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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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Walks in the Park

As long as the Mets win, they can more or less do as they please and we’ll perform the necessary mental gymnastics to declare it good. But that said, would it kill them to play a non-insane game one of these nights?

After a day and a night of high-scoring moral victories that we had to remind ourselves were actually defeats, the Mets looked like they’d drawn a relatively conventional game against the Twins. Noah Syndergaard was crazy-good, complementing his usual 100 MPH fastballs with a refined slider and a deadly change-up. His opponent,¬†Jake Odorizzi, wasn’t flashing the kind of stuff that causes the bobblehead factories to turn the dials to Max Wobble, yet Odorizzi was the one with a no-hitter and a 1-0 lead. Sitting on the couch, I marveled at how Odorizzi’s 94 MPH fastball has¬†somehow become not particularly overpowering. A couple of generations back, 92 was considered legitimate heat, 95 was a weapon available to a very few, and the triple digits were largely the stuff of legends. Today, we don’t bat an eye when starters are still hitting 98 in the seventh inning — and one-inning guys who can hit 100 really may as well grow on trees.

However odd the historical precedents, there were Syndergaard and Odorizzi making the most of their arsenals — until with one out in the fifth, Jeff McNeil singled for the Mets’ first hit.

Then things got wacky — wacky enough that the sequence ought to be preserved for posterity to marvel at years from now.

Odorizzi walked Amed Rosario, which not so long ago was really hard to do.

Then he walked J.D. Davis.

With Noah Syndergaard at the plate, he threw a wild pitch, which caromed right back to home and resulted in McNeil being caught off third.

Given a gift, Odorizzi then walked Syndergaard.

Enter Andrew Vasquez, who went 2-0 on Brandon Nimmo and hit him in the numbers.

Then he walked Pete Alonso.

Then he walked Robinson Cano on four pitches.

Enter Trevor Hildenberger, who’d been a rare oasis of competence on Tuesday. He walked Michael Conforto on four pitches.

The Mets had one hit in the game and led 4-1, which is hard to do. Hildenberger threw two straight balls to Wilson Ramos, who then startled the cobweb-enshrouded infielders by smacking a two-run single past second.

It was … not exciting, exactly, but certainly welcome. But mostly it was weird: Over a 37-pitch stretch, the three hapless Twins pitchers threw 29 balls — including 13 in a row out of the strike zone.

After that, perhaps not surprisingly, the game degenerated until it may as well have been two drunks punching each other on an iced-over pond. The Mets ran the score up to 9-1, Syndergaard seemed to lose focus and let them creep back to 9-4, both Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz had innings with blemishes, and the Mets tiptoed away with an unsightly but undeniable 9-6 win. Hooray for the 9, ugh for the 6, and I’d be perfectly happy watching baseball for the rest of my life without seeing another 37-pitch water-torture session like Wednesday’s.

Well, unless it’s what the Mets need to do to win. That tops everything, including one’s sense of aesthetics.

7 comments to Walks in the Park

  • chuck

    Just as I was saying the Twins had a sudden epidemic of Steve Blass disease to my wife, Gary took a subtle but priceless dig at Oliver Perez. Well done, Gary.

  • Dave

    Did Mickey take the players all out for ice cream after the game? Because when you see games of that caliber, that’s pretty much the standard procedure.

  • NostraDennis

    I’ve let my premiere membership to lapse, so I can’t check, but has a team ever allowed seven consecutive runners to reach base without a single ball being put into play? How bizarre. How bizarre.

  • Bob

    Been watching Mets Baseball since 1963 and this game was unique–
    Almost felt sorry for Twinkie Manager….
    But I’ll take it!

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Michael in CT

    Most days I think hitters have a terribly challenging task and the pitcher has all the advantages. Then a game like this comes along to remind me that pitchers have to be able to throw the ball in or near the strike zone with deception and their task is terribly challenging as well. It’s interesting how the advantage pendulum can swing from the pitcher to the batter who suddenly seems to hold all the cards as well as a deadly stick.

    PS–Frontier sucks for pulling SNY in Western Connecticut and forcing me to switch to Comcast, which took a week (though I like Comcast better).

  • Daniel Hall

    Whatever works! Sure wasn’t pretty, but ugly W’s count the same as pretty W’s, of which we don’t have all that many so far.

    But I sure did threateningly yell at Nimmo that if he dared move his bat I would fly over and shave his eyebrows! And please, someone tell Tricky Mickey to move him out of the leadoff spot; it is not exactly helping the team to have the league leader in strikeouts bat first…