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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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What I Missed

It’s odd being away from your baseball team for nine games. Not to mention that being six hours ahead of behind the U.S. pretty much takes you out of seeing anything. While I was in Italy night games began at 1 a.m. I caught a couple of innings of the Mets and the Cardinals trudging through extra innings, but that was it — I’d get the final score in the morning. Sometimes I’d gape at the disaster that had occurred; sometimes I’d tell Emily with mild surprise that hey, the Mets won.

Tonight was the first game I got to see in its entirety since the finale of the West Coast trip, and I was excited … or at least I was until the storm clouds began to gather.

Let’s see….

1) While I was gone, the Mets effectively disarmed mean-spirited satirists by insisting on playing with 24 men. Michael Cuddyer, who hurt his knee on JUNE FREAKING 28TH, still occupies neither a spot on the DL nor a semi-regular spot in the lineup. Before Friday’s game Terry Collins said Cuddyer’s anti-inflammatory medication was making him dizzy, not generally a sign of readiness to play. Honestly, if a Met was shredded by a combine the team would spend the next week and a half collecting pieces of him in a bucket and trying to sew things back together before deciding that a DL trip might be needed … but not quite yet. Why on earth does this baseball team continue to behave this way? Cheapness? Incompetence? Both?

2) Before the game, Sandy Alderson said the insurance money on David Wright‘s contract made no particular difference in the Mets making a trade or not. Regarding the prospects of a deal, Alderson insisted he could add a player with a significant contract, then added that none of the reporters would believe that. He’s correct — no Mets fan who’s been paying attention since Citi Field opened believes him. Which is itself a pretty serious indictment of this organization’s chronic, self-inflicting dysfunction.

3) Why would an addition to the lineup possibly be a good idea? Well, after Sandy’s press conference, the Mets went out and faced Clayton Kershaw with .170 hitter John Mayberry Jr. batting cleanup, protected in the order by .179 hitter Eric Campbell. Look a couple of more spots down and you found Anthony Recker, hitting .137. That’s not a credible lineup for a split squad in March, let alone a team that’s somehow still in a pennant race at the end of July.

4) Facing this brawny lineup, Kershaw fell asleep in the bullpen and had to be persuaded that beating the Mets would actually count. OK, that’s not true, but he was perfect for six innings, and it was honestly a surprise that the Mets didn’t go 27 up and 27 down against him. They mustered three entire hits — one on a low slider Curtis Granderson golfed over the infield, the second on a Wilmer Flores dunker misplayed by Yasiel Puig, and the third a single Lucas Duda pushed through the shift. Hooray for the offense!

5) Bartolo Colon pitched quite well in defeat, throwing one bad pitch all night — which, unfortunately, Jimmy Rollins whacked over the fence for a 1-0 Dodger lead. That was enough to beat Bart, with poor relief by Sean Gilmartin and Carlos Torres giving L.A. two thoroughly unnecessary insurance runs. What were Gilmartin and either Torres doing in a 1-0 game? I have no idea either.

6) The Mets’ best chance at scoring came in the eighth, when Duda led off with a single. He then somehow managed to get picked off, perhaps because he’s barely been on first since the end of May.

7) The Nationals furthered their status as the worst first-place team in recent memory by losing to the Pirates, therefore cruelly extending the illusion that the Mets could win something if they magically stopped being run like a third-rate Romanian orphanage. Honestly, I wish the Nats would just rip off an 11-game winning streak. It would put an end to this farce and the attendant emotional assault and battery.

8) Good postgame news, everybody! Cuddyer is getting new meds. They’re TOTALLY going to work. He’ll be able to play tomorrow. In fact, his knees will now be invulnerable to harm, turning any baseball that dares approach within a yard to a few fluttering shreds of yarn and carbonized curls of horsehide.

9) Well, unless it turns out the Mets don’t actually have access to magical meds that don’t leave players dizzy, in which case Cuddyer might get DL’d nearly a month after getting hurt, to be replaced on the roster by Michael Conforto.

10) Michael Conforto, ha ha ha. We all know they’ll bring back Johnny Monell.

35 comments to What I Missed

  • Steve D

    Their top hitter in the lineup had a .255 average. Anybody have a contact at Elias to see if that ranks as one of the lowest in MLB history for a July game?

    • Eric

      That top hitter has an OBP below .300, too.

      According to Alderson, the Mets’ awful batting average is misleading and well-hits average is the telling stat. Peripherals!

      • Steve D

        Yeah, I could not believe I heard that…plus he said we need to see more of Campbell and Nieuwenhuis…and that he was looking to only add bench help.

  • LA Jake

    Jason, welcome back and great stuff. I just want to warn you about comments questioning Gilmartin and either Torres pitching in a 1-0 game. Negative comments about the manager are met with strong resistance here, no matter how many times we can point to one of his terrible decisions impacting a close game.

    Steve D, loved the story you told about the fans asking if the Mets players with awful averages were really starters.

    I miss Rob E telling us that there’s nobody to trade for and management is doing the right thing and all it can to make this team a winner.

    It’s easy to root for the players but it’s hard to root for this team.

