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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 Password is ‘Deplorable’

Mostly asleep but a little awake early this morning, I remembered I had to get up and write up one of those games I had no desire to dissect let alone relive. “That was deplorable,” I thought as I sunk back into unconsciousness, which is interesting to me since “deplorable” is a word I don’t really use. I just did a search of FAFIF — which isn’t a foolproof test — and found the last time I allegedly used “deplorable” was December 2009 in an article about Omar Minaya, except I didn’t use “deplorable” at all, just “valuable,” “improbable,” “formidable” and “Lo Duca”. “Deplorable” did come up big that July, however, in a piece citing Adam Rubin’s reaction to Minaya suggesting he (Rubin) was actually lobbying for a job with the Mets when he reported Tony Bernazard ripping his (Bernazard’s) shirt off and challenging minor leaguers to fights (good times).

Anyway, deplorable isn’t really one of my words, but let’s see if it fits.

The Mets lost to the Pirates in eleven innings. That was deplorable.

Overwrought yahoos at PNC Park were stoked by yokel announcers to boo David Wright because he did not instantly validate Pedro Alvarez’s powerful first-half production by proffering an immediate invitation to the Home Run Derby. Alvarez is now on the useless exhibition squad and booing David Wright is akin to booing warmth and kittens. That was deplorable.

Alvarez avenged the perceived Wright slight by launching a two-run home run practically into the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela. That was deplorable.

Jeremy Hefner settled down from enabling splashdowns into the Mighty Ohio and left the Bucs dry as a bone clear through the seventh. Obviously, that was not deplorable.

The Mets scored their first run when David politely singled home Eric Young in the sixth. Not deplorable.

The Mets tied the game when Kirk Nieuwenhuis made his case to wear a gaudy orange jersey and be robotically swooned over by Chris Berman Tuesday night. Not deplorable.

The Mets didn’t do any more with Charlie Morton over seven innings than the Pirates did with Hefner. Deplorable enough.

Terry Collins mysteriously pulled a healthy Hefner after seven innings and 78 pitches on a night when Harveycentric tinkering with the rotation and the ravages of age were going to deprive him use of Carlos Torres and LaTroy Hawkins, respectively…and a week before Hefner’s next well-rested start. Most deplorable of all.

Jordany Valdespin, the guy Collins all but begged the Pirates to plunk two months ago, did not pinch-hit a home run or anything off Mark Melancon as he batted for Hefner leading off the eighth and thus continued his descent into the state of deep uselessness that more or less dates to the Mets’ overly Victorian overreaction to Valdespin’s violation of baseball’s unwritten code of conduct. Jordany’s OBP after he homered off Jose Contreras on May 10 and Bryan Morris hit him on May 11: .735. Jordany’s OBP the morning of July 13: .570. All kinds of deplorability here, but mostly Hefner should’ve batted for himself and continued to pitch.

Solid eighth out of David Aardsma. By no means deplorable, but Hefner should’ve still been pitching.

Mets unable to touch Jason Grilli in the ninth. Last Met to touch Jason Grilli in the ninth was Mike Baxter, who currently seeks to change his luck in Las Vegas. Don’t know that it’s deplorable that Baxter isn’t back yet but it’s always deplorable being shut down by an ace reliever.

Collins empties out most but not all of the relatively reliable portion of his bullpen to rescue Aardsma after he gives up a leadoff double to Starling Marte and finds runners on first and third with one out. Aardsma out, Burke in; Burke out, Rice in; Rice out, Edgin in. The results are anything but deplorable — the Bucs load the bases but do not score — but one is left to wonder where is the most reliable Met reliever of them all, Bobby Parnell? Surely Terry, who removed an effective starter with a low pitch count after seven, isn’t saving his closer for a lead that may never come, is he? That would be deplorable.

In the top of the tenth (or as the marathoning Mets of 2013 call it, the new ninth), Juan Lagares singles to spark an eventual two-on, two-out situation for Wright, who has already recorded two hits and made two big plays, and how perfect would it be for him to drive in the go-ahead run here as the Pirate fan boos get more and more pathetic? Against Morris, the man the Mets didn’t mind teaching Valdespin a lesson, David lines a ball on the button, but it heads square into the glove of Andrew McCutchen. Deplore this.

Edgin works out of trouble in the bottom of the tenth while Parnell is preserved for a situation that has yet to arrive. Can’t deplore what Edgin’s doing. Can deplore what Parnell isn’t.

Mets do nothing against Vin Mazzaro in the eleventh. Deplorable.

Gonzalez Germen, to this point no more than a roster rumor set in agate type, makes his major league debut in the bottom of the eleventh of a tie game with McCutchen, Alvarez and Russell Martin due up. He walks the All-Star McCutchen. He strikes out the All-Star Alvarez but McCutchen steals second. He intentionally walks Martin, who won a game against the Mets with a home run in 2012. He strikes out Gaby Sanchez, who produced a .318/.403/.591 slash line in eighteen games against the Mets in 2011. He teases a weak grounder out of Jordy Mercer, but the ball had excellent vision and limped its way into center to score McCutchen from second with the winning run. Gonzalez Germen did what we shall call without irony his Parnellian best to keep the game tied. Parnell, on the other hand, saw as much action Friday night as Germen did all of his life prior to Friday night. When you’ve lost 3-2 in eleven without your best reliever getting the call, that’s deplorable.

