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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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Thanks Antonio

No wait — I kind of mean it.

The Mets were down 3-1 to the Rockies in the top of the ninth, following a bottom of the eighth that was depressing even by recent Mets standards. Colorado had two men on with Carlos Gonzalez at the plate, and Antonio Bastardo, AKA the Human Curfew, was standing out there on the mound and occasionally throwing a baseball.

In the SNY booth, Gary Cohen and Ron Darling had had enough, and were idly discussing what one could accomplish between Bastardo pitches. Their candidates included booking an airline ticket and writing a country song. (I am not kidding.) In the park, the Mets fans who hadn’t already shuffled out in dejection were looking for anything blue and orange to boo. It was getting dangerously close to the Mets equivalent of the soccer riot in “The Simpsons.”

Then Bastardo roused himself to brush away the cobwebs and dust that had accumulated on his body since his last pitch and heaved a slider homeward. It only felt like Gonzalez had stood there long enough to attain free agency and be replaced by a lesser player; he was still present, eyed a slider that was doing no such thing, and hit it approximately to Portugal.

And with that, the Band-Aid was ripped off. Tragedy became farce, and this awful game stopped hurting.

So yeah, thanks Antonio.

Before that … well, must we? Steven Matz pitched inefficiently but pretty well despite that, Houdini-ing his way out of several tight spots, but wasn’t perfect and so lost. The Mets were awful again with teammates in scoring position: 0 for 7 on the night, which drops their season average to .202. If you’re wondering, yes, in fact that is the worst such mark in the history of the franchise, out-hopelessing even the ’68 club.

Still, even Don Bosch and Jerry Buchek might have found tonight’s eighth inning amazin’. With Jake McGee on the mound, Alejandro De Aza singled and Curtis Granderson moved him to second with a bloop hit. With Mets fans murmuring in tentative, fretful hope, Scott Oberg came in and threw … three pitches. Travis d’Arnaud broke his bat on the first one, with the lumber actually conking De Aza in the helmet. Yoenis Cespedes fouled out on the second pitch. And James Loney — your hitting star of the night with a solo homer — grounded out on the third.

Does hitting a teammate in the head with part of a bat count as a hit with a runner in scoring position? Because that was as close as the Mets would get.

You can’t make this stuff up. And if you could, why would you?

Honestly, there’s nothing new to be said at this point. Go read yesterday’s post, or the one from the day before that, or too many others of recent vintage. The team can’t hit, they continue to ask players to play on one leg or to sit on the bench for a while before finally moving them to the DL, the pitchers have to be perfect and pay the price when they aren’t.

The Mets are too much of a mess to responsibly be buyers and don’t have much of anything to peddle as sellers. So they continue to muddle along telling themselves and us that things are different than they are: when the losing stopped tonight, Terry Collins ordered that the clubhouse music be turned up. It was Bon Jovi, Adam Rubin informed us.

These days if you hear Jon Bon Jovi he’s touting the merits of being able to rewind live TV, and asking you to embrace the power to turn back time. Which would be nice, goodness knows — hell, I’d jam that button down until I had a chance to order Jeurys Familia not to quick-pitch Alex Gordon.

But that button’s broken for the ’16 Mets. Grampy Tim’s not coming back, the gym membership’s expired, hairlines are retreating faster than glaciers, the salsa’s perpetually mild, and not a single one of these ill-considered second children can get a hit when you need one.

29 comments to Thanks Antonio

  • Greg Mitchell

    Sandy’s scenario has played out perfectly for him. Do nothing major so the team loses more than it wins and thereby take pressure off to “buy”–the names we’ve heard all week were, yes, Jon Niese and several relief pitchers with e.r.a.’s in the Bastardo zone–and maybe just “sell” a little. Hey, he loves Carlos Gomez, he might be available again.

    • Dennis

      Sandy wants to lose? Really? Since you must know every trade scenario out there, tell us exactly what is being offered to the Mets and what other teams are asking for, and then we can assess whether or not Sandy wants to purposely lose games.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Your “logic” utterly eludes me Greg Mitchell. You honestly believe Sandy wants to lose? Did he want to lose last year? He was also extremely patient last year when fans were screaming for moves to be made…he bided his time and acted when the time was right. I’m not saying the same scenario will play out this year…the same moves aren’t there to be made, but attributing a willfulness on his part doesn’t compute on any level.

  • rich porricelli

    Best hope is that wildcard game..quietly we have slipped to 7 games out ..DC is pretty solid this year and the Marlins have assumed the role we had last year.. History is not on our side as well..In spite of all that we still have 2 months to go! The glow of last years pennant has faded as we make the final turn and it aint over till its over..

  • Dave

    We do have to remember that trades happen at the very last minute and beyond…that said, the trade bait inventory is a bit on the low side, and I’m sure there are players other teams ask for that Alderson isn’t moving for a 2 month rental. I don’t think it would be a good idea to say goodbye to, let’s say, Amed Rosario for 125 at bats from Steve Pearce or something.

