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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 Only Thing More Fun Would Have Been Winning

Remember Back to the Future Part II, in which Biff sneaks back through time to hand his younger self a sports almanac, and so makes himself a mogul in an alternate 2015? If I had a similar opportunity, I think I’d head for Vegas, use my Delorean and make a killing on this game.

1. Odds it’s even being played? Seemed slim given a forecast for this week that suggested gathering useful animals two by two. Then, when game time brought a continuous mist instead of rain, it sure looked like the Mets had shenanigans on their mind: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a general manager inspecting an infield minutes before game time, but there was Sandy Alderson, with Terry Collins and Edwin Rodriguez and Pete Flynn and the grounds crew in tow. Gary, Keith and Ron began openly speculating that the Mets were engineering a rainout, which would likely be followed by a more-natural one tomorrow, which would push this two-game set into a future featuring Ike Davis and David Wright. Seemed good to me, though I had to pause for a very long moment when Joshua asked, “Isn’t that cheating?” (Yeah, pretty much.) But after a lot of mysterious infield work, conspiracy theory debunked and game on.

2. Odds Mike Pelfrey would outduel Josh Johnson? OK, it was more of a draw, thanks to Pelf surrendering a cloud-piercing shot by Mike Stanton, whom I may soon come to particularly dislike for beating us while reminding me of Mike Stanton, warm-body reliever who made no secret of the fact that he preferred being a Yankee. (Minor point in Stanton the Elder’s favor: He once referred to the American League as “a beer league.”) Still, Pelf was impressive yet again, continuing a string of solid starts that of course began once our collective fan needle swung over to “Given Up on Him.” Johnson had an off-night — which, being Josh Johnson, meant he was merely very good.

3. OK, I bet you Jon Niese winds up with more triples than Jose Reyes. Niese? Ha ha, he’s not even starting! That one alone would have funded my own island with a hidden submarine base and a menagerie of lap giraffes. (Even though Emilio Bonifacio dropped it.)

4. Perhaps Willie Harris will win it. Or at least have a moment. Pressed into service at third with David Wright the latest Met felled by invisible ninjas, Harris looked like the Nationals’ version of himself, going airborne to make a terrific lunging catch and showing sure hands on a couple of tough chances. I decided that this would be the night’s theme, and that Harris would indeed have his moment, winning the game in the bottom of the ninth. But Collins pinch-hit for him, bringing in Chin-lung Hu as a right-handed bat instead, though Hu’s baseball card should really say “Bats: None.” That’s a bit unfair, as Hu smacked a Randy Choate pitch up the middle, but to no avail. (Update: Terry won’t be doing that again for a while.)

5. Weren’t you worried Hanley Ramirez would be the death of us? Of course I was. So were you. I wanted to scream when Terry had K-Rod intentionally walk Chris Coghlan to get to him in the ninth. It worked out, not that that made it a good idea.

6. Can even a man who has his own island and lots of lap giraffes be happy with just ONE submarine base? Good point. Excuse me while I go back in time with this blog post and this ESPN play-by-play info. Hmm, I wonder what the odds are on a Justin Turner grounder hitting Ramirez in the shoulder for an apparent Mets win, only to bounce perfectly to Omar Infante for a smooth-as-silk 6-4-3 double play?

7. How about the odds of Burke Badenhop collecting the decisive RBI? Burke Badenhop? Sure, he’s got one of those ya-gotta-be-kidding-me baseball names, but isn’t he 1-for-23? Holy Rick Camp, Batman. Ah well, more lap giraffes for me.

8. You seem awfully chipper considering Wright’s going on the DL, two pitchers had season-ending surgery and the Mets lost a cruel, cruel game tonight. Look, some games let their freak flags fly from the get-go, and this was one of them. Those several hundred diehards out there spent the night peering through mist at a theater of the absurd. Games like that, you just let go and see where the ride takes you. Great plays, weird plays, some skullduggery, a very long home run, unlikely pinch-hitters, and never knowing what’s coming next? I wish we’d won, but I can’t deny that I was hugely entertained on the way to not winning.

But do me a favor in the future — don’t say “chipper.”

15 comments to The Only Thing More Fun Would Have Been Winning

  • Matt from Woodside

    $5 says Reyes plays like a madman behind Niese tomorrow. I almost don’t care that we lost. Niese getting a two out triple off of Nunez after what, a 7 pitch at bat? That was one of the most awesome things I’ve seen this year.

  • Maggie

    No loss is good, but at least this one was fun to watch, web to the bitter (jeepers creepers it was cold) end. Better luck next time, fellas, this was just one of those nights.

  • Andee

    Jon Niese pinch-hit a triple? Hanley Ramirez threw a ball into the dugout? Roger Sterling’s writing a book? Er…sorry. Wrong bizarro world.

