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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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Lucy's Invitation

Ready to kick that football, Mets fans?

I’m not talking about the unasked-for arrival of a certain inferior sport before its time. Rather, I’m talking about Lucy Van Pelt and her ongoing invitation for Charlie Brown to kick the football she’s holding.

Lucy, you probably remember, invariably yanked the football away, causing poor Charlie Brown to let out a startled AUUGGGHHH! (or something similar) and end up flat on his back, winded and morose. But time heals all wounds, and Charlie Brown wouldn’t be Charlie Brown without an indefatigable optimism in defiance of all that has come before. And so there Lucy would be, football teed up and waiting, sweetly promising that this time it would be different.

This has nothing to do with the Mets’ wild-card chase; I just like “Peanuts” and was thinking about it.

Ha ha.

Of course it has everything to do with the wild card, and whether we can dare to believe yet again in this ragtag outfit, the one with two decent relievers, a dunderheaded manager, untrustworthy owners and a long history of agony. The same ragtag outfit that, despite all that, is also stacked with capable young hitters, has terrific starting pitchers, gets up no matter how many times it’s knocked down and always, always keeps you guessing.

Wednesday night wasn’t much for drama — the Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray seemed out of sorts in the first inning, was betrayed by his defense and also by his location, and before Ray could blink it was 5-0 Mets and he was out of the game. It never got closer, as Steven Matz shrugged off a bout of wildness in the second and wound up with six innings of shutout ball. The Mets didn’t even have to sweat how to get the usual agonizing six or nine outs after the starter’s work was done, turning mop-up duty over to Jeurys Familia, Paul Sewald and Tyler Bashlor, who acquitted themselves blamelessly. All very nice, and that’s before the satisfying, slightly spooky fact that on a day of 9/11 commemorations, the Mets wound up with nine runs on 11 hits, paced by two-homer games from both Todd Frazier and Jeff McNeil.

A laugher? During a breathless wild-card chase? Well, that was unexpected.

What’s more, after a long stretch where the out-of-town scoreboard was uncooperative, the Mets got help: The Brewers won, but the Braves beat the Phillies and the Padres defeated the Cubs. That leaves the Mets somehow only two out, ahead of Arizona, tied with Philadelphia and eyeing both Chicago and Milwaukee, who now share the second wild card.

By my own rule of thumb, two out with two and a half weeks of baseball remaining is doable. And so here we are again. One more game with the D-Backs, a three-game set with the big, bad Dodgers (who have already clinched, with effects on their bigness and badness to be determined), a road trip to Colorado and Cincinnati, then back home for a four-game stand with the Marlins and, lurking at the end, the Braves — who also will have clinched by then, but who also will still be the Braves. The season has shrunk to something you can memorize easily.

Lucy’s holding the football, and you guys I really swear she’s had a change of heart. Just look at how sweetly she’s smiling, and how perfectly she’s got that pigskin balanced. With a good kick, I bet it would go clear over Snoopy’s doghouse and into the next yard. Maybe even over the house, and wouldn’t be that something?

27 comments to Lucy’s Invitation

  • Dr. Louis Verardo

    A perfect metaphor for what is happening now, Jason.

    Let’s go Mets!

  • 9th string catcher

    Yeah. The problem is we’re led by Joe Shlibotnic, who once called for a suicide squeeze with no one on base.

    Say what you want about this team, they are easy to root for, and they sure keep it interesting. This may be as close as they get as we have our least effective starter, the dbs are them to snap out of their offensive funk and the Dodgers are coming into town, but don’t try using logic this season.

  • Harvey P.

    Maybe the Jets should hire Charlie Brown as their kicker.

  • Matt in DE

    I keep wanting to change from my Mets Tervis cup to my Giants Tervis cup (my way of ceremoniously change seasons at my kitchen table), and yet, these Mets keep giving me reasons to keep their cup firmly entrenched on its coaster (the Giants’ beat down in Dallas helped, too.)

    Let’s hope that 2 GB is not, once again, the proverbial glass ceiling that they have bounced off of before.

    The Peanuts metaphor is PERFECT!

    LFGM!

  • Vincent A

    Just when I think I’m out….they pull me back in…the fact that there is a Cinci/Colorado/Miami trifecta is going to make hpthis interesting. Brewers schedule is a cakewalk, though.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Yes, this is getting more feasible. The two “leaders” just lost perhaps their best players–Yelich and Baez. Mets schedule no longer daunting–as much as it is said “they don’t control their destiny” they now do kinda with Reds-Rockies-Marlins coming up and then the Braves who will be in maybe coasting to playoffs mode. Even splitting the next 4 won’t doom them, but would be nice to knock Dbags back today. The key may be: if they get lucky and the games break so that Lugo and Wilson get regular breathers–need to win a couple more laughers and when we lose let it be 10-1. Can’t control that at all and no sign of any other relievers rising to occasion, but need to keep the Mickey/Diaz bromance off to the side…

    BTW: any Dom Smith sightings? Really has gotten so little attention given the impact he once had….

