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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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Side Effects May Include Losing

Maybe Mickey Callaway took some cold medicine early in Tuesday night’s game. I took some cold medicine early in Tuesday night’s game and saw printed clearly on the back of the box, WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE PITCHING CHANGES.

Really, that warning should follow Mickey around, no matter how congested or clear his head is feeling. Me, I’m coughing up god knows what, but not a lead. Mickey’s bullpen needs to take a lot of pills. Or Mickey should have simply taken one pill marked CHILL in the seventh when he decided, against the recommendation of the American Medical Association, four out of five dentists and me repeatedly blowing my nose, to remove Noah Syndergaard with two men out, a runner on first and the Mets ahead, 3-2.

Seth Lugo could have gotten that third out, of course, but then we wouldn’t have Mickey to kick around. Nah, we would. There’s always a reason.

This time, it was Seth not getting the one out and instead giving up two hits and letting in the one run that allowed the Giants to tie the Mets at three, setting the stage for one inning too many, the tenth, when another Met reliever of Callaway’s choosing, Robert Gsellman, entered…and the Mets did not emerge alive. What was a 3-3 tie became a 9-3 deficit and, ultimately, loss. The Mets’ pen does better on the road, if only because last at-bat defeats in the other team’s park are limited to a margin of four runs.

Later, Mickey said he regretted taking Noah out. Noah regretted it while he was still on the mound. He regretted it so much they had to pixelate the slo-mo replays of his spoken reaction lest all you kids out there be scandalized. Most of us had the same reaction as Noah. Nobody asked us about it afterward. Mickey was asked. Coming out and admitting it was a bonehead move (not his phrase, but it fits) was certainly honest. It was also a little bizarre. Managers ought to be able to explain their thinking so we can at least say, uh-huh, I disagree, but I see what you tried to do. He’s tried doing that on occasion, and his explanations have been clear as my sinuses these past couple of days. So perhaps forthrightly admitting he just didn’t make what seemed both in real time and retrospect the proper call was the way to go.

Doesn’t really matter. The game was lost. Callaway invoked the cliché that hindsight is 20/20. The Mets, meanwhile, are 28-32 and not looking sharp.

On the bright side, the Mets did reach Madison Bumgarner with Noah Syndergaard on the mound. It would have been a far brighter side had this been October 5, 2016, when Thor brought half the marbles, MadBum the other half and all of the marbles were on the proverbial table. This here was a table-free game in June between lousy teams. Conor Gillaspie was nowhere in sight and Jeurys Familia was presumably assigned backpack-banning duty at the McFadden’s entrance. Hard to believe how long ago less than three years has quickly become.

One of the Met runs driven in for a change at Citi Field against Bumgarner was by Pete Alonso via his 20th home run. Alonso needed a souped-up DeLorean to make it count in that Wild Card Game of yore, but let’s not put everything on Pete. Or Mickey. Or Seth and Robert, who were the surprise aces in the hole who got us as far we were gonna go in 2016, which, if I haven’t mentioned it already, was three years ago.

Happiest sound coming out of the TV Tuesday night was the voice of Ron Darling, back in the booth after thyroid cancer surgery. Todd Zeile did an admirable job filling in, I thought, but GKR is GKR. That’s one team based in Flushing that can never be beat.

Happiest sound coming out of the TV the night before was the excitement emanating from Brett Baty, Mets’ first-round draft choice and, if he’s not traded for, I don’t know, Jason Bay, future third baseman of the New York Mets. Maybe he’ll be, horse before the cart and all that. I’m in the mood to express a lot of confidence in a name that was unknown to us 48 hours ago. The young man sure seemed happy to be selected as a Met. His childhood tee-ball team was called the Mets and his teammates knew him as Brett the Met (a nickname immediately trademarked by “that kumquat Tom Brady,” as Howie Rose accurately referred to the decidedly non-Terrific quarterback Sunday).

I was plenty enthusiastic about Baty on Monday night, but when Tuesday’s game was over, I was left to wonder why the Mets don’t just keep drafting relief pitchers until they get a few who function as we wish they would. Or maybe a manager who does that.

21 comments to Side Effects May Include Losing

  • Jacobs27

    “…if he’s not traded for, I don’t know, Jason Bay”
    Oh man, I almost spilled my coffee laughing at that one.

    Honestly, this blog and GKR (and Howie) are a significant part of my enjoyment of the Mets. A team that really tests the limits of enjoyability.

    I think the move of bringing Lugo in was a bad one, not because I expected him to cough up the lead but because it seems obvious to me that you’d want to limit the usage of our ‘pen as much as humanly possible. Using Lugo for an extra out with Syndergaard looking fine just strikes me as inviting trouble, now and in the future, as BVW might put it.

  • Richard Porricelli

    I saw the game and that move by Callaway is so common these days..Revolving door of the bullpen spits out a guy , he gets the out or he dosent!.Now it will be used as just another excuse to fire the guy.

  • LeClerc

    Time for an intervention.

  • Dave

    Baty for Jason Bay? Are you kidding me? Jason Bay is not a CAA client. Baty is being sent to the Nats for Ryan Zimmerman.

    This pitcher they got in the 3rd round who everyone said was a 1st round pick? He’ll be sent to the Mariners to complete the trade for Cano and Diaz.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Elsewhere, in places where they play real baseball these days, old pal Jay Bruce hit two dingers and a double and drove in 6 in his first game for the hated Phils. Given away both by Sandy and then Brodie. Never a huge fan but getting nothing, not even a decent reliever, for a player who may lead the Phils to glory is hard to take. Then again, who needs a quality bullpen arm?

