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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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Mets Keep Meeting Enemy That is Them

Jon Niese looked like he wanted to strangle Terry Collins. Anthony Recker was all set to deck Angel Hernandez. Carlos Torres appeared ready to tear his own head from his neck out of frustration.

Who says the Mets don’t have any fight left in them? Hits and runs are another matter, of course, and few of either were produced by the home team across an unlucky 13 innings Thursday night at Citi Field.

This was the one with the three-minute rain delay that never made it to the tarp stage. The one with few commercials and many SNY gimmicks, the best of them Kevin Burkhardt joining the grounds crew (pre-rain) for a drag of the infield, not to be confused with this drag of a game. The one that featured Niese and Kyle Lohse mowing down each others’ teammates, which was probably a more impressive feat for Niese, considering he wasn’t the pitcher permitted to face the Mets. The only obstacle Jon Seether couldn’t overcome was his fireplug of a manager leaping out of the dugout with two out in the eighth to remove him when he was in full cruise mode.

Niese came out despite his well-earned objections (1 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K), Jeurys Familia went in and the 1-1 status quo remained intact. Extra innings rolled around, not unlike the tumbleweed that presumably blew through the Promenade food court. The Mets still didn’t hit. The Brewers still didn’t hit. The commercials still didn’t air as SNY got in touch with its inner public-access self. The rain still didn’t stop but there were no more microdelays. All bullpenning from both sides proved impenetrable for the longest time, though Brandon Kintzler needed a little help, first from his Roenicke-rigged five-man infield, which cut down a run at the plate, and then from a one-man dispenser of vigilante justice who would never be tolerated in civilized society.

The bases were loaded with Mets in the eleventh — you could already guess that wasn’t going to end well, but still. Anthony Recker worked a two-two count before taking the world’s first low, outside strike…as called, of course, by Angel Hernandez, truly an innovator in the art of creative officiating. Recker was so disgusted that he didn’t get the chance to strike out honorably like most Mets that he furiously and instantly informed Hernandez of the myriad shortcomings he displays in his chosen profession. Giving Angel Hernandez an excuse to eject a catcher in extra innings is like giving an ape a banana. Of course he’s going to take it and stuff it in his umphole. So no, Recker shouldn’t have gotten himself thrown out, what with Collins’s bench down to Taylor Teagarden and splinters, but it’s Angel Hernandez in the eleventh. Who among us could resist vocally assaulting let alone bodily harming that arrogant piece of inaccurate dreck for one mist-soaked second if he was standing inches away…or closer than “strike three” was?

Anthony Recker: player of the game. Well, him or Burkhardt. We’re gonna miss that entertaining young man when he’s gone.

After the Mets allowed Angel Hernandez his chance to get the Brewers out of that jam (though, to be fair, they didn’t exactly help their own cause by sucking at hitting), Carlos Torres came in and walked a pretty nifty tightrope himself, stranding a pair of Brewers in the twelfth. Whereas Collins couldn’t help but pull Niese, he also couldn’t help but leave Torres in, and Carlos the Workhorse finally paid the price for overuse, getting clobbered in the thirteenth and then commencing to clobber himself. Trailing 5-1, the Mets proceeded to go down to characteristically efficient Francisco Rodriguez, 1-2-3, which, coincidentally, was the total crowd by the time the game was over.

Abandoned stadium. Lineup cobbled together from minor league callups. Manager and ballclub playing out the string. It was just one of those all-too-familiar late September evenings at Citi Field. Too bad it took place in the second week of June.

18 comments to Mets Keep Meeting Enemy That is Them

  • Dave

    I’ve never noticed myself able to lip-read before, but I sure could make out Niese’s “what the f*** for?” when TC came out to get him. That may have been because I was saying pretty much the same thing immediately before he did.

    I will acknowledge that any manager you observe over the course of 100’s of games is going to make moves that leave you scratching your head, doesn’t matter if he’s Tony LaRussa or Joe Frazier. But to hand over a lineup card that includes Chris Young batting 5th and then announcing that you’re juggling the lineup to jump start the offense…well, I don’t even need to finish that sentence. And he really thought Eric Campbell gives him a better chance than Bobby Abreu, whose status as just about the best hitter on the team just demonstrates…well, I don’t have to finish that sentence either.