    • Eric

      It’s easy to root for the pitchers anyway. Because we’re used to well-pitched games and against Kershaw, 1 run down seems like 3 runs down, underplayed is that the Mets’ 42-year-old pitcher just laid down a 1-run, 8-inning (should have been CG) gem against a 1st-place team. I wonder how many of those are left in Colon’s arm.

      And I wonder whether, despite Colon’s up and down season, a game like that against Kershaw and the Dodgers puts Colon back on other teams’ radars for a trade.

  • Eric

    Justin Turner leaves the Mets and immediately turns into a .330 hitter. Cuddyer joins the Mets as a .330 hitter and immediately turns into a .250 hitter.

    • metsiery

      I hate to point this out since by no means am I defending the acquisition, but even Mayberry’s production has fallen off the map. He was a career 235 hitter. His production had dropped to about 210 before he was traded by Phi and dropped by Tor, But in NY he’s managed to submarine those career lows by a statistically significant 50 points. How do the Mets make everyone this bad?

  • Al in Japan

    Jason, I’m pretty sure that in Italy you were six hours ahead of the U.S.
    I watched that offensive debacle here in Japan on Friday morning.

    The only thing I enjoy about the prospect of Johnny Monell back in the lineup is inserting his name in the Beastie Boys “Johnny Ryall” and sarcastically singing it when he comes up to bat.
    And then again when he makes an out.

  • Daniel Hall

    Welcome to my world, Jason, picking whatever semi-relevant games MLB teams decide to casually process in the (U.S.) afternoon for me to see at decent (German) evening hours. Only the Cardinals on at 1 p.m.? Well, tough luck, it’s them or no ball at all! I’m on holidays for the rest of the month, and only now can I watch the Mets at night. But do I really want that? The comically pathetic lineup card hints at a “Maybe, since I’ve got nothing else to do with my time”.

    Great article, btw, induced a smile or two after a professional culling by Kershaw that took *noticeably* longer than two hours only because of the inept Mets relief in the top of the ninth.

    Was Kershaw sitting in the dugout and told the batters “Stop it!” …?

    “Stop it, we already have a run, I won’t need no more. I want to get to Subway!”

  • Lou from Brazil

    Can this team relegated to the International League? Perhaps Rochester can transition to big league status in the Mets’ place while they regroup and figure out how to run a major league contender.

    They’re in striking distance of a playoff spot and they insist on throwing it away. I have news for those guys in the FO, 2016 is a new year and a pitching performance like we’ve seen this season will not be guaranteed. Two major league hitters via trade and Conforto might actually make a real difference.

  • Michael G.

    Have the Mets set some sort of record for most hitters batting under .200 in a starting lineup? I bet a third-rate Romanian orphanage could field a better lineup.

  • Harvey

    The Mets lineup last night was the only the second mlb lineup since 1920 in which the 4th & 5th place hitters had averages below .180 with at least 100 ABs.

    • Steve D

      Thanks… I was looking for some stat like that. No worries though…seems Collins is content we weren’t hit with the perfecto:

      “After six innings nobody’s even got on base, as well as he was pitching you were just hoping that somebody was going to find a hole some place. Fortunately, Curtis did,” Collins said.

  • Met Fan in SoFla

    Hey Michael G.: Stop insulting third rate Romanian orphanges…they don’t deserve that kind of negative comparison!

  • Dave

    Wow, have the orphanages in Romania gotten that bad that they’re compared to this dumpster fire?

    Several hours into your typical garage sale, all that’s left is junk that nobody is going to want and you’re going to wind up either throwing it out or sticking it back in a box in the garage and throwing it out a year or eight later. The couple of times we’ve had a sale, you say it’s going from 9 to 1, and nearly all of your transactions are finished by about 10:30. Sandy Alderson acquired Carlos Torres at someone’s garage sale at about 12:45, and for a while he exceeded expectations, which isn’t saying much, because my expectations were that he’d have an ERA of 6 in Triple A. But that was then, this is now. In 2015, he’d still be left at the end of the garage sale. We need this guy instead of Logan Verrett? Really?

  • eric1973

    Where have you gone, Logan Verrett?
    Our fan base turns its lonely eyes to you.

    Need to trade Mayberry and Nieuwenhuis now. Better to get rid of these guys 1 year early rather than 1 year late….Oh, Brother.

    Only chance now is to root for other team’s Paternity Leave.

  • Matt

    If you add Colon to the mix last night, that’s 4 out of 9 in the line-up who were hitting under .200. How’s that for peripheral data?

  • LA Jake

    Dennis, your arguments for TC seem to be:
    A) Everybody makes the same mistakes
    B) He must be good because he has one of the 30 MLB jobs
    C) LA Jake can’t do better because I don’t have one of those 30 jobs

    My responses to those arguments are and will remain:
    A) That doesn’t make him good, that means he’s just as bad
    B) That would mean that Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel were good managers, as was Art Howe, because at one point they had the job.
    C) The possibility for a former sports play-by-play announcer that didn’t play baseball at the big league level becoming a MLB manager is less than 0%. If that somehow changed and I was hired, the fact I can use my brain and analyze situations would make me (and most of the people who comment on here) better than many managers.

