ball? Just mischance? But that recap would also have been about a confrontation of aces that never came to pass, since the Mets used grit and patience to grind down Walker Buehler. Highlights included Pete Alonso‘s two homers, a sign that Alonso might have made the latest adjustment in the endless sequence of pitcher-hitter riposte-and-parry. (Maybe, if I’d been ambitious, I would have crunched a number or two looking at Pete’s pace vs. that of Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran. Not too early to think about!)

I definitely would have parsed that goofy play where Carlos Gomez misplayed a flyball into a Bellingeresque throw that nabbed Corey Seager at third, with a tip of the cap for Todd Frazier‘s grab and stab at the bag, the kind of no-look, do-or-die play we see catchers forced to make all the time, and that leaves them looking foolish when the timing’s even a little off.

Oh, and I would have worked in an ironic acknowledgment that the latest Met I inexplicably detest, Adeiny Hechavarria, has been inexplicably delightful to watch play. That’s why it’s good I’m not the GM, baseball’s great because you’re happy when you’re wrong, oh wasn’t that fun.

Yes, that would have been a pretty neat recap to write. I’m not sure I would have gotten in fretting about the 116 pitches Syndergaard threw, or found the “walked Walker” play on words that my partner would have turned into a feast, but I would have enjoyed writing it and you, presumably, would have enjoyed reading it.

But nope, before you could say HOLY JUSTIN UPTON, the game turned into a debacle, one of those games where the other team rips out your heart and shows it to you, glistening and making gross squelching noises because it’s still beating, and after staring at it in appalled disbelief you murmur something witnesses will later reconstruct as “oh, this means I’m dead” and everything goes black.

Homer, homer, double, double, intentional walk, blown play at second for infield single, walkoff sacrifice fly. That was Edwin Diaz‘s night, with the only out he recorded winning the game for the other guys.

What the hell happened? Diaz called it the worst night of his career, which is I hope is still true as long as he’s a Met. He thought his pitches were sharp; the Met commentariat (and the Dodgers’ hitters) disagreed, with the slider in particular seeming to lack the bite that Diaz needs. (Hmm, sliders MIA from repertoires when really needed — there’s another note to scrawl.) Blaming overuse? Seems unfair given not so long ago the suspicion was that Diaz’s problem was rust from underuse. Perhaps the unwelcome but obvious fact that the Dodgers are really, really good should be part of the equation. Perhaps it’s just baseball, which wouldn’t be baseball without the spikes of unexpected beauty/horror that interrupt the placid green Ken Burnsness of it all.

Whatever it was, it turned that recap, the one that still made me smile a bit, into this recap, the one that can’t be pushed deep enough into the archives soon enough.

Worst night of Edwin Diaz’s career. Let’s go with that, and hopefully move beyond it.

23 comments to What I Wrote Instead

  • MetFanMac

    I can’t take this any more.
    This is the tenth time this year the Mets have lost while scoring at least 5 runs (and fourth with at least 8). The season is 55 games old. Do you know how many times that happened all of last year? Eleven! ELEVEN! Nine times before the All-Star break! Two times all year it happened with at least 8 runs, and those were in Coors Field!
    This is the most dangerous lineup the Mets have had in over a decade and yet here they are wallowing under .500 because our pitching corps is now the equivalent of Russian roulette, only instead of one bullet it’s one empty chamber. Already seven of their 27 wins have been done while spotting the other team at least 5 runs. They only managed that feat 14 times in all of 2018. And that was a team whose sixth- and seventh-best position players by WAR were Jose Bautista and Kevin Plawecki!
    When the starters are good, the bullpen blows it.
    When the relievers are good, they’re mopping up after an implosion.
    When both are working in tandem, the bats go ice-cold.
    I’m just so SICK and TIRED of it all.

  • Gil

    “Good afternoon, Sir. Welcome to the heartbreak hotel. How long do you anticipate staying with us?”

    “Indefinitely.”

