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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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Five Isn’t Enough

Other than Wild Card Games, the 2016 National League version in particular, I don’t recall watching a postseason showdown and thinking it absolutely needed to continue beyond its agreed upon parameters. But I have now.

The Dodgers just defeated the Giants in five, but five wasn’t enough. It was the Dodgers in too soon. This National League Division Series needed to be allowed to go seven games, perhaps nine. Perhaps nineteen. It also needed to be allowed to complete its fifth and deciding contest instead of having an umpire end it at least one pitch prior to its organic conclusion. I’m not saying this as a Giants sympathizer or a Dodgers disdainer. I’m saying it as a baseball fan.

I’m not sure what you do about the Giants and Dodgers being done head-to-head before we get to seven-game territory. The two fiercest rivals in baseball history made the mistake of being the two best teams in baseball this year while combating one another in the same division. The one that didn’t win the NL West won a Wild Card and then a Wild Card Game. The team with the best record in a given league automatically plays the Wild Card winner. That’s how you get the 107-55 Giants squaring off against the 106-56 Dodgers in what amounted to the sport’s quarterfinal.

Reseed? You could do that, in which case L.A. would have played Milwaukee, and San Fran would have taken on Atlanta, and then, had form held, you’d have the Giants and Dodger for the pennant. Except would have form held? Form didn’t hold in the other NLDS, where 88-win Atlanta subdued 95-win Milwaukee. Form didn’t hold in one of the ALDSes, where the AL East champion Rays (100-62) fell to the Wild Card Red Sox (92-70). The first rule of postseason is you never know, and that’s for the series and games that are actually played. The second rule of postseason is you can only imagine, but you do so at your own risk.

Unless you haven’t wondered once or twice what would happen had Carlos Beltran swung.

It never occurred to me that reseeding was necessary in baseball. It doesn’t now occur to me it’s necessary, unless it’s narrowly defined. Should a league’s Wild Card a) complete its regular season with more than 105 wins and b) maintain with its division’s champion a historic rivalry that dates back a century or longer…

Discerning a path to facilitate the behemoth Dodgers and the powerhouse Giants playing for as many marbles as is conceivable is a noble goal. But the slight chance that you’ll get this scenario again probably doesn’t merit overhauling an otherwise decently designed system. Five-game LDSes are generally a substantial enough appetizer to seven-game LCSes. Wild Cards aren’t division winners, with all that implies about the value of the 162-game season. The 2015 Mets (90-72) maintained home field advantage over the 2015 Cubs (97-65) because the Mets won their division and the Cubs didn’t. We would have treasured a hypothetical seventh game taking place at Citi Field rather than Wrigley Field.

Of course the Mets of six Octobers ago swept the Cubs for the National League championship and I don’t remember thinking four games wasn’t the perfect length.

Before leagues were cleaved into divisions, you didn’t have postseasons. The National League did wind up in a couple of noteworthy ties in 1951 and 1962, you have may been reminded recently, and that brought the Giants and Dodgers into bonus conflict, with three-game tiebreakers to determine pennants. Each of those emergency series went three, each went to the wire, and each went to the Giants on the Third of October. In the era of two divisions per league, when East champs faced West champs, you couldn’t have a Dodger-Giant postseason series, seeing as how each rival sat in the same division. This period, 1969 through 1993, also coincided with me, born not long after October 3, 1962, growing up and growing ever more fascinated by the collision of October 3, 1951. I didn’t dream of a Giant-Dodger postseason meetup because the mechanism didn’t exist.

Then came realignment, three divisions, a Wild Card, and possibility. Yet the Dodgers and Giants, who’d intermittently battle it out for the NL West crown, didn’t land in the same postseason until 2014 and then again in (grrr) 2016. Yet they missed each other each time, one or the other succumbing in an LDS against somebody who wasn’t their ancient foe, leaving us close-but-cigarless to a best-of-seven LCS. When we got to 2021 and a five-game series pitting this year’s New York-rooted National League West titleholder versus the Brooklyn-born victor from this year’s National League Wild Card Game — where they overcame the disgustingly not to mention bafflingly extant Wainwright/Molina combo — I didn’t think five games was better than nothing. I thought these five games would be better than anything (well, any Met thing).

