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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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Slow and Easy

The Mets took two out of three from the Royals. Their unlikely wild-card march has them two games behind the Cubs for possession of the second N.L. spot — but they’ve drawn even with fellow contenders Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

That’s the upshot of a long weekend of baseball. Of course, that’s the straightforward solution to a complex equation that was full of Sturm and Drang. On Sunday the Mets got an early 3-0 lead thanks to a titanic homer from Michael Conforto, surrendered that lead with an inning of shaky pitching and iffy defense, then retook it in an indignant uprising in the seventh. But that uprising came with unlikely events, head-scratchers and worries a-plenty, just in case you’d forgotten that this is the Mets we’re talking about.

Here’s the seventh for the historical record, because this one was worth every twist and turn: Todd Frazier doubled off the glove of Hunter Dozier, who’d proved annoying adept at catching everything to that point; Juan Lagares gave the Royals a free out for no compelling reason … oh my goodness, what an odd way to misspell “sacrificed Frazier to third,” let me see if a WordPress plug-in is malfunctioning; J.D. Davis and his sore calf pinch-singled home Frazier with the tying run; Tomas Nido doubled, sending Davis gimpily to third; Ruben Tejada replaced Davis as a pinch-runner, though not in our hearts; Amed Rosario singled in Tejada and Nido; Joe Panik singled Rosario to second; Pete Alonso doubled in Rosario and sent Panik to third; Conforto singled in Panik and sent Alonso to third; Wilson Ramos singled in Alonso and sent Conforto to third; Ramos was out trying to advance on a ball that eluded a catcher, though it was by an eyelash; Frazier was caught looking.

Whew! When all that dust had settled it was 9-4 Mets, but the forces of good had nine outs to get and no left fielder. And that’s how Rosario wound up in left and Jeurys Familia was asked to put up a second scoreless inning. Familia did allow a run, but it was a point in the game where you’re more concerned with counting down outs, and the Mets would keep the Royals at bay behind another Rosario RBI double and Alonso’s 40th homer, a nice round number that leaves him one shy of the prime number that would tie the single-season club mark. (And with an outside chance of claiming the RBI record as well.) Meanwhile, Brad Brach handled the eighth flawlessly, and Edwin Diaz put up a 1-2-3 ninth. Rosario even caught a flyball in left, though his footwork and body language accomplishing this reminded me of a dog climbing a ladder — the impressive thing wasn’t how it was done but that it was done at all.

If you want to be a pessimist, you’ll wonder why in the world Mickey Callaway didn’t remove Davis when he reached first; the Mets’ outfield depth has gone from tissue-thin to, well, to putting shortstops out there as defensive replacements. The Mets are already without Brandon Nimmo and Dom Smith and Jeff McNeil; they may well now have to go a week and a half without one of their most reliable bats.

If you’re an optimist, look how many audibles somehow worked to give the team a win. And go ahead and read that Davis is still insisting he can play (hey, at the very least he can certainly hit) and note that Nimmo is finally playing rehab games. Now think about the Mets’ lineup and bench if they’re still in it next month and have Davis, McNeil, Nimmo and Smith back. Heck, while we’re dreaming, maybe there will be a Jed Lowrie sighting.

I’m trying to walk a careful line between optimism and pessimism, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I veer sickeningly between them without warning. What I am trying to do is keep perspective, if only by averaging those moods out.

It’s normal fan behavior to go into the fetal position after dropping the first two in Atlanta and to swear a blue streak after dropping one to the Royals; it’s also neither wise nor healthy. A rule of thumb for me is to ask what making up one game per week on your competition would mean for the rest of the season, and then temper your reactions accordingly. If you’re three games out with a week to go, then yeah, commence living and dying based on the outcome of every half-inning. The Mets, though, are two games shy of getting to play a 163rd game, with six weeks of schedule to go. That means a race that will have some ebb and flow to it, in ways we can’t predict. Maybe the Mets will ebb their way back to irrelevance, revealing this happy August as a mirage; maybe they’ll flow their way to locking up a wild card and taking aim at the division, turning this month’s successes into a harbinger. Or maybe the outcome will be something in between.

