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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 Sound of No Dog Barking

I hate that the Miami Marlins exist, I doubly hate when the Mets have to play them, and I quadruply hate when the Mets have to play them in their Pachinko parlor-cum-fish tank-cum-mausoleum in south Florida.

I looked it up on Baseball Reference, and as I suspected, the Mets are 4-12,429 all time at Soilmaster Stadium in its various corporate aliases, with approximately 9,000 of those losses (the records are weirdly spotty here) coming in extra innings on 19-hoppers through the infield by anonymous Marlin utility players never to be thought of again, except of course when it’s 3 a.m. and you’re fuming about why a benevolent God would allow this shambling zombie franchise to exist. At that moment, one thinks about such utility players and their maliciousness at painful length.

Anyway, the Mets arrived in annoying Miami having played an annoying series in Houston, in which they lost both games and Jeff McNeil and Carlos Carrasco got hurt. Therein lies an irony — whenever the Mets are in Miami every injured player shows up in the dugout to mock us with the enigma of their being present but not actually available: Max Scherzer was front and center despite needing another rehab start, and various team notes indicated Jacob deGrom and Joey Lucchesi were present as well.

Oh, and the game started at 6:40 for some other annoying Miami reason, which I discovered when I turned it on at the regulation time and found Taijuan Walker pitching with a 1 on the scoreboard in his favor. I blame Jeffrey Loria, but then I usually do.

Walker seemed perpetually on the edge of disaster but actually pitched pretty well, which was fortunate because the Mets were up against the annoyingly capable Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara, though, was undone by a four-minute stretch of some of the wackiest baseball I’ve seen in some time.

It all transpired in the top of the sixth, after a gimpy Jazz Chisholm Jr. exited the game, leaving the sessile-looking Willians Astudillo at second. Tomas Nido reached on an infield single (weird in itself, but just wait), and Brandon Nimmo bunted for a hit. Starling Marte then hit a double-play ball, with Astudillo tagging Nimmo in the baseline and then throwing to first, where Marte was called out.

The back end of that apparent double play looked incorrect from the jump, and the Mets challenged the call — as well as the call on Nimmo, who’d been tagged by Astudillo’s glove while the ball was in his throwing hand. Nimmo made no attempt to get to second and was tagged out once more after the play, but Buck Showalter objected that the ump had incorrectly called Nimmo out, causing him to abandon the play. (Or something like that — it was a little peculiar.) The Mets won the double challenge — something I don’t believe I’ve seen before — and just like that, they had the bases loaded with nobody out instead of a runner on third with two out, while Don Mattingly stood with the umpires and argued half-heartedly before going back to having a staring contest with the void.

Alcantara, understandably somewhat perturbed, left a 3-1 slider in the middle of the plate for Francisco Lindor, who hammered it up the right-center gap and ushered in more slapstick. In rapid succession, Nimmo nearly collided with the second-base ump, who was inexplicably in his path; Marte nearly caught Nimmo between second and third; Joey Cora tried to wave in Nimmo but stop Marte and was nearly clocked himself as both runners steamed past him; Nimmo slid into home and was nearly stepped on by Marte, who missed home plate and had to scamper back to touch it.

All this wackiness gave the Mets a 5-2 lead, which it briefly seemed like they’d surrender, as Drew Smith walked in a run at the conclusion of an eventful appearance, handing the ball off to Adam Ottavino with the bases loaded. Ottavino wouldn’t be my choice for a situation with no margin for error control-wise, but he was sharp, getting Jesus Aguilar to hit a loud but harmless fly to center to steer the Mets through the seventh, then escaping the eighth on a Lindor/Luis Guillorme double play that ought to be preserved for posterity as the Platonic ideal of the form.

Edwin Diaz didn’t look particularly sharp, but there was Guillorme again, jamming his foot between Jon Berti‘s cleat and second base on a steal attempt with one out in the ninth. (Defensible with the slow-footed Astudillo at the plate, but you better make it.) The Mets won that challenge and a batter later Jorge Soler spanked a sharp grounder to Lindor’s backhand — not another domino in the chain of disaster, as has happened so often in this horrible place, but just the precursor for another nifty play by the Mets’ infield. That one sealed the victory.

