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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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You Must Be Within Four Games of .500 to Ride This Ride

So in the end, after all the Sturming and Dranging, the Mets did nothing else. Noah Syndergaard stayed (and celebrated with a fairly hilarious bit of guerrilla Twitter video). Zack Wheeler stayed. Edwin Diaz stayed. Even Todd Frazier stayed. Prospects of whatever pedigree did not arrive. Cash considerations were not considered. Former college roommates of owners’ children remained other organizations’ roster fillers.

It was weird and confusing, which is to say very Metsian, but I found myself happy.

Happy because I think Syndergaard and Wheeler are critical pieces of any success this franchise might have with its current corps, but I’ve covered that. Happy because Marcus Stroman is an upgrade over Jason Vargas professionally and personally. Happy because the Mets have accidentally fallen into good luck before through their own deadline-day misadventures, and who’s to say that absolutely, positively couldn’t happen again?

And happy because, despite their long list of deep flaws and serial unreliability, I kind of like this team. They’re collectively a shaggy mutt who’s indifferently housebroken and keeps tearing up the furniture, but an endearing one for all that.

Anyway, the no doubt weary Mets then went out and played a singularly bonkers game against the White Sox, one that needed one of those signs spelling out height restrictions and advising you not to ride if you’ve undergone major surgery, are pregnant, or have any sense of self-preservation.

I mean honestly, this game had everything.

Early on there was a weirdo replay review that seemed like a certain win for the Mets but was disallowed by Chelsea, proving that Angel Hernandez doesn’t even need to be in the same time zone to fuck up a call, which led to the Mets not having a challenge later when they needed it.

There was Justin Wilson giving up a shot up the middle, which hit the second-base umpire, allowing White Sox to wheel around and score while Wilson looked skyward and protested the grotesque unfairness of it all, except neither he nor I nor probably most people watching had understood the rule, and the White Sox weren’t allowed to score after all because it had hit the umpire, which was a big break for the Mets because no way was Robinson Cano going to make that play, which led to the White Sox looking skyward and protesting the grotesque unfairness of it all, which they were right about but oh well too bad, because Wilson then got out of it.

There was J.D. Davis hitting what looked like a home run into the right-field corner and then looked like a double that bounced off the chalk in the right-field corner and then was called a foul ball but nobody could tell if that was correct or not because for some unfathomable reason the right-field foul line stopped about two feet short of the wall. The umpires got together and stuck with the foul-ball ruling, which I just shrugged about, because what the hell do you do when part of the stupid foul line has been hauled off by gremlins? And then Davis hit a single up the middle, just to have a hit as far from potentially missing foul lines as possible, which is one of many things in baseball that I suspect was even harder than it looked.

There was Jacob deGrom looking electric and outstanding and wonderful and getting stuck with a no-decision, except wait a minute that isn’t bonkers at all except on a cosmic level, because it happens to Jake all the goddamn time.

There was Cano actually getting a big hit, and Frazier getting a big hit about five and a half hours after some dumb blogger lamented that he was still on the team, and Michael Conforto getting a really big hit, and all those hits were important because Mickey Callaway has never been one to assume that a stove that was hot the last 392,455 times will be hot again this time and so why not bring Diaz in to close?

And Diaz was … OKish? I mean, yeah, he gave up a home run, which is kind of not even OKish for a closer, but if you narrow your eyes a bit, or all right a lot, you’d see that the slider was actually sliding and he mixed his pitches well, and if you have a cushion you can challenge hitters and so, you know, baby steps.

(Still. If nothing else Seth Lugo ought to close for a while, right y’all?)

Anyway, it was bonkers even with some parts that I’m sure I missed, but it was actually kind of fun for all that, which is not a bad way to describe the first four months of whatever this season will wind up becoming. The Mets are now three games under .500 and you shouldn’t look at the wild-card standings, even though we all know you did like two minutes after the game ended, you hopeless sucker. It’s not Ya Gotta Believe territory – you don’t want to look at what the schedule’s throwing at us in a week or so — but maybe, just maybe, it’s yaneverknow territory.