We’ll know the answer sooner than seems imaginable at the moment. But for now, keep in mind that a team can make up two games in six weeks without everything going right. It can even do that with more than you’d like going wrong.

26 comments to Slow and Easy

  • Daniel Hall

    “Ruben Tejada replaced Davis as a pinch-runner, though not in our hearts;” – I beg to differ! (has that starry look in his eye)

    But I love how you keep weaving in some good Humor into these pieces. Like “Heck, while we’re dreaming, maybe there will be a Jed Lowrie sighting.” – that cracked me up. :D

    The organization has some scuffling to do, though. After Davis limped off yesterday, I checked their 40-man roster according to, and there is not a single position player on there that is not already on the 25-man or the DL. Instead it’s filled to the brim with Gagnons and Flexens and Nogoseks and future World Series Game 7 save notcher Brooks Pounders. Someone’s gotta have to be whisked to get any semblance of a backup to (chokes) Aaron Altherr onto the roster…

    That must be the toughest job in Baseball. Backing up an .088 batter that came reasonably near tearing Lagares’ arm clean off yesterday. – No, it wasn’t just a bump. Remember how Lagares has the general physical resilience of a porcelain ballerina? … But backing up that guy? Whew. Who could do that job? Who could bat LESS than Altherr so as not to instantly replace him? Probably an actual one-armed guy… Do the Mets have someone like that in the minors? I must ask, because it’s the METS… an organization willing to spend years’ worth of at-bats on Tim Tebow, so they can sell some T-Shirts.

    Oh dear heavens, they’re calling up Tebow, aren’t they?? (paniks)

  • Harvey Poris

    What about Rajai Davis?

  • Daniel Hall

    Man, to have Cespedes now…! That’d be swell.

  • Michael in CT

    Alonso hitting No. 40 on Aug 18, doing what no NL rookie has ever done, is some kind of miraculous thing to behold.

    I’ll give Altherr kudos for making a sweet over- the-shoulder grab yesterday, but his hitting below the interstate is hard to take. I mean, c’mon, Aaron, you’ve got a .219 career average!

  • Wheaties54321

    If you’re tired of the roller coaster experience peddled by the media and our thought leaders du jour, chew on some perspective.

    All this team has proven so far is they are near the top of the NL middle class in 2019. Which is fine for now because let’s not forget: there are 30 MLB teams also vying for the same prize. So the Mets can be better than MOST teams, but just not better than the UPPER CLASS of teams. Which again is okay. What amazes me is our propensity to evaluate our favorite team in a vacuum. As most of us know, there are AMPLE reasons to be excited about the future because of the age and the development of Rosario, Alonso, Conforto, McNeil, JD Davis, Matz and Dom Smith, etc. [maybe others I have missed?]. Making the playoffs isn’t the goal from where I sit. Would it be fun? Damn right! But, in my estimation, this season’s goals have ALREADY BEEN ACHIEVED. Let’s aim for winning the World Series in the next three years! Workplace and organizational psychology has shown us that performance can only be evaluated when a context for that performance is understood. The point is: the Mets are trending upwards, but they’re not all the way their yet. And that’s ok.

  • 9th String Catcher

    “(Rosario) reminded me of a dog climbing a ladder — the impressive thing wasn’t how it was done but that it was done at all.” Freaking classic.

    I actually thought the much (and deservedly) maligned manager had a good game yesterday. Do you want to take the bat out of Lagares’ hands and have him bunt? Yes, I absolutely do. Glad he’s showing signs of life, but these are of the “fingers barely twitching” variety. I’ll take JD with a runner on 3rd and one out any day of the week.

    Putting Familia out for a 2nd inning did a couple of things. It bought 6 outs against 1 run. And it showed Mickey and others what Familia could possibly do. If Familia becomes the new Lugo, Wilson the new Familia and Lugo the new closer, we may finally be able to survive the late innings. This is critical if there is any playoff push to be had.

