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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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Rooting for Wile E. Coyote

A night after losing one of the most horrible baseball games I’ve ever seen in head-shaking, gag-inducing fashion, the Mets took on the Marlins and played eight and a half innings of baseball that was punchless but didn’t make you want to pour lye in your eyes, which is to say it was an improvement. Jeremy Hefner was superb, in fact, outdueling fellow traveler in misfortune Kevin Slowey, and when he went out for the ninth inning it looked like Hefner was going to not only save the beleaguered bullpen but also earn himself a thoroughly deserved and quite heartening complete-game shut-out. Which would have been nice — Hefner’s one of those players you want to root for.

Ah, but this is the Mets we’re talking about. Hefner was doomed. We all knew it — we just didn’t know how he was doomed.

Chris Coghlan collected a leadoff single, then moved to second when Anthony Recker — beginning an astonishingly poor inning behind the plate — let a ball zip over his glove.

Juan Pierre, who is useless except at torturing the Mets, laid down a bunt, with Recker’s throw to third high and late. Coghlan — who, after all, is only a Marlin — overslid the bag and David Wright alertly kept the tag on his leg. But Tim McClelland — one of Major League Baseball’s many habitually incompetent, utterly unaccountable umpires — was poorly positioned and called Coghlan safe.

With runners on first and third and nobody out, Hefner was excused from further torture, sitting morosely in the dugout while Brandon Lyon came on. I like to imagine that right now Hefner and Slowey are sitting side by side in some soothingly dim and quiet Miami hotel bar, not saying anything and not having to. Lyon — who, after all, is only a Met reliever — immediately allowed a single to Donovan Solano, tying the game at 1-1 and moving Pierre to third.

The Mets then intentionally walked Placido Polanco, a straightforward transaction that Recker managed not to fuck up, and pitched to Greg Dobbs, which any reader of this or a dozen other blogs could have told you wasn’t going to work. Would Dobbs work a 94-pitch walk? Club a grand slam that would collapse the Red Grooms sculpture on top of Lucas Duda? Stand aside as Recker somehow strangled himself with his own catcher’s equipment, requiring rescue while Pierre almost apologetically stole home?

It was nothing so dramatic — Lyon’s first pitch was more than an inch from Recker’s glove, which tonight meant it was too far for him to corral. Ballgame.

Right now the Mets appear on course for a 10-152 season, and I don’t know what to say, except that rooting for this misbegotten outfit is as futile and soul-killing and occasionally darkly funny as rooting for Wile E. Coyote. They play a day game tomorrow, which ordinarily would be comforting — get right back on the horse and all that stupid bullshit — but tonight it seems cruel.

What will happen when Dillon Gee takes the hill against Wade LeBlanc? Hell if I know. Hell if I want to know. Perhaps Dobbs will hit six grand slams. Perhaps the Marlins will beat Bobby Parnell on an inside-the-park home run when Lucas Duda and Jordany Valdespin collide and knock each other unconscious, pinning Marlon Byrd beneath them. Perhaps LeBlanc will throw a 27-pitch perfect game. Perhaps Wright will wake up in an icy tub in the trainer’s room and discover Jeffrey Loria has drugged him and sold his kidneys. Perhaps the Mets will have been contracted by special order of the commissioner’s office, with Matt Harvey and Wright receiving therapy for PTSD before being reassigned to actual big-league teams.

You know what? It will probably be even worse.

25 comments to Rooting for Wile E. Coyote

  • RobP

    Jesus saves, but he cannot save the Mets.

  • You know what, though? All this suffering has developed you a pretty damn good sense of humour. Thanks for the funny post.

    That this was a humourous recap is appropriate because frankly that’s the only way to deal with this team.

    Quite uncontrollably, at the end of this game I laughed out loud at the wild pitch/passed ball (however it is we flatter that BS with words and terminology).

    While Keith Hernandez sounded like a dad who couldn’t decide if he was more angry or disappointed, I laughed louder than I have for days.

    Sure, it hurt to laugh at the team I love and myself for loving them. But mostly, alone as my girlfriend ate out at a fancy dinner with her father, I laughed at the suffering this team inflicts on us.

    Yes, Wile E. Coyote is a good analogy: rooting for a pre-determined self-defeater is risible. It’s laughable, yes, but funny.

    Of course we want to support a team that’s impressive, a team that wins; not a team that’s inadvertently hilarious and loses. But you know what? Winning, I like to imagine (for who the hell knows what it’s like) is a solitary sensation.

    They talk about teams, but individuals win. There’s only one, right? It’s quite particular.

    Losing, on the other hand, is universal. And you’re never alone watching this motley crew.

    Perhaps for that, we should be thankful? Let’s think of Anthony Recker not as the latest in a long line of dudes who have ruined our Tuesday night. Instead, perhaps, we could be grateful that he brings us together—there’s no us and them, there are no sporting gods, no stars on a pedestal. Everybody poops. Everybody is poop.

