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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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Baseball Like It Oughta Be Isn't Necessarily Baseball Like We'd Like It to Be

OK, look: That was a pretty great ballgame.

Two aces squared off — Max Fried and Jacob deGrom — and they were both pretty damn good. But the enemy offenses found the smallest of holes in their defenses. For deGrom, it was a lone inning where his slider was disobedient, refusing to be as sharp as its master wanted, which led to two runs surrendered. For Fried, it was a marathon eight-pitch at-bat by Mark Canha which ended in a two-run homer off an errant slider.

The game turned, similarly, on a pair of quirky hits to the outfield. DeGrom departed in the seventh after an infield hit by Vaughn Grissom, with Seth Lugo reporting to finish the inning against Michael Harris II. With Grissom in motion, Harris snuck a ball through the infield. Brandon Nimmo closed on it and threw it in to Darin Ruf, who relayed it to James McCann at the plate — a whisker behind Grissom’s slide.

The Braves led 3-2, with deGrom shockingly in line for the loss, and turned that lead over to Kenley Jansen in the ninth. For once my paranoia turned out to be justified: The Mets had, in fact, never done anything against Jansen, who was 17 for 17 in save opportunities against them.

It looked momentarily like things might be different, as Francisco Lindor singled and then looked to steal second with Pete Alonso at the plate — Jansen’s haywire mechanics make him tough to pick up but easy to run on. With Lindor halfway to second, Alonso got a high sinker he thought he could drive. He connected, but was under it, lofting a little pop behind the infield.

When the ball plopped in, I couldn’t see Lindor at second and for a gleeful half-second I thought he was on third. But he wasn’t — he was on first, having hustled back there, and so was forced out at second. It wasn’t Lindor’s fault — the ball looked like it was going to be caught, meaning Lindor would have been doubled off first, and the sequence played out almost like one of those canny plays where an infielder drops a ball intentionally to trade a faster runner for a slower one.

Anyway, Lindor was out and just like that, the air had gone out of a certain blue and orange balloon — Jansen struck out Daniel Vogelbach, got a harmless comebacker from Jeff McNeil and the Braves had won. Rather than push the Braves back to where they’d started the series, the Mets saw them gain two games in the standings, answering the 1-4 debacle at Citi Field with a 3-1 counterpunch down south. And all that was determined by two odd little plays. Both went the Braves’ way, and that was enough to decide a speedy, taut and frankly terrific ballgame.

It didn’t end the way we wanted. But there’s no guarantee of that, now is there?

8 comments to Baseball Like It Oughta Be Isn’t Necessarily Baseball Like We’d Like It to Be

  • eric1973

    Gary had a really tough series, blowing many calls.

    He blew the Lindor call, excitedly calling it a base hit, obviously not seeing Lindor going back to 1B. Sonetimes watch the field instead of the monitor.

    He blew the Beaty home run call, acting as if it was a regular fly ball just after it was hit, when the ball was clearly mashed.

    He criticized Acuna for getting a bad jump on a Met double in the gap, when in fact, he got a pretty good jump.

    And he also wondered what ‘Snitker’ was going to do, when he and everyone else knew he had earlier been thrown out of the game.

    Pay attention to the game, like you used to, Gary, instead of thinking up your next unfunny puns.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I too thought Lindor wound up on third. Alluding to what was posted just above me, I don’t think GC knew where he was, which did not help the SNY viewers at all on a critical play. BTW, Keith seemed to blame Lindor for getting forced out and then Gary piled on as well. It was like they were deflecting the blame for their having botched the call.

  • Eric

    The good news is 6.2 innings and 95 pitches should mean deGrom is cleared for a normal, if not workhorse, load of 7 , ~105 his next start.

    The Braves have a scary offense, more so with the 2 dynamic rookies. They beat up mediocre pitching and hit elