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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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Welcome to Splitsville (Population Us)

This town is called Splitsville. It was created by an act of Manfred. Splitsville measures seven innings wide and seven innings long — and seven innings wide and seven innings long all over again. Some folks say there’s a couple of innings missing on each side of town. I don’t know about that. But if we get through seven and it absolutely has to be any longer, we put a runner on second and see what happens.

In Splitsville, we take our coffee with half-and-half. Our bakery’s best-selling cookie is the black & white. The middle school math department has been recognized for excellence in division. There isn’t a self-respecting Splitsville jukebox doesn’t offer two plays of “One Way Or Another” by Blondie for the price of one song…even if both times it’s the short version.

We also have the dadburn hummingest MRI tube in the state. I’d give you a brochure to read more about it, but everybody who picks it up seems to get the nastiest paper cut or ligament tear or lat strain or hip impingement or calf strain and has to miss work for at least ten days, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Or you could ask Joey.
Or Robert.
Or Jeurys.
Or maybe Jonathan.

Between you and me, I can’t keep track, but I sure wish I had the MRI concession.

This is Splitsville’s busy season. We opened for business last weekend and will repoen for business this weekend. We were open for business yesterday, too.

We had a win. We had a loss. Upon reflection, it was neither wholly satisfying nor altogether gratifying. But it could have been worse.

Could have been better, too. As we say in these parts, “That’s Splitsville for ya.”

On this side of town, we have our ace starter, Jacob deGrom. We just call him ol’ Jake. He’s practically perfect. He’s the best.

On this other side of town, we have our contingency starter Jerad Eickhoff. We’re still checking on the spelling. At best, he’s perfectly adequate.

Ol’ Jake gets us nervous, but only in the sense that he might hurt himself and need the MRI tube. When he doesn’t, there’s nothing to be nervous about. Oh, maybe we’ll fret that he’ll give up a hit or, less likely, a run. That’s hardly a problem to get nervous over, but you know how folks are. Really, the fretting about his ERA ticking up a notch or notching up a tick is just for appearances — sort of like the town cops searching ol’ Jake up and down for so-called illegal substances. The men in blue are just doing their job. Another act of Manfred, I guess. What we don’t much fret is that ol’ Jake might give up too many runs. It could happen, but it hasn’t happened in so long most folks on this side of town barely remember what it’s like.

Jerad gets us nervous, but mostly because we just met him, we’re not confident we can spell him and we know he wouldn’t be here if we had somebody more obviously qualified to do what he does. He calmed us down eventually, but we definitely had the feeling he and we got lucky. He’s welcome to come back soon. It’s not like we won’t have room for him.

On this side of town, with ol’ Jake, we had ourselves a nice late afternoon and early evening with just enough clutch hitting and no overtly deleterious bullpen doings. Everybody was so pleased that some folks lobbied to change our name to Pleasantville. “Hold your horses,” the old-timers said. “It’s pleasant now, but let’s see what it’s like later.”

On this other side of town, with Jerad, the night wasn’t so pleasant. The bullpen doings weren’t quite undeleterious, the clutch hitting that was supposed to arrive before 10:30 PM must’ve gotten held up in shipping, and hoo-boy, you don’t want to know about the baserunning. Splitsville’s known for several things, but fancy baserunning oughtn’t be one of ’em. The visitors sure liked how it worked out for them, but while we do appreciate the tourism, the folks who live around here were pretty unsatisfied and ungratified. In fact, they lobbied to change our name to Doomsville. “Hold your horses,” the old-timers said. “We feel doomed now, but it was pretty pleasant earlier.”

In Splitsville, we always want more, but we’re glad we didn’t get less.

10 comments to Welcome to Splitsville (Population Us)

  • Seth

    OK, I get that Keith and Gary like the 7-inning games, because they get to go home from work early. Keith: “It was like that in the minor leagues!” But this is the major leagues, where games are supposed to be 9 innings. So as a fan, I don’t really care for 7-inning games. They are not MLB. IMO.

  • Harvey Poris

    It is clear now based on the lack of scoring over the last week or so that the bench gang is reverting to their mlb norms which is the reason they were released or given up for nothing in the first place. The Mets are lucky they are in the worst division with teams that so far can’t get out of their own way, but this won’t continue. The walking wounded (Davis, Nimmo, Conforto, McNeil )must come back and they have to play like they did the last couple of years. In addition, Alonso (1 HR at home) and Smith have to step it up a notch, not to mention Lindor. As for the pitching, Carrasco has to get over his Lawrie impersonation and Noah has to get back soon. They are needed now and if Walker folds and shows why no one else wanted to sign him, the starters are really in trouble. Hate to be a Debbie Downer, but if these things don’t happen, I think the Mets are bound to fall to the bottom.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Certainly understand the obsession with deGrom’s innings and pitch count but far too little covered is that almost every pitcher on every team this year is big risk–after only 60 games played last year. In normal year, we and others would have by now started worrying about pitchers vastly exceeding last year’s innings. Now little of that because everyone is in the same boat. But just looking at Mets: Stroman opted out last year. Walker threw 53 IP last year and already at 74 this year. Peterson 49 last year and 57 so far this year. Diaz 25 last year 28 this year. And so on. And deGrom always a risk. So even more urgency in stockpiling pitching–even before other teams (must) do so at trade deadline. Countless pitchers may go down or be held back so they don’t totally blast past last year.

