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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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Frustration Train

After the Mets rose up in indignation to snatch a win away from the Cardinals, I said it was the kind of unlikely comeback that would keep me on my couch for umpteen nights when no such good fortune was coming out way.

Nights like Monday, in other words.

How many things do you want to stew about?

For openers, can we have robot umps already? In the fifth inning, with a 2-0 lead, Chris Bassitt threw a perfect 2-2 sinker to Dansby Swanson. It was one of those magic pitches where the pitcher’s leaving the mound while the ball’s in flight with his infielders moving along with him — the batter’s guessed wrong, he’s locked up and can’t swing, and a couple of seconds from now he’ll be standing glumly at the plate with the umpire and a bunch of surplus gear while the scoreboard starts up the usual between-innings folderol.

Chad Fairchild, inexplicably, called it ball four three.

Bassitt, understandably flustered, lost his command, walking Swanson and hitting Ronald Acuna Jr. before getting Matt Olson to pop out. Fairchild then did what umpires rarely do — he got Bassitt’s attention and patted his chest, telling anyone and everyone that he’d missed the pitch. Which was indeed a decent gesture, but I’m pre-weary of the pixels it will generate about honor and accountability and the human element and a bunch of other blather. The fact is that Fairchild missed it, Bassitt had to throw extra high-stress pitches, and when he went back out for the sixth he was facing the middle of the order. The Braves didn’t exactly hit him hard in the sixth, but they hit him, and before you could blink the Mets were down 3-2. Bad umpiring is more than just a thumb on the scale — it’s added weight the pitcher is never going to be able to subtract, with ripple effects beyond one batter or inning.

More things to stew about? How about the Mets commencing to run the bases as if they were blindfolded — both Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil uncharacteristically failed to take extra bases. Or the performance of Trevor May, who’s looked utterly lost so far this year, caught in a spiral of overthrowing and missed execution and self-loathing and further overthrowing.

But here I should note that a common trap of recaps in particular and fandom in general is that a loss gets picked apart for things your side failed to do, which ignores the half of the game that consists of the other guys trying to win. And those other guys did plenty, from Max Fried‘s solid outing and old friend Collin McHugh using his cutter to all but undress Mark Canha with the bases loaded to Austin Riley — not quite Schwarberesque in his Met mastication but too close for my liking — going deep off Bassitt.

And there was Travis d’Arnaud. You’re forgiven if you’ve blocked this out given the owner-related PTSD, but d’Arnaud’s Mets tenure ended when Jeff Wilpon had a hissy fit that a player recuperating from Tommy John surgery was still rusty and engineered his release after 25 at-bats. With a fully healed elbow, d’Arnaud’s been productive for the Rays and Braves, earned himself a World Series ring … and absolutely destroyed the Mets. His first double on Monday night tied the game against Bassitt; his second one put it out of reach against May. Could someone please tell Travis that a) the Wilpons are gone; and b) we all hated them too?

OK, that’s back to something our guys failed to do, or more properly did when they should have known better, which I just said was something to guard against. But it was that kind of night. Even the most magical season will have 20 to 30 teeth-grinders where you wind up too dispirited to even heave the remote in a foolish direction. This was one of them. There will be others. Try not to let any of them drive you crazy.

And if you figure out how to do that, please let me know.

13 comments to Frustration Train

  • CharlieH

    It was about an hour after the game ended when I realized that this was the first loss of the season that truly bothered me. That it took this long into it might tell us something.

  • Cobra Joe

    Poor Jeff Wilpon, after new Mets owner Steve Cohen okayed the DFA-ing of the huge Met disappointment and two-time PED cheater, Robinson Cano, former Met Travis d’Arnaud came back to bite the Mets in the keester and deliver a timely hit against his old team.

    Someone quipped that the New York Post should print a headline on its sports page, saying, “End of an Error,” over a photograph of former Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, a/k/a “Van Woeful” and former Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, announcing that “glorious” Mets trade with the Seattle Mariners for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

    Remember when Jeff Wilpon assured Mets fans that Robinson Cano’e first suspension for PED use had been a “mistake”? Well, I’d really like to hear Jeff Wilpon’s explanation for Robinson Cano’s second PED suspension, while Cano was actually on the Mets.

