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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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Burn After Losing

If MLB plans to sell gameworn home team apparel from this past weekend’s Mets-Braves series at Citi Field, it had better come in an urn. There should be nothing but ashes left from those ghastly ghostly getups that we never need see again. They weren’t pleasant to squint at as you tried to figure who was warming up in the bullpen and goodness knows — save for a home run here and there — few pleasant associations are to be derived from the sight of them.

As for the third and hopefully final game in which those uniforms were modeled, I’m far more mellow on the substance than I am the style. This is not an upvote for getting swept, but Sunday’s affair struck me as just one of those things. Sometimes you wind up in a pitchers’ duel and half of that time you’re likely to wind up on the short end of it. It’s happened to Mets teams en route to fantastic finishes just as it’s happened to Mets teams going nowhere. It’s happened and it happens.

Dallas Keuchel stymied the Mets completely. Steven Matz did the same to the Braves, except for a high fly to left that carried. Had Josh Donaldson not sussed out a jet stream that allowed his second-inning would-be putout to clear a wall, LIOSM would have been home free until a blister ended his day. Still, he had a splendid outing: six innings, one hit that wasn’t Donaldson’s dinger, and a sense that if Steven’s the lesser link in our rotation, our rotation must be pretty good.

Keuchel, though, gave up no balls that traveled as far Donaldson’s. Lots of ground balls “tailor-made” for double plays, as Keith Hernandez kept emphasizing. Nobody saw fit to sign Keuchel for the longest time when he sat untouched on the free agent market, yet the Braves were eventually smart enough to grab not only the pitcher but his tailor.

Matzie left the game down, 1-0. Paul Sewald entered the game and instantly doubled the deficit. Donaldson again. This time there was no rationalizing the ball’s flight. It was the kind of bomb some people think you could aim at a hurricane to make it go away. The Bringer of Rain is probably capable of climate change on his own, provided a Met pitcher is on his radar. Donaldson has hit nine home runs against the Mets this year. That’s practically Stargell-level harassment.

Despite making it 2-0 as soon as he showed his face, Paulie wasn’t abysmal. He hasn’t been in his umpteenth return from Triple-A. Who knows, maybe he’ll be the Mets righty who comes up from the minors, finds his form for more than five minutes and makes a positive impact in that pesky bullpen of ours. Why not dream big?

The bottom of the ninth represented a bit of a revelation from my perspective. In this year of the home run, I’ve been as prone as anyone to fall in love with the mere idea of one big swing being all we need. It’s a very tempting proposition. Those 41 the Polar Bear has pounded have been plenty fun. So have the two we’ve witnessed from Jacob deGrom. Nothing wrong with a Mets home run, right? Only problem is they are not conjured just because we want them to be. For thirty-one consecutive innings versus Atlanta, I wanted them to be. We got only two. Now, in the ninth inning on Sunday, I found myself a mantra.

“Baserunner.” I just kept saying it with every new batter, every few pitches. I didn’t ask Pete Alonso to go unconscionably deep. Get on, I asked. Be a baserunner. And Pete responded affirmatively, doubling off Mark Melancon.

“Baserunner.” I tried it again, this time with Michael Conforto. The suggestion wasn’t as well received, as Forto grounded out. But J.D. Davis (who earlier hit a Donaldson-like fly to left that didn’t travel suitably far) was on board. He singled to center, sending Alonso to third.

“Baserunner.” Todd Frazier — the Toddfather — was not an unalloyed success but proved useful in the overall quest of the ninth inning, which was tying the game. Frazier grounded into a fielder’s choice that offed J.D. at second, but also got Pete across the plate. We were still down, but not by as much. At 2-1, with Frazier on first, you could see a happy ending as easily as you could see the names on the back of the ivory jerseys. It took some doing, but I swear you could do it.

“Baserunner.” Wilson Ramos, who had been given a little R&R with René Rivera back in town, pinch-hit for Juan Lagares. Ramos was on an 18-game hitting streak. Tough to ask him to maintain it by coming in cold in the ninth. Tougher to ask him to keep awake a game that had slept the afternoon away. But what’s tougher than a Buffalo? Wilson singled. Todd was on second.

“Baserunner.” Due up next was the starting catcher Rivera, whose second Mets tenure commenced once Tomás Nido went to the concussion IL, but Mickey Callaway opted for Joe Panik as pinch-hitter. Panik or no Panik, calm and cool is what I was determined to remain, sticking with my mantra. Don’t be a hero, Joe. Just get on base.

