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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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Taketh to Giveth to Nada

Friday night’s shoddy Met loss to the Miami Whodats (as in, who dat say dey gonna play for dem Marlins?) was mostly decided in the second inning when Michael Wacha gave up four runs. Considering the final score was 4-3, that was pretty decisive. But the inflection point was probably in the eighth, which encompassed a two-part doozy for fans of the scales of justice, if not so much for fans of the Mets.

We were losing, 4-1, going to the bottom of the eighth. We’d been losing, 4-1, since the end of the second, when Dom Smith answered the aforementioned four-spot with a solo home run. Then the game just froze in place, moving along glacially and drizzily. Humberto Mejia and I’m gonna say nineteen relievers put Met batters in a trance for a few hours. Wacha recovered, too, but how are ya gonna come back from a three-run deficit when you’re facing whoever we were facing?

In the eighth, the Mets began to rally a bit. Amed Rosario, shortstop of future past, doubled. Brian Dozier, a Met I will be trying to convince you was once a Met by 2022, was granted an iffy walk on a three-and-two count. Then Jeff McNeil comes up and lines a ball above the second baseman’s head, and…


Nice play, though. Eddy Alvarez leapt and snared a sure base hit, probably a sure RBI single. At worst, the Mets would have had the bases loaded with nobody out for Pete Alonso, whose bat seems to be stirring just in time for his E:60 profile on ESPN Sunday at 5 (set your DVR to relive the halcyon days of 2019). As it happened, Alonso singled and the Mets did load the bases.

Next up was Michael Conforto. Unlike McNeil, he hit the ball to the right side of the infield. Unlike McNeil, he hit the ball weakly. Unlike McNeil, he hit it on the ground. The third baseman, Brian Anderson, picked it up, steadied himself, clutched a time or two and threw home for the forceout.

That was his intent, anyway. The throw sailed low and away. Rosario scored to make it 4-2. The Met momentum that was taken away by Alvarez was given right back by Anderson. You could no longer righteously fume that McNeil had been robbed, because, honestly, Conforto’s at-bat seemed destined to accomplish nada. The Mets shoulda found themselves saddled with at least two outs for the inning on Scooter’s indifferent ground ball…except the Mets shoulda had no outs when he batted because McNeil’s line drive shoulda cleared the infield.

Baseball is best consumed as a shoulda-free sport. Too much shoulda isn’t good for the soul. Charlie Brown knew it deep down when he retroactively beseeched the gods for a line drive three, no TWO inches higher from Jeff McNeil. Or maybe it was feet, not inches. And McCovey, not McNeil.

Either way, rats.

From a Met standpoint, Conforto’s vengeance — a.k.a. Anderson’s compensation — for the injustice done unto McNeil by Alvarez could have been the real worm-turner at Citi Field. Having wrested Big Mo from Miami’s band of misfits, fill-ins and fortunately uninfected, it was time for the Mets to make hay (which isn’t just an expression, you know). J.D. Davis singled to left to score Dozier, who was not only still in the game but still mysteriously a Met. It was 4-3, bases continuing to be loaded. If this were last August against the Miami Marlins, the Mets would have kept pushing, kept rallying, kept scoring and been on their way to victory. Also, there would have been fans in the stands and masks only on the catchers and home plate umpire. Yeah, a lot is different lately.

Smith, the power hitter from the second inning and previously the progenitor of a dramatic blast or two, was up. Whaddaya think? Would a grand slam be too obvious? We’d take a double for the lead. A single to tie would be acceptable. Dom seemed the right man in the right place.

Alas, until further notice, it’s the wrong year. Dom flied out. Then Wilson Ramos, who never didn’t get a base hit during last August’s surge, didn’t get a base hit during this August’s void. Alvarez mishandled Wilson’s grounder but the Buffalo roamed too slowly toward first to make more of that hoped-for hay. Ramos was out. The Mets were out. An inning remained, but it was all over but the lack of shouting.

Miami’s revolving personnel door, necessitated by a torrent of positive tests for COVID-19, has somehow spun them into first place with a authentic-appearing East-leading record of 7-1. Authentic for April more than August, but even still. It would indeed be a feelgood story except:

1) There’s not much to feel good about when a major league team, the Marlins included, resorts to replacement after replacement because too many of their relatively permanent of defense feel bad.

2) I’m not crazy about what the sudden success of a stream of temp types says about all of us being replaceable cogs in a faceless, uncaring corporate machine.

3). Whoever they are, they’re the Marlins.

The Mets, meanwhile, are 5-9 and in last place — also in the thick of the fight for the eighth and final National League playoff spot. Seriously. I looked at the standings and, based on my understanding that all that is required to enter the postseason, besides verified healthfulness, is one of the two best records that isn’t a first-place or second-place record in one of the three divisions, I believe we are, technically, very much a contender for whatever there might be to very much contend for, should there be anything to very much contend for, which is unknowable in a season that started way late and may never finish.

If you’re showing symptoms of pennant fever, please have your sanity tested at once.

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