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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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Crazy Eights

Once upon a time the Mets were down six runs in the seventh and with my eyes on bedtime I composed a minor recap I knew wasn’t a classic but thought did its duty well enough, particularly grading on the curve for West Coast night-owl duty. It was called “Ten Commandments for a West Coast Loss,” and it was mildly melancholy and warmly philosophical and other things you can probably guess.

And then all hell broke loose and the backspace key and I spent some quality time together.

In the eighth the Mets scored seven runs on eight singles and a triple, sending 12 men to the plate yet somehow only seeing 38 pitches. They didn’t need to work deep counts because slapstick reliably ensued — fielding miscues, balls sneaking through holes and pretty much any other form of mayhem one might imagine. When the dust settled some time later — 40 minutes? a week? — that 8-2 deficit had become an 11-8 lead, Stephen Nogosek was in line for his first career win after doing yeoman work in a seemingly lost cause, and the entire dugout was exchanged dazed grins.

Ah, but innings feature two halves. Drew Smith retired the first two Giants and it looked like San Francisco would slink off to think about what they’d collectively done, but then Smith allowed a single and a walk and Joc Pederson hit his third home run of the game, a cruise missile that came down in McCovey Cove. The Giants settled for sending nine guys to the plate, collecting four singles and that homer on 36 pitches, and the game was tied.

So of course Dom Smith tripled to lead off the ninth and of course he scored and somewhere in there I told my kid, “Pederson is totally coming to the plate as the potential last out.”

And of course Edwin Diaz came out and looked shaky and got a double play and walked a guy and allowed a single and holy cats there was Pederson again, with a muse singing of his rage. Would he hit a fourth home run? No, but a bolt of a single up the middle was enough to tie the game (and give Pederson an eighth RBI) and before anyone could get done being mad at Diaz Brandon Crawford had spanked a single to left and there was going to be a play at the plate on Darin Ruf, recently seen caught in the netting like a crew member doing pre-viz for The Hobbit, and I allowed myself a brief bump of hope before realizing that the throw was coming in a half-second too late, which was correct and the Mets had lost.

I mean, that was madness. It was bonkers. You could have had both teams play in zero gravity and do Whip-Its before each pitch and it wouldn’t have been much nuttier. And somehow these two teams will be expected to play tomorrow, instead of sleeping for three days and then starting therapy.

Yes, tomorrow. Which, for those of you who aren’t lunatics, means today. Late-afternoon matinee New York time, Thomas Szapucki reporting for circus duty. As I now don’t need to tell you, anything could happen and probably will.  

18 comments to Crazy Eights

  • Wes

    I’m so sad. I mean, I’m proud of the hitters for not waving the white flag, but…I’m so sad.

  • Tom


  • open the gates

    This was what I refer to as a Pet Sematary Game.

    Context: one late evening many years ago, I was lying down in an empty dorm room reading furiously. Stephen King’s Pet Sematary had recently been published. I was down to the last 150 pages or so, and I knew I had to finish the book and get to the happy ending or there would be no sleep for me that night. Spoiler alert: the ending was particularly gruesome, even by Kingian standards. There was no sleep for me that night.

    Fast forward to last night. I’m in bed listening to the coast game in my ear buds, stifling my cries of glee at yet another improbable Met comeback for fear of waking my wife. I must have fallen asleep, because suddenly the score was tied at 11. I was determined to stay awake and celebrate the ultimate triumph that would surely be ours. Then the top of the ninth happened, and the game was ours, and all we needed was for our trusty closer to strike out the side and send me to sleep happy. Enter Stephen King.

    (By the way, the guy’s name totally works as a Stephen King evil villain. Think about it:
    Randall Flagg.
    Greg Stillson.
    Pennywise the Clown.
    Joc Pederson.
    It works, man!)