    Jason, at least we have yours and Greg’s pithy commentary while the team has us pithed off.

  • sturock

    Agree with most of you. They need to stay the course with the guys they have while looking ahead to 2017 and beyond. Is anyone else ready in the farm system? Why the loss of interest in Dilson Herrera? Put Conforto out there against all kinds of pitching. And look into extending Cespedes.

    And I agree: don’t give up young players for a rental.

    Alderson and company need to think about the long-term health and strength of this team no matter what happens the rest of the way in 2016.

  • Mikey

    It just sucks…i have zero confidence in this team right now.

    Beyond the weak bats, our pitchers are pressing too. How often does our pitcher allow the leadoff man to get on? How few 1-2-3 innings do we have?

    It just feels like we are underachieving on many levels. Shit, we arent even hitting many home runs

    Yet amazingly we are mathematically still in the race

  • sturock

    Would we be stressing like this if Familia had blown one save in May and the second save yesterday? Or are the two consecutive flops especially excruciating?

    Some interesting reading re Jeurys.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Of course, I didn’t mean that Sandy actually WANTED to lose but that (in my guess) he feared going all-in, lacking confidence (perhaps warranted) in how the team would do, even with a major import. And perhaps more importantly–how much better other teams were this year compared to last, that they might also make major deals, and also had top prospects to call up. So he perhaps felt: wait, wait, hope we win ten in a row but if we continue to stumble it’s not so bad. You know, while everyone focuses on the trade deadline, major deals can be made a week or a month earlier so that when the deadline comes you are in better shape and can buy more. But Kelly Johnson and Reyes hardly qualify (plus he gave up nothing for them).

    • Dennis

      You say he feared going “all in” but the trade deadline isn’t here yet, so there is a possibility he might do something. And what you say is his lack of confidence may actually be a trade market that doesn’t make sense for the Mets to do anything.

  • Wheaties54321

    While the season is far from over, my take is that without an infusion of new talent (i.e. two new hitters and a few new arms as reinforcements), the Mets will fall short of the WC game.

    Aside from the poor situational hitting and perhaps because of a lack of clutch hitting, this team doesn’t pass the eye test. They never come back in games. Good teams do (see the 2015 Mets).

    Another thing… the Mets don’t have the makeup of teams like the Indians, the Red Sox and Marlins in the NL who appear to be on the rise, carried by a core of young, developing regular players. Maybe the Rockies fit that description as well? While the Mets’ future prospects are still strong because of Syndergaard, deGrom, Familia, Matz, etc., its increasingly clear they need to fill out the roster with better and younger everyday talent as well.

    After last year’s unexpected run to the WS, I think most of us were looking forward to seeing the Mets at or near the top of the NL again. The Mets played well in April, when they were healthy, but they have played to a losing aggregate record in May, June, and July.

    To take steps forward in 2016, the Mets needed production from their younger, everyday players – guys like Duda, D’Arnaud, Comforto, and Lagares. This hasn’t happened. On top of this, Curtis Granderson has taken a step backwards. Maybe his days as a leadoff hitter are over. FWIW, I suspect he’ll pick things up a bit when Reyes returns to the lineup.

  • Bob

    Last night watching DC Expo VS Gints and DC Expos pull a 3-5 triple play…..uh, oh–Baseball Gods are telling us something.
    So happy I (we) enjoyed the ride last year–came up a few stations short–but a lot of fun we had.
    This season’s “hitters”? no Duda, Wright, Murphy…too many holes in lineup.
    Then the pitching injuries….ok-I get the hint…sigh…..
    Perhaps I’m wrong–I sure hope so–but my 54 years of being a Met fan tells me–“stick a fork in them”
    Met Fan since Polo Grounds–1963

  • mikeL

    all those teams that faded by september (or earlier) during the past several years seemed to have *something* going on that was compelling (aside from individual performances)…whether it was prodigious 2-out hitting, never-say-die late game comebacks.
    until the inevitable fades they were fun to watch and had me suspending disbelief.
    this year, i’m overcome by disbelief.
    i really want this season to end.
    i hope sandy can package up the mets middle infield (good luck) so that wilmer, dilson and (suspending disbelief here) reyes can play every day.
    cabreraand walker don’t have that something required to be successful here. maybe someone will take them knowing they might fare better in a smaller market – or on a team where they can play a more supportive role. if the mets can get something good back in return all the better.
    a major shake-up is needed just to salvage watchability.
    i would gladly settle for that at this point and let the chips fall where they may.

  • Mikey

    I dont think blowing up the team now is the right move but i can see the argument for it.

    Me, i want this team to keep trying and hope for a hot streak and some better luck, with what we have. Its not worth being buyers at this point

    I cant see the postseason happening though but if it does, we will likely be the 10th best team in the field of 10.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Nats just got Melancon and his 1.15 e.r.a. from the Bucs. Mets still circling…Jim Johnson….