11 comments to You Must Be Within Four Games of .500 to Ride This Ride

  • That pretty well says it all.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    …disallowed by Chelsea, proving that Angel Hernandez doesn’t even need to be in the same time zone to fuck up a call,

    Exactly my thoughts when I heard his name as being in on the Chelsea descision.

  • Michael in CT

    Diaz should not close unless the lead is at least two runs. One run is too fine for his delicate sensibilities. But yes he looked much better last night, dinger notwithstanding.

  • Matt

    Alonso’s twitter post yesterday, then Syndergaard’s twitter post… I’m liking the ownership- and management-be-damned vibe. I like that management kept Thor (willingly or not) and is now going for it (willingly or not). I put the Mets on the radio these last two nights for the first time since mid-June.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Mets now in the hunt? Really? Diaz and Familia still awful, Cano still at .240, Alonso at .130 post-HR derby and showing no signs of breaking out, defense still horrid–and now Dom out until Labor Day? This good streak almost all against awful teams. I like to dream too but would have been nice if Brodie had said, hell, we CAN compete–and went out and got one bat and two relievers (which were cheap and plentiful). Instead the Nats and Phils and Braves and Brewers and others in hunt all helped themselves. And now we are set to lose Wheeler for nothing (except maybe a first round pick which he will then trade to get Robles back). Well, I guess Diaz only giving one HR in facing 4 batters–a 9.00 era for that night–shows he is coming around…

  • open the gates

    So, two reasons to actually be grateful to Brodie: 1, sitting on his hands yesterday (I was terrified that we’d hit the deadline having traded Noah Syndergaard for Victor Zambrano), and 2, J.D. Davis, who is an early contender for the Most Underappreciated Met Of The Year Award, which Jeff McNeil won last year in a landslide. I’m hoping that sometime in late September we’ll actually get to see the guy pitch. (Davis, not McNeil.)

  • CharlieH

    “They’re collectively a shaggy mutt who’s indifferently housebroken and keeps tearing up the furniture, but an endearing one for all that.”

    I have one of those! Coincidentally, he came into my life in March 2019, too.

  • JoeyBaguhDonuts

    Our host probably speaks for all of us chronic Met fans. We all agree Stroman is an upgrade over Vargas, but that trade also increased the trade value of every other pitcher potentially on the market. A conspiracy theorist would ask if someone made that trade knowing that it decreased the odds of moving pitchers he actually wanted to keep, like Syndergaard and Wheeler. Whether part of three-dimensional chess or not, I still like how it played out. I think JD Davis gets the Most Unappreciated Met of the Year Award. If Alonso figures out how to hit again, do we have our Cespedes?

  • 9th String Catcher

    If you want to be critical of the team, there is more than ample reason to do so. They dug an incredibly deep hole, the team has lots of people in the wrong positions, the defense is atrocious and the bullpen has major problems. (And their manager is still not very good).

    But the hell with it. The odds are long, but the team is interesting and fun to watch (outside of diaz and familia), and on some level, they listened to their fan base and didn’t give away popular players for a bag of balls (or Rhames).

    Hopefully they’ll notice what everyone else already knows – Diaz cannot be in high leverage save situations, Cano should be batting 7th and Lugo should close the close games. Also, they need to find some rest for Alonso. He’s been carrying a major load all year and can’t afford to burn the guy out.

  • mikeL

    offs, schmodds!
    yea recent run has been one of bottom-feeding.
    playing good teams *could* bring an unpleasant reality check…but me: i’m actually paying attention to the standings for essentially the first time all season.
    the band is still together…and alonzo *has* to shake off his derby hangover at some point, right??

    weird that this is *it* for trades though. no waivers available to get a bullpen arm or three or a real outfielder.

    why was rajai davis sent back to syracuse so quickly after his first AB HR? guy can hit and still cover ground.