October 3, 2021: The author takes a quick jaunt uptown to pay homage to some orange-tinged roots.

And it was, even if it came up two games shy of a best-of-seven, even if the side where my affinity is planted won only two games of five. Because my immersion in New York Baseball Giants culture is deep and because I was a gleeful October tourist for the San Francisco Giants’ ride to World Series glory three times in the 2010s, I thought I’d take a five-game loss to the Dodgers to heart. But SF-LA, it turns out, was less my affair than my sidepiece. I was into it because of what it represented to baseball. These two teams co-existed fiercely in the same league and city for generations; pulled up stakes (eternal BOO!! on both of them for that); relocated to polar-opposite towns in the same state on the other end of the country; feuded across millennia as divisionmates; and finally wound up in a regularly scheduled playoff round.

How could you not want that go the limit? How could you not want the limit to be unlimited? Games One and Three were exquisite manifestations of 2021 Giant execution, with shades of what made San Fran so magical in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Logan Webb pitched like he could’ve lined up among Bumgarner, Lincecum and Cain. Buster Posey busted out his opposite-field whooping stick. Brandon Crawford leapt as if the second coming of Buddy Harrelson in the Channel 9 opening montage of yore. They were spine-tingling in their excellence. Meanwhile, Games Two and Four attested to the enormity of L.A.’s winning ways and how they’d practically perfected the methodology that had brought them eight consecutive division flags, three recent pennants and last year’s world championship. They are as fully loaded and decadent as really awesome potato skins. The Giants posted their victories by scores of 4-0 and 1-0. The Dodgers took theirs by tallies of 9-2 and 7-2. After four games of the NLDS, counting everything the two teams had done that counted, this was where they stood:

SF 109-57
LA 109-58

You wanted a fifth game. Then a sixth and seventh game. And then, if they didn’t mind, Games Eight through Infinity, at least until it was time for the mere mortals to gather for Pitchers & Catchers.

But we settled for a fifth game, in San Francisco, and, yes, what a fifth game it was. The Dodgers threw an opener and a bridge guy in advance of unleashing their 20-game winner as bulksman. The Giants stuck with the fella who pitched them to a series lead in the first game. Everybody’s pitching strategy was essentially sound through five, as nobody within the cohort of Corey Knebel, Brusdar Gaterol, Jose Urias and Logan Webb gave up a run. The Dodgers’ intrinsic Dodgerness broke through in the top of the sixth. Mookie Betts — whose absence from the Red Sox hasn’t prevented them from advancing to the ALCS, but, even still, who lets go of Betts? — singled. It looked like it might be a double, but Mookie was cautious. Besides, why risk getting thrown at second when you can steal it on the next pitch? With Betts on second, Corey Seager, last year’s World Series MVP (almost every Dodger has a major award in his past), doubled him home. The tie was broken. The ice was broken. The plot was thick.

To this do-or-die stew, add the unlikely thickening agent of Darin Ruf. Darin Ruf is a name familiar to Mets fans mostly from conflation with Cameron Rupp on the mid-2010s Phillies. Needless to say, Ruf wasn’t appearing in any postseason action for Philadelphia as the last decade wore on. Ruf left the City of Brotherly Love and its perennial futility to improve his game in Korea. He slugged 96 home runs for the Samsung Lions over three seasons in pre-pandemic KBO, when nobody in the US was tuning in. He returned to the States in 2020, to a Giants team there was little reason to notice. In 2021, for a ballclub that won nearly two-thirds of its games, Ruf played 117 times, put up an OPS+ of 143 and, in the sixth inning of the deciding game of a League Division Series versus the Dodgers, swatted a three-two pitch from Urias 452 feet, beyond Oracle Park’s center field wall.