No one should ever have to play the Marlins, least of all us, and we should never have to play this tacky parody of an organization in Miami, where everything is reliably terrible. But if one has to, you hope for a game like Friday night’s — one that confounds every instinct by somehow turning out OK.

9 comments to The Sound of No Dog Barking

  • Mike from Atlanta

    Tijuan Walker has been a bit of an under the radar savior this season. He never completely mows teams down for all 6-7 innings but he manages to get out of trouble and limits the damage that does happen. He didn’t have his best stuff last night but I give him a ton of credit for battling. That was a big win coming off 2 losses and the Braves closing within 4. Another positive sign is that Lindor, who has been hot or cold all year, may be getting smoking hot again. Looking forward to taking 2 of 3 from the Fish and would welcome a split with Houston. If that happens, the horrific June stretch which started with losing 2 to the Dodgers would conclude with a 13-11 record. That’s a huge success particularly with the injuries they have suffered. LFGM!

  • Seth

    Nido got a rally started! All things are possible at Loan Dopey Park.

  • Peter Scarnati

    “Sessile-looking.” Indeed!
    Don’t really agree that Berti stealing in that spot is defensible, even with the sessile-looking Astudillo at the plate. Avoiding the double play. Ehh.
    However, I am certainly glad the baseball gods are attempting to tamp down the annoying pest Berti. Picked off in the first and tossed out in the ninth. How’s that for a lovely set of bookends!! AND, both surviving replay.
    Now 4-1 vs. the disgusting fish. Maybe this IS our year after all…….

  • Rich

    I think we’ve reached a point where the umps are so intimidated by Buck’s knowledge of the rulebook that they just do whatever he says. I like that.

    Luis Guillorme has become one of the most important players on the team. He’s our best defensive player, by far, and now carries a lifetime .370 OBP. He should be on the field as much as possible.

    John Berti.
    I understand the double play argument but I don’t buy it. That was pure hubris and you cannot make that out in that spot ever. Imagine the uproar if a Met did that in that spot?

  • Eric

    Kudos for beating Alcantara, a true ace, the 2nd time around even if it took a funny play to do it. Astudillo rushing the throw to the result of no outs, bases loaded and an unnerved pitcher just reinforces what the combination of contact and speed can do. Baseball played out on the field like it ought to be.

    I was wondering why Nimmo was awarded 2nd base since he didn’t touch 2nd base in the 1st place. I guess once a runner is called out, neither the runner nor defense is responsible for him and placement becomes umpire’s discretion.

    With the based loaded and no outs, striking out contact specialist Astudillo for only the 2nd time this season was impressive. He doesn’t walk either. So a fastball over his head is the way to do it.

    As far as Astudillo’s un-middle infielder body, Guillorme is a virtuoso middle infielder with the body type of a journeyman back-up catcher.

    The 9th inning CS on Berti, given Astudillo’s contact game at the plate and DP risk, was that supposed to be a hit and run?

    Guillorme’s throws to Lindor on double plays are so smooth that it looks like Lindor isn’t catching a throw so much as perfunctorily raising his glove in stride like he’s doing a 1-man DP drill with the ball in his glove the whole time. And that tag on Berti. The Mets let Baez leave but kept El Mago’s instincts and hands.

    My Lagares threshold was a .330-.340 OBP to keep his gold glove on the field every day. Guillorme is doing much better than that.

  • eric1973

    Buck Showalter becomes more amazing by the day. And his post-game pressers are must-see TV.

    When Joe Torre’s replay rule was created, he said that no matter what call is made on the field, to keep on playing and that will determine the result of the play if a call is overturned.

    That comment was so dumb, and so against human nature and sanity, that things must have changed since then.

  • Ken K.


    The Blog for Mets fans who have to look stuff up.



  • Gil Reich

    Your numbers are off regarding Mets Marlins games. Half of those losses involved the player formerly known as Mike Stanton.

  • Bob

    Excellent first 2 paragraphs describe how I feel about the Fish also!
    Is that ex-skank still helping run that shit show?

    Let’s Go Mets!