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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 Ejector Seat

On Sunday, a day after being eliminated from a chance at a playoff berth, the Mets were eliminated from a chance of being mathematically average. They have lost 82 games, meaning the best possible outcome for their season is a record of 80-82, and anyone who thinks they can manage that should please report to the nearest asylum for immediate intake.

The Mets also got to watch the Milwaukee Brewers — an actually good baseball team — clinch a division title. I assume they watched that celebration and it hurt to witness what not so long ago could have been theirs — however disappointed I am in the 2021 season, I don’t think they quit or lacked the will to win or were missing a certain fire in the belly or whatever Just So Story is trotted out to explain a team’s failure to be what its members and fans wanted it to be. The Mets are world-class athletes and ferocious competitors, and if desire were all that determined playoff races, there’d be four- and five-way ties all over baseball. They just weren’t good enough, and we’ll have all winter to debate whether the not good enough was a product of conception, execution, fortune or some mixture of those things.

I, however, didn’t see any of that. I watched the first inning, with Francisco Lindor homering for a 1-0 lead. I watched Carlos Carrasco immediately give that lead back by serving up a two-run shot to Willy Adames. I watched the Mets fall three more runs in arrears the next inning.

And then I stopped watching.

It was a beautiful day in Brooklyn. My wife and I walked around, explored a neighborhood we’d never visited, found an Italian place that made a pretty good spritz, went grocery-shopping, talked family logistics and potential vacations, and just enjoyed the sunshine and each other’s company. I didn’t think about the Mets, and that made me a lot happier than I’d been when they were front and center.

And when I finally did check, 5-1 had become 8-4. Which elicited two reactions:

Wow, they somehow scored three more runs?

Mathematically speaking, 8-4 is exactly the same as 5-1.

As I admitted on Friday, I’m done with this incarnation of the Mets. We have broken up, and they need to go away and return chastened and sufficiently changed so that I’ll feel like my affections might not be wasted this time and give them a clean slate.

Thankfully, baseball has a mechanism that accomplishes exactly that — it’s called the offseason. It’s just arrived a little earlier than usual on my personal calendar.

14 comments to The Ejector Seat

  • Eric

    The original plan was the staff of aces maturing as the foundation while the position prospects came up and settled in.

  • eric1973

    It is not just fortune, misfortune, bad luck, or destiny, as that implies you cannot do anything about it.

    This team underachieved, badly, compared to paper, and what could have been done about that? That’s why they play the games.

    There was a lack of leadership, at all levels, which thankfully will be addressed shortly.

    The “What, me worry” attitude, that everything was ok no matter what, seeped into their heads and made them not work as hard as they should have.

  • Iowa Pete

    Carrasco? No problem.
    As Looie the gasbag clearly explained, “as the game unfolds he’s using his pitchability.”
    Now, with that, I feel a lot better. No matter what in the hell that might mean.

  • Seth

    “I don’t think they quit or lacked the will to win or were missing a certain fire in the belly”

    I guess you’re right — it only looks that way. I can’t go and physically ask them myself.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Fun stat of the day: Yes, we had fun noting Amad Rosario, among other ex-Mets, doing so well this year (has tailed off a bit to .279), but have overlooked Plawecki. Hitting .289 with .748 OPS. I won’t embarrass McCann but citing his. Also, Kevin, I see, hit .341 in limited ABs last year…

    Man, that Hefner is some kind of pitching coach, utterly unable, in a dozen tries, to fix Carrasco’s first-inning woes. Another genius hire.

    Note to Lindor defenders: STILL hitting .228. The warning signs were there after his .257 last year, yet got ten-year deal. It’s not that he will be bad player–but the ten-year deal will likely be one of the worst in history.

    • Seth

      Rosario and Plawecki had plenty of opportunities to perform that way with the Mets.

      Hefner wasn’t a good pitcher, so how can he be a good pitching coach? He couldn’t fix himself, how can he fix others?

    • DAK442

      I had this exact concern about Lindor back when everyone was clamoring to sign him. Hoped it was an aberration – the weird short season, Covid fears, whatever. Now I’m just praying 2021 was an aberration – adjusting to a new league and city, and he’ll get better next year. And not be another Alomar/Baerga/Bay/Foster/Vaughn/Castillo/Matsui/Coleman…

  • eric1973

    Who says he has adjusted?

  • Jacobs27

    A wise choice not watching the rest of the game. The way those final 3 runs scored was not pretty.

    Second division, as Keith put it.

  • Eric

    Brandon Belt’s thumb was fractured when he was hit by a pitch. It looks like Flores will be playing 1B for the Giants into the postseason, sort of like how Utley made Flores the starting SS in 2015.

    I don’t care about the Giants winning a championship, but I do want Flores to do well and would be pleased for him to win a championship.

    • mikeL

      like most post season, it comes down to rooting for a former met who deserved – and got – better elsewhere.
      may wilmer shine on the big stage!
      though, like the brewers a few years back i find the giants likeable beyond their surprise ascension: they actually still have the infield core they had in so many championships past.
      that’s some good old-school baseball in an era sorely lacking it!

      • mikeL

        heh! and well, well, well: seattle is very much in the mix for a wild card spot! there’s a whole squad of ex-mets there…though none like wilmer. but maybe they’ll displace the yanks ;0]

        my WS is set: SF v seattle (the latter has been away too long)

        was good to see noah out there last night…i nearly missed it!

  • Harvey

    Rosario, Plawicki, Flexen, Sewald, Wheeler, and a few others “had plenty of opportunities to perform that way with the Mets.” But the fact that they are now is not due to the proverbial change of scenery. It’s due to having coaching staffs who helped them, corrected flaws, etc. The same is true in reverse for all those guys who came here this year and tanked.

  • Seth

    It’s been an excruciating season and torturously long at times. Now it’s the final week — why does it feel like the season just began?