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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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Petco Time, Petco Math

If you’re ever in San Diego, definitely take in a game at Petco Park. I’ve been a couple of times, and it’s an underrated stadium. Petco has good food (the fish tacos in particular); some winning departures from the standard New Ballpark sample book, such as the white and buff colors and hanging gardens; the grassy hill beyond the outfield fences is a fun addition that doesn’t try too hard; and the park is unmistakably part of the surrounding cityscape instead of faking it the way Citi Field does.

Just don’t go when the Mets are in town.

The Mets are not actually 0-42 at Petco Park, though it certainly feels that way. Still, 14-28 is bad enough. And somehow every game here feels the same, at least to those of us back home with toothpicks separating our eyelids:

  • The game begins at some absurd hour even by West Coast standards. I don’t know why 10:30 feels so much worse than 10:10, but it does. If this start time isn’t outlawed by the Geneva Conventions already, a revision is in order.
  • The Mets trudge around like they’ve just arrived on a plane that was marooned on the tarmac until the toilets began leaking no-longer-entirely-blue liquid and the passengers began threatening to riot.
  • The Mets either do absolutely nothing or do a lot of somethings that amount to nothing, leaving you in an angry debate with yourself about which is worse.
  • No matter what the score is or how speedy the action, the game feels like it’s been going on for five hours and the Padres actually have six or seven times as many runs as the scoreboard indicates.
  • With the Mets behind late, you find yourself secretly hoping they go quietly instead of tying it up, because the prospect of more of this kind of baseball makes you want to curl into a ball and sob.

Dodger Stadium never feels this way even if the Mets are getting pounded. Whatever the Giants’ park is called now never feels this way even if terrible things are happening. Petco always feels like this, even if things are going well. Except two-thirds of the time they’re not.

Honestly, the above should suffice, but I’ll honor the grisly historical record by at least feinting in the direction of specifics.

Noah Syndergaard wasn’t bad by any means, though due to the Petco Effect it somehow felt like he gave up six or seven runs in 2 1/3.

The Mets seemed morally opposed to getting a hit for the second befuddling night in a row, with added sting coming from watching them once again drive a handful of balls at decent velocity directly into Padre gloves.

One attempt at a Met comeback was short-circuited when Tim Teufel sent Asdrubal Cabrera homeward on a rather perilous play. Let’s give Teufel the benefit of the doubt since a good 80% of us were equally desperate for something to happen, but Cabrera was nabbed rather easily at the plate.

And yes, he was nabbed. I know there was a brief kerfuffle over whether Derek Norris dropped the ball very late in the play or in the transfer, but I honestly didn’t care about that or whether or not Cabrera touched the plate, should have touched the plate, should touch the plate next time, or should do some vaguely defined something differently in some head-spinning future perfect subjunctive.

I’m not against replay, but it still needs some calibration: it should exist for getting boundary calls right and eliminating gross injustices, and not for subjecting routine plays to nitpicky NFL bullshit. Cabrera would have been out when the Cincinnati Red Stockings were taking on local nines before a crowd of still-youngish Civil War veterans; he would have out when crowds were encouraged to buy war bonds and plant victory gardens; he would have been out the first time the Padres dressed like psychedelic tacos; and he was out last night.

The Mets mounted another attempted rally in the ninth and actually had a chance when Fernando Rodney threw a narcoleptic change-up to Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes missed it. It happens. Rodney then found his feel for the pitch and used a steady diet of them to dispatch Cabrera and last hope Alejandro De Aza.

And so the Mets vanished into the night and we vanished into our beds, plagued by the disquieting thought that this series is only half over. Meaning that we have 10 more hours and 36 or 37 enemy runs yet to endure.

Or at least it feels that way, doesn’t it?

4 comments to Petco Time, Petco Math

  • Kevin from Flushing

    For whatever reason, every year I forget Petco is a nightmare. I think, “nice, San Diego. Good ballpark, good b-roll for TV, the players must enjoy being there,” and so on. Then we slog through a terrible game, someone in the blogosphere reminds me, “same old Petco”, and then it hits me: “riiiiight, 2008. Shit.”

  • Mikey

    Didnt watch but could feel the negative aura when i checked my phone….hate losing the first 2 games of any series

  • Bob

    Jason is correct—
    I live in LA since 1976 and went to all Met game at Murph (& Petco) since 1984.Also all Met games at Dodger Stadium from 1976-2006–including 4 playoff games in 1988—-UGH……
    Mets did lose 2 of 3 or 3 or 4 for decades at the Murph.
    Horror shows I saw–about 1993….Pete Harnish melting down Opening Day from nicotine withdrawal-if I recall–gave up 3 HRs in 1st inning..
    Juan Samuel “playing” CF, Anthony Young going 0-15…ish.
    BUT–got the only foul ball in going to Games since 1963-Polo Grounds–foul ball by Gerald Clark off Tim Burke 7/28/1991.
    Got Mookie’s autograph and got to speak with him along 3rd base line before a game–this is when Mookie had # 51 in 1997.
    Mets used to go to LA from San Diego and take it out on Dodgers–had a better record here…
    No more games–too expensive now–thuggish fans at Dodger Stadium in 2006… too much $$
    One exception-last July pal & wife got me $75 ticket for Mets & Matz game. sat about 20 rows behind Home plate–Matz was great.
    Dodger Stadium–Can’t stand stupid beach balls, folks on cell phones and others wanted to know why I was scoring the game…
    Last summer folks & kids I sat next to knew nothing of Dodgers & Giants being from NY. I told the story of the evil/greedy Mr. O’ Malley & Stoneham-may they both rot in hell–
    Now–perhaps Mets can’t score because I had to take my Met Flag down because we had RAIN! It’s NOT my fu#king Fault!
    Let’s Go Mets–My flag, which won us our 2006 & 2015 post season series here is up again!

  • Pete In Iowa

    Couldn’t agree more with your take on replay Jason. If nothing else, baseball has shown the world that replay (in all sports) is getting completely ridiculous. The plays are so close that it’s merely become transferring the judgment of an on-field umpire to one that’s sitting in a booth somewhere watching on a screen most of the time. All to get the call “right” which it doesn’t always do anyway!