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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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Right Now I'm Tired

Annie, I’ve got a lot of time to hear your theories, and I want to hear every damn one of them. But now I’m tired, and I don’t want to think about baseball and I don’t want to think about quantum physics. I don’t want to think about nothing. I just want to be. — Crash Davis, Bull Durham

There are very, very few things that I love more than baseball. My family, my friends … that’s probably it. Baseball is the filled-in spaces on my calendar for the nine months of the year in which it’s around, and the unhappy absences when it’s not. Baseball is, for all intents and purposes, my religion.

Yet as with all religions, there comes a time when heresy shoves aside faith. Watching baseball played ineptly and tepidly for day after day after day after day does not inspire love. It does not make you look forward to 1:10 and 7:10. It makes filled-in spaces on calendars seem like extra trips to the DMV and or dentist. It makes “I got recap” sound like a chore.

That’s being a Mets fan right now. They are awful — reliably bad in the box score and the standings. But worse than that, they are boring. They aren’t a tragicomedy like the clubs overseen by Casey Stengel or Joe Torre or Dallas Green once upon a time. They’re Art Howe boring and bad — they darken the room.

I was at a wedding this weekend, which was a wonderful time — but by the end I missed my Mets, and never mind that they were getting beaten by the Nationals. I was happy to have a game to take in tonight — for about an hour. By the end of that hour I was mad, and spent the next two tweeting mean things about the team. It didn’t make me feel any better. By the time Mike Baxter flied out, I was just glum and tired.

It’s a familiar feeling, given that the Mets are a horrifying 11-25 since the break, even worse than I’d feared. Given that, I can think of exactly three reasons to watch the Mets until 2013 gets here:

1. David Wright is a home run away from 200. Wright is, of course, a fine player having a good year at the plate (despite a second-half swoon) and an excellent year in the field. More than that, he is decent and patient and loyal — at our last blogger event at Citi Field, I kept my eye on Wright and was amazed at how many times he was asked to sign something or shake hands with someone or chat about something or do this one more thing. It was exhausting to watch, and we weren’t even at game time yet. Wright did it all without complaining or looking like his energy was flagging. It was, in its own way, as superhuman as being able to hit a fastball traveling 95 miles an hour or managing to spear a sizzling grounder that’s already behind your glove. He deserves our thanks and recognition for a well-earned milestone.

2. R.A. Dickey could win 20. At the moment it looks like winning 16 will be a struggle, given how little help Dickey’s getting most nights. But if the Mets step up their mighty post-All-Star-Game winning percentage to a cool .333 or so, that ought to get R.A. to 18 wins or so, and hey, who knows? Dickey is having a remarkable year, one that might be significant not just for him but for the evolution of the pitch he throws. Win or lose, he is a ferocious competitor and a fascinating thinker, and always worth watching.

3. Matt Harvey is good. Harvey is an old-school power pitcher with tremendous potential. He’s got a ways to go, but he looks like he’s learning quickly on the job, and his mindset includes that certain arrogance that comes with being an effective power pitcher. He’s a preview of a better future, and God knows we all need as much of that as we can get right now.

The rest? You can take it. I’m no longer interested in grading Ike Davis’s tantrums after his latest horrible at-bat, or wondering what numbnuts thing Andres Torres will do next, or surveying the pitiful ruin of Jason Bay’s once-proud career. There’s nothing left to see except further evidence that what we see now better not be what we see next April. Which both we and our front office knew some time ago.

The Mets do nothing, and then they do bad things, and then they do dumb things. That’s their blueprint for most games now, as you saw tonight. Dickey pitched well, with the exception of a lone floating knuckler that Tyler Colvin banged off the facing of the Pepsi Porch to tie the game at 1-1. He got no help other than that lone run, and was pulled for a pinch-hitter (the affably useless Justin Turner) in the seventh. Josh Edgin came in for the eighth and in rapid succession made a dismal throwing error, passed up an out at third and then fired a wild slider past Kelly Shoppach to give the Rockies the lead. The Mets tried to fight back in the bottom of the eighth, and Jordany Valdespin came within an eyelash of driving in the tying run with a grounder past first, but he inexplicably slid into the base, slowing himself down enough to be nipped by Colorado’s Matt Belisle on a bang-bang play that Adrian Johnson (he of June’s momentous gift call on Carlos Beltran) got right — and stuck to with quiet dignity while Valdespin raged sufficiently for most umps to throw him out. Good moment in a bad year for MLB umps; bad moment in a so-so year for Valdespin.

So here’s your blueprint for the rest of season: Start figuring out your bandwagon team, wait for Wright to hit No. 200, and then check and see if Dickey or Harvey is pitching. And if they’re not? Go ahead and date that nice woman from the bar, whether she’s proposing Tuesday night or any other evening. Your doctor’s right that you have no time to waste — hell, not mooning over this shipwreck of a team will probably improve your health anyway. No-fly list? Pffft — except for a tasteless Red Grooms montrosity or two, Miami’s awesome. Get on the plane, Ashley.

