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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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Well, That Was Embarrassing

After two nights of at least looking competitive against the Dodgers, AKA the quarter-billion-dollar baseball death machine, the Mets got macerated. Lacerated. Defenestrated. Eviscerated.

Whatever word you choose, it wasn’t pretty. They were out of it essentially from the jump, as Carlos Carrasco showed he’s still working his way back into regular-season form — a plan the Mets had to embrace because they’ve burned through every other conceivable one, but was pretty much guaranteed to yield nights like this one. They made a little noise, but it amounted to faint squeaks amid the roar of the Dodgers at full steam, and it ended with not one but two position players — Brandon Drury and Kevin Pillar — called upon to take the mound.

I’ve never found position players on the mound particularly amusing, because it means the guys paid to play or oversee play know my team is beaten, which forces me to wonder why I didn’t reach the same conclusion and find something better to do with my time. And when position players are on the mound because my team’s about to lose three in a row and its season looks lost, it’s not funny in the least.

As I type this the Mets are somewhere over Pennsylvania or maybe Ohio, flying all night to take on the Giants in San Francisco tomorrow — an MLB/ESPN screw job that ought to make both them and the similarly scheduled Dodgers very, very angry. That makes Monday night’s Mets game about as close to a gimme loss as one can imagine in baseball. And remember that after that, they’ll still have nine straight games to go against the Giants or Dodgers.

The team that comes back from that hellish stretch will be thinking about 2022. And in time that will seem kinder than thinking about 2021, and dwelling on all the injuries, and the subpar performances, and the baffling lack of urgency at the trade deadline, and the weird in-game moves that had to be debated way too often. (Sunday’s head-scratcher was Luis Rojas sending Carrasco up to hit with the Mets down six, two on and one out in the second, then replacing him on the mound for the top of the third anyway. Asked about that one, Carrasco replied, “I don’t know, man. I really don’t.”)

We can argue about the manager and the front office and the players who got hurt and the ones who didn’t perform, but the Mets’ failure owes something to all of those factors, and the real problem is they were never that good to begin with. They bumped along as the least-worst team in a bad division and we saw that not for what it was but for what we wanted it to be — that they had pluck and moxie and all the other pixie-dust qualities we sprinkle on teams that are in the slot we like in the standings. Eventually the injuries and the bad luck and bad years and the baffling decisions got to be too much and the Mets were revealed for what they really were. The crash has been ugly, but it hasn’t been a miscarriage of justice — more like a moment of realization. Now, the best we and they can hope for is not to be thoroughly embarrassed before it’s over.

16 comments to Well, That Was Embarrassing

  • Bruce in Forest Hills

    Your website is called “Faith and Fear”, which I always hope means that you realize that rational thought has nothing to do with the Mets. Having said that, one rational way to root for this team: (i) remember that after the 2 weeks of LA and SF, the Mets have 2 weeks of Nats and Marlins, so the Mets do have a chance to play .500 for the 4 weeks between August 13 and September 10, (ii) assume that the Mets will start winning again after Lindor gets back, since the Mets were winning before he got injured, even when Lindor himself wasn’t hitting and Lindor is the first one due to come back anyway, and (iii) see where the Mets are on September 10, when this LA-SF-DC-Miami thing is over. It’s too early to throw in the towel before then. Maybe some Magic will come Back. Ya. Gotta. Believe.

    • Guy Kipp

      People always see the Marlins on the schedule and say, “Oh, the schedule gets easier coming up.”

      When was the last time the Marlins were EVER an easy opponent for the Mets? They just took three of four from the Mets a couple of weeks ago, and I’m sure that they will continue to be a dagger-sized thorn in the Mets’ side going forward.

      • Bruce in Forest Hills

        You are absolutely right. The Mets never beat the Marlins. And they have put themselves in a position where they need to beat them. But on the other hand, the Marlins are not a good team. They dumped their best players at the deadline. So it’s not impossible for the Mets to beat the Marlins.

  • eric1973

    Lindor is right now helping the best way he can his whole season….. By leading.

    How’s that working out?

    These games are going as planned so far….. None of us are surprised.

    Hey Polar Bear….
    We still got this?

