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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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The Other Guys Are Trying to Win, Too

To be fair, it’s only natural: As fans, we see everything through a certain-colored lens, in our case one split between blue and orange.

So let’s peer through it and see what’s what: Marcus Stroman was throttling the Diamondbacks, the Mets had the lead, and then everything went south. A minor but chippy on-field dustup between Stro and Josh Rojas looked like a pointless gesture from a team on a 1-15 streak, as Francisco Lindor tripled in a run to make it 3-0 Mets and Dom Smith just missed a three-run homer which would have been his second of the game. But he did miss it, and had to settle for a sacrifice fly. 4-0 seemed like more than enough, but a three-run blast by Pavin Smith that got Arizona back in the game, with Smith’s bat flip indicating a certain degree of unhappiness with the opposition. (I don’t mind bat flips in the least, but that one felt like it had an agenda.) Jeurys Familia shook off a leadoff two-base error from Jonathan Villar to keep the Diamondbacks from tying it and Aaron Loup was terrific, but Edwin Diaz looked a little off from the jump in trying to secure the save. With one out, Nick Ahmed singled and took second base on a Billy McKinney bobble, then moved to third on a groundout. The Mets were one out away, but Rojas — of course it had to be Rojas — drove in the tying run. In the tenth the Mets immediately cashed their free runner on a James McCann double, but proved unable to convert their earned runner, and in the bottom of the inning Trevor May blew up for the second night in a row: walk, two-run double, farcical replay review, ballgame.

That’s a chronicle of the Mets riling up sleeping snakes, failing to add to a lead and seeing their bullpen falter, and seeing that way is perfectly accurate. I’m a Mets fan, after all. And more than that, I’m a Mets fan who finds the Diamondbacks … annoying. There’s their ceaseless quest for the worst uniform in baseball — they’ve now settled on switching color schemes seemingly at random, and the rattlesnake with a baseball in its mouth looks more like a heart than a serpent, which you now won’t be able to unsee either. There’s their weirdly sterile park, their uncanny-valley mascot, their creepy on-field race with former players turned into caricatures, and hovering above it all the general sense that they were born as half of an expansion no one particularly needed. (Sure, they beat the Yankees once, and I’m grateful for that, but enemy of my enemy etc.) I don’t hate the Diamondbacks, because that would require me to take them more seriously than I ever have, but if they moved to Portland or Charlotte or Montreal or Vegas tomorrow I suspect I’d shrug and hope they actually became a franchise with an identity and one I’d feel something about.

But enough with the blue and orange lens. There are Diamondbacks fans, even if you wouldn’t know it from the cascade of pro-Mets noise the last two nights, and they’ve been through a lot in the last month, watching in horror as their team plummeted into one of those baseball abysses that makes you wonder if your team will ever win again.

I don’t know what colored lens those fans would look through, because it’s the Diamondbacks, but put it up to your eye and you’ll see a come-off-the-deck victory, the kind that doesn’t erase a horrific May but at least makes you fantasize about resilience and newfound toughness and all those baseball cliches and a better June. Rojas had had enough and let Stroman know it, Smith showed the kind of emotion you admire in a rookie, and the team came back and stared down a gang of first-place interlopers from the east, shocking them with a walkoff loss.

As fans it’s of course all about us, and there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that perspective. But it’s not the only point of view. The other guys are trying to win too, and sometimes they do, and sometimes that’s as much the story as your own team’s failures.

5 comments to The Other Guys Are Trying to Win, Too

  • Daniel Hall

    I blame it all on Boom-Boom Diaz, as usual.

    …and how exactly did we wind up with a player named Travis Blankenhorn, who is already with his fourth franchise this year? And will he still be with us tomorrow, or will he have been replaced by Emory Pickles-Cunningham, which is another name you also have never heard before.

  • Eric

    My only criticism is the choice of May for the 10th inning save. He’s been off of late and pitched hard the night before. Rojas and whoever else in management makes these decisions have been oddly reticent to use Lugo since he’s returned. Assuming Lugo is ready, the 10th inning seemed like his spot.

  • Seth

    It’s hard to second guess any decision from last night, since the bullpen has been so reliable lately. The dust-up was inexplicable and disturbing.

  • greensleeves

    Wasn’t “Will You Still Be Here Tomorrow”? a great hit by The Shirelles?

  • Greg Mitchell

    All those rainouts and now doubleheaders coming up is not a good thing. BUT until now they have given the Mets pen and Rojas a tremendous break with so many days off. That is ending this week–and so his chronic refusal to let starters throw just a few more pitches will likely catch up with them. So for example: I know they want to be careful with DeGrom but it was absurd to not give him another inning in latest start (his second, not first, after coming back) when he was on ultra-ultra cruise–and then pen had to escape (Castro saved by Williams catch in deep escape). May came in that night and struggled, again, threw 26 pitches–and then, for some reason, there he was again last night to blow it! It’s easy to manage pen with plenty of days off. Not so easy when not–and when you are demanding that they pitch 3 or 4 innings almost every single night. Well, we’ll see.