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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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There's No Such Thing As Rock Bottom

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in more than four decades of having my heart ripped out by baseball, it’s this: Don’t ever assume you’ve hit rock bottom.

A reasonable person might call the Mets taking eight innings to blow a five-run lead over the Pirates, with Edwin Diaz surrendering the fatal runs, rock bottom.

But no, we call that “last Sunday.” As in a mere week ago.

On Saturday night the Mets blew a six-run lead over the Pirates, with Edwin Diaz surrendering the fatal runs. But this time it only took them two innings to do it, and Diaz pointed at the sky after Jacob Stallings connected for what would be a two-out walkoff grand slam, like he was the even more hellish reincarnation of Hansel Robles.

A reasonable person might call that rock bottom, but just go read those four paragraphs again. Tomorrow, perhaps, the Mets will blow a seven-run lead in just a single inning, with Edwin Diaz surrendering the fatal runs and celebrating unawares while doing so. On Monday maybe they’ll blow an eight-run lead over the course of two outs. On Tuesday….

You get the idea.

If rock bottom is an entity that flees before you like the end of the hallway in Poltergeist, the only sensible course of action is for all of us to stop doing this thing that makes us miserable, and for the Mets to stop enabling it by inflicting pain on hapless innocents.

The team should release all of the players, implode their stadium, hold a public burning of their gear by way of penance, and then voluntarily contract themselves, after which we should all find something else to do with our lives, something that makes the world better instead of merely making our own lives small and full of pain. And right now, honestly, if a press release to that effect showed up on Twitter I’d be a bit relieved.

But none of that is going to happen. Instead, they’re going to play another baseball game on Sunday, and maybe it will go horribly wrong in some new way and maybe it will go dully wrong in some familiar way and maybe it will even go well, and whatever the case, most of the people reading this and certainly the person writing it will watch, grousing and grimacing and gnawing on fingernails but watching nonetheless. Because it’s what we do and it’s too late to stop.

And really, that’s the cruelest thing about baseball. It’s not that closers give up walkoff grand slams and point at the sky while doing so, though that was pretty breathtakingly cruel. It’s that after such disasters, we still stubbornly insist on hoping, even if we won’t admit that’s what it is. And it’s that deeply deluded yet inextinguishable hope which ensures the countdown has started again to the next time you’ll get your heart ripped out.

See you on Sunday, fellow masochists and suckers.

19 comments to There’s No Such Thing As Rock Bottom

  • greensleeves

    Oh, the humanity!

  • Jacobs27

    This may not have been rock bottom. But it would have fit right in in September 2007. That’s awfully awful.

  • SheaFit28

    How about Seth Lugo? Everybody loves to shit on Diaz but Lugo’s name doesn’t appear once in this write-up despite giving up FIVE runs in 2/3 of an inning to Edwin’s four.

  • Dave

    Usually when the schedule only has you playing 3 games in the span of a week, you can’t call 2 of those games The Worst Loss Of The Season. Yet here we are.

    I picked a good week to go on vacation to the most remote reaches of Jersey shore Phils territory. No Mets on tv, I don’t have any watch-the-game app on my phone, I can spend the week de-Metsing.

  • Eric

    They’re still in 1st place, but man, the Mets are trying hard to fall back to the pack. They’ve been 1 bad week from losing 1st place for a while, and this week has been a bad week, even with the all-star break.

    Megill 6 shutout innings . . . What was that game the bullpen lost a late 5 run lead for deGrom?

    Lindor, one of the most durable MLB players as an Indian and still young, goes down with an injury that is likely to keep him out until deep into September.

    I wondered about deGrom not pitching last Sunday in a game where 1 or 2 innings from him might well have won the game, when he was skipping the all-star game. But I accepted it. However, deGrom not starting out of the break on Friday … Saturday … Sunday … rang the alarm. Now we know why. He keeps hurting enough to miss starts and leave them early, yet his MRIs (supposedly) come back clean every time. What’s going on? Is this what he is now? If an ace doesn’t pitch, then he’s not an ace. Also, the Cy Young award is slipping away with the missed games and short innings.

    I think Stroman is pitching hurt, or maybe he’s a sticky stuff casualty. Which leaves the Mets with Walker and a surprising rookie whose win the team’s top relievers just blew in the starting rotation. That wouldn’t be enough with a reliable bullpen, and now the Mets bullpen is breaking.

  • Greg Mitchell

    The bullpen may be “breaking” but it was overhyped as being very good to begin with–given the names there and the fact the Mets have a collection of 5, 6 or (maybe) 7 inning starters. Now one wonders if Diaz throwing a ton of pitches in a (futile) 5-out save has damaged him.

    As for Stroman–he may be the first Mets victim of what I (and few others) have warned about–pitchers already far exceeding last year’s innings pitched. Expect many others, and more injuries (applies to relievers as well).

