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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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Better a Laugher Than a Laughee

A laugher after a long stretch of laughees? Turns out it makes for some complicated emotions.

After the Mets scored a lone run early, I sourly thought, “Well Jacob deGrom, there’s your offense.” I also thought that our long-legged, long-haired rookie of the year in recovery looked a lot better than he had in recent outings. It was a thought that I backed away from like I’d put my hand on a blazing stove. I’d thought Noah Syndergaard looked pretty great in Chicago. I’d counseled myself to think well of Jonathon Niese for looking good against the Cubs.

Both thoughts had been precursors to disasters of various sorts. I stopped thinking good things and watched warily, certain that bad things would happen and the night would end with a discussion of the first-place Nationals.

And then the Mets decided to drive in runs for half an hour.

They sent 16 men to the plate, which is batting around and then some no matter what side of the 9/10 divide you stand on. The ninth-place hitter — Wilmer Flores — drove a grand slam into the Party City deck. The pitcher got two hits in the inning. There were deep drives but also balls served over the infield. It was like some baseball madman took all the luck that had been missing during our Chicago horror show and crammed it into one half-inning.

I’ve seen three of the Mets’ four innings in which they scored 10 runs or more. (I don’t remember the 1979 uprising against the Reds, though my blog partner might.) The 10-run demolition of the Braves in 2000 is tied with the Grand Slam Single for the greatest baseball moment of my fandom, the perfect sublimation of weeks of agony into a few seconds of pure joy. The 11-run, double-grand-slam ambush of the Cubs in ’06, on the other hand, was baseball goofiness, like finding the cheat code on a videogame.

This 10-run inning? It was … odd. There was happiness, of course — scoring 10 in an inning is always going to be satisfying. But there was annoyance, too — where the hell had this been for the last week, when the Mets weren’t just losing but sleepwalking through awful, unwatchable games? There was the familiar baseball fear that one was seeing a homestand’s worth of runs thrown around like singles at a strip bar, which is arrant nonsense but also impossible not to think. And, in an All-Star display of Mets fan paranoia, I was sure that the Mets would keep hitting and hitting while the rain intensified at Citi Field, leaving deGrom to struggle in the top of the fifth, the Brewers to try every stalling technique up to and including lost contact lenses, and the umps ordering the tarp brought out, after which it would stay deep into the night.

The game would be washed away. The 10-run inning that disappeared would become one of those secret handshakes shared by doleful Mets fans, and trotted out by columnists to demonstrate the depth of our despairing craziness.

The rain didn’t go away, but limited itself to trudging overhead the way we had in Chicago. DeGrom pitched just fine, and the Mets even put up another half-week’s worth of offense on the way to a win. Even a Madoff-era Mets fan can be too pessimistic.

10 comments to Better a Laugher Than a Laughee

  • BlondiesJake

    If they score 14 runs every game…

  • Daniel Hall

    That was one surreal inning, and with the rain I was hoping for two quick outs after the grand slam. C’mon, we got six, let’s get through the top fifth, to make it official! Bad stuff happens, having that big inning wiped by weather would have been just perfect for this team.

    So, they rolled their week’s output into one inning, which means they will have three hits and two walks en route to maybe a 3-1 loss today. I will stop being grumpy about them as soon as they prove they can put up typical major league type offensive numbers for, say, back-to-back games. Like, score five runs in consecutive games. If you do that with any regularity, you’re in the playoffs. Especially with our pitching. Heck, if they scored four runs with any regularity, they’d make the playoffs easily. But let’s say, five in back-to-back games as a sign of ‘Here we are, well alive, and we’re here to stay’ rather than winning on that oddball of an inning. (Poor Matt Garza, looked like being hit by a truck, and THEN by the metro)

    The last time they scored five in back-to-back games? April 18, 19, and 21. April 19 was the d’Arnaud/Blevins double takedown vs. the Marlins. Four back-to-back was a week later @Yankees, an instance which will soon turn one month old!!

    C’mon boys! Plate five, or at least four today! You can do it! We know it, you know it, your moms know it, too!

  • open the gates

    You know you’re not in a great place with your team when you can’t even laugh during your laughers.

  • sturock

    Floodgate time! Was that really Michael Cuddyer with two hits?

  • Lenny65

    I was certain it’d get rained out. Maybe the secret is to be outraged at them all the time. Fire everyone, TRADE…let’s go Mets!!!!

  • Dave

    When young Jacob drove in that run his first time up, my thoughts were finally, a Mets pitcher paying attention. You pitch for this team, you want run support, make your own damn runs.

    A few runs into that inning, I was hoping that someone would just make a few outs and get through the top of the 5th. I was also afraid that the rain would erase everything, like it never happened.

  • dmg

    i think we all sweated that inning — my son and i were cataloging all the great records that wouldn’t count once a rainout was declared.
    after the happy recap, son suggested we hit today’s game — our first this year, and thor’s citi debut. so we did, and saw a great performance in a great game, in great weather, with great vibes. a good weekend for the mets is a good weekend all around.

  • Parth

    I attended the 2000 and 2006 uprisings. The latter was an annual road trip- which took us the Wrigley, and it was about 4000 degrees in Chi-town. We won 2 of 3, and remember taking hotel towels to sop up the sweat. Can’t believe the Mets were up by 12+ games in the standings at that point in July. Never felt that confident. Some things never change.

  • […] Better a Laugher Than a Laughee »    […]

    • Stan

      4000 degrees in Chi Town and an impromptu wet t-shirt concert in the bleachers after a Friday afternoon storm that redefined the meaning of wet.

      The Cubs fans ran for the hills after the confines became very friendly for us in that half inning on Sunday.