Or, if you must, get thee to StubHub — we’re probably one more bad homestand from $1 seats at Citi. Look at it as the cover charge for getting that awesome new Pat LaFrieda steak sandwich the bloggers keep going on about. Get there early and eat up. Then figure out something more worthwhile to do with your evening.

15 comments to Right Now I’m Tired

  • Inside Pitcher

    I had that sandwich last night. It was indeed quite good.

  • I still tune in for Tejada. He’s been great, and I still love watching Murphy up with two outs. But man, this team has perfected the art of the malaise. There is a decent amount of talent on this team, but they always seem to play down to the level of the competition. Forget the bullpen, where’s the offense? What I would give for one or two more Tejadas on this team. Hit the ball!

  • Metsfaninparadise

    Honestly, down in Fla, I’m sick and tired of hearing about that damn sandwich. Isn’t it sad that that’s the item about which I was able to summon up the most passion?

  • Steve D

    I’ve been using the term “numbnuts” a lot recently…but I was spelling it in my head “numnuts”…thanks for correcting me.

    As for bandwagon teams…Washington has the real Davey Johnson….second best Met manager ever, who helped us avoid top spot in the power rankings for “Most Talented Team To Never Win a World Championship”…they have a fake Doc Gooden (Strasburg) and a fake Darryl (Harper), both likely to not blow their careers like the real ones. At the same time, you are rooting for the old Expos to finally win one (the Kid’s team) and Washington has not won anything since 1933. As a secondary, for anybody who always rooted for the Lakers over the hated Celtics, Magic Johnson owns the Dodgers now…Mattingly is ok with me, because he left the Yankees…much more likeable. Let’s keep this in the National League.

  • Rob D.

    Bandwagon team: probably the Nats in the NL cause of Davey. Anytime the Rays have a chance I’m with them too (my sister lives close to Tampa and I live close to one of their minor league affiliates..Hudson Valley Renegades)

    I have already found other things to do at 7:10, sorry to say. Went to Opening day and that’s it. Loweest number of games attended in 40 years (also went to the Bronx to watch Met/Yankee game and 2 weeks ago was in Philly on business and wnet to Braves/Phils…got a $17 ticket at the walk up window).

  • DaveSchneck

    Yes, depressing it is. Even when I miss the game, the recap is both boring and depressing. That, and despite all the “wait until 2014” talk, the future is bleak. This ownership is dreadful, for a multitude of reasons. Latest will be when they are rejected by every team in the international league when homestate Buffalo kicks them out. This ownership does not deserve David Wright, and he will be gone soon, probably for little return. Cold turkey may be the best medicine.

  • I am firmly on the Pirates bandwagon. Actually lots of teams I could get behind this year.

    But more about that soon. Still 40-odd games of misery to endure.

  • Steve

    My bandwagon team is definitely the Pirates. The fans of that team deserve a winning season, if not a wild card spot. Maybe in 2032 teh Mets will look as good (I kid, I kid).

  • mikeL

    sliding into first is moronic.

    would be happy to see both pirates and nats go far.

    i need to (finally) start biking during gametime. it’s clear i will be missing nothing. except the feeling of so much time wasted.

  • Will in Central NJ

    Not only do the Nats have ol’ Davey as their manager, they have our 1986 WS MVP in the broadcast booth: Rattlin’ Ray Knight. With the Expos’ damage inflicted upon us in the past, I’ll declare a degree of bandwagonism for Washington. And yes, that franchise must acknowledge their Montreal lineage via retired numbers 8, 10, 10, and 30. A turn back the clock Expos uniform night might be nice, too.

  • kjs

    I’ll go with the visitors to Citi that have the least obnoxious fans. The San Francisco Deserters’ obnoxious emo fans on 4.20 Day outdid the Phillies obnoxious Clockwork Orange fans this year. I went to two losses versus the Reds this year, so (Bud Harrelson Forgive Me), their fans were so passive I didn’t even realize we lost. Plus they’re playing good without Joey Votto. I won’t root for any team but the Orange and Blue, but a Reds win I can tolerate. Of course, the meaning of all of baseball is rooting for whomever “robs” the Yankees of their rings rings rings…

  • […] Sandy Alderson by Jason Fry on 22 August 2012 12:32 am As I wrote yesterday, the Mets do nothing and then they do bad things and then they do dumb things. That was true again […]

  • BlackCountryMet

    Cant argue. It’s becoming a real pain simply to turn my phone on and KNOW that the At Bat app will spit out another loss. Earlier in the season I would swap shifts and turned down overtime in order to watch every pitch of weekday day game but not now. It’s incredibly frustrating and the light at the end of the tunnel is turned down low at present. How bad that I just want the season over?

    I want Pirates to do well,a good club,good young players and a great park

  • Linda

    How lucky am i to have witnessed the first win at Citi since the break with RA Dickey AND devouring that steak sandwich on the same day? I should have bought a lotto ticket that day.