  • Eric

    Don’t forget Tomas. A catcher with a hurt catching hand.

    Gsellman tore his right lat in 2019, too. Hip impingements are tricky — I don’t expect Familia back soon.

    I look forward to when deGrom works back to a 100-plus pitch count. To that end, I was nervous when deGrom took a half swing and made contact. On the other hand maybe it’s better for deGrom to feel confident he can do something with a bat besides bunt. For him his pitching wasn’t sharp. More hard contact than usual besides the 2 walks. The grounds rule double was a lucky break. I’m relieved deGrom’s scoreless innings streak didn’t end on a fielders’ mistake. In game 2 Smith reminded he’s an elite first baseman, not a true outfielder.

    Frustrating to waste an unexpected well-pitched game by Eickhoff. One run allowed by the bullpen should not have lost the game.

    Telling that Drury pinch hit for McKinney. I don’t think that would have happened last week. The timely hitting of the patchwork lineup has dried up, not that the regulars are hitting better than the subs.

    I think the Peraza and Lindor baserunning mistakes stemmed from chasing the extra base after Peraza failed to take 3rd base on the should-have-been wild pitch.

  • Eric

    Add: The Acuna HBP-turned-K was funny on the slow-motion replay when it revealed he actually pulled his bottom hand off the bat before the ball glanced off the knob. So the ball came nowhere near the hand that jerked like it got hit. Which is not to say it was premeditated fakery as opposed to an instant honest reflex before Acuna realized the knob was nicked and not his hand.

    Greg Mitchell,

    Good point. I imagine last year’s postseason pitchers, ie, not the Mets, have some advantage in that regard, but only a limited one. It’ll be interesting to see if the injuries continue and maybe worsen later into the season. Also, if the 1st half superiority by the pitching flips over to an offensive explosion in the 2nd half as pitchers, enhanced RPM or no, hit a wall across the board. And, if the 1st half leaders in innings pitched pay for it hard with injury or poor performance in the 2nd half.

    Would more ‘load management’ with fewer innings, pitches, and games right now for otherwise healthy pitchers lead to stronger healthier pitchers for the 2nd half and postseason? Or just pitchers who are perpetually rusty, can’t pitch deep into games, and get hurt or hit the wall, anyway?

    Stockpiled pitchers are using up their innings, too, just in the minors.

    And of course any lessened load for starters means a greater load for relievers who were already prone to wearing out before the shortened season.

  • Bob

    As Met fan for 55+ years now, I do understand the joy in NOT losing both games of the “double header”.
    And deGrom did get a W in 1st game!
    Was great to see deGrom pitching, just wish Tom Seaver was still with us and enjoying the ride with deGrom.

    Now for 2nd game, perhaps the Mets can find a coach to teach some things–like catching pop ups & fly balls with 2 hands, sliding feet first when running bases, and running bases understanding that you are NOT invisible!
    Perhaps we can bring Marv Throneberry back to teach these basics?
    Watching the end of 2nd game yesterday, I was reminded of a Stengel quote–“I’ve seen ways to lose I did not know existed.”

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Seth

    I refuse to call it a doubleheader, I will call it a header-and-a-half.

  • Eric

    I’m frustrated with wasting another well-pitched game, but I’m grudgingly okay with the split because of how close the Mets came to losing game 1 in a more frustrating way. Imagine Lindor just misses crushing the 3-0 meatball and pops up, but then Smith doesn’t produce his timely hit and leaves the bases loaded — which would have been more to the norm for the offense that has gone ice cold again — deGrom exits after 5 and 70, hitherto reliable if lately prematurely tiring Lugo promptly gives up the 2-run HR, and the Mets are swept 2-1, 1-0. Easily could have happened.

  • Fred

    I feel like the wheels are getting wobblier. Hitting has dried up – McKinney where art thou? Our red-hot pitchers are getting increasingly more fragile. Honestly I don’t see what the return of Conforto and McNeil is going to do for us that the Bench Mob hasn’t already. Guillorme and Lindor are as elegant a pair of infielders as there is in the league. They’re sure-handed, stylish players and complement each other well. This team has been a bit of a dog’s breakfast this year with all the injuries. I have confidence in Rojas and the brain trust but It’s wearing thin in spots. The All-Star break can’t get here soon enough.