  • Jacobs27

    OK, that was unspeakably awful. But my note is:
    “Our two young first-basemen go 6-for-9 with 5 runs, 5 RBI and 3 HRs”. Playing Smith in LF is a desperation move, but it sure is fun to see those two enjoying such success batting back-to-back.

  • DAK442

    Is it too early to put Diaz on the nigh-infinite list of high-profile acquisitions who became thoroughly underwhelming upon donning the blue and orange?

  • otb

    I would have thought that a game started by Syndergaard in which the Mets score 8 runs would be a sure thing win. Yet, his last two starts have been lost by identical scores of 9-8. The previous one was a game in which the Mets almost came from behind, only to fall one run short. This one was an implosion by the closer, with the Mets ahead 8-5 going into the 9th. Of course, it had been 8-3 going into the bottom of the 7th. Syndergaard did his job in this one, seemingly getting stronger as the evening wore on. When the score was 8-4, I almost went to bed, but I decided to stay up to see the Mets close it out. At least I didn’t have to wake up this morning to be shocked by the final score.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Dear Mickey:
    You had a 5-run lead in the bottom of the 7th. Lefty Hector Santiago had been warming up in the pen. He hadn’t pitched since Saturday, and is used to going more than one inning. The Dodgers lineup was loaded with left handed hitters. Yes, I know that Dave Roberts would probably replace them with righties, but if you were to bring in a righty later, Roberts couldn’t bring the lefties back.

    Instead of bringing in Santiago, you brought in Gsellman, who threw 28 pitches the night before. And after Gsellman, you brought in Familia, who did not look particularly good the night before. And in the 9th inning, you brought in Diaz who gave up home runs to the first two hitters.

    Now, since I had no access to TV coverage last night, I was listening to Howie and Wayne on the audio broadcast. Even with no visual, I could see that Diaz had nothing last night. Heck, Stevie Wonder could see that Diaz had nothing last night.

    If the Mets miss the postseason by one game, you can look back to last night as the reason why.

    This one is on you, Mickey.

  • Seth

    The beating heart analogy was possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever read, and was the ONLY thing that made me feel better about last night.

  • Daniel Hall

    You know the feeling when you are so stark raving mad that you can’t even get the words and letters out in order? That was me for an hour after I finished watching this royal miscarriage of a game from the archives. I was so kind and compiled my list of scapegoats – you always need scapegoats, otherwise it’s your fault for following such a fantastically, utterly inept franchise that in terms of professionalism, knowledge and sheer cunning couldn’t hold a candle to a medium-sized basket full of newborn kittens. Scapegoats keep you sane. Maybe.

    Shoutout to Familia, who was finally gone, doing his melting down for somebody else, and is on such a great track to the Meltdown Hall of Fame that the Mets weren’t gonna miss out on that future HoF’er and just had to bring him back for more epic meltdowns. Maybe this somehow sells t-shirts. I DON’T KNOW.

    Shoutout to Brodie Van Waffletown for that genious (geriatric?) trade with Seattle. Without a doubt Jarred Kelenic will win 11 MVPs as a Mariner, while the Mets are stuck with their next flash-in-the-pan closer and another $79m to pay Cano for being a lazy bum that can’t hit, can’t field, won’t run, and is currently parked on the DL where he can at least only do minimal damage to his own team. Just keep him on there. At least he’s not costing MY money while he’s on the DL. Isn’t that right, FRED?

    Shoutout to Captain Mickey, whose dumb expression drives me up the wall, and whose stupid decisions keep unravelling a borderline wild card team. Maybe Diaz would have stunk just a little less if he hadn’t pitched in last night’s non-save situation? Who knows! Captain Mickey surely doesn’t know. Captain Mickey knows NOTHING. Wouldn’t surprise me to find strings attached to his arms and fingers and somebody playing that muppet from atop the dugout, but while he always stays cleverly out of shot, he, too, has not the last clue about how to manage a friggin’ baseball team or game.

    Shoutout to Amed Rosario, who has none of his four paws under control, and whose level of play at short is as appalling as a kid playing with matches in the dynamite factory. Can we get Wilmer Flores back, please? I hear Ruben Tejada keeps in shape in Syracuse. I will take Ruben Tejada *immediately* over A Met Evoking Disappointment.

