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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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Time for Your Beating

The picture to take away from Sunday’s 13-4 drubbing at the hands of the Rockies was Steven Matz trudging across a suddenly hostile mound looking like he’d been told to move a hundred bags of concrete from one place to another for no satisfactory reason.

Well, unless you tuned in a little bit late, in which case you had no picture of Matz to take away at all.

Matz was excused further duty after giving up nine hits and seven runs, all earned, in what officially goes down as one inning but counted in baseball parlance as “one inning plus.” Which is an odd bit of baseball vocabulary, since that plus is always a minus — “one inning plus the ineffectual stuff you did at the beginning of the next inning.” Or, to be more specific, the line of agate that needed to be added to Sunday’s box score: “Matz pitched to 4 batters in the 2nd.”

Pitched to four batters and retired none: the sequence was double, single, three-run homer, single, someone who isn’t you will pitch now. And that capped a sequence in which Matz pitched to 10 guys and allowed nine of them to reach base, retiring only the opposing pitcher. Those results are about as bad as they can get for someone occupying a major-league mound.

Still, while what Matz endured was indubitably a fearful and pitiable beating, it’s not like it was unprecedented or even uncommon for the team as a whole — for any team. This is yet another of baseball’s wonderful attributes, though generally not the one that leaps to mind when it’s your team rolled into a ball and waiting for it to be over.

Football fans can dream of an undefeated season, or at least a two- or three-month stretch in which defeat will be for other people. If you’re a baseball fan, half a week without a loss puts a certain strut in your step; a week of unalloyed victory means everybody’s starting to talk about you. No matter what team you are — the ’27 Yankees, the ’86 Mets, the suddenly unstoppable ’17 Dodgers — a loss is always lurking in the near-future, and sooner or later you’re going to not just lose but also get mashed. Half an hour in defeat will be assured, yet there will be three hours of unpleasantness yet to go, and the clubhouse hero will be the reliever who remained stoic while taking the largest portion of that unpleasantness — with a participant trophy for you, the fan, provided you hung around to bear witness the whole thing.

Too many such beatings and even a loyal fan will wind up woebegone, then absent. But the occasional beating is clarifying, grounding and a useful reminder that you never know — and you’d never want to.

9 comments to Time for Your Beating

  • Harvey Poris

    Too many occasional beatings this year as attested to by the middle relievers’ ERAs.

    • LeClerc

      To bring Fernando Salas and/or Neil Ramirez into a game is an ipso facto concession of defeat. Terry’s white flag.

      Here’s hoping the returning Robles can help plug up the gaping void of Mets’ middle relief.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Maybe the very, very fragile Matz wasn’t ready to throw 110 and 112 pitches in the two starts before his last two debacles…Terry treated him like a workhorse deGrom, or a Chris Sale, when he is farthest from that…

    • mikeL

      Yup, it’s as though terry really believes he can guide the team to the playoffs – so long as he works his starters the way he’s worked the bullpen.
      This morning I was waiting to read that matz was put on the DL – it would certainly fit the pattern.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Then again, since every conceivable theory has been tried( throwing more, throwing less, extra days off, stricter pitch counts, inning limits, etc etc.) and no consensus has emerged, there is no sure explanation for his decreased effectiveness. Other than: it’s pitching and shit happens.

  • eric1973

    MikeL, you read my mind. Matz is too good a pitcher to last 1-plus (Jason, loved that whole rap), and so when that happens, the DL is just around the corner.

    This already happened to Matz in 2015, when his 7-1 record all of a sudden became 7-7, and then he DID go on the DL.

    Greg P., needed that third one out of the chute to keep our delusion alive, so this just makes all our blankets wet again.

  • Daniel Hall

    Say, another numbing drubbing handed to the Mets on a Sunday afternoon? What is it? The seventh, eighth this year? Ah…

  • Ken

    Do you think Fred Wilpon and Sandy Alderson regret signing Yoenis “Mr. Bad Legs” Coespedes to that big contract?

    I hope that Cespedes does not turn into being another Mo Vaughn or Jason Bay disaster for the Mets.