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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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Goes to Show You Never Can Tell

What a strange game.

The Mets and Mariners — those foes from so many past epics — met again under bottom-of-the-aquarium conditions, getting started late because of rain and squinting their way through the final innings because of fog. The meteorological strangeness was matched by plenty of the on-the-field variety, with Chris Bassitt looking frustrated with newly recalled backstop Patrick Mazeika and the Mariners looking frustrated with their own suddenly tenuous grasp on the fundamentals of fielding and baserunning.

Bassitt has quickly emerged as one of my favorite Mets: He’s got the same eat-broken-glass intensity as Max Scherzer but substitutes a cyborg-assassin death stare for Mad Max’s can’t-be-arsed hair from hell and dugout pacing, and behind the affect is the same sense of a smart, driven athlete engaged in an ongoing colloquy with his craft — how amazing would it be to play fly on the dugout wall while Bassitt and Scherzer are having one of their frequent conversations? (And imagine the added dimension when Jacob deGrom can join those sessions.)

Yet it was obvious from the jump that Bassitt and Mazeika were having trouble getting on the same page — a developing situation nipped in the bud in the first, when Eugenio Suarez inexplicably strayed too far from second and got himself picked off to short-circuit both a potential Seattle rally and a minor New York firestorm. But the respite was brief: Bassitt looked out of sorts all night, departing in the sixth after giving up just one run but having put in a lot more work than his stat line would suggest.

Meanwhile, the Mets put three runs on the board against young George Kirby and his substantial hometown rooting section, though that was less on Kirby than on the abysmal defense behind him. Kirby looks like a keeper on a Seattle staff that has no shortage of them, with excellent control and a precocious grasp of how to keep hitters befuddled — in that sense he reminded me of Marco Gonzales, Friday night’s starter, though with much better stuff.

Kirby’s early nerves and that porous defense sent him packing after four innings and the Mets handed a 4-1 lead to Seth Lugo, but a sense of creeping unease never left the proceedings. And indeed, Lugo allowed two of the first three Mariners to reach in the seventh, setting the stage for Chasen Shreve to surrender a long home run to Jesse Winker, whose trip around the bases would have been only slightly more theatrical if staged by the WWE. (Which didn’t particularly bother me aside from the effect on the scoreboard — baseball’s too much fun to be played like a slightly more aerobic version of Sunday Mass.)

But Winker was barely done flexing and mugging for the fans in left field in the bottom of the seventh when a considerably less likely hero entered the fray. That would be Mazeika, who somehow jerked a high 97 MPH fastball on the outside of the plate into the right-field stands to give the Mets back the lead. Fireballing M’s reliever Andres Munoz looked astonished, which made him a subset of everyone else — how, exactly, had Mazeika done that?

Whatever the secret, he had done it, and so the game rolled inevitably on to the ninth, ending with a perfect bit of theater: Former Mariner wunderkind Edwin Diaz facing Winker, the self-proclaimed antagonist, as the final out but also the tying run. Their mini-drama didn’t disappoint, with Diaz mixing sliders and fastballs and Winker refusing to fan on that evil slider as the two Mariners ahead of him had. But then Diaz came up in the zone with a fastball at 100 — his hardest pitch of the night — and Winker swung through it and the Mets had won. Won in unlikely fashion on a very strange night when everything felt vaguely upside down, but won nonetheless. And that will make up for a lot of resentments and oddities.

4 comments to Goes to Show You Never Can Tell

  • open the gates

    Welcome back, Patrick Mazeika! And with that, we get our first 2022 appearance of a member of last year’s Bench Mob. (And probably the last, unless Johneshwy Fargas needs to be called up, God forbid.) It’s kind of jarring seeing Mazeika with this year’s crew of seriously intense competitors – it’s kind of like Jim Carrey stumbling into a troupe of Shakespearean actors. No wonder Chris Bassitt looked discomfited. But with all that, Mazeika throws out a couple of baserunners and jacks the game winning homer. Very Bench Mob style.

    By the way, part of me was hoping that Edwin Diaz would stick one of his 100 MPH fastballs right in Jesse Winker’s solar plexus. But in the end, I’m glad Diaz did his job and struck the SOB out.

  • Rudin1113

    And on the 50th anniversary of a momentous occasion in Mets lore, we got to watch another game in which the Mets led 4-0, the opposing team from the West Coast tied it, after which we went ahead on a home run by a man not named Mays, but close.

  • eric1973

    In Mazeika’s 2 seasons with the Mets, he has already done more than McCann. The only way a run scores when McCann is at bat, is on a DP.

    Just further proof good choice getting rid of Baez. He was mad that he had to run the bases, even though he saw his homer was foul. Nice way of showing up the umps, and disgracing the game in general, just like you did last year.

    When Lindor started the season hot, we thought he put his NY jitters behind him. Now he has regressed offensively and defensively, but he sure has those great conversations with Buck. Has anyone ever ate 300 million of a contract?

  • Seth

    Yeah, Winker is fun — and what an appropriate name. Too bad we won’t see him for another 8 years or so.