Three innings of regulation remained, which set in as a damn shame. Webb’s final frame of pitching kept it 1-1. Blake Treinen’s entry in the bottom of the seventh did the same. A Dodger threat off Tyler Rogers in the top of the eighth — two singles sandwiched inside two outs — was snuffed by nasty if previously unheralded San Fran closer Camilo Doval. “Nasty if previously unheralded” pretty much describes the 2021 Giants in toto. Los Angeles closer since forever Kenley Jansen took care of business in order in the bottom of the eighth.

In the ninth inning, the Dodgers got to Doval. One Dodger in particular got to the getting — Justin Turner. Naturally Justin Turner. With Clayton Kershaw sidelined, Justin Turner is the longest-running, non-bullpen postseason constant of the L.A. would-be dynasty. They’ve definitely been dynastic in the West since 2013. Turner arrived at Chavez Ravine in 2014. We’re vaguely aware of where he played the handful of seasons before he emerged as a key cog, then a star for that divisional dynamo. Every autumn, the leaves turn colors and Justin Turner appears on TV. That, along with flaming red hair that seems to get redder with age, is probably why we can never quite forget our erstwhile benchwarmer.

Justin Turner you noticed in Game Five because he managed to get himself hit by Camilo Doval pitch with one out in the ninth. Didn’t you just know he’d come around to score in a matter of batters? You remember Justin Turner Met Utilityman becoming Justin Turner Dodger Constant, so that’s a rhetorical question. It would fall to Cody Bellinger to drive Justin in, from second after a Gavin Lux single had moved Turner up a base. Cody Bellinger this season batted .165. Cody Bellinger was the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year and 2019 National League Most Valuable Player. All these decorated Dodgers inevitably live up to their trophies.

We for whom the orange and blue DNA runs more to orange didn’t think it could end this way. Somewhere in that home dugout had to be a Bobby Thomson. A break had to go the Giants’ way to set up something that would swipe that 2-1 L.A. lead right back, something that would push at least one run across and keep the NLDS matchup of a lifetime alive. Sure enough, with one out, it was Justin Turner getting involved again. This time, it was ex-Met Justin Turner bobbling a grounder from Kris Bryant, the E-5 placing a runner on first. LaMonte Wade, Jr., stepped up to pinch-hit. Wade is known as Late Night LaMonte, and not from hosting an 11:30 PM talk show. LaMonte Wade, Jr., if you hadn’t been devoting yourself to Giant doings all year (and I surely wasn’t) is a ninth-inning savant. In 24 ninth-inning plate appearances in 2021, Wade batted a typographically correct .565. Of course you’d invest faith in Late Night LaMonte, no matter who the Dodgers had pitching.

Except did we mention the Dodgers had Max Scherzer pitching? Max Scherzer’s résumé not only speaks for itself, but it just keeps talking. He was a starter moonlighting as a do-or-die closer, but Max Scherzer wasn’t going to be easy to fit with goat horns in the classic style of Ralph Branca (himself, à la Julio Urias, a onetime 20-game winner for the Dodgers). Max is not an easily scalable mountain in any season — even in his fourteenth — in any inning — even in Wade’s.

LaMonte took Scherzer deep but foul in the course of his at-bat, but ultimately got rung up on strikes. With two out, then, the Giants’ season came to rest on the shoulders of Wilmer Flores.

Naturally Wilmer Flores. You want to chat ninth-inning avatars, you have to invoke the player who conjured walkoff RBIs as a Met ten separate times. Four were in the ninth inning. Six came in extras. If you were rooting for Wilmer — and who among us, regardless of temporary alignment, wasn’t? — you knew the moment was holding out its fist for a bump from the man for whom it was made. Alas, you also probably learned, as Wilmer readied to transport his Met magic to another sphere, that Flores had never done a darn thing against Scherzer. He was 0-for-17 lifetime. This, though, loomed as the time of Wilmer’s life. This was Tears of Joy Redux incubating. Different context, momentous vibes. This was a shot waiting to be heard, seen and consumed around the world.

Or waiting just to keep the ninth inning going. To get on base. To get it to Evan Longoria. Something, Wilmer. Anything. Eighteenth time’s the charm…maybe.