    Sorry everyone – this is me when I’m way sleep deprived. Unlike thirty years ago in my dorm room, I had some single barrel bourbon on hand last night. It helped, but not much.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Fun comeback but biggest off-season mistake–not signing or re-signing a lefty for pen–rears its head again as Buck has no one reliable to bring in to face Joc in the 8th–and also claimed (as he annoyingly has said in past) that he didn’t want to bring in Rodriguez because, you know, they have another game the next day and want to save some pitchers. Would have been nice to pick up a good lefty for Castro instead of guy with fully mediocre career…

  • Outstanding recap and comments. I was awake with my mouth agape out here in LA. I wonder if my friend Jack Buck was watching from above too. I was his CBS Radio engineer. I can’t believe what I just saw!

  • dmg

    this is why i love me some late-night west coast baseball.

    i get it – the mets lost, squandering a for-the-ages comeback in the process. but there was so much good from them – lindor had 6 rbis (oh no, what will the lindor haters do?), escobar had 4 hits, dom smith came through in the clutch – and the giants last i checked were a pretty good team and stepped up to avoid a humiliating defeat.

    this game was not, shall we say, crisply played. and if you’re gonna kill the bullpen for not holding the lead, first you have to recognize nogosek did a fantastic job holding the giants to 0 runs over 2 2/3s and then that the giants bullpen wasn’t so hot either.

    i didn’t like the mets coming out on the short side, but i didn’t hate it either. this was a wild game. and baseball’s primary lesson is you can’t win them all.

  • Beo loki

    Joc Pederson claims he was inspired by a conversation with Barry bonds. What was it about? Which steroids to use?

  • Seth

    I don’t understand why it seems every team has 1 guy who absolutely dismembers the Mets — like they just cannot get him out. Is that common with championship teams?

  • Bob

    Was watching game from home in LA-so at least I did not have to stay up till 1 AM to see Diaz do his blow it up stunt…..

    After Mets scored in top of 8th, I thought, how bad can this keep getting for Giants–they had lost 5 or 6 games in a row before yesterday and there comes a point…..
    So I turned game off knowing in my heart that Wilmer Flores would somehow beat us in this game.
    I was wrong about old friend Wilmer, but sadly my 60 years of being a Met fan (doom is always just around the corner) I was right about outcome of game.
    If I stayed up to watch end, I would not have gotten any sleep–and it’s not even September yet–where games really matter in standings!
    Well, I do not know this guy pitching for Mets today, but I do get Mets pre-game show and the SNY broadcast today-so maybe it’ll be a happy day for Mets (and me!)
    Let’s Go Mets

    • dmg

      Wilmer actually led off the ninth with a hit and came around to score the tying run on Pederson’s single.

      • dmg

        check that. i was working from a hazy memory. wilmer did lead off with a hit, but was erased in a doubleplay. yastrzemski then walked and came around to score on pederson’s single.

        • Eric

          The worst part of the loss was the Mets had Giants 2 outs and nobody on in the 8th and 9th innings and lost the lead twice like it was a deGrom start.

  • Eric

    Greg Mitchell: I was about to agree with you by quoting what I assumed would be Aaron Loup’s impressive ERA. Then I found out his last 2 outings knocked his ERA up to 4.00. Rodriguez should have pitched to Pederson in place of Smith. On the other hand, Smith had been earning the trust to transcend a lefty/righty role and pitch out of a jam. Well, he failed that trust.

    open the gates: I dunno. As a fellow King fan, Joc Pederson strikes me more like a supporting character name, say one of the doomed residents of Haven or Castle Rock or a hoodlum from Derry.

  • open the gates

    Eric – I hear where you’re coming from, but I still like “Joc Pederson” as a super villain, maybe because of the game he just played. To me, the role of the small town teenage bully who gets pummeled by the supernatural bad guy and grows up to be a loser works better with a name like “Buster Posey,” or maybe “Freddy Freeman”.

    On the other hand, in the movie “America’s Sweethearts,” the humorless movie exec who is Billy Crystal’s boss is a guy named “Dave Kingman”. You can look it up.

  • Peter Scarnati

    after Diaz closed the door on the five man no hitter I proclaimed in this space I had come to forgive his numerous blown saves as a met to that point.
    Note: “to that point.”
    Edwin will now have some work to do for me to forgive last nite!

  • Eric

    open the gates: When Freddy Freeman isn’t playing baseball, he spends his off-season maintaining summer homes along Castle Lake.