    Diaz is still horrible. There is no lead too large, no opponent too incompetent for me to feel comfortable with him in the game. I’m glad the 1st base ump wanted to go home yesterday on that last K. I’ll take my chances with anyone else not named Diaz, Bashlor, Flexon, Oswalt or Zamora.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Too bad old pal Wilmer can’t play OF. He’s now hitting .312 and with 4 dingers last week after a slow power start…

    Brodie has had all year to address the OF shortage–since Cespedes went down for good–and done nothing. Reportedly he is afraid to add new guys to the 40-msn which, as noted, is mainly comprised of failed relief “prospects” that he or Sandy fell for. So we have Rajai Davis in reserve. How bad must Carlos Gomez look in AAA not to get another chance over Altherr?

  • mikeL

    yea i’ve been clamoring for more rajai davis since his fIrst met AB HR, and seeing his speed still intact. hard to believe he still hadn’t been back.

    yea i hope JD hasn’t been done in by the mets’ legendary poor injury management. i guess we can feel lucky he made it to third before he was belatedly pulled (as opposed to crumpling at SS!

  • greensleeves

    Given the current depth chart vacuum, I’ll jump on that Rajah bandwagon. More Davis’s! There were fleeting heroics in his last stint. And we can use some more heartfelt CT boy narratives while waiting for the latest infirmary update.
    Speakinawich–nice to see some of Panic’s positives.

  • ljcmets

    I was imploring the TV ( and by extension Mickey) to take JD out at first after the pinch hit, to no avail. I even predicted to my husband, “They’ll run for Davis here as they don’t want to risk further injury to his leg.” Nope. Not the Mets. Apparently the plan was to keep Davis in to play the outfield, which was only changed when he noticeably ran so gingerly from first to third. In other words, THERE WAS NO PLAN. If there had been, putting Tejada in to run for JD at first and Rosario in the outfield would have been it, which of course was where they wound up anyway. I couldn’t believe Keith and Apple thought that was the right move. Gary Cohen, come home and bring Howie with you! What is wrong with this organization that they continuously -over a period of decades now – refuse to treat player injuries in the right way, instead of pushing the limits and making a minor injury into a major one? We’ve already switched trainers with no discernible difference. Where is the problem? In the front office, perhaps?

  • dmg

    “there is no plan” seems to be the theme of the braintrust in the dugout, or maybe just in between mickey’s ears.
    i was absolutely gobsmacked when, in defending the move to pull matz against the braves and put lugo in, he acknowledged he was going to go with him for two innings and then see what things looked like in the 9th before deciding who he’d bring in.
    in other words, no plan.
    and thus, subbing lugo for matz was even more boneheaded than it appeared.

  • Eric

    In their 1st test as a contender after fighting their way back into contention and giving us fans a gift rooting interest, the Mets went 3-3 against the Nationals and Braves. I fear that playing .500 ball against their fellow contenders the rest of the way will mean staying just about where they are now in the standings and falling just short of a wildcard berth.

  • Paul Schwartz

    One thought about the next 38 games — 26 at home. 12 on the road.
    Win 60% of the home games (actually 62.5%) or 16 and half the road games
    Is 86 enough to get the wild card?
    I think so
    Then DeGrom in the WC game and who knows?

    • 9th String Catcher

      I think 86 is a little short – probably need 88-90. But if you can get in the tourney, anything can happen.

      If they can play 10 games over .500 the rest of the way (24-14), they’ll get to 88 wins, which should get them in. If they are truly a playoff team, they should be able to do this. If they can’t, it’s wait until next year time.

  • Harvey Poris

    Just as I predicted, Mets recalled Rajai Davis (sent out Lockett).

  • mikeL

    ^^ beat me to it but good news and about time.
    no good excuse to have to put rosario in the OF again.

    let’s hope JD’s no worse for his 1st to 3rd tempting of fate!

  • 9th string catcher

    What? They DFA’d Brooks Pounders? Are they insane?