Wilmer takes a slider for strike one. He fouls off a fastball for strike two. Max Scherzer, he of the three Cy Youngs as a Tiger and National and spotless record down the stretch as a Dodger, delivers another slider. It’s low. it’s away. It’s clearly off the plate. Flores begins to swing but checks before he goes around.

This is what has happened. It is not, however, what is seen by home plate umpire Doug Eddings, who isn’t certain enough to call ball one, so, at catcher Will Smith’s behest, Eddings confers on appeal, from ninety or so feet away, with first base umpire Gabe Morales.

Morales raises his right fist to indicate strike three, game over, series over. A dog raising his leg would have had the same effect on the resolution of this NLDS.

Game Five ended on about as bad a judgment call as you would have refused to imagine. Flores should have still been up, one-and-two, Bryant still the runner on first, Longoria on deck. Who knows what would have happened had the combined judgment of Eddings and Morales hewed to reality? It’s quite possible our beloved Wilmer Flores — who struck out looking to complete with a whimper the 2015 World Series (we were behind by five runs to the Royals, so it’s not as iconic as Beltran looking in 2006) — might have gone down on strikes one pitch later. Or it’s possible, because he had a bat in his hands and he’s Wilmer Flores, that he finally connects safely off Max Scherzer.

We’ll never know, which is too bad. We should have found out, which makes it worse. Highly questionable calls can be a part of the most compelling of games, which is the worst. Don Denkinger. Jim Joyce. Gabe Morales. It’s not a roster an umpire wants to join.

The Giants take their 107 wins home without a single postseason round captured. The Dodgers fly to Georgia to continue on as overqualified Wild Card versus the Eastern Davison flagbearer Braves in the NLCS. Somehow, two tiers of playoffs remain. Somehow, the Dodgers and Giants settled only the championship of each other. If five games in their private cauldron drained the Dodgers of energy and purpose, the Braves might yet take the pennant. For now, though, the Braves seem immaterial in the wake of Giants-Dodgers — and Scrappy Wild Card Los Angeles Fights On Toward World Series Berth doesn’t seem like a viable narrative.

The 2021 Dodgers endure. The 2021 Giants expire. It is not an illegitimate outcome. Sudden death just came a beat too soon was all.

21 comments to Five Isn’t Enough

  • Roger Tusiani-Eng

    As a Mets fan, I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but as a lifelong Baseball fan, I cannot stand to see calls that go this badly and cost a team so greatly. Chances are, Wilmer does not get the run home anyway, but the game has to play out. It should never had ended with a subjective call, that was so clearly wrong. I love that we have umpires, but there has to be some way to get these calls right. Similarly, I can’t see how Hunter Renfroe can misplay a ball, and knock it over a fence, and have it somehow work in Boston’s favor. It’s just a shame.

  • Seth

    I didn’t like the series to end that way either (dang, Wilmer!), but I kind of understand it. The umpire didn’t have the luxury of watching the slo mo replay 5 times, as we did. Wilmer must have offered just enough to make the umpire think he went around. That’s the human element…

    Cool Polo Grounds photo. Have you been to the Brush staircase? I would love to see that someday.

    • I’ve been up and down that staircase (and Coogan’s Bluff) several times. This most recent trip was organized by the terrific New York historian Peter Laskowich under the auspices of the New York Giants Preservation Society, a great group of guys and gals.

      Maybe next year we get the appealed-to ump a device so he can grab a quick glance at what the rest of us see.

  • Henry J Lenz

    Very nice recap. As Mets fans in LA, we still enjoyed the game. Would have liked to see Wilmer walk it off. Don Larson’s last pitch was probably a ball. Cool picture at the Polo Grounds too. I remember walking across the field and out the centerfield gate with my dad in 1962.


    In the 1940’s and 1950’s i rode the Jerome Ave elevated line train to a either 161st Street station or a station just ahead of 161st street — I can’t remember — from the Kingsbridge Road station on the street next to the Kingsbridge Armory. I lived one block away at 2640 Davidson Avenue in the last building (the only apartment building on Davidson — all the other houses on the Street were private homes with stoops — on which we regularly played games of points and baseball against the stoop) which was just down the west side of of the street from a gas station and brick wall which was the side of the market around the corner on Kingsbridge Road. All of we kids living on Davidson used to gather at that wall to play sluggo against that wall b the way.

