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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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Sunday Eventually Becomes Fun Day

A Sunday doubleheader! Doesn’t that sound great? Not a split doubleheader (which isn’t a doubleheader; it’s just two games in one day). Not an abundance-of-caution seven-inning doubleheader (which would actually be a fourteen-inning doubleheader, but let’s not return there). A real settling in, beginning with a regulation game, pausing for a breather, then continuing with another regulation game. The baseball starts earlier than usual on the Sunday afternoon that is doubly blessed and it keeps going as long as it needs to and nobody is charged twice for admission. That’s the ideal.

The platinum ideal, of course, is a Sunday doubleheader that’s scheduled in advance just because can you imagine a better deal to anticipate? I don’t believe the Mets have scheduled a Sunday doubleheader in advance since 1988. They haven’t played a straightforward, unplanned Sunday doubleheader at Citi Field since a wet weekend in May of 2014. It takes an unforeseen circumstance to get you a doubleheader anywhere these days, especially Sundays. It took two days of rain in Philadelphia and the Phillies’ flight to Seattle to keep the home team from pulling any of that Sunday night add-on nonsense. They had to fit two games into daylight and they had to let people in with one ticket. The Mets fan watching in New York could simply sit back and enjoy.

Well, that’s not universally accurate. This Mets fan watching in New York found himself a touch antsy during Game One, up and pacing about so as to coach Max Scherzer through a few luck-deprived rough patches. Max gave up one extremely socked sphere that left Citizens Bank Park and a bunch of halfhearted hits that had the temerity to fall in. Scherzer’s customarily fearsome efforts added up to three runs in six innings. It was quality enough in the “give your team a chance to win” sense. Given that Max’s successors Joely Rodriguez and Adam Ottavino did their part to maintain order, all the Mets had to do was score three runs to even things up, and if they evened things up, you knew in your bones, they’d score however many more runs were required to ensure victory.

They could do that, especially with me lending the offense my encouragement on my feet. Maybe it’s a doubleheader thing that had me wandering around the living room rather than plopping down on the couch. I guess I needed to catalyze the lineup, since nobody else was really doing it until the top of the sixth. The Mets put together their lone successful rally of the opener then via a Starling Marte double, a Luis Guillorme single, a productive James McCann double play grounder (the most productive McCann can be sometimes), a Brandon Nimmo single and a Francisco Lindor double off the base of the right field wall. A Francisco Lindor homer over the right field wall would have been preferable, but something about delivering an extra-base hit off the base of the wall is so resounding that it’s almost more satisfying. When Marte put the Mets ahead with such a blow in their seven-run ninth a few nights before, I liked the message it sent. I could’ve hit it out, but that wouldn’t have been as sporting. Oh, I’m on second base now and might very well be driven in by a teammate. There was a lot of action in the top of the sixth. Seems like there should have been more than two runs from all of that action. Seems like there should have been more runs in the other innings the Mets batted, too. There weren’t.

When the opener closed, the Mets had lost, 3-2, snapping what felt like a winning streak at one. The one win was Thursday, but it was so resounding and so uninterrupted, thanks to the May showers that drenched the Mid-Atlantic region, that I could swear we’d gone unbeaten for days. I guess we did. I could swear we were capable of overcoming any deficit. We were. We are. We were down, 3-0. We got to within a run. The capability was there. The execution fell a bit short, as did Scherzer of escaping the ignominy of his first ‘L’ in practically a year.

Ah, but this Sunday wasn’t over, because this Sunday featured a Sunday doubleheader! If we couldn’t win the first game and thus guarantee we wouldn’t lose twice, we could win the second game and know we didn’t lose twice. Confidence abounds within possibility when you have a team like these Mets taking two turns on your behalf any day of the week.

In the nightcap, the Mets validated that confidence. No fancy comeback needed to be strategized this time, because the Mets scored twice in the top of the first and never trailed once Pete Alonso homered with Lindor on base. Later, in the fifth, Pete homered with a new combo — Nimmo and Mark Canha — trotting home ahead of him. Same basic principle. Pete’s up, Pete homers, multiples cross the plate. The Mets were ahead, 5-1. Chris Bassitt was in control for 5⅔. Chasen Shreve, Drew Smith and Seth Lugo took the wheel from there. Me, I sat back and enjoyed the undramatic denouement, a 6-1 triumph for one win out of two on the day, but the more important one, to be sure. Why am I so sure? Because I’m in a great mood after the second one and barely remember the mild disappointment from the first one. That’s how you do a Sunday doubleheader if you can’t plan in advance on a sweep (which you can’t). You win the second game and you move on to greater things.

That’s how you watch the 2022 Mets — with confidence. You can pace. You can lounge. Mostly you can be confident, however your body language chooses to express it. The Mets are 20-10, in first place by six games, and have won or tied every series they’ve played. They win from ahead. They win from behind. They lose once in a while, but they don’t look lost doing it. If the season to date is not the ideal, it’s extremely close.

8 comments to Sunday Eventually Becomes Fun Day

  • Eric

    Second start in a row, both versus the Phillies, that Scherzer looked ordinary. Last time it was mostly Schwarber. This time it was mostly soft hits. I’m not worried yet, but I want Scherzer to dominate his next start so 2 inferior starts don’t become a worrisome 3-game trend.

    Other than that, well done to win game 3 of the series to make the game 1 comeback stand up. I wanted to re-sign Stroman, but that’s okay since Bassitt is basically Stroman. I also liked that the Mets made a comeback attempt in game 2, though it fell short, instead of just taking a shutout loss.

    • mikeski

      I wanted to re-sign Stroman, but that’s okay since Bassitt is basically Stroman.

      Well, they are both right-handed pitchers, I’ll grant you that.

      • Eric

        Similar pitching styles that rely on variety, guile, and attitude rather than hard stuff and strikeouts.

        Bassitt may not be the fielder that Stroman is but his defense is good enough. His rant blaming the baseballs for the number of hit by pitch’s struck me as an unusual thinker like Stroman.

    • Seth

      So far this season:

      Stroman: 1-3, 5.13 ERA
      Bassitt: 4-2, 2.45 ERA

      • Eric

        Stroman has had 2 bad starts this season that blew up his ERA. His other 3 starts were fine, though.

        Their career numbers are comparable.

  • Seth

    Sunday becomes no-baseball Monday, so 3 out of the last 4 days have had no Mets baseball. This is an outrage!

  • eric1973

    Stroman always struck me as an immature guy who was more concerned with social media and petty, imaginary slights than anything else, while Bassitt appears to be a bulldog who seems to have a level head on his shoulders; the kind of guy who makes his teammates better, which cannot be measured on a stat sheet.

    Really good ‘we’ got rid of these bad team guys like Stroman, Cano and Baez, and kept the standup guys who help you win, like Jankowski, Davis, and Dom Smith.

  • Eric

    Speaking of divas (traded for and kept in this case), check out what Andres Gimenez has done so far this season.