    And really, what’s up with all the bunting? Runner on second and nobody out, a base hit wins the game, and Pridie’s bunting? Jason frigging Bay is bunting?? Good gods, I know those guys are slumping, but peeeyew.

  • Jon Niese pinch-hit a triple? Hanley Ramirez threw a ball into the dugout? Roger Sterling’s writing a book?

    Burke Badenhop’s a hellcat?

    The bunting of Pridie (which sounds like the name of a made-for-Lifetime movie) sapped the sense of wonderment out of this debacle, no matter how hard Niese tried to inject some whimsy back in.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Will admit, Willie Harris is one player I wouldn’t want up in the ninth inning of a tie score with the bases loaded and two out. And without Wright and Davis, Terry Collins had just about nothing to work with. But what I don’t understand is then having Hu pinch hit for Harris. Yes, pinch hitting for Harris was a good move – he has done little after a few key hits early in the season and is back to being the .200 hitter he is. But sending up Hu to hit for him? Harris can at least drive the ball past the infield so there is always a chance when a ball is put in play. Hu is a .100 hitter and except for that one deep fly in Washington, has trouble just getting the ball past the pitching mound.

    Thought for a second that Terry was thinking of a suicide squeeze, considering the Florida infield is prone to miscues.

    I doubt the Mets will beat Florida at all this homestand, however, one doesn’t have to have a sixth sense or expertise in sabrementrics to figure that one out – just look out the window and listen to the weather forcast.

  • kd bart

    Once Turner’s groundball carommed into a perfect inning ending double play, you knew they were never going to win the game.

  • open the gates

    So now the Mets have on their all-time roster the wrong Mike Stanton, the wrong Brian Giles, the wrong Bob Gibson, the wrong Frank Thomas, and the wrong Pedro Martinez (although they eventually got the right Pedro, typically once he was old and injury-prone), with the wrong Reggie Jackson in the minors. Wonder if there’s some young non-prospect pitcher in their system named Tim Lincecum?…

    • March'62

      In a different vein, they had the wrong Willie Mays, the wrong Vince Coleman, the wrong Bret Saberhagen, the wrong Roberto Alomar, the wrong Bobby Bonilla, etc. As far as getting a Tim Lincecum, I am sure they will get the real deal……… 2019.

    • Will in Central NJ

      Definitely, the Mets signed the wrong Maddux brother.

    • 9th string catcher

      They even have the wrong bucholtz!

  • Flip D.

    Yes, it was entertaining, but two things sucked out any enjoyment I might have derived from this game. 1) Jason Bay’s at-bat in the 5th. Man-on-third-less-than-two-out situation that the Mets have found new ways to screw up. That at-bat was head-and-shoulders the worst of Bay’s so far disappointing career with the Mets. Took a meatball slider down the middle for strike one. Swung at a fastball at nose level, strike two. Flailed at a slider that started just off the plate and ended about 8 inches low and outside, strike three. Ralph Kiner pointed out that Bay no longer gets any lift on his hits, but jeez loueez, how about some plate discipline in crucial situations!!

    2) Ron Darling (my favorite all-time Metropolitan) was just getting the words out of his mouth, saying Pelf needs to really keep running the fastball inside to these guys and he’s starting to leave it out over the pla…… WHAM, Mike Stanton home run on the same meatball slider that BAY MISSED!

    Honorable Mention #3) Marching Hu out there in a critical situation. Thank God, they sent him and Igarashi packing. It was, I’d say, just about ONE GAME TOO LATE.

    Pelf pitched a fine game, and it’s a great sign that he’s been learning what he needs to do to be successful again, but there are winners and losers out there and this is exactly how you pitch well and still wind up a loser. “Lapse of concentration” just about sums it up.

    No, I’m sorry, the Mets deserved this loss, as much as any other this season, and I’m not gonna say it was just bad luck, weird bounces, or that it was entertaining enough to make me forget. Jason, I won’t use that word, as per your instruction, but I am most definitely NOT feeling…. ch***er.

  • Florida Met Fan Rich

    “Never let the Mets ruin a good nights sleep”!

    I am very happy I went to bed once the fish tied it!

  • March'62

    This may be the last chance to do this, so here goes:
    Collins: The bases are loaded in the 9th and Harris is due up. I should pinch hit Hu
    Oberkfell: Wright
    Collins: I should pinch hit Hu?
    Oberkfell: Wright
    Collins: Okay, Hu. Grab a bat.
    Oberkfell: But…….

    • Collins: The bases are loaded in the 9th and Harris is due up. I should pinch hit Hu
      Oberkfell: Wright
      Collins: I should pinch hit Hu?
      Oberkfell: Wright
      Collins: Okay, Hu. Grab a bat.
      Oberkfell: But…….

      Collins: What’s that? Bunt?
      Oberkfell: But.
      Collins: Bunt. Got it.