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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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Home Again

If Noah Syndergaard surrenders a lone hit over six innings, you like your chances.

He did. But unfortunately, the rest of his teammates were sleepwalking — almost literally — through a game all but designed to turn a glittering 5-1 record into a good but more modest 5-2. Seriously, 5-1 is hold-your-head-high, strut-down-the-avenue stuff, whereas 5-2 is a whisper away from 5-3, which is good but feels little fragile.

(This segment of Mets Math has been brought to you by pine tar and paranoia.)

The Mets finished a game in Miami; waited around for drug testing; got their caravan to a plane, to New York and then dispersed around the city and suburbs; and then were back dull-eyed and straggly-tailed for a 1 p.m. home opener. Even with nice weather and bunting and celebrity first pitches and all the other happy pomp and circumstance of a home opener, a night game might have been wiser. Or at least kinder.

As always with such things, you can go too far with the woe-is-me routine. Stephen Strasburg was really good, full stop. The balls that fell in during play at Nats Park and New Soilmaster stayed up for fielders’ gloves, which happens sometimes. A tight, taut game through eight turned more mundane in the top of the ninth, as Seth Lugo and Tim Peterson proved ineffective and a 2-0 Nats lead became a 4-0 lead.

On that turn to the mundane: something I’ve become more interested in over time is the thoroughly unscientific idea that the perceived narratives of games cluster around certain points. Those of us who have watched enough baseball games know what certain narratives feel like: the one where you give up a six-spot in the first, the one that’s a pitchers’ duel which grinds on until something slips, the one that’s all frustration until the late explosion against the bullpen, and so forth. There are probably 30 or 40 of those narrative cluster points, and someday it would be fun to try and catalog them. (Tangentially related ideas: Greg’s interest in unicorn scores, my musing that you can tell what kind of game you saw (or missed) with a look at the win-probability index — flat-line with a single spike, EKG of a guy on a dead sprint, sudden cliff/wall?)

Anyway, the home opener belonged to a cluster that’s simultaneously more common than you think, annoying, and ultimately the stuff of stoicism: the nail-biter that deflates into a grumpy shrug when your bullpen and/or defense proves unequal to the task.

Oh well. The Mets came home, wore their classic uniforms before a full house on a nice day, and just happened to lose. And the schedule does reward as well as punish: today’s a drizzly and clammy off-day. The players will be tending to new apartments and other errands and getting a night to relax and reset. We can all do the same, and get back to how the story unfolds on Saturday.

9 comments to Home Again

  • Michael in CT

    But isn’t each game unique in its own way, offering something that has rarely if ever been seen before?

    • Of course! But there’s often a pretty big family resemblance to other games.

      I dunno, just something that keeps sneaking into mind, so why not muse on it here?

  • Daniel Hall

    Woof, what an ugly stepchild of a game. A different thought – how about the league slamming the Marlins into not playing night games when the other team has a day game the day after? Also, would Thor have been better off without his sleep?

  • Pete In Iowa

    Yesterday’s game narrative: one of the 54 you are predetermined to lose.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    Every time a Met carries a no-hitter into the 6th inning, yet is only given one or two runs for support, I know the narrative of the game is that the shiny no-no is a slight of hand trick. BAM: the opposition strings a few hits together and all of a sudden we wen’t from a historic game we tell our kids about to a wtf loss.

  • CharlieH

    I was there, gamely rooting from my new vantage point in the lower bowl in left field. We soldiered on for all of 2.5 innings, when the constant, swirling breeze on the back of my neck — really, it felt like sitting front of a box fan, which was in front of an air conditioner, housed in a meat locker — became too much and me and my party retreated to the crowded confines of the Foxwoods Club.

    Hopefully, the winds will have abated when I make my return trip tomorrow afternoon.

  • Dave

    First pitch was almost exactly 24 hours after my flight from London touched ground at Newark, yet the Mets seemed far more jet-lagged than me. And while the sun was shining on me in section 409, it was warmer in London, which is not a location one normally seeks in the early springtime for warmth.

    Like Pete said, that was one of the 54 best case scenario losses. From the spot when Thor issued 2 walks on 9 pitches, the game just never felt winnable.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    …the nail-biter that deflates into a grumpy shrug when your bullpen and/or defense proves unequal to the task.

    Which immediately brought to mind this game, which certainly fit that description, but then again was unique in it’s own way.

    OK, maybe “grumpy shrug” are not the exact words to describe this one……0.0..1.2996.21064.3-2j2j3j1j2j1j5……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i131j0j33i160j33i22i29i30.WIN-XjA-WAY#sie=m;/g/11ggr9fk0r;4;/m/09p14;dt;fp;1;;&spf=1554590051328