    So I very often rode the train to the 161st Yankee Stadium stop or the station that was one stop uptown from it (I can’t recall which it was) from which. I would transfer to the two car long shuttle
    at that stop which in a few minutes would take us to the Polo Grounds just across the Harlem River. The Polo Grounds was the NY Giants home and had probably what was the largest field of any Major League Baseball stadium.

    In 1951 when the Giants beat the Dodgers in game three of the fantastic and most famous of all baseball playoffs was played on September 3, 1951 i was a sophomore at De Witt Clinton HS and had to attend school classes. As a fanatic Giant fan all my young life of 15 years plus and I was miserable about that but would never play hooky from school. So I took my battery operated portable radio to school with me that day and between classes listened to the game broadcast from just a less than half hour away at the Polo Grounds. DWC HS was just 2 train stops away from my home. When my last class ended, which must be haves been about three o’clock in the afternoon, I ran to the Mosholu Parkway train station full speed while listing to Russ Hodges call the game. With my radio playing all through my trip home the excitement was unreal but it began looking grim for my beloved Giants. I ran from the Kingsbridge train station to my home a block away, into the elevator, out on the fifth floor, door key in hand, entered the apt and raced into our tiny 3 room place living room and turned on our black and white 12 inch Andrea table top TV. I was in time to see two giants get on base in the ninth inning — in sat and alternated standing with my fingers, arms and legs crossed and saw it all magically unfold as Bobby Thomson a hero of mine did it – hit the three run home run that instantly became the shot heard round the world. I did not heard Russ Hodges call it
    because I got to my TV to see it all unfold the most exciting thing and event i ever witnessed to that point of my life. Once Bobby hit a home run I ran out of the apartment and down five flights of stairs into the street we’re all the kids on the block what running around like wild Indians shouting and cheering and screaming and very happy and I was one of them.

    Well the Giants- L.A. three game series which was not played by my Giants or your Dodgers nevertheless was the second one like the first one in NY at the Polo Grounds but this time it ended wrongly as Mighty Wilber, the umpires said, struck out.

    The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
    the score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
    And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
    a sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

    A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
    clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
    they thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
    they’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

    But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
    and the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake,
    so upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
    for there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

    But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
    and Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
    and when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
    there was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

    Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
    it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
    it knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
    for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

    There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
    there was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
    And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
    no stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

    Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
    five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
    Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
    defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

    And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
    and Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
    Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
    “That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

    From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
    like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
    “Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
    and it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

    With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
    he stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
    he signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
    but Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said: “Strike two.”

    “Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and Echo answered fraud;
    but one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
    They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
    and they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

    The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
    he pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
    And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
    and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
    the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
    but there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

    Lawrence J. Goldstein

  • eric1973

    I often wonder what it would have been like if LA and SF never moved out west, and there was never any Mets. I probably would have been a Brooklyn Dodger fan, as I checked out many a Dodgers book from the library, biographies of Campanella, playing with the Elite Giants, and who can ever forget that movie, “It’s a Great Life,” starring Paul Winfield. Or “The Jackie Robinson Story,” with Jackie playing himself. I always thought that was amazing.

    There was also the whole Yankees-Bums rivalry, and the “We’ll get ’em next year” thing, until finally they did.

    And I always admired Koufax, and felt sorry for Branca.

    And I love Bobby Thomson, too, and the Willie Mays catch off Vic Wertz, and Durocher managing both the Dodgers and the Giants. How did that ever happen?

    All things considered, however, I would not have wanted to give up my Mets fandom for a second, and so I am glad for the way things turned out.

  • Seth

    We would have all grown up Dodgers or Giants fans, there’d be no Mets, the west coast would have gotten their teams in the next few years anyway through expansion, and millions of hearts would be unbroken.