  • One time, Lucy handed Charlie Brown a notarized statement, promising to not pull the football away this time. Charlie Brown walked back into kicking position, staring at the paper and mumbling to himself. It really is a notarized statement. Well, that means that she HAS to keep her promise. Nobody would give you a notarized statement and then pull the ball away.” Of course . . . .

    • chuck

      Not to nitpick, but the statement Lucy handed Charlie Brown was only signed, not notarized. In the final panel, Lucy pointed out that it wasn’t notarized.

      The existential despair of Schultz (www.3eanuts.com) is an apt definer of Mets fandom. If Schultz had lived in New York instead of Santa Rosa, he would have certainly been a Mets fan. Well done, Jason.

  • 9th String Catcher

    BTW – Mickey loses us a lot of games, but gotta give credit for his work this week. Good juggling of key players, spreading out JD, Lagares, Nimmo, Conforto, Frazier, Cano, even Ramos really well. I also appreciate that he hasn’t tried to jam Lowerie into the lineup. And he’s made all the right calls on relief pitching – Lugo and only Lugo on Monday, 4 outs from Wilson on Tuesday and not putting Diaz anywhere near last night’s game.

    LGM!

  • JM

    I was hoping they’d let Lowrie get in some work in the field last night. Wouldn’t it make sense to both 1. let him get some reps in and 2. see if he can contribute (besides just PH?). If he wasn’t going to get some burn last night, I can’t see him taking the field for as long as the Mets are in the hunt.

  • eric1973

    The team is very loveable. The way they stood at the top step cheering on Sam Haggarty’s at-bat was infectious, and caused the crowd to root him on as well. Cano was even outside the dugout, actually on the field, rooting for the guy.

  • mikeL

    lucy: important call. something about schroder having a pair of tickets for the metropolitan opera, peppermint pattie will hold the ball for chuck for the rest of the season…have fun!

    i’ve been telling the GF that the mets could be holding a WC by end of business friday, and i’m sticking to that!

    LGMFM!

    (it *is* nice to see our team scuttle another team’s post-season plans for a change – while not as a mere spoiler! must not remove cleats from snakes’ necks now!)

  • Matt in NH

    Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

  • Bob

    Yet another spot-on article perfectly capturing our Mets.
    Yes, the 9 runs…on 9/11 was spooky..
    As far as Mets being just 2 games behind in Wild card–when I had them done around Memorial Day, just shows me that I know nothing after 56 years as Met fan.
    What I do know is that they are Amazin’!
    Let’s Go Mets!

  • CharlieH

    Skies are looking quite ominous right now, 53 minutes prior to first pitch. What do you think happens if they don’t get this one in? AZ makes a trip back on 9/30?

  • SeasonedFan

    Hope springs Eternal in the Mets Fan’s breast.

  • mikeL

    the ominous skies you saw charlie was the sun setting on AZ’s playoff hopes.

    don’t wanna jinx anything but our side is up 6-zip,
    bottom of the 5th, already a potentially official game.

    wild party on, people…it seems to be working!

  • mikeL

    jeez!

    10-zip.

    nido HR
    lagares 2HR
    frazier HR
    cano HR

    snakes on a plane in all but the bodies

  • Matt in NH

    Here’s my most pressing question (listening to WCBS through the AtBat app as I always do): Is Slomin’s giving away 40 doorbell cameras to the first 40 callers every time they run that commercial? Or are they still trying to give away the first 40 doorbell cameras from the first time they ran this ad? I think they might be lying about how many cameras they’re *really* able to give away!

  • Greg Mitchell

    Ha ha, see my “joke” above about “slugger” Lagares. Before today’s game. Mickey–pushing all the right buttons. From dunder head to wonder head! Manager of the year!

  • eric1973

    Yes, kudos to Mickey (or Brodie) for finally seeing the light a couple of weeks ago regarding Diaz, Lugo, and the rest of the bullpen.

    But it was a couple of stubborn months later than it should have been. So if we do not make it, Mickey must be considered the net negative who will need to take the fall. And deservedly so.

    And that reasoning last week that left us pitching to Harper with the bases loaded, instead of to a .200 hitter, was absolutely mindboggling.

    • 9th String Catcher

      I mean, he’s been pretty terrible from day one, but I am wondering if a) he’s improving, b) getting more input from GM, c) getting less input from GM or d) widely inconsistent, and always will be. I think watching him try to navigate a playoff run will say a lot about his ability, one way or another.

  • open the gates

    The one I always remember: Linus describing to Charlie Brown a football game where the team that had been losing the whole game scored a last minute touchdown to win it. Linus describes the incredible joy of the players and the fans. Charlie Brown’s reaction: “I wonder how the other team felt.” Yep. That guy’s a Mets fan for sure.

    (Of course, I say this after the Mets handed the D’Backs their lunch in four straight, so what do I know.)

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