  • kd bart

    Since David Wright came up to the majors 10 years ago next month, the Mets have not produced an impact homegrown position player. Murphy being the best one. But while a good ballplayer, he isn’t exactly Chase Utley or Robinson Cano out there. The rest are either mediocre like Duda, fringe MLBers like Captain Kirk, or guys too early in their careers to know yet like Lagares. The failure, for various reasons, of the first round picks and big international signings,(Milledge, Davis, Havens and Martinez), during the middle and late part of the last decade has come back to damage this team in a major way. Right now, those four are in their late 20s and at least some of them should be the backbone of your team. Only Ike is currently even in the majors. Pray they have a lot more success with the position players drafted in the past few years. But even they are at least two years away.

    • argman

      Well, there’s Carlos Gomez…

      • kd bart

        It took 5 years and two teams before he fully developed. You really think Met fans would’ve waited that long?(See d’Arnaud) They would’ve demanded he be DFA’d by 2010 the latest.

    • Dave

      I’m reminded of that pathetic promotion a year or so ago where the Mets were shining the spotlight on their homegrown infield…so proud of this quartet birthed by the Mets’ wonderful farm system, conveniently glossing over the fact that half of them were so bad that they had to mercifully be returned to that same farm system, and even that move arguably came a year late.

    • Steve D

      “Since David Wright came up to the majors 10 years ago next month, the Mets have not produced an impact homegrown position player.”

      Let me rephrase that…”Since 1962, aside from Cleon, Wright, Strawberry, Reyes, Alfonzo, Mazzilli and Dykstra the Mets have not produced an impact homegrown position player.”

  • Lou from Georgia

    I’ve gotten to the point where I just receive a notification when the game ends. I get a lifeless summary on my phone consisting of the final score, perhaps mention of a rally in whatever inning it occurs, and pitchers of record. It amounts to exactly the same thing as watching the team, minus the agita.

  • 9th string

    Reckers’s dilemma reminded be of the scene in Django Unchained where Christophe turns to Django and says – “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t help myself.”

  • mikeL

    well looks like TC yanked neise to look like he’s doing something, like george costanza faking working at a job he can’t perform by looking busy and frazzled.

    this all begs the question: can the mets just spend the rest of the summer hitch-hiking through europe to find itself – and in so doing, dissappear from sight? maybe forever??

    i came into the game late – just as neise was getting yanked – and left before the 10th. how many more new ways can the dead horse be beaten too slowly?

    on the statistically bright side, they did not lose a one-run game last nite.

  • StevenNYM65

    I was at the game, and when Terry pulled Niese, everyone was turning to their neighbor and groaning that Terry was going to burn through the bullpen. So, the rhetorical question – why does every fan in the ballpark know what is going to transpire, but the team’s front office does not? And in all fairness, we should have won. That pitch to Recker was a ball. A cheap way to win (for a team that can’t hit), but it would have been a win nonetheless.

    • If called correctly, that pitch would have made the count three-and-two. Still needed one more ball (or a HBP) to win. Discounting possibility that Recker would’ve singled or something.

  • Seth

    Excellent piece as always, but a slight correction: no, we will not miss Kevin Burkhardt, not even in the slightest micro-nano-molecule bit.

    We would miss him if SNY just let him do what he’s best at, which is the color pieces — but for some reason they think he’s a play-by-play man, which he definitely is not.

    • If baseball must have “sideline reporters” then Kevin is the best there’s ever been. Whoever they replace him with will be a massive comedown. As far as him doing PBP, given time I think he’d nail that, too. I liked him much more over the weekend in SF than I usually do in Spring Training. He’s someone who’s always improving, which probably explains why bigger and better things await.

  • “Of course he’s going take it and stuff it is his umphole.”

    lol, classic.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    I’m a little shocked Angel didn’t toss the grounds crew for telling him he was wrong.

  • MetsOrangeBlue

    Sideline “reporters” are the bane of baseball. Even if you think Kevin B. is handsome, I’d rather watch the game instead of missing a play because SNY decided we need to “see” him tell us about minutiae.