  • rich porricelli

    let’s not forget the importance of October 16th..!! Greatest single day in the teams history..
    As for that check swing call.. That game and series should not have ended that way..

  • Eric

    I suspect Flores immediately pulling the bat back induced Morales to call the strike. And if Flores had framed his checked swing by freezing for a beat, Morales would have made the right call.

    In one way, the Dodgers have the most to gain. Winning the 2021 World Series validates their COVID-19 championship, like a 2 for 1. But if they get knocked out, their 2020 championship will be stuck with a lasting asterisk.

  • eric1973

    Morales was simply not paying attention. Hard to believe, but he lost his concentration for a split second and imagined he saw something that obviously did not happen. It was not even close, and I am sorry it happen to Wilmer, one of my favorites.

    He must have been tutored by Angel Hernandez.

  • Richard Porricelli

    I totally agree eric..not even close. You cant end a game and series like that..bad call.

  • chuck

    Apologies for this being a little off topic, but is there any possibility Wilmer sporting #41 is more than a coincidence?

  • Tony Polak

    The two best teams in baseball. Very even teams. I love the Giants and baseball as to change their playoff schedule.

  • ljcmets

    Thank you Greg. This was the recap I was waiting to read, because I knew FAFIF would speak to the feelings of Mets fans.

    Perhaps more than any other fan base, I think Mets fans were interested in this series and how it would end. After all, we had the two teams who, by leaving New York, gave us the Mets. We had the two best teams in baseball, so evenly matched that there was no real space between them. And most of all, we had Wilmer Flores.

    “Wilmer Flores will win this series with a walk-off,” I stated confidently to my husband before the first pitch. The more that possibility loomed, the more confident I grew in that outcome. When Wilmer stepped up to the plate as the potential winning run in the bottom of the ninth, I was wide awake, even at that late hour, in anticipation of what might happen.

    And then the umpire blew the call. And all of us – Dodgers, Giants, Mets fans, Wilmer and me – were deprived of finding out whether I was right.

    Yesterday after work I ventured online and into the Twitterverse, and I was shocked at how many baseball fans and professional baseball watchers were certain – absolutely certain – that even if the ump had correctly called a ball on that checked swing, Wilmer would never have produced anything positive as the at-bat continued. Even worse, people who call themselves fans took the opportunity to mock Wilmer’s admittedly weak batting average, his inherent Metsiness and even his very name ( some pathetic person called him “Wilturd Flores”). The tired old meme of “lol Mets” was invoked over and over again, as if the Mets had anything to do with the umpire’s bad call, and there was general agreement that the outcome was the “most Metsian thing ever.”

    I can’t really argue with that last conclusion – I’ve seen too many Mets games not to agree that the ending of the game was indeed “Metsian,” in that it ended on an egregious error. Every once in a while someone who I assume is a Mets fan, or maybe just more knowledgeable about baseball, would interject a comment like “Don’t you know the legend of Wilmer Flores?” or more sardonically,”It’s not like Wilmer Flores could ever hit a home run that would be one of the most iconic moments in his franchise’s history.”

    The failure of imagination by these indignant folks is just breathtaking to me. Do we Mets fans live in a bubble? How could they not realize – how could they NOT KNOW – that Wilmer Flores was exactly the person you would most want at the plate in that moment?

    Or, as Greg much more eloquently and succinctly put it,”…the Giants’season came to rest on the shoulders of Wilmer Flores. Naturally Wilmer Flores.” Who among Mets fans did not know that was destined to come to pass?

    “Well,” said Ron Darling as Wilmer came to the plate. That’s it… just “Well.” But go back and watch the tape of the Wilmer Flores Game and you’ll hear, right before Wilmer led off the twelfth inning, Gary Cohen say how supportive the fans were of Wilmer throughout that evening, and then you’ll hear Ronnie say “All you have to do Wilmer, is put it into the seats.” I’m sure Ron was thinking a couple of nights ago what we were all thinking…that this was another moment for which the Legend of Wilmer Flores was made.