  • LeClerc

    Where is Henny Youngman when we need him?

    Antonio Bastardo’s wait time should be the inspiration for a thousand belly laughs. The CarGo homer itself was a perfect punch-line to Antonio’s OCD inventory (check signs from D’Arnaud, check base runners, make sure gas oven is turned off, estimate size of crowd in attendance, ponder the meaning of life, inhale, exhale – – – – – – – – – – throw…, BAM !

    After the side was retired and the remaining spectators booed him as if he were Chase Utley, Bastardo strode to the dugout shaking his head – thinking “Lord, what fools these mortals be”.

  • eric1973

    Take my team, please!

    There are no ‘holes’ in the lineup, meaning there are no backups littering the lineup, as there were this time last year. So if a trade IS made, a starter will have to go or sit.

    Who goes or sits? d’arnaud? Granderson? Conforto? Ces? Middle infield? Corner infield?

    Trade Conforto for Jay Bruce, or something along those lines? Maybe.

    JF/Reed/Blevins/Robles are invaluable with a lead, and do not pitch when we’re losing, but when we’re losing, the remaining RP’s add fuel to the fire, so we can’t make comebacks.

    Team is not playing up to their capabilities. The guys we have just need to play better.

  • Steve K

    Now, check out the below, Mets fans and bloggers.
    WHOSE decision was it to let this guy play through a significant injury rather than address the problem head-on?

    Typical flawed logic. Nothing ever changes.

    • mikeL

      unfortunately, it doesn’t.
      beyond me why anyone would let the thumb injury linger/fester.
      dealt with immediately juan would be back in a couple of weeks for the home stretch and the outfield glut alleviated for a stretch.
      that the mets haven’t revampd their training/medical staff and approach is incredible – thpugh not as incredible as the absolutely inept situational hitting approach, tonite’s half full base stealing performance not withstanding.

      and no the feel-good piazza ceremony didn’t jump start the mets mojo. mike tried.

  • eric1973

    Same dumb move with every single injury, where team plays shorthanded for a spell until finally the player goes on the DL. Just happened with Reyes, too.

    Never fails.

    TC/Coaches and Sandy/Acolytes must take some blame for this.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Hey, lay off Sandy, he just got us Justin Ruggiano–with his 5 MLB at bats this year and .226 in AAA. Will fit right in. John Mayberry still out there no doubt.

  • Steve D

    Gary Cohen is making a fool of himself saying indignantly that Flores should have a homerun when that fan clearly reached way out and interfered. Let’s be fair.

  • Lenny65

    It’s amazing how fast things can change, suddenly the whole direction and future seems so uncertain and hazy. And the actual play on the field has become downright depressing to watch. Coming on the heels of last year, it’s definitely been a tough pill to swallow. I have this sickening feeling that a window suddenly slammed shut last November, like that was all there was. They’re not going to make another thrilling run with this lineup they’re throwing out there, they have guys fresh off the street starting now.

    • Steve D

      As bad as they were last year though July 23, they were never this bad with RISP…in fact no team has been this bad since the 1969 Padres. You can blame everyone from the cheap owners, Sabermetric GM, manager, hitting coach and mostly the players. Last year, with a few good moves, it all came together. Can magic happen a second year in a row? Get to work Sandy.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Eric1973 I disagree with you so often, but what you said correctly was that the guys they have just need to play better. Everyone seems to want Sandy to pull a rabbit out of a hat but I don’t see it happening. We don’t have the same trade pieces available that we did last year. Almost every player is underperforming right now. There are no obvious holes to plug. Our rotation could possibly use another starter, but is basically strong. The back end of our bullpen is rock solid. We could use a healthy Reyes & Duda, but these guys just gotta start hitting like they’re capable of.

  • Greg Mitchell

    From buyers to sellers in 3 days.

    And LuCroy going to Indians, they say.

    • Matt in Richmond

      We didn’t need Lucroy. I’d rather stick with a younger Travis and hope he starts having some fully healthy season.

  • Martin Dickson

    Anyway you look at it it sure is a struggle at the moment, which I can see even as far away as Australia! The Cubs look absolutely nailed on for the World Series even at this stage of the season, and have Chapman as their closer. The form of the offence has been sporadic and really what has been more devastating is the injuries which have not been covered adequately.
    On a personal note I am looking forward to watching the Subway Series as we were in New York last September for that very series.
    Huge congratulations to Mike Piazza and icon and great role model for all aspiring sportsman and women. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching his indoctrination into the Hall of Fame and having his number retired, Let’s go Mets!

  • Steve D

    I found a way to look at the Mets roster with runners in scoring position and see who the culprits are.

    Yes it actually adds up to .204. Regression to the mean alone means they should get better the rest of the way, or they will be the most disappointing bunch of hitters ever assembled. I like to think changing a piece or two, just like last year, makes a modicum of sense. Really, based on larger samples, Cabrera and Granderson are the two who have KILLED us. Matz being 5th best is just too funny.