    As a longtime Mets fan, I often wonder who was worse, the late, unlamented former Mets chairman of the board, M. Donald Grant or former Mets chief operating officer, and privileged dilettante, Jeff Wilpon?

    Thank God we have the much revered “Uncle” Steve Cohen to own and run the Mets after the truly lousy years of ol’ M. Donald and Fred and his precocious son, Jeff.

  • Jesse Sands

    It was ball 3 that he missed the call on. Ball 4 was part of the frustration that followed

  • Who was worse M. Donald “Duck” Grant or Jeff “The Boy Blunder” Wilpon? It’s a close race, but I think the nod goes to Grant. Jeff’s travails occurred over a longer period of time, so he did compile more blunders.

    After Joan Payson died in 1975, Grant took full control of the team and in just a few years had run it completely into the ground. He hated the idea of free agency, and refused to bring on any pricey FAs. He also traded Seaver, Staub, Matlack, Koosman, McGraw, and Kingman getting next to nothing in return. He was gone after the 1978 season, so his full-control tenure was short-lived, but it took nearly a decade for the team to recover. His biggest blunder may have been choosing Yogi Berra over Whitey Herzog to manage the team after Gil Hodges died. That blunder joins a host of other “what ifs” from that era. What if the Mets had drafted Reggie Jackson? What if the Mets hadn’t traded Nolan Ryan?

    Jeffy’s sins are more recent and his latter-day ones were done under the glare of the social media spotlight. While the damage from those days still lingers, it appears that we have entered into a brighter era with Cohen.

  • open the gates

    We’re going to keep getting those “Jeffy reminders” for a few years – not just the d’Arnauds, the Zack Wheelers, and the Justin Turners, but even “old friends” like Collin McHugh, a quite serviceable major league pitcher who wasn’t quite serviceable enough for little Jeffy, who was busy playing with his “Five Aces” action figures. Well, those days are past, and hopefully good times to come will erase the sting. Remember, the ’86 Mets had to face old mistakes named Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan in the playoffs, and ultimate old mistake Tom Seaver was watching the ’86 World Series from the Red Sox dugout, and that worked out all right.

  • Seth

    It’s not the Wilpons that Travis hates, it’s the fans. He’s getting back at US — he intentionally performed poorly so he could get released, and then come back and torment us. This was his plan all along.

  • Joey G

    You have to give the edge to M. Donald over Jeff. M. Donald’s reign was more insidious. Jeff’s crime was primarily one of unbridled privilege and blind arrogance, whereas M. Donald knew exactly what he was doing. Amongst his many crimes against nature were: (i) passing over Whitey Herzog for Yogi because Whitey was not shy about telling Grant he knew nothing about baseball, (ii) hiring Bob Scheffing as G.M., (iii) engineering a smear campaign in the press against our beloved Tom Terrific and Nancy through Dark Lord Dick Young, and (iv) worst of all, publicly humiliating Met Legend Cleon Jones for decamping in a van on a public street with a woman other than his wife. Uber-patronizing Grant would not have done the same to someone of a lighter complexion.

  • Eric

    D’Arnaud doing the Daniel Murphy. When Conforto joins a division rival, he’ll likely follow suit.

    • Seth

      The difference, of course, was that Daniel Murphy was the Mets’ best hitter when they let him walk. Travis had numerous opportunities to show what he had, but couldn’t stay healthy, couldn’t throw out runners, and couldn’t hit consistently.

  • eric1973

    Goes to show they cannot win without Buck! That’s 0-2.

    Really wanted to win last nite, to show they can do it without Cano.

    Cano’s best accomplishments were getting Callaway and Rojas fired, one by being there and being lazy, and the other by not being there, when he could have been productive.

    Now gotta sweep these 3 to WIN this series.

  • […] Choose Your Recap: Amazin’ Avenue short and long, Daily News,, Newsday, NY Post, North Jersey, Faith and Fear in Flushing […]

  • open the gates

    Well, we’ve got the unbeaten streak in the bag. Fun day yesterday!