    • Daniel Hall

      If Flay Flooze rakes it for the Phils – bless him. All we know is that we allegedly got a “quality bullpen arm” in the same deal, and that he routinely, mindbogglingly stunk as a Met. And if he hits ten bombs and drives in a hundred against the Mets for the rest of the year, it’s still not like THAT is gonna ruin their season…

  • GIl

    Throw the remote controller kind of night.

    If we are hopping in the DeLorean, let’s go back and not fire Terry Collins.

  • Greg Mitchell

    The extent of the team’s collapse can be judged simply by imagining what your reaction would have been in March if you were told that McNeil, far from being a spare part, would be playing early all the time and hitting .340; that Alonso, rather awaiting a callup, would be on pace to hit 56 dingers and be named ROY; that Vargas, far from being an albatross, would pitch well more often than not; and there’d be no major injuries to our 4 top starting pitchers. You’d have predicted we’d be at least 10 games over .500, not four games under…

  • Dave R.

    I don’t get it. It’s 10:23 a.m. on the east coast and he still hasn’t been fired.

  • Bob

    Seen a lot in my 55+ years of being Met fan.
    Seeing/hearing Ron Darling back in booth in Gary & Keith made me very happy…but–
    This horses ass, dumb as a piece of wood, “Manager” Callaway, should be given a job selling bags to Met fans to put over our heads when going to Met games. No doubt bags would be banned till Mets/MLB sells “authorized” versions….
    And our GM Brodie Van Shmuck needs to get another job–maybe selling dumpsters–since he’s left us with 1 big dumpster fire…
    Sigh…I was thinking for a moment last night that Thor might actually deck Callaway as the jackass came out to the mound to change pitchers (add gas to fire).
    Well-all we can do is hope some heads roll and the Mets can salvage this season….
    Yeah, right..
    Let’s Go Mets!

  • mikeL

    **oops. posted originally on yesterday’s page**

    how nice would it be to release brody and make him take all of his signings with him. i’m sure he could find an ownership group that would take on all of his crap contracts.

    oh wait. the cat’s out of the bag.

    i predict brody walks and the mets will be left with so many awful contracts. the former GM will go back to being an agent, having unloaded so many toxic assets on the same fools that got hosed by madoff.

    maybe the wilpons can find their own career changes and get the hell out of baseball.

    that is my hope.

    in the meantime, can brodie do the decent thing and let callaway spend his summer fishing or playing golf?

  • Paul from Brooklyn

    That Keith fella in the booth seems to know quite a bit about the game.Suit him up and let him manage the squad.

  • Last night and Saturday night and plenty of other nights this year have stunk. BUT, this team has more quality pieces than it has had in a decade.

    If I told you the lineup would include:
    A power hitting stud 1B
    An improvement young SS
    A fitting savant 2B/3B
    A good hitting C
    A good tho streak OF
    A good tho injured OF
    5 quality starting pitchers
    A quality closer
    A quality bridge to the closer

    You would be pretty excited, no? I am, even if right now it’s frustrating. With a move for a quality bullpen arm and manager who has any baseball IQ, this team will compete this year and for the next few years.

  • Seth

    He knows a lot, that’s why he knows he doesn’t want that job. :-)

  • 9th String Catcher

    Mickey’s making it easy for Brody. Maybe he’s doing it on purpose. Really, all you have to do at this point is lose two more to the Giants and he is officially on vacation. Or, perhaps take Wheeler out of a game at 5 2/3s and 75 pitches. Or pinch hit Nido for Alonso in a tie game. Lots of possibilities.

  • mikeL

    if it would be that easy i’d be all in.
    i fear callaway will be held on as a means of deflecting attention away from brodie’s/the wilpon’s complete incompetence.
    for guys who don’t like to spend, the ‘pons *really* got burned by brodie’s choices.

    the cano deal would have been bad enough for one year.
    i was good with familia playing elsewhere. that’s 8 years of two guys i don’t wanna see play another GAME in a mets uni. to say nothing of lowry. won’t bother to mention the ‘pen or the bad fit that ramos has been with degrom, and likely noah too.

    and of course cano pushes a home-grown hitting genius from his natural position.

    once mickey’s gone the beat writers will have time to devote page space to how we got here (this time).

  • 9th String Catcher

    I have a feeling Cano may get dumped in the fire sale and we won’t have to eat the entire thing, but it was amazing to me that the Mets would jump at the opportunity to finish off one of the worst contracts a team ever got stuck with. Yes, getting Diaz was useful, and I liked getting rid of Bruce and the other stiff, but it was pretty questionable.

    One thing I was pretty sure we didn’t need was a 2nd baseman. So we ended up getting two of them and a spare third baseman. And I was also pretty sure we didn’t need a poor hitting good fielding 4th outfielder, but hey, we got one of those too. As for Familia, I had hopes he could handle the 8th, but there was no proof that a) he was all the way back from his previous injury and b) he could adjust to high leverage 8th inning situations. And we didn’t need two offensive-first defense-last catchers on the roster, but we got that too.

    In Brody’s defense, we needed depth, and offensively we have that. JD Davis fits that bill, so does Lowrey if he ever comes back, so do the 55 AAA outfields we have in Syracuse. I think we have enough pieces to at least be doing better than we’re doing.

    • Daniel Hall

      Let the thought of Cano getting traded slip from your mind. No team other than the Mets could possibly be dumb enough to take on that contract and that player. Mets will pay $85m for five years, one way or another. (The Mariners retained $35m of the salary)

      • 9th String Catcher

        The hope I cling to is that someone will take him off our hands as part of another trade (Noah, Dominic, etc), and we only have to eat 50% of the contract. Less than likely, but hey, the Mariners pulled it off…