    So keep on defending TC whenever I bash him, it’s your right, but it doesn’t make you right.

    • Dennis

      Ehh…I’m kind of tired of arguing this. But one last time so you understand. I stated before that Collins isn’t a great manager, but certainly not as inept or “clueless” as you say he is. But that’s OK…..agree to disagree.

      As far as mistakes by managers… point is that some of the BEST have made errors in the dugout. I never said it makes him good….just that he’s like the others.

      Basically, I have a hard time criticizing players or mangers harshly, given the fact that they are actually out there doing it. It’s hard for me to believe someone who played coed softball or wiffle ball in their parents backyard can truly understand what it’s like to play or manage under the intense pressure of baseball at it’s highest level. Like when someone says a player “sucks”. Really? If they suck, try doing it yourself.

      Just one question, if you are very analytical and know so much about baseball, why are you a “former” announcer?

  • Steve D

    Conforto is called up…Sandy was finally shamed into doing it. Will probably take the credit if it goes well.

    • Eric

      I’m relieved for Cuddyer’s sake.

      Whatever drugs being given to Cuddyer weren’t going to heal the underlying condition. It sounds like whatever painkiller was being tried as a last-ditch attempt to keep him available was some funky stuff even by the medical standards for pro athletes.

    • Matt in Woodside

      I’ve always had the impression that Alderson thinks the New York media is crazy, and he doesn’t let it influence his long-term thinking. I’m glad to hear about Conforto’s call up, though. When Cuddyer came back from the all star break with his knee still in horrible shape, they should have just put him on the DL right away. A DL stint became inevitable at that point.

      I think the front office’s hand is really being forced here. These big trades that people keep wanting to see would likely have involved Conforto if the team wasn’t willing to discuss deGrom, Harvey, or Syndergaard. And with the team so obviously in need of offensive help, it would just be dumb to trade one of the most promising bats in the system for a rental outfielder hitting .270

      That said, I just really hope he has some early success. Whenever I hear someone make a dumb joke about the front office protecting a player’s “fragile psyche” by leaving them in the minors, I wonder if that person has ever gotten a big promotion and felt overwhelmed and lost for a few months. Confidence does have a real impact on performance.

      • Steve D

        Early success is great and will help, but don’t panic off a bad start. Just remember Willie Mays started 0-23 and Mickey Mantle was sent down crying and almost quit baseball. If you are going to be good, a bad start will not derail it. On the other hand, Ike Davis started well and…

      • Eric

        There was no other move to make with Cuddyer going on the DL. AAA is cleaned out. Conforto was the top prospect at AA.

        Conforto was going to be called up sooner or later. AAA call-ups hit or miss, too. If anything, I think there’s more pressure on the AAA call-up because the AA call-up knows he’s ahead of schedule and can take the step back to AA or AAA with little fuss, whereas for a AAA call-up, he knows his time is now. A AAA call-up who fails may just be a AAAA player, while a AA call-up who fails may just need more seasoning.

        More help on the way: ETA for d’Arnaud is a week.

  • Tim H

    I attended last night’s game and the highlight for me was walking though the “Mets Hall of Fame and Mausoleum” before the first pitch and seeing my 8mm film clip of Ron Swoboda’s catch during Game Four of the 1969 World Series.

    Ah, memories.

    Tim Hanley
    Shea vendor, 1969-70

  • LA Jake

    Is the Mets medical staff board certified? I wouldn’t go to them if I was dying and there wasn’t another Dr left on the planet.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    The reason they are hesitant to put Cuddyer on the DL is because, as we all know, when a Met goes on the DL he never returns. (Not that there would be anything wrong with that in Cuddyer’s case)

  • Daniel Hall

    Any word on whether Conforto is available tonight already? I might have opted for sleep (didn’t get much tonight -.-), but if there’s a new toy to play with, I gotta be there.

    • Eric

      No reason why Conforto shouldn’t be available tonight. Will he start? And if he starts, how will he be protected in the line-up?

      Plus, ETA for d’Arnaud is a week.

    • Steve D

      He was in Trenton NJ last night and is probably at Shea by now.

      • Tim H

        …and, of course, it’s a very short walk from Shea to Citi Field. So, I think he’ll get there on time. ; > )

  • mikeL

    the reason the mets FO, the medical staff, the field manager are so inept is quite simple.
    they made a movie about billy bean’s moneyball.
    ever eager to one-down, sandy has been contracted to oversee a film about the mets under his rain…er..,reign.
    it will be ond of those so-ridiculous-you-won’t-believe-it’s-a-true-story flicks. totally comedy for the vast bulk of movie-goers who don’t subject themselves to the daily travails of following the team. those fans are portrayed as lovable losers.
    walter mathau plays the senior wilpon. adam sandler the kooky but well-meaning jeff.
    sandy laughs all the way to the bank…himself played by harrison ford.

    can’t wait.

  • eric1973

    d’Arnaud’s first rehab game was rained out the other day (or night).

    Who writes this stuff?