    With latest deGrom, remember Szaupucky no longer an option–with season-ending injury, natch.

    Forget picking up Bryant or Story or Baez–they need 2 good starters and 2 good relievers.

  • mikeL

    yep seth was putrid.
    but with a two run cushion (thanks brandon)
    “sugar” (which we all know is *not* good for one’s health)
    *could* have …i don’t know …. come out throwing a strike.
    or at least a pitch that didn’t nearly really hurt someone.
    what *does* he do in the pen to come out like *THAT*?
    did he think it was a non-save situation…or that it was a home game and he was gonna play for a win??

    as imaginary GM i released diaz immediately after that horrible performance. “aaron loup: you’re my new closer – suit up!”

    with the mets there is no bottom.
    and yes jason, we here have all been doing this for too long.
    cursed (and ever so occasionally inspired and even rewarded) by our choice of team to follow day after day after day…

    i may take some jinx-etiquette blame for this. with the team showing renewed offensive life i quipped: wouldn’t it be funny if the mets went on a roll with lindor on the DL?

    yea it would have been. but a roll begins with *not* allowing a gut- punching comeback. alas, i spoke too, too soon.

  • eric1973

    Jason, I just gotta say I love your writing style, and Greg’s too, as you guys certainly know how to turn a phrase.

    Anyway, I think our rock bottom may occur when we slip into 4th place. Or maybe this is 1973 Redux. We can only hope.

    Regarding post-game pressers, they give you nothing of value and are useless to watch:
    JD Davis came across as an actual human being, saying what a terrible loss this was and actually showing some sincerity.

    The rest of ’em, Rojas, Diaz, even our semi-human smiley-face emoticon, Lindor, all came across as insincere robots, “putting this loss behing us and looking forward to the next game.”

    Since Rojas makes no decisions on his own, like Boone, hopefully in their back-to-back-to back Zoom meetings, Zack Scott can pull a Cashman and install Loup as our temporary closer.

  • MEKeating

    What made it even worse (if such a thing is possible) was the inexcusable presence of an unprepared, unprofessional Gary Thorne in the booth. And I’m sick of the commenters who wax rhapsodic about how great it was to hear his voice—they are nostalgic for their own youth, not a mis-remembered past. Truth be told, he was sleepwalking through his last years with the Mets and with the accompaniment of Keith’s grunts, groans and random vocal tics, what once was the gold standard in broadcasting has become a tired Vegas act. I know it seems blasphemous to say this, but sorry, it’s gotta be said.

  • Seth

    I can only imagine that Edwin Diaz is a very confused individual.

  • Jo Ko

    I really don’t think other teams do this to their fans, do they? I don’t know. I am a Mets fan. I am a Jets fan. I don’t really have no idea what normal fandom is like. It’s not like this is normal for other teams, is it?

  • Lenny65

    The whole deGrom thing is extremely concerning. Is he injured? Is he not injured? I don’t know any more than you do, but I do know that they can’t keep him behind glass for ten days at a stretch, break him out for 4-5 innings then put him away again. If he’s hurt then by all means, shut him down. If he isn’t hurt then you gotta roll the dice.

    Conforto concerns me too. Has he reached some sort of career plateau where this is who he is now? Is he just having a down season? I don’t know any more than you do but I do know it’d be insane to throw money at a player who’s lugging around a .200 BA in mid-July, as you can find players like that anywhere. At this point in his career he should be the least of our worries but here we are.

    And if Lugo and Diaz can’t close the door on a bad team with a nice big lead then what good are they? Last night should have amounted to practice, yet here we are again. This is one of the most underachieving Mets teams I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen most of them.

  • Jo Ko

    “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in more than four decades of having my heart ripped out by baseball, it’s this: Don’t ever assume you’ve hit rock bottom.”

  • mikeL

    well, even jason didn’t suggest the mets would do **this**

    i’ll say it again, there *is* no bottom
    time to take this team apart
    no one can hit, throw, think any more.

  • JoAnn Piersa Brereton

    Sigh. I wish your headline wasn’t so prescient.

  • Eric

    Diaz should find out what Gerrit Cole is using to replace the sticky stuff. Or else how Cole is hiding the sticky stuff from the umpire checks.

  • Eric

    Greg Mitchell,

    It’s time to bring Harvey home.

  • SteveK

    And just when you managed to drop below rock bottom in the 1st inning…you regroup, persevere, and attain maybe the best win of the year. Huge credit to anyone who played today, especially the bullpen: 8.2 lockdown innings, and Conforto, for his game-winning HR in top of ninth. That’s why baseball is such a great game and why we keep coming back for more.

    And, congrats to Travis Blankenhorn on his first MLB HR, jump-starting the comeback.