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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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Here's to Infutility

Most of Tuesday night unfolded the way most of Monday night had: we watched a Mets team at home doing a worrisome amount of nothing.

Steven Matz gave up a two-run shot in the first inning, then settled down and looked much more like himself, though it should be said that we still don’t quite know what “like himself” means with Matz, and suspect/fear that description would best fit a Matz who’s injured, or swearing he isn’t injured while eyebrows cock all around him. Whatever the case, it looked like that two-run homer would be fatal, because the Mets were in full pacifist mode.

Fortunately, nobody gave Jeff McNeil the memo.  The latest kid the Mets were seemingly hell-bent on not bringing up led off the seventh with his third hit of the night, was doubled to third by Wilmer Flores, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Conforto.

Austin Jackson then slapped a ground ball under the glove of Evan Longoria, sending Wilmer trundling homeward from second. Or at least vaguely homeward. Honestly, watching Wilmer navigate the 90 feet to third, a devilish right angle and another 90 feet to home was mildly terrifying. He got up to what passes for speed for Wilmer around third, then took an odd route wide of home. First it looked like he was going to injure himself falling over Jackson’s discarded bat. Then it looked like he was going to plow into Nick Hundley, who’d moved to receive Hunter Pence‘s not very impressive throw. Wilmer crash-landed somewhere in the vicinity of home, was declared safe, and the Mets had tied the game.

Tied it, but perhaps that was just setting us up for further extra-inning horrors. (Like you weren’t thinking the same thing.)

Except before stumbling into horror, the Mets discovered infutility, or whatever the opposite of their usual Citi Field state is. Jose Reyes — who’d earlier kept the game tied with a nice diving grab at third — tripled off the wall to lead off the eighth. Todd Frazier popped up and Amed Rosario struck out and yeah SAME OLD METS … but here came McNeil again. He’d been fed a steady diet of sliders by Tony Watson the night before and singled, and so reasoned that he’d get a fastball. He was correct, and lined it over third and down the left-field line, chasing home Reyes. The Giants walked Flores, but Conforto launched a three-run homer to ice the game.

Nope, in this one there would be no pitiable collisions, no starting pitchers making the final out at the plate, no band names coined, and no lingering bitterness. Just a Mets win, one that wouldn’t even seem all that taxing to those who’d glance at it in the papers the next day.

We know better, of course. But still, here’s to infutility. We could get used to it, if only a ballclub would let us.

8 comments to Here’s to Infutility

  • LeClerc

    And good long relief from Oswalt.

  • eric1973

    Jason, Great description of Wilmer’s circuitous route to home plate. Makes you want to call time in the middle of the play and put in a pinch runner on the way, in order to save him from injury.

    Hey, let’s catch Washington!
    Wouldn’t that be Great!

  • Dave

    And not only did they keep McNeil down too long, he gets here and is greeted by this absurd “welcome to Spring Training, but you’re not making the team, kid” uniform number. 2Bmen aren’t supposed to be wearing 68. How about 2? Or 3? Or 33? I know that having 54 different players over the course of the season clogs this up a bit, but 68 is for games with palm trees beyond the outfield fence.

    And I acknowledge that that’s not really important, but still.

    • Will in Central NJ

      Dave, I agree with you, and propose a trade: hitting coach Pat Roessler gives uniform #6 (hidden all year under a warmup jacket) to 2B Jeff McNeil in exchange for the latter’s #68. Makes all the sense in the world to me.

      • The kids these days! They all wear spring-training uniform numbers!

        It makes me crazy, but I suspect young players don’t mind numbers in the 60s and 70s now.

  • Harvey Poris

    Their 23-22 July & August record has brought them to the same record after 125 games as last year (55-70) and the same 4th place. However, they are now 15 games out of first compared to 20.5 last year. That’s progress!

  • Jacobs27

    After Frazier and Rosario did nothing, my Dad quipped that there was nothing to worry about because McNeil was an automatic hit on deck. He didn’t mean it. He was actually fuming. But he was right. It was so refreshing.

    At least Oswalt getting an at bat was in service of real long relief. And speaking of pitchers hitting, I thought Matz’s ball was gone.

  • Jacobs27

    Also, crash-landing is a perfect description of Wilmer’s slide.