    And that’s funny. And timeless.

    For this team doesn’t only find not new ways to lose games but also old ways, redux—ways that whether you’ve seen them or not, you’ve somehow always known in your bones.

    It’s a nebulous, almost primeval wistfulness. Somehow the feeling resonates. We know it, right?

    And knowing what’s going to happen is somehow comforting, as painful as it is.
    Yes, familiarity breeds contempt but the familiar feeling of “these nogoodniks are gonna fuck it up” is somehow heartening (albeit heart-breaking) in a confusing and scary world.

    There must be a way that this—not just tonight’s ‘this’ but this, this fandom, this pinning our hopes, our thoughts, our attention on the Mets when we live in New York City and there’s so much else out there, so many fancy dinners and noble causes—that this was not wasted time, wasted heartache.

    No, it was not wasted. Because, I’m telling myself and anyone who’ll listen, it was funny.

    You see everyone knew, as that lefty slapped a base hit to RF with no out in the 9th that we were doomed. We were united by that deep sense of foreboding; the way morons like us laugh together at YouTube videos of some kid/animal that’s clearly going to fall off something, and does.

    You know it’s gonna happen—we all know—and therein lies the humour. We know we’re gonna die and knowing our mortality and ignoring it by watching—of all things!—these bastards lose to the Marlins is, at the end of the day, funny.

    They say comedy is tragedy plus time. The Mets show us that funny can be (a small) tragedy minus time, too.

  • Reading my post, it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But I guess that’s the point: nor does watching the 2013 New York Mets.

  • The 27 pitch perfect game seems a little unrealistic.

  • David Whitham

    Wile E. Coyote is the perfect analogy. Their bullpen is like an Acme dynamite kit.

  • alex

    At least Wile E. Coyote gives you a healthy dose of slapstick irony that, while totally obvious, is still more nuanced than “I can’t believe we’re about to blow it/are blowing it/blew it against the goddamn Marlins *again*.”

    I picture the Mets leading 4-2 in the eighth with one out and the bases loaded, and Collins wheeling out Acme Sinkerballer Jeurys Familia (in a clearly labeled box) to retire Polanco. Familia’s first offering is perfect, a two-seamer on the outside corner at the knees. Strike one. The 0-1 is even better, just below the knees and fouled off for strike two. (Cut to Collins brandishing fork and knife, looking hopeful.) The 0-2 is in the exact same spot, but this time Polanco unleashes a Baltimore chop and literally buries the ball deep in the quicksand in front of home plate. Recker can’t find it. Nobody unearths it in time to prevent the bases from clearing, as Juan Pierre races around from first untouched to collect the free bird seed which ultimately serves as the Marlins’ postgame spread.

  • Steve D

    Another Looney Tunes character sums up this series so far.

  • Dave

    And to quote Wily E. Coyote, allow me to introduce myself, my name is mud.

    Some say there are no guarantees in life. Au contraire, mon amie. Anyone reading this knew last night by the time Hefner went 2-1 on Caughlin that it was fini (going to Paris this summer, please excuse me while I practice my francais). Not blaming Hefner, he did a yeoman’s job, but obviously this team is several yeomen short.

    I have a new marketing slogan for the team…”This Isn’t Going To End Well.” Truth in advertising.

  • FL Met Fan Rich


    I can just see Wile E. driving the ACME GARBAGE TRUCK and picking up this team and kicking it out to the curb!

    Send in the Crickets!

  • Kevin From Flushing

    This blog has once again proved that misery loves company.

  • BlackCountryMet

    The last week-10 days has been torture, really tested my resolve. I took 10 mins from waking up this morning before going to the Mets score,almost certain that we’d have lost again.And I was right,I just didn’t know how badly we’d screw it up. Even though today’s a day game(and therefore on around 17 40 in UK) I’m not watching, I just can’t put myself through the misery again

  • It’s a full week between wins. It really does feel like Sept. 1980 around here…and IT’S ONLY FRIKKEN APRIL! R.I.P. 2013

  • Hookalakah Meshobbab

    And here I really thought the Duda-Cowgill-Byrd outfield was gonna make believers out of all the doubters.

  • March'62

    But Jason, the joke is on everyone else because it’s obviously rabbit season.
    The Wile E. Coyote analogy clearly doesn’t work because he NEVER came out on top whereas the Mets……..oh wait a minute.

  • RobP

    I take solace in that Terry is “really pissed.” He’s drawing a line in the sand. The buck stops here. We’re not gonna take it, anymooooore…lookout Niedemeyer/Road Runner/Marlins.

    We spotted them 3 right off the bat today. This is a bold, new strategy.

  • […] Capriati. (Poor Anthony Recker had nothing to do with it, though it’s possible that he was cheering wrong or something on the […]

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