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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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Early and Often and Then Oftener

What was going through Darin Ruf‘s mind as he lay on or perhaps in the netting in San Francisco while the ball he’d been pursuing bounced around somewhere nearby in an entire-world sense but entirely too far away in a make-a-baseball-play sense while a less-than-ideal quantity of Mets hustled around the bases?

Perhaps he was thinking that it might be a long night.

Or maybe he wasn’t thinking anything like that. Yes, two Mets scored on the play, but only two because the ball that had so rudely eluded Ruf did him a slight favor and hopped into the stands. There were two outs, it was only 2-2 and David Peterson hadn’t looked invulnerable out there, surrendering a home run to Brandon Crawford. And the Mets hadn’t so much pounded Alex Cobb as they had pecked at him with infield hits and little dunkers. And hey, slapstick is an occupational hazard when you’re a first baseman pressed into service in left field because a whole roster worth of outfielders are on the IL.

Maybe Darin Ruf is an optimist. I don’t know the man.

If he is, well, that was about to be tested. The next guy up for the Mets was Pete Alonso, and Cobb’s first pitch to him was a 12-3 curveball.

I know what you’re thinking. Jace, c’mon man. I know it’s late and West Coast recaps are tough, but for God’s sake you’re thinking of a “12-6 curveball.”

You’re right! That is what I was thinking of and presumably what Cobb had in mind too. But it wasn’t what he threw. The ball hung about midway down the center of that imaginary clock face, and at about 3 p.m. it encountered Alonso’s bat and then was last seen becoming a souvenir 391 feet away. It was 5-2 Mets, and that turn of events would make even an optimistic out-of-position first baseman feel a little down.

It was 5-2 and it would get worse, as Peterson settled in and the Giants’ bullpen surrendered some more infield hits and some of the outfield variety and two that went over the fence, with one hit by Jeff McNeil threatening to land in Alameda. Eventually they had outfielder Luis Gonzalez out there on the mound, and he put up a better line than Mauricio Llovera, who got whacked around enough to deserve at least two Ls.

Not a bad birthday for Buck Showalter. Not a bad start to the series in San Francisco. But when you win by 10, there’s not much bad to be found anywhere.

7 comments to Early and Often and Then Oftener

  • open the gates

    Laughers are funny by definition. This one was made especially hilarious by the leather-lunged fan who proclaimed for all to hear that “McNeil ain’t got no power!” Only to be proven drastically, tragically wrong about two seconds later. A moment for the ages – I’m still laughing.

  • mikeski

    It was 5-2 and it would get worse[…]

    “Worse”? I believe that this is Faith and Fear in Flushing, not Fresno.

  • Seth

    I’m thinking “worse” as in “more badass.”

  • Bob

    Good time to play Giants after they were swept 3-0 by Padres.
    Would be good to pick up at least 1 more W in Frisco–then let Giants get hot–I think Mets are done playing them after this series.
    Giants announcers Krukow and Duane Kuiper (I did not have SNY TV feed last night) were talking about all the infield hits the Mets have and how that is a huge plus for Mets.
    I do not recall the last time Mets had a laugher that this in Frisco.

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Eric

    Context says “worse” refers to Ruf and Cobb’s perspective.

    Ruf was shifted over to left center and it looked like he realized the only way he could reach the pop-up in time was a straight dead sprint. No adjustment en route. So he estimated the spot and ran to it.

    Ruf reached the spot in just the nick of time at a full sprint, but the estimate he had made from way over in left center was just a little bit off at the end.

    It was a blooper (in both senses), but for as close as Ruf came to making the play with a sell-out effort and no margin for error, it was still a big league blooper at that.

    Before the Mets blasted away at the end of the game, looking at the cluster of infield hits on the Gamecast ‘field’ graphic was fun.

    Usually it’s the Mets who are frustrated by bloopers and bleeders and dinks and dunks. This time turnaround was fair play. Speed and hustle are good.

    Anytime McNeil hits a home run, especially a no doubter, I’m afraid he’ll start trying again to hit for power like Daniel Murphy.

    Did MLB change the ball? I don’t think Alonso’s home run would have been a home run earlier this season.

    If Davis’s hard contact is turning into hits, that closes a hole in the line-up.

    The Mets pitching has held up despite losing Megill, Scherzer, and of course deGrom. The bullpen seems to have mostly stabilized without May. Holderman looks like the real deal, like Familia with less nasty but more controllable stuff.

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