And when Terry Collins leans back in the visiting manager’s office and explains he was going by the book by not opting for Parnell in a tie game on the road…no wonder I stirred from slumber thinking, “That was deplorable.”

Because it was.

18 comments to The Password is ‘Deplorable’

  • Kevin from Flushing

    Not deplorable: Germen is the first Met to wear 71!

  • Steve D

    Gonzalez Germen…hmmm…reminds me of Gary Gentry and Greg Goossen.

  • 9th string catcher

    How could you have a deplorable post without mention of Ike once again in the 4 hole? Deplorable and inconceivable!

    • Steve D

      It is like batting the pitcher cleanup. Managers today don’t want to offend their players I guess.

      • Kevin From Flushing

        Agreed. WAYYY too much of that going around. Instinctively I blame Joe Torre but it likely goes back further.

        Can you imagine if Terry marched out to LF to pull Duda in the middle of a game the way Gil pulled Cleon? The next day he’d be forced to make an apology!

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    I thought TC over-managed again due to his numerous bringing in one pitcher to face one batter only thus diluting the use of his bullpen staff. But Gary Cohen alluded to this being such a well managed game on both sides that I guess it’s a case again of us fans not really knowing the dynamics behind what goes into such decisions.

    But had he not made so many bullpen switches early, he might have had some ready for the eleventh other than Germen, who has to be commended for the composure he showed making his major league debut in such a pressure cooker-type situation, especially coming back from 3-0.

    But know what I think is really deplorable? That this team has played above .500 for a span of more than 40 games and 1) had we gotten two decent outfielders this past winter that some of those many stranded runners that cost us close games before and 2) had we gone after a healthier starter other than Marcum we could have won many of the games that he was personally responsible for making get out of reach.

    We’re 40-49 and a swing of seven games would have made us 47-42 and just four games behind Atlanta and two in the all important loss column.

    Not wanting to spend money which could have put us in such position – like we saw in the second half of 2012 and 2011 – that is what I call deplorable.

  • kjs591

    Yes. Booing DWright, one of MLB’s few genuine good souls, was atrocious. I’m flag you brought this up.

  • cj from sf

    Listening to Gary and Keith praise TC was the height of “deplorability”

  • metsfaninparadise

    The use of “closers” has gotten formulaic to the point of being counterproductive. It used to be that your “fireman” (think Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers, etc) would come in to put out the fire, in the 7th, 8th, or 9th inning, whenever the need was greatest (perhaps earlier if your starter faltered). Now he’s there to get the save, which means he generally works the 9th. But doesn’t it make sense to get your best pitcher in there even if there isn’t a save situation? Use the best you have-your best, then your second best, etc. Or save your closer for one inning, if you have someone else reliable. But to omit him entirely in favor of an untried rookie, just because it’s not a “save situation?” Utter folly. First worry about keeping the game going long enough to score a run, THEN worry about the damn save. And that’s not all. This lefty-righty matchup bullshit has reached the comical point. TC actually brought in Rice before Burke and Edgin. But Edgin pitched the 10th and retired 3 RH batters. If he can do that, why wasn’t he brought in before Rice? Then he could have stayed in to pitch to Martin, Burke and a 2nd lefty wouldn’t have been needed, and the bullpen wouldn’t have been burned up. Collins really made a mess of this game and each mistake he made opened the door for a more egregious one-pulling Hefner, playing matchups, avoiding Parnell. He cost them one in a similar way 2 Fridays ago, after Harvey left after the rain delay, when he pulled Aardsma with 2 out and a man on 1st to bring Rice in just to face a lefty, whom he didn’t retire, opening the door for Lyons’ swan song.

    • Joe D.

      Hi Metsfaninparadise,

      Agree with you 100 percent – a closer is different than a fireman and the way one’s best reliever should be used is bringing him in late in the game with it on the line, let it be the eighth or even seventh like we saw with Gossage.

      Bill James advocates that too but he does not talk about it in terms of the best pitcher staying in the game, just being used in that earlier inning rather than the ninth. And that is because starters are no longer conditioned to go longer in games and relievers not conditioned to stay in longer than either being a specialist or one inning man.

      Ron Darling has said that knowing he was expected to pitch most if not all of the game made him pace himself early in the game – and that he also found himself to actually becoming stronger as the game went on, not more tired.

      Guess conditioning has given way to the economics of the game from both sides – ownership and the players. Does it make the game any better, I don’t really know. It does make for more strategy that might or might not be necessary – after all, one does not relieve one’s closer if a batter from the other side of the plate takes his turn at bat in a 1-0 game. And that represents another problem – not allowing pitchers to face those types of hitters in order to develop the talent to get them out.

  • sturock

    Ike is deplorable. He looks just as lost as he did before the trip to Vegas. The team was better with Satin at 1B. At least he could put a decent at-bat together.

    Oh and agreed on all this closer stuff. Terry, who’s mostly doing a good job especially considering the roster he’s been given, brought Parnell in about 24 hours too late, during today’s game instead of yesterday’s. Why couldn’t they just call up a starter for the day and leave Torres in the bullpen where he’s been doing so well?

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