Panik was neither a hero nor a baserunner. He grounded out to end the threat, the game, the series and the unfortunate sweep. Oh well. Couldn’t do anything about the first two games by Sunday and Sunday’s game, we’ve established, was just one of those things. Still, I liked the ninth-inning rally. It seemed to encompass the right idea. Or maybe I thought I had the right idea and decided I’d project. Whichever. The Mets just lost three games to the Braves and are pretty much unharmed (if not much aided) in their pursuit of the Wild Card. They’re two behind the Cubs, who were swept by Washington, and we’ve got those very same Cubs coming to Citi Field, where normally we don’t get swept and usually we wear sharp-looking duds.

So let’s look sharp, get some baserunners, drive them in and win the next game we play. Surely the Mets are aware of what they should do. I’m just here for the helpful reminders.

13 comments to Burn After Losing

  • Jacobs27

    Here, here. Great post, useful reminder.

    If only MLB had Keuchel’s tailor.

  • Daniel Hall

    I was openly rooting for Polar Pete not to hit a dinger in this game (well, until just before the bitter end at least…), because I was not fond of forever seeing the replay of his #42 being smashed while he’s clad like a wound dressing.

    I only hope the abhorrence that is Players’ Weekend has been properly buried now. If the way the players have to express themselves is by doubling as grave diggers and sanitary napkins, I think we can do without the entire circus. Never mind that I never quite understood what room for “expression” these players needed besides being tattooed from head to heel and the six pounds of bling around their fragile necks. While we’re at it, throw out the pink bats, too. Those are just as eyewateringly horrendous as the chaingang outfits the Mets (and others) wore while getting swept by the Barves.

    Now, if only there wasn’t this bad feeling with the upcoming Cubs series…

  • Dave

    Good times for Mercury Mets uniforms, as they are no longer the stupidest things the Mets have ever worn.

  • 9th string catcher

    Such a dumb concept. It’s like Hawaiian shirt day being called a perk by oblivious office management.

    As for the series, the Braves didn’t look all that invincible. Mets hitting was mostly in the tank,but that happens. Time for another winning streak!

    • Jacobs27

      I can only imagine that next year the nicknames will be written in invisible ink, the games played under black-light, and a fireworks show will be promised after the Sunday matinées.

  • eric1973

    We’ll win once we get back to wearing our regular uniforms. This whole weekend felt different and horrible.

  • open the gates

    Agreed, as three game sweeps go, this one was relatively painless. The most annoying aspect of this particular game is the thought that Braves Starting Pitcher Dallas Keuchel could easily have been Mets Starting Pitcher Dallas Keuchel.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Re: The Uniforms.
    The Auxiliary Police Braves.

  • Bob

    But Greg–I note the Ferengi now running MLB Corporate Marketing has those horrid unis on sale for only $219.00!
    Buy early for best selection–UGH!

    As far as how Mets did in the weekend series VS Barfs–I was getting visions of the end of the 1998 season…nuff said.

    Hope Mets can shake themselves and handle the Cubs, starting tomorrow.
    Let’s Go Mets!

  • MikeS

    It’s amazes me that someone at MLB actually thought these uniforms were a cool idea. Or maybe it was a big joke played on the baseball public.

  • greensleeves

    Aside from fashion, can we talk briefly of other aesthetics? Fluidity of motion. The form/function of swinging a barrel headed object against a moving sphere. Kinesthetics, dammit.

    Are all outs created equal?

    Does it pain you as it does me to watch Frazier chop and fling his bat in the most unpleasing style with every AB? Before and after every pitch he offends sensibilities with that jerky practice hack outside the box. It is a cringe-worthy, dirt bag, caveman swing that cries for an intervention. More suited to fungo than the game itself. When he does connect, it seems he’s as surprised as anyone in the stands.

    Compare him to Conforto, JD, Pete A. or anyone else –even our starting pitchers; at least when they K or ground to short, it’s a less ugly out.

    Alas, Donaldson and Arenado are booked for the foreseeable future. But oh how I long for a third baseman who doesn’t make me avert my eyes.

    It’s late August and I’ve been holding this in for too long. Only my wife and the furniture have heard my disdain. After a tire deflating weekend I just had to vent.