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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 Walkoff Win That Kind of Limped Home

Some nights we invoke Bob Murphy and offer a happy recap. Some nights we channel Gary Cohen when the big hit is outta here! Some nights we are thrilled to make like Howie Rose and put it in the books! Some nights we even have to agree with Fran Healy that Shea Stadium is rocking!

Tuesday night brought to mind the unlamented Steve Albert because the Mets won a game he might have called scintillating — except unlike Steve, we make no pretenses about our sarcasm.

That was not one of your more scintillating walkoff wins. But the key, after eleven innings, is it was a win and 187,932 fans or whatever fictional figure they posted as the paid attendance left less unhappy than they might have had it not been. Surely it could have gotten surly late.

But don't call me surly. Even if Santana's gopher is still nibbling a little too heartily. Even if Sanchez and Wagner have forsaken perfection as their guiding principle. Even if Reyes' sextet of on-base appearances was overshadowed by his inability to keep one Pirate off base at the worst possible moment. Even if Heilman…ah, you know from Heilman. And even if Delgado was burdened by no vexing decisions regarding curtain call or not to curtain call. Don't call me surly, because a win is a win is not a loss.

Let us not accentuate the negative. Let us glory instead in Ryan Chruch's lefthanded jacking, which can be impressive. Let us note the six times Jose Jose'd his way on base. Let us remember why we fell in love with Endy Chavez those two years ago, first and foremost for the offensive spark we see again now that Endy is playing and regaining traction (at least until Moises Alou returns and inevitably winds up in traction). Let us not forget that the only homers Johan surrendered were soloists and that he was otherwise clean. Let us hand it to Scott Schoeneweis for covering home as he did and to Raul Casanova for shoveling Schoeney the 2-1 assist that cut down Jose Bautista at the plate in the seventh. Let pause and ponder what kind of manager sets the wheels in motion so someone named John Wesley Van Benschoten can pitch to someone named David Allen Wright with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eleventh with less than two out.

I'm not sure, upon reflection, how that could have been avoided once Endy was balked to second and bunted to third, but it sure seemed more fait accompli than it had to. You put on Reyes, you let him take second and you then pitch to Castillo who walks. Could have the Mets, even our hard-to-hug Mets, not cashed in? Against the Bucs? David comes up, the annually feisty if perennially futile Pirates go down. One pitch, one fly ball, one win that couldn't be avoided, done deal. For Pittsburgh, he says at the risk of offending the gods, I suppose simply asking somebody to retire Wright and Beltran was not an option.

The vengeful spirit of Hans Wagner notwithstanding, what really spooked me was the matchup that had Duaner Sanchez facing Xavier Nady in the eighth. July 31, 2006 and everything after flashed before my eyes. Sanchez gets into a cab; Nady gets onto a plane; Oliver Perez comes into and out of his own; Guillermo Mota and Shawn Green arrive with much baggage; '06 grows less certain; '06 just misses being a year for the ages; '06 becomes '07; '07 becomes '07; '07 becomes '08; '08 becomes the year we look for excuses to be relentlessly pissed off at our team…or the excuses seek us out on their own. Maybe all that arguably sprung from the events of that red-letter date in Mets history is why even walkoff wins around here can sometimes seem a little less than scintillating.

But we'll take them. And don't call me surly.

11 comments to The Walkoff Win That Kind of Limped Home

  • Anonymous

    ''Good luck Mets. We're all counting on you.”

  • Anonymous

    As you have said before, there are no style points in the Win column.

  • Anonymous

    Right on! This ain't college football, y'know…

  • Anonymous

    HI Greg,
    Glad Wendelstedt got it right when Shoeneweis applied the tag – otherwise he would have been responsible for two blown calls resulting in a gift two-run margin for the Bucs and an undeserved Met loss.
    When Bautista was called out , the overhead replay clearly showed the runner's hand over the plate easily beating Shoeneweis' tag . Ron and Gary both thought the Mets got a gift. However, a lower replay from the dugout angle showed Bautista's hand hitting the dirt in front of home causing a momentarily jerk upwards, touching the plate only after Shoeneweis applied the tag.
    But earlier he had denied the Mets an extra run for the replay clearly showed that called third strike on a 3-2 pitch to Church with the bases loaded was indeed way outside. Darling expressed his annoyance later on as the same pitch was then called a ball (as players say, it's not the size of the strike zone but the lack of consistency that makes for bad umpiring).
    As it was, the Mets and Pirates exchanged gift runs due to infield errors, but if it wasn't for the blown call on Church the 5-4 score would have been in regulation nine, enabling Howie to “put it in the books” with Wagner saving the game for Santana. No need for a less than scintillating walkoff win.

  • Anonymous

    The old man and I were out at Shea last night, sitting in a box in the upper deck. Coldest I've ever been at Shea in my life. If Wright hadn't hit that fly ball, there may have been a fan mutiny.

  • Anonymous

    The Mets currently have a .560 winning percentage. That means they are on pace to win 90 games this season. Last season, no NL team won more than 90 games.
    The Mets are as good as it gets in the National League.
    They have played everyone in their division, a coupla times now. They have played against good NL teams (Brewers) and bad NL teams (Pirates).
    The sample size, and the Mets performance so far, has been worth of more Faith and less Fear from the fans. I was disappointed to read such a bitter recap of what was a thrilling walkoff win.

  • Anonymous

    The nagging problem with such logic, anonymous, is that the Marlins currently own a .577 winning percentage. That puts them on pace to win 93 games. No one's expecting that to happen. And last year our winning percentage with 17 to play predicted a much better outcome than befell us, so…The Mets are my team, I want them to win it all, of course, but are they “as good as it gets” in the N.L. right now? I'm not so sure. Our coming match up with the Diamondbacks might be a good way to start finding out.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention there are five clubs with better won-lost records at this time.

  • Anonymous

    I've got to agree with my anonymous friend above. Today's game, now THAT's something we can all kvetch about. It's horrific out there. What a beat down by the Pirates! Somebody make it stop!
    But I'm always happy with the team when we do win. Even when that win takes extra innings and requires Schoeneweis to dive headfirst into something. That was an awesome play. And I love watching Reyes freak out pitchers, so it was a good night for me.
    -Matt E.

  • Anonymous

    And we lost today to the law firm of Gorzelanny, Van Benschoten and Meek.
    If you think you've been injured, call them at 1 (800) BOY-DID THIS GAME SUCK

  • Anonymous

    I was disappointed to read such a bitter recap of what was a thrilling walkoff win.
    A game that becomes walkoff-eligible because of a lead blown in the course of the eighth and ninth innings can be redeemed by an extra-inning win, but I'm not going to feel overly exuberant about it; it does a disservice to the truly spectacular walkoff wins (the five-run ninth against the Cubs; Endy's drag bunt; Armando's balking and Delgado's blast — to name three that leap to mind from the fairly recent past). Last night reminded me of the Delgado walkoff homer against these same Pirates two years ago. That was one Wagner let get away in the ninth. I was glad they won, but I was more relieved than thrilled.
    Didn't say it wasn't preferable to, oh, a 13-1 thrashing in the chill wind of an empty stadium from which I just returned, but as state-of-the-walkoff-art goes, I stand by my shades-of-gray assessment.