    Not really having a dog in the Giants/Dodgers fight beyond my everlasting affection for Wilmer, I have to secretly confess that I am somewhat glad we now will not have to share a Wilmer Flores Game with the Giants fans. I’m not sure they deserve it. We already lost half the Franchise’s record of 10 straight strikeouts to a damn Phillie this year. Let us keep this.

    “The Wilmer Flores Game is always on,” observed my husband during one of the endless number of Mets rain delays this past summer when the Wilmer Flores Game was indeed on. For Mets fans, the Wilmer Flores Game can always be on. We just need to close our eyes and we can be 11 (7/9/69 and 10/16/69 – Happy Anniversary Miracle Mets!) or 28 (10/25/86) or 41 (10/17/99) or 43 (9/21/01) or 54 (6/1/12) or 57 (7/31/15) again. Or we can read FAFIF.

    There are FAFIF postings that I read over and over again – like Greg’s incredible tribute to David Wright on Christmas Day 2018. For those of you too young or too new to the flock to remember the Wilmer Flores Game, I highly recommend Jason’s post “The Cheers for Wilmer” dated 8/1/15. It’s a great rundown of that game, and all the twists and turns that came before it, basically “Five Days in Flushing” except better. It’s the moment when the Legend of Wilmer Flores was born.When you read it, you’ll know exactly why you are a Mets fan and how, when it comes to Wilmer Flores, we will always Be There for him. I think I will re-read it again right now.

  • eric1973

    The ‘Every Kid Gets a Trophy’ generation is now in the Major Leagues.

    As a result, everything now is ‘Happy Talk,’ no matter the reality. Teammates get into fights (Mets, San Diego), and it’s portrayed as a good thing, or a funny thing, that keeps ‘our family’ together.

    The truth CANNOT be told anymore, and cannot be faced, lest you harm these fragile weak egos. That maybe it was NOT a good thing, and that it actually hurt the ballclubs in question, as you might have expected. Or that this exposed longstanding team issues that were ignored and never dealt with.

    How did things turn out for Rojas and Tingler? And rightly so.

    As the ship was sinking, everybody on the Mets was smiling and joking around and denying reality, like there was no urgency, as personified by our ‘leader,’ Pete, who hopefully will learn from ‘We Got This!’ and become a more grounded, more serious leader.

  • open the gates

    Wait… what? They’re still playing baseball?

  • ljcmets

    @Chuck re #41: I don’t know if it’s an intended coincidence, but it’s a cosmic coincidence for sure. I’m sure I’m forgetting some folks (Greg can you help out here ?) but there are only two Mets I can remember outright shedding tears -at least publicly – about leaving the Mets. And both of them have worn #41.

  • chuck

    Thanks for they reply. I saw Wilmer a couple of times in 2016 where his bat was just on fire.

  • Lenny65

    And now, improbably, the (sigh) BRAVES have the mighty all-powerful Dodgers dynasty on the ropes. I’d rather choke on a burnt pizza crust than see the Barves win anything, but I’m still bitter about 1988, not to mention those Dodger teams who did nothing to stop the late 70s Y*****s juggernaut, so if they do lose there won’t be any tears shed over here. I’ve heard a lot about the mighty Dodgers dynasty over the last several years, but aside from the cheapened 2020 Series what have they ever won? Beating them in 2015 was deeply, deeply satisfying, a somewhat underrated Mets playoff series in my book.

  • Eric

    Braves now up 3-1 on the defending champs*. (* removed if the Dodgers win it again this year, or else it’s permanent.)

    The classic question: Would you rather the team that beats your team win it all so you can rationalize your team lost to the best or get eliminated ASAP as justice for eliminating your team?

    Usually I’m for the latter, but I respect the Braves. They’re the NLE’s version of the Cardinal Way, which I want for the Mets.

    If the NLE division winner beats the wildcard to win the pennant and then wins the World Series, that certifies a worthy standard within the division for the Mets to aspire to.

    Of course, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Teams have come back from 3-1 and the defending champs* are good enough to do it (they did it last year* against the Braves in fact), so let’s see. If the Dodgers bullpen is burned out again, though, I don’t think they will.