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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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Remember Laughter?

A laugher is always welcome as a team trudges through the long march of a baseball season — and, as it turns out, as it sprints through an unexpectedly curtailed one. And a laugher is particularly welcome when that team has recently made you wonder if it will ever play sound baseball again.

The Mets, after being stomped by the Philadelphia Phillies over a lost long weekend, arrived in Miami to play the jury-rigged Marlins, which is my least favorite part of any season. The Marlins are annoying in teal and in barfed-up neon and while wearing home uniforms that inexplicably say MIAMI. They’re annoying in converted football stadiums and when playing under a giant Pachinko machine and when playing in front of nobody in a weirdly silent cavern. They’re annoying when Wayne Huizenga is involved and when Jeffrey Loria is involved and when Derek Jeter is involved. They’re annoying because whatever the specifics, they’re dependably tasteless and tacky and nihilistic and misbegotten and, also, because no matter how rickety and low-rent their current incarnation, they give the Mets fits.

Not Monday night, though. Oh, it didn’t start well — Robert Gsellman looked rusty and ran out of gas in the second, leaving the Mets’ bullpen needing to get 22 outs. But then the Mets got to hitting, in ways that have been in distressingly short supply this year. That was Robinson Cano hitting two balls out, the second an absolute missile into the second deck. And yes, that was Pete Alonso having a big day at the plate, complete with two homers of his own. It’s too early to declare the Polar Bear off the endangered sluggers’ list, not with the frustrating year he’s having, but it was gratifying to see him looking like he was actually enjoying himself out there.

We all were, as the Mets socially distanced themselves from the Marlins on the scoreboard — well, unless you wanted a crisply played game that showcased the beauty of the baseball. If you showed up expecting that, sorry — there was a lot of dopey baserunning, questionable use of challenges and Mark Wegner serving as MLB’s latest walking advertisement for Robot Umps Now. And the game was a dreary slog, finally ending on the wrong side of the four-hour mark when a weary Franklyn Kilome got Jonathan Villar to lift a fly ball to mercifully fieldable right.

Kilome didn’t pitch particularly well but did yeoman duty in sparing the bullpen further harm, if you don’t count Seth Lugo having to warm up. (I bet Lugo would say that counts.) Kilome got the save; Chasen Shreve got the well-deserved win for saving the collective blue and orange bacon by capably relieving Gsellman. Meanwhile, the Marlins were a mess, culminating with poor Logan Forsythe pressed into duty to throw Guillormesque gas in the ninth. (Forsythe didn’t fare as well, surrendering a run.)

The Mets are … an odd club. The starting pitching we figured would be their strength not so long ago has been shredded, but the bullpen looks improved, there are actual defenders available for infield work, and the hitters have been unlucky enough that a simple regression toward the mean ought to bring better results. It would be odd if the Mets slipped into the lower ranks of the playoffs because of their bullpen arms instead of those of their starters. But everything’s odd this year, isn’t it? Why not hope a little oddness could actually be a good thing?

A reminder: Share your tale of Game Six!

4 comments to Remember Laughter?

  • Daniel Hall

    Just saw the box score and Pete and Cano hitting a few bombs, and just dropping in to say that I always look forward to the Mets playing in Miami if only for the paragraphs like the second in today’s post. =)

    I don’t see the Mets going anywhere; they have yet to play any of the good teams in the AL East. And I don’t see them faring too well.

    There is hope though, that after wherever the train wreck ends up, at 23-37 and behind the Fish (my bet) or with a #8 seed and swiftly humped in three games by the Dodgers (possible, but a long shot), I hope the fallout won’t land on Rojas, and the Mets will get an actual GM instead of Brodie Dynamite, who has done ENOUGH damage to the franchise.

    Btw, 37 losses in this season would be almost exactly 100 losses in a normal year.

  • chuck

    Is it me, or are Gary, Keith, and Ron yukking it up quite a bit more this year than they normally do? Not that it’s a bad thing. The clothesline with the M&Ms was priceless.

    • Seth

      They are covid-drunk.

      I don’t mind that, but I do wish they’d shut up about Zack Wheeler already. He’s not a Met anymore, so going on about his talents, for a fan who’s sad about losing him, it’s just sticking the knife in, and twisting it.

  • Dave

    Hitting against Double-A pitching is just what the Mets’ bats needed. Yes, I know one of these Marlins premies will win the 2025 Cy Young, but it’s nice to tee off them for now…especially since the last time these two teams played the Mets made some of these children look like Koufax.