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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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Frenemies Will be Frenemies

The Mets met up Wednesday afternoon with four “old friends,” one of those baseball phrases meant to refer to players who used to be on your team and are now trying to defeat your team. The four old friends all wore Braves uniforms. The parties did not lunch together.

Travis d’Arnaud, a Met from 2013 until 2019, albeit hardly at all after 2017, walked with the bases loaded to begin the Braves’ scoring in the sixth. It had been 0-0 until then. Tylor Megill was throwing his usual shutout through five, his customary no-hitter through four. Then Megill loaded the bases and left, replaced by Adam Ottavino. Was Ottavino, pitching for a third consecutive day, the right choice? The right choice was not having the bases loaded.

Some choices aren’t yours to make. Ottavino walked d’Arnaud, gave up a double to Adam Duvall and then threw a wild pitch to score d’Arnaud. Quickly, old friend Travis made a trip around the bases, his RBI and his R sandwiching four runs. And the Braves weren’t done dining out on our matinee largesse.

Guillermo Heredia, a Met for literally a week in 2020, walked in that same sixth inning. By then, it was 5-0. Heredia would come around as d’Arnaud did, making the score 7-0. The Mets might have been on the board had Guillermo not climbed the right field wall and taken away what looked like it could have been a home run from Jeff McNeil in the second. Maybe McNeil’s ball wouldn’t have left the yard. If it hadn’t, it wouldn’t have hit the wall and put Jeff on base. The only thing it hit was the pocket of Heredia’s glove. Guillermo made a one-handed catch. The defender’s other hand was busy clutching the top of the fence to ensure he’d steady himself while committing highway robbery in broad daylight. It was one of those catches, the kind that demands a surfeit of clichés.

Later, in the eighth, Heredia, who wasn’t scheduled to be in the Braves’ lineup until practically the last minute, whacked a two-run homer than no fielder — not even himself — was going to catch. That made it Braves 9 Mets 1. You might say he did in a day against the Mets more than he did in a week for the Mets (though he did have a pretty decent stretch that fleeting week that quiet year).

Ian Anderson did most of the pitching for Atlanta. He didn’t used to be a Met. Two relievers Brian Snitker deployed did. Collin McHugh, who wore the orange and blue in 2012 and 2013 (traded before d’Arnaud was promoted), faced seven batters, retired five of them and gave up no runs. Darren O’Day, a Met in April of 2009 who was packed off for distant precincts before May of 2009, finished up. He allowed a home run to Luis Guillorme, which is something hardly anybody does, but Darren was protecting an eight-run lead in the ninth, so he didn’t have to stress his gopher. O’Day has been a big leaguer since 2008. He hasn’t lasted this long sweating the small stuff. He overcame Luis’s blast and survived on the mound to receive a “nice game” handshake from his catcher d’Arnaud the instant it ended.

The Braves, featuring their four former Mets, whacked the Mets but good, 9-2 splitting their four-game set at Citi Field and showing enough of a pulse not to be written off after one-sixth of a season. Then again, the Mets still haven’t lost a series, still lead the division by a bunch and, save for the bullpen experiencing its intermittent moment of fragility (both Sean Reid-Foley and Travis May are on the IL and neither Ottavino nor Trevor Williams was impressive) and nobody besides Guillorme (three career home runs in five seasons) showing much power in the homestand finale, they’re doing all right.

Which is to say Atlanta can have our former Mets. I’ll stick with our current Mets.

5 comments to Frenemies Will Be Frenemies

  • Dave

    I’m sorry, but who is this Travis d’Arnaud who is reliably healthy and durable, and a consistent hitter? Because that’s not the one who played for the Mets. Although I admit that it’s odd that two catchers would have that name.

  • CharlieH

    This loss didn’t bother me as much as Monday’s did. And there were the two wins in between. They were past due for a pounding.

  • eric1973

    Time to bring back Yoan Lopez as soon as allowed. At least he has a pulse, and he looks like he might have some talent. He was the only pitcher on the staff who defended his teammates, who are still being hit virtually every game.

    And did you see how they all congratulated him in the dugout after he defended them. That’s a great teammate.

    Bring him back, let him serve his 3 game suspension, and let’s get on with it.

  • Seth

    Good thing the Mets are doing well, because it’s hard to take all the SNY slobbering over how great the Braves are. History of the franchise, so many division titles, etc etc. Gary mentions how weird to see them without Freddie Freeman.

    I do respect the Braves’ success, but I’m a Mets fan. I don’t really care about the Braves — I’m quite happy to see them without Freeman. I respect Freddie as well, but I’m just as happy not to see him 19 times a year or whatever. Does SNY understand who their audience is?

  • open the gates

    One of those “yeccchhh” games. Even the best teams have a few of those every season. The one game I attended in ’86, El Sid got absolutely pasted by the Dodgers. So there you go.

    As for the Brave Frenemies, I’m more annoyed in retrospect than actually upset about them. D’Arnaud had tons of opportunities to prove himself as a Met, but he was either injured or inconsistent much of the time. What annoys me is that Jeffy paid for him to get Tommy Johnned, then shipped him off before he had a chance to fully recover. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Heredia – big deal. He had a good game yesterday, but he’s a bench player all the way, if that. The other two annoy me, though – both decent pitchers with long major league careers who spent about 2 minutes each on the Mets before the Brain Trust decided they were expendable. This during years that the Mets had some of the most putrid middle relief. We could have used O’Day and McHugh – both of them. But yeah, I’m just kind of annoyed – they rank low on the list of quality pitchers the Mets discarded over the years. Which says more about the list than about them.