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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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Not Forgettable But Best Forgotten

One of my favorite parts of a new baby season is how for a little while you can remember every game.

We lost that horror show in KC, then played well and won a squeaker, walloped the Phils, then lost that taut little one the next night.

See? Easy. Depending on your attentiveness and memory, you’ll be able to do that for another week or so. Then things will start getting muddled and tangled, and then the season will elongate and elasticize into feelings and narratives invented to fit a selection of facts.

It’s the way of things, just as it’s natural to record firsts. We got the first heartbreaker out of the way early on Opening Night — before Opening Night, even, if you want to count enduring the Royals’ flag-raising and ESPN’s hammering the defenseless carcass of Lucas Duda‘s throw home. We got the first taut victory out of the way two nights later, and recorded the first runaway on a chilly Friday at Citi. And then Saturday night’s game brought us another inevitable first for the menagerie: the first unsatisfying shrug-your-shoulders affair, a game whose only flaw was the final score.

The Phillies are a dumpster fire, no doubt — take a shaky bullpen as an anti-foundation, then atop it assemble a general lack of experience, iffy outfield defense, Ryan Howard‘s albatross of a contract, and whatever the hell it is Cesar Hernandez thinks he’s doing at any given moment. We can guess what that will mean over 162 games, but it doesn’t say anything about what the Phillies will do during one of those games.

Tonight they were a little bit better than the Mets. The difference was teeny — Bartolo Colon‘s 66th pitch was a 88 MPH fastball with not enough movement and too much plate, transformed by Howard into an arcing liner destined for the third row above the old Great Wall of Flushing. Colon was pretty great the rest of the night, punctuated by an over-the-shoulder catch of an airborne Freddy Galvis bunt that looked a little like a high-school drama class’s re-enactment of Willie Mays retiring Vic Wertz. Yes, Bartolo got his man then, but the failure to get Howard would doom the Mets by a thin yet inarguable margin.

Meanwhile, the Phillies’ Vince Velasquez looked like a punching bag early, racking up a slew of hitters’ counts while hunting for a stubbornly elusive curve ball. Unfortunately for the Mets he found it, throttling them with that curve and a lively fastball through the middle innings before a high pitch count forced his exit and ensured the Mets would have three cracks at the Phillies’ bullpen.

Three cracks, lots of opportunities … and nothing accomplished. Alejandro De Aza was picked off first with two outs in the seventh, but reached second when Howard did everything but balance the baseball on his nose; no matter, as Curtis Granderson flied out. The eighth inning, though, was the one that really hurt: between Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda the Mets saw no less than 12 pitches in 2-0, 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 counts. That’s a good recipe for a big inning, but hold your compliments to the chef: they Mets converted not a single one of those pitches into a walk or a hit, then meekly departed after a six-pitch ninth.

It wasn’t a forgettable game — the final score, head-scratching Phillie misplays and taut starting pitching elevated it above that. But one we’d like to forget? That fits well enough.

10 comments to Not Forgettable But Best Forgotten

  • Ken K. in NJK

    Loved the Mays/Wertz Analogy. Thanks. Perfect.

    I decided to look at Vic Wertz’ career. I mean I know who he was and even vaguely remember him from when I was a kid, but I always like to check. And, hey, guess what. I never noticed this, but if you guys make a comment about a player it winds up in the “Player News” section on that Player’s Baseball Reference Page.

    BTW, the previous 4 comments about Vic Wertz were from some Cleveland Indians Blog, which is one of the reasons I love your blog.

  • Bunker23

    Of course Cesar Hernandez is going to be a bit iffy on the rules and regs and how to play ball. The man hasn’t been on a major league ballfield since 1993! Just because he was a first round draft pick way back in 85 doesn’t mean he has the same skill set at the age of 49!
    Man, I love this blog, and love you guys’ passion and dynamic, evocative writing. I hope you get that I’m jus’ playin’ with the Hernandez bit.

  • Dave

    Throughout much of the Mets history, they’ve had this annoying tendency to have no idea what to do when faced with a young starter who they’ve never faced before. Last night, and even to some extent on Friday afternoon, we see this again. Shrug it off amd hopefully make today’s eventual 6-15 Phillies starter pay for it.

  • Mikey

    Seriously tho…3 freaking hits
    I feel like cespedes hasnt been right since tom kohler plunked him.
    Or maybe his bat hates the cold weather

    I also think conforto should hit third

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Cespedes’ 8th inning at bat was awful. After a 3-1 count, he swung at ball 4 and ball 5. He is doing his best to make me wish we had John Mayberry Jr. back.

  • Jack St. Lucie

    Get used to it. This is streaky team. Eventually, the offense will break out and carry the club for awhile. The pitching is stout.
    The Achilles heel for this club remains the lack of good situational hitting skills among this lineup along with the equally-streaky defense. But, it’s early! (I love to use that while we still can!)

  • eric1973

    Can’t help but think deGrom’s groin/back/lat issues are somehow related to this ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ Thought gestation period was 9 months. Who’s the real father, anyway? Babar?

  • “…if you want to count enduring the Royals’ flag-raising and ESPN’s hammering the defenseless carcass of Lucas Duda‘s throw home.”
    LMAO. Classic

  • kdbart

    This is what an offense looks like when it is built around the long ball and the homers are few and far between. They still have a major inability to manufacture runs. Get them on, get them over and get them in is not a calling card of the Mets.

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