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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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A Real Sense of Purpose Now

If R.A. Dickey had counted on the Met offense to act as his Sherpas when he set out to climb Kilimanjaro, he’d still be at base camp.

Tuesday night’s foiled attempt at scaling Win No. 19 goes down instead as Loss No. 5 for Dickey, which isn’t out of line with the reality of the game he threw. He pitched well enough to win until Tyler Moore associate-produced the pinch-homer that turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit, at which point it could be said he pitched well enough to need a little help. Dickey was not his sharpest self for segments of seven innings, but he bore down when he could’ve cracked up, and he definitely could’ve been bailed out by a few more supportive swings of Met bats.

Fat chance. It was all the Mets could do to muster two runs (in one inning, no less!), then leave their knuckleballer twisting in the National wind. And that’s no sea breeze. The Nats are a frighteningly good team. R.A. called their lineup highly “functional” and the margin for error against them “minute,” both accurate assessments. Also, I think it’s safe to project that the bloggers of 2030 or thereabouts will spend some September weekend debating whether the Mets should really be presenting a crappy interpretive painting of Citi Field to Bryce Harper considering how he’s been killing us since 2012. No, a win versus these Nationals is not as automatically attainable as a win against these Mets. Yet for the second night in a row, Washington’s starter struggled enough so our fellas could be in position to kick the Nats’ door down.

But the Mets only tap lightly twice.

Jordan Zimmermann lasted five innings and permitted nine baserunners. Though one imagined Justin Turner was arranging his whipped cream pies to celebrate the Mets breaking their month-old one-run-or-less skid in the fifth (I truly hate this club’s “let’s pat each other on the head for doing anything well” culture), the two runs knitted together by Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and David Wright were all they had to show from six hits and three walks . And of course the bottom of the seventh, the Mets’ last chance to give their starter a boost, was like something out of The Sopranos — a big no-show job, that is; there was certainly no National pitching whacked.

The Mets don’t exist to serve R.A. Dickey’s quest for 19 or more wins, let alone his Cy Young candidacy, but geez, what else is there to strive toward with four handfuls of games left? The night had extra bite to it. Every face R.A. made had purpose. Every runner the Mets left stranded had sting. Every chance the Mets let blow by had consequences, even if it was for just one man out of however many guys are on the roster currently. When Moore’s home run took off for distant precincts, I actually heard myself caterwaul as I might have in other, more pressing Septembers. For a couple of hours I forgot the Mets had nothing to play for, perhaps because for a couple of hours the Mets had something to play for.

11 comments to A Real Sense of Purpose Now

  • Dave

    Pains me to say it, fellow sufferers, but that sound you heard last night was that of baseball writers around the country casting their Cy Young votes for Gio Gonzalez. I only recently predicted otherwise, but by now feeling optimistic about anything in the near future for anything Met seems a stretch. Love RA, hats off to my favorite Met (from someone who long ago thougt himself too old to have a favorite Met), but the team has dragged you down. “Best defensive outfield…” is for the 9th inning if they also happen to be hitting a combined nothing.

    • Bay being in the starting lineup explicitly for defense speaks volumes for Bay’s offense.

      • Dave

        Yeah, I’ve never seen defensive replacements in the starting lineup before. And while Bay might not be Todd Hundley out there, he’s not exactly Endy Chavez either.

        • Six-man rotations. Batting practice times pushed back. “Defensive” starting lineups. Wardrobe themes for plane trips. Terry’s various solutions indicate he has no answers, either.

          But he doesn’t chuckle at the end of every third sentence, so he must be a big improvement over Jerry Manuel.

          • Dave

            By now Collins is reminding me of Rich Kotite when he eventually had to admit he had no idea what to do.

            Forget pushing BP back, by now I’d tell the players that they have to be at the park for a 7pm game no later than 6pm, and I’d tell the BP pitcher to book a vacation. BP isn’t helping anymore.

  • Jacobs27

    The Mets obviously have the choking and the getting cut down in their prime part covered. But they’re not lifting Dickey in his, and if their base-runners started singing “Don’t you wanna take me home?” the batters would have to decline. So much for a real sense of purpose now.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    This has nothing to do with the team on the field or the prospects for the future, but isn’t it sad for a great franchise with such a rich tradition that means so much to so many of us be in such a state of morbidness – no matter what the reasons?

    I don’t recall it being this way even during the gloomy years of the late seventies. Maybe it was because even a near empty Shea Stadium was still called home and still had the warmth, openess and wonderful skyline without the commercialism and with the wonderful memories of the past.

  • Tom

    One highlight of last night – Ruben Tejada. He made some great, great plays.

  • Mike

    When you wrote Tyler Moore associate-produced a home run, I laughed out loud. Well done.