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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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Let’s Go Mess

They’re messing with us, right? The Mets getting us to take them semi-seriously for another day is part of a larger prank, right? They look moribund half the time. They give up late-inning leads the other half. They play in a depressing cartoon atmosphere where balls travel a thousand feet and the fans in the stands, who never move and never emote, appear as if painted by Hanna-Barbera. They have one starting pitcher, one former starting pitcher turned former reliever, and after that, per Dom DeLuise’s short-lived sitcom, it’s Lotsa Luck.

This is what they’re putting out there as a playoff contender of sorts in September? This is what gets somebody like Jake Marisnick, who helped the Houston Astros win Rob Manfred’s memorial piece of tin in 2017, to say, “this team’s too good to not make the playoffs”? He said that two nights ago, after the Mets were blitzed by the Orioles, 11-2, the day after the Mets coughed up a comeback to the Phillies, 9-8. The 2020 Mets remind me of what Whitey Herzog said about the Mets coming into 1986 off a pair of bridesmaid finishes: “They think they won the last two years, anyway.”

The Mets haven’t lacked for outward displays of confidence. They’ve lacked for wins. They haven’t won more than they’ve lost since this delayed season was less than a week old. They frustrate us. They irritate us. They let us down more than they lift us up.

Then, as on Wednesday night at perpetually vacant Citi Field, they mess with us. They fall behind by what seems like a hundred runs early, except it’s only four, and they come back — and this time they come back without giving up what they came back to get. They catch balls they’re nowhere near, they make dazzling throws from distant precincts, they launch moon shots at will and, just as amazingly, Edwin Diaz gets three outs without giving up a single run.

In the end, behind Michael Conforto, who is hitting .340, perfecting running basket catches and would be hearing serenades of “M-V-P!” if serenaders were allowed in attendance; behind Jeff McNeil, who is hitting .315 and has left the Squirrely doldrums of August in the dust; behind Andrés Giménez and Luis Guillorme, who’ve got gloves and know how to use them; behind Pete Alonso, who breaks ties as deftly as he assigns nicknames (Conforto is now Silky Elk); and, well, behind everybody not named Rick Porcello, the Mets won in scintillating fashion, 7-6, after trailing by scores of 5-1 and 6-3 to a Baltimore bunch that poured on waves of offense yet somehow kept getting hung out to dry. The Orioles pounded 14 hits and left 13 runners on base. Didn’t we used to do that?

Maybe we still do. Maybe we just didn’t for one night. We do enough things right and scintillate in encouraging proportions so that we find us believing in us, which is what we chronically do in September if given any reason at all. If you can remember as far back to last September (it was the one that had people in the stands), we were both never exactly in it yet never fully out of it until mathematical elimination tapped us on the shoulder (which nobody is allowed to do anybody anymore), thus we took ourselves — the Mets, that is — semi-seriously and then some.

Right now, if you’ve bothered to examine the standings, we’re not exactly in it, but we’re not fully out of it. We’re a little less fully out of it today because we were never completely out of it last night. This condition doesn’t demand to be taken seriously as contention. This condition demands to be taken seriously by a therapist.

They’re messing with us, right? Mess with us again like that real soon.

6 comments to Let’s Go Mess

  • This has been an exasperating less than 1/3 of the season. What’s really frustrating is how much I like this team. Nearly every position player not named Rosario is a guy I would bring back next year. The pitching though…

  • Daniel Hall

    I laughed hard, but only at the Silky Elk bit …

    Because I know they’ll somehow fudge up even having somebody like Andres Gimenez, who, even if he could indeed out-nudge the utter frustration radiating from Rosario (at least in the field!), I’d make a $1,000 bet on the Mets plunking some “proven veteran” in front of his nose. He’d probably arrive in a refrigerated truck, wrapped in cellophane, and you’d have to defrost him very slowly so he doesn’t get moist inside. Hasn’t played short in three years, and when he did, it was grim. Batting .227 with as many strikeouts. Somebody like Cesar Hernandez, maybe five years older though.

    Gimme Gimenez!!

  • open the gates

    The funny thing is, even some of the worst Met teams of the past have scattered around games like this, because even the worst teams are still the worst of the best. I remember an early-’80’s (maybe late-’70’s) stretch when Joe Torre got so sick of his regular players constantly losing that he started all his subs and scrubs instead. And the Mets went on an epic tear with the likes of Bob Bailor and Mike Jorgensen. Of course it didn’t really change anything in the long run, but it was fun while it lasted.

  • Left Coast Jake


    C’mon cardboard cutouts by the Shea Bridge… let me hear you!

  • eric1973

    Lotsa Luck is really funny!

    That Wynn Irwin is a trip!
    Remember he got punched out by Mike Stivic!

  • Nick


    But the end is near. I really believe that – Steve Cohen will come in and they will do what they did once before: do it the right way.

    And so many of the pieces are already in place.

    Please make it so.