    Shoutout to Rob Numbfred and the rest of the corrupt MLB brass for the supercharged baseballs that turn every game into 11-7 bombfests. Or sometimes 4-3 with seven homers. There is no integrity in the game, and that fish is stinking from the very head on down.

    Shoutout also to MLB.tv, who managed to show a 4 in the bottom 9th of the line score when Muncy hit that ball to Sacramento. I mean… I was pretty prescient about how this was going to unravel at that point, but … COME. ON. Can’t anybody here play this game??

  • mikeL

    up by 3…tied at 3…noah getting hammered…
    ===SLEEP BREAK TIL 7th===
    still tied at 3?

    what, that’s an 8??

    gsellman : 1 run allowed :-/

    familia : 3 yrs at $10M?? ok, a few good pitches but another run allowed

    ===SLEEP BREAK #2===

    mets must have won??

    read the NY Post. back to sleep angry.

    morning reflection
    yes a very wasted offensive outburst.
    mickey can’t work the bullpen thing
    we took 5yrs of cano(trun) to get diaz??
    can we just leave adeiny at 2nd and give cano to the marlins, gratis?

  • Henry J Lenz

    I was there. Should have gone to Vegas instead. After Ramos & Frazier failed to score Alonso & Conforto, I said out loud “Look out, 9-8 final is coming with Bellinger scoring the winning run off Diaz”. What amazed me were the Dodger fans I was sitting with. 2-0 Mets and they were already giving up and talking about leaving early to beat the traffic. With the best team in the NL! Just a few thousand left at the end.

    • 9th String Catcher

      I wasn’t quite as prescient, but I thought we were in real trouble after Honeycutt calmed his pitcher down, and our next two guys couldn’t hit a fly ball or grounder the opposite way. When they put Familia in, I expected him to get the game to 1 run before Diaz came in. I turned it off at that point, but turned it back on to see that the damage was much less than anticipated. Feeling good about Diaz going in a save situation. Then I saw HR on my phone. Then HR again. I turned it off. Turned it back on to see final score.

  • Dave

    The “oh, this means I’m dead” line might come in handy over the remaining 2/3 of the season.

  • mikeL

    ^^ yea HKL, i noticed them announcing the paid attendance late in the game. 40k or so…but appeared to be 5000 or so left in the park.

    dodger fan archetype : the guy whose taillights we see in the footage of a gimped kirk gibson pumping his way around the bases in 88 series.

  • Greg Mitchell

    I see someone beat me to my usual “using closer with 4-run lead bound to bite you the next night.”

    As the immortal Warren Zevon sang, “I lay my head on the railroad track / poor, poor, pitiful ‘pen.”

    • Fitz Cave

      It wasn’t so much the 4-run lead non-save as it was the sixth time using him in nine days — which meant the implosion appearance was seven times in ten days.

  • Greg Mitchell

    And if you wanna feel worse: Kelenic at .303 with .955 OPS and on pace for 29 HRs–remember the one fear about him was “not enough power.” 19 years old.

  • Lenny65

    It was as bad of a blown regular season save as I have ever seen, nearly Neil Allen-esque in its majesty. They took Diaz to the woodshed, I mean he had zilch. I don’t know what the deal was there but they were just teeing off on him. Of course the Gman and Familia were no help prior to that either. Noah turned in another one of those laborious starts pitchers sometimes have, only the thing is he seems to have a lot of those nowadays.

  • eric1973

    I was kind of satisfied that GS and JF each gave up a run so Dependable Diaz could come in in a save situation, as opposed to the nite before when he was wasted by Mickey, a move TC would have been proud of.

    I was shocked, frankly, Diaz was very dependable, up until last note.

  • CharlieH

    Oh my God… Wasn’t that awful?

  • […] shoulders of Robert Gsellman, allowing Edwin Diaz to continue to rest up from Wednesday night’s still nearly unbelievable debacle. It should be totally unbelievable since the Mets led L.A., 8-5, heading to the ninth and Diaz is […]