    Hey Rojas, at least you had Lugo available for 2 innings last nite by not pitching him 2 the night before, when we really needed him. You are a real knucklehead, my friend.

    I was doing some up-downs last nite….. Going to the bathroom to upchuck.

    We need some freak 5 game winning streak beginning tonite.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Fun fact: in the critical 3-game series, Pillar faced as many batters as Loup. Drury pitched to several more.

    Since “ramping up” hasn’t worked I guess they are trying to ramp Carrasco down now so he doesn’t toss too many pitches before October.

    Well, at least those Lindor-Baez fielding highlights have been a thing of beauty. Let’s hope they make another genius move and sign Baez to a 9-year contract so him and his buddy can keep trying to turn two when they are both 38.

    People who hailed the return of St. Alderson forget how thoroughly he screwed up the mini-breakdown of the recent Mets title team with his trade of pieces for 5 relievers who all washed out, among other sins. And squarely on the spot for this year’s mess, which includes general manager hiring and other front office scandals and re-hiring Rojas.

  • Steve

    The Carrasco thing….I was at the game and didn’t realize that he didn’t pitch the 3rd.* There’s an argument to be made for keeping him in, but that’s horrible. We gave up way too many chances to get back in that game in the first 5 innings.

    Anyway, this sucks and I expect the next two weeks will suck. Let’s find way to go 5-5 and then hope that Syndegaard and deGrom are en route soon after.

    *I spent that half inning wandering about and then spent the next half inning hoping Jake Reed was Rick Reed’s kid, never having heard of him before.

  • greensleeves

    A deficit of pluck and moxie. A surplus of suck…
    At this point, there are only clowns left to send in.

  • Seth

    Steve Cohen inherited a mess and he’s still learning — hard to expect he could turn it around in 1 year. But it’s important to remember that skills in business do not necessarily translate to skills in team ownership (see Schultz, Howard). Let’s give him time and hope Steve surrounds himself with the right people.

  • SeasonedFan

    Just another Season of too much talk & not enough do.

    Meanwhile, their having to use a couple of position players as Pitchers during last night’s rout was pathetic.

  • mikeL

    strong 1st half showing vs. san diego aside, this team was never going to compete in october v. the elite ball clubs.
    last night’s national b’cast embarrassment was the punctuation to this obvious reality.
    shame the team didn’t keep mckinney and package conforto for some pitching help…the former is good enough to start for LA…the latter should not be back next year. nor should mgr rojas, nor most of this team.
    i don’t expect to see jake or noah pitch this season.
    their (likely) best years have been fully squandered.
    a substantial tear-down would be welcome.
    beyond nimmo, most of the promising home-grown youth will likely need to go elsewhere to shake the fiasco they’ve helped create.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    The only bright spot in the game was the work of Jake Reed, whom I believe will be the 4th pitcher named Reed in your Holy Books along with Rick, Steve and Addison. Unfortunately, despite Jake’s valiant effort, the offense left 4,752 men on base. I blame these failures on overanalysis and global warming.

  • Rob D

    Thankfully my Optimum was out all day so I “got” to watch the 9th. As my son and I discussed, we’re hoping that the Mets can finish over .500.

  • Henry J Lenz

    I’m obsessed with this stat from the box scores: Total team LOB (not just the 3rd outs). We’ve stranded more than 500 runners in the 30 games since the break. About 17 terrible at bats per game. Maybe some kind of record for an absence of clutchiness!

    • mikeL

      i bet there’s a corresponding number for least pitches seen/most first pitches put into play (for put-out: weak grounder or weak pop-up)

  • eric1973

    When it was 6-0 in the 2nd, I switched over to the Little League WS, and the SS caught a grounder on his knees, and then threw the kid out FROM HIS KNEES!

    Never seen that before, anywhere!

    Better game than that dreck last nite.

  • Eric

    The Mets at least knocked some runs in without hits. That’s an improvement even though they never threatened.

    Carrasco was supposed to fill in the rotation like a major trade deadline acquisition. His utter inability to make up for deGrom’s absence compounds the demoralization.

    I wonder how many position players who pitch mop-up pitched at a reasonably high level in their amateur career, perhaps for their high school or travel team, maybe even in college.

    Looks like the Braves are making their move.