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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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Heaven Help Us

When it was all finally over and the Mets convened at the mound for a rather muted celebration, Manny Acosta kind of rolled his eyes up at the sky and spread his hands in equal parts thanks and exasperation. It was an entirely appropriate response to his own pitching — in the 10th he walked two guys, gave up an RBI single, and recorded outs on a pop-up and two long drives tracked down by Jordany Valdespin, the last one while staggering on to the warning track.

Or maybe Acosta was just afraid of being eaten by seagulls. Which would have been appropriate too.

Acosta was bad, but he was far from alone — the Mets played an infuriatingly shoddy game that they thoroughly deserved to lose. There was Ronny Cedeno botching a tailor-made double play, Bobby Parnell throwing straight fastballs down the heart of the plate, David Wright flailing at balls nowhere near the strike zone, and a generally deplorable lack of focus. Ike Davis’s night was particularly amazing — he failed to plug the hole, froze on a potential double play, muffed a grounder to set up extra innings and managed to strike out four times. I’ll give you 10-to-1 odds Ike’s dropping his iPhone in the john right about now.

The Mets were saved by a few things:

They had Jeremy Hefner pitching about as well as one could have asked of a man sent to the mound with a half-awake defense. I like Hefner, who looks like he knows what’s he doing out there, whether he’s got a ball or a bat in his hands.

They had Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch doing their jobs, and Josh Edgin turning in a gutsy performance after Parnell faltered.

They had Valdespin kicking up the energy level as always and Mike Baxter returning and chipping in and Jason Bay quietly having an OK game after a poor start — if Bay hadn’t pushed it and taken third on Baxter’s pinch single in the 10th, that run Acosta gave up would have made it 7-7, and then God help us. (Remember, Baxter never buys a beer in NYC again. We owe him.)

They had the Giants playing equally horrible baseball, with Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera and Clay Hensley looking torpid at key moments and Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla reminding us that we do not, in fact, have a monopoly on sucky bullpens.

And most of all the Mets had Scott Hairston, who saved Hefner with one homer and then rewarded Edgin with his second one. You know how much we hate Shane Victorino in New York? That’s how much my friends who are Giants fans hate Hairston. The Mets ought to do the wise thing as well as the decent thing and trade Hairston to a better place, but in the meantime, I’m sure glad to have him.

Anyway, every year brings a few games that are so hideous that the best thing to do would be to scrub them from highlights shows entirely, for fear that they might infect other baseball teams. But they count too, and it’s your best interests to win them. The Mets did that, and that’s good — even if it felt a lot more like survival than triumph.

7 comments to Heaven Help Us

  • Andee

    Did you ever see that article that Brisbee wrote on McCovey Chronicles last year after Hairston victimized the Giants last year? I laughed myself sick. (Warning: Long comment thread is LONG, do not attempt this with slow connection or old browser.)

    I can’t wait to see what he writes tomorrow (today). I didn’t get to see most of this game, but I did see the squeeze play in the 10th, which wound up plating the deciding run. Holy mother of crap. That makes up for Nickeas not catching Batista’s soft toss in that game against the Dodgers.

    I understand the umps were squeezing Hefner like they were giving him a mammogram…but yeah, this looks like your classic “two teams hitting the skids, total slopfest, which team will lose it” kind of contest. Damn it, I wish the Mets were in the Western Division. They might actually have a shot.

  • mikeL

    i slept through most of the game but awoke to parnell on the mound and the nice lead fast deteriorating.

    what followed would have been painful enough had i not been struggling to keep the eyes open.

    i don’t think i ever felt as disgusted after a game the mets *won*

    but harvey can take the mound tonite with the mets on an epic-by-2nd-half-standards winning streak – and i guess that’s a reason enough to be happy.

    • mikeL

      …well that and the return of baxter!

      haha, bay’s trade value may never be higher than last night after his first-to-third.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I really hope they don’t trade Hairston, they’re not going to get much anyway for him.

    And besides, that will set an unwanted Major League Record: Most consecutive years traded cleanup hitter at the trade deadline (2).

  • March'62

    What are you talking about? That win was beautiful baby.

  • Will in Central NJ

    (Cue Bob Murphy recording) “And the Mets win the damn ballgame!”

    Winning ugly, I believe it’s called. But in the context of this calendar month, we’ll take it.