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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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The One Where Stuff Happened

The Mets don’t lead the league in much, but they’re at least a wild-card contender in keeping us guessing, having concluded their road trip with a Rorschach record of 5-5.

That’s five to go in the They Rebounded From Getting Blitzed and Got Themselves Together on the Road So There’s Hope column (you may label this one differently, of course), and five to go in the They Got the Stuffing Beat Out of Them and Didn’t Even Look Like a Big-League Team column. Which adds up to a collective shrug and a quick turnaround to Citi Field, where the Phillies await.

Before leaving Miami at an absurdly late hour, the Mets had one final game to play against the Marlins. It was an odd one — a stop-start affair that felt like three different games grafted together. First came the laugher, with Jay Bruce and T.J. Rivera beating up on Jose Urena. Then came a long, draggy stretch in which everything took forever. And finally we got a spasm of worry, as the Marlins staged a two-out rally that would ultimately just be a bunch of noise.

All of that is storytelling, of course — the construction of a narrative around individual pitches and plays. This is how we get ourselves in trouble as amateur baseball analysts, ferreting out imaginary patterns and attributing random events to grit, heart, morality and fate. Still, it’s irresistible — we’re wired for storytelling and use it for everything from describing a mundane day of work/school to secondhand accounts of athletic contests. And since we’re so wired, most baseball games sort themselves easily and readily into premade narrative buckets.

That sounds like a post to be considered with greater leisure during the offseason, but you know what I mean: there’s the Laugher, the Coach Not Taking Us to Tastee-Freez After This Mess, the One Where You Were Out of It After One Pitch, the Thrilling Comeback, the Fizzled Comeback, the Horrible Tortoise-and-the-Hare Loss, the Heart Ripped Out Day of Infamy, the Moral Victory But Still a Loss, the Philosophical Conundrum of Tying It in the Ninth Just to Lose in 12, the All-Time Classic, the One You Knew You Were Going to Lose One Way or Another Eventually, and so on. Last night’s wasn’t any of those — it feinted in various directions but never really settled on any of them.

Sometimes a baseball game’s just a  baseball game, I suppose.

Like any baseball game — or at least any win — it had its pleasures. There was watching Seth Lugo as the antithesis of Rafael Montero, pitching efficiently and aggressively to Giancarlo Stanton & Co. and being rewarded for it, as the reconstituted Mets infield turned two more double plays on the night. There was the instinctively terrific defense of JT Riddle, a young shortstop who looks like he’ll be the next Marlin to make us grind our teeth in helpless agony. There was the big triple by the generically handsome Matt Reynolds — described perfectly by one Twitter wag as looking “like one of the teammates with no lines in a baseball movie” — that would push the Marlins back to a more comfortable distance.

Not a particularly memorable baseball game, but one that was just fine for a warm June night. And perhaps that’s its own narrative bucket.

13 comments to The One Where Stuff Happened

  • 9th string catcher

    For it’s odd start and stop qualities, it is generally a blueprint of how the Mets can get back into this thing. Strong starting pitching, minimum of 6 innings. Over 5 runs of offense. Solid relief pitching. Some power mixed in with manufacturing runs out of walks, errors and 2 out hits. And, not to be overlooked, good defense. Passable defensive players should be at 1st base only; having Reyes, Cabrera and Reynolds solidifying the defense helped the pitching out enormously. As tempting as a lineup with Duda, Rivera and Flores might be, I would limit one of them per game.

    • LeClerc


      Platoon Duda and Flores at first base. Sprinkle in some TJ at first, second, and third. Do not – repeat do not play Wilmer anywhere but first. Reynolds actually has lateral mobility. Try Walker out at third when he gets off the DL in September.

      DFA Neil Ramirez. Sign Bart. Over and out.

  • Gil

    I’ve got my Bartolo Colon shirt on today just in case there is breaking news.

  • APV

    I doubt Bart has anything left in the tank after what I’ve seen from him in Atlanta, Opening Day II at Citi notwithstanding. That said, the montage of him on SportsNite after last night’s game was well played. And seeing his home run in San Diego will put a smile on my face in a legit way until I die.

    Frankly, I’m treating every Mets win as if it’s in a vacuum, and last night’s was quite solid. But to me, this is a lost season. Yeah I know it’s June 30 and the Nationals lost Trea Turner and their bullpen stinks, I get all that. Does anyone really think Murph, Harper, Rendon, and Zimmermann are going to stop hitting all of a sudden? Unless two of them get suspended for PED usage, I don’t think so. The Mets dug themselves too great a hole and are six games under .500. This team has to win 30 of its next 40 to get back in the WC race, let alone the division. They can’t stay healthy enough to win more than three in a row. Sorry, but my unofficial slogan for this year is, “Your 2017 New York Mets: Where Joy Doesn’t Last.”

    Happy 4th Everyone!

    • 9th string catcher

      They can hit and pitch. They’re a great team. But the Mets can hit and pitch as well when they’re not on the DL. It’s a long season, and it ain’t over yet.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Make Bart the pitching coach. I agree with APV that he has nothing left on the mound, and frankly he has nothing left to prove. He’s done all that was asked of him for a long, long time.

    As far as last night’s game, when I saw Edgin take the mound in the 8th inning, I got worried, but he proved me wrong for a change, so I’ll take the happy ending when I can get it.

  • Eric

    Put me down for bringing back Colon for cheap. There’s can’t-be-worse room at the bottom of the bullpen at least, and who knows when the next starter goes down if Colon can find his game.

    I would have hit Nimmo instead of burning him and Flores for one PH at bat. But Granderson got the job done.

    • Curt

      I was fine with bringing Flores for Nimmo – Garcia’s their only LH reliever so there was no point holding Wilmer.

      I also say sign Bart. Yes, he’s probably done. But maybe he isn’t. And there’s a better chance of him having something left than Montero turning into a reliable starter, even after his last start.

  • Matt in Richmond

    It is, as it ever was, mostly about pitching and defense. This club has scored enough all year, it just hasn’t limited the opposition nearly enough. Thanks to the return of Lugo & Matz, Jake remembering who he is, and the wise but wish-they’d-done-it-sooner move of Reyes to SS, the ship has been somewhat righted. Really hope Wheeler can get right back on the beam when he returns. If so, there’s lots of season left, the Rox are plummeting, the Nats have issues, and you never know.

  • Jason

    Great column, Jason; you basically identified the Jungian archetypes for ballgames. I can Immediately think of at least six or seven mets games over the years for each of these “types”.

    Then there’s also: the “the Losing and Also Adding Insult to Injury with a Key Player Injury”, and the “Should’ve Turned it Off in the Sixth But I Just Had to Torture Myself and Watch It to the Bitter End”, and finally the “Dang, I Knew They’d Make That Heroic Comeback, Why’d I Turn It Off in the Sixth?” Any others, gang?

  • eric1973

    Sign him. He wants to be here, everyone loves him, plus he is better than half the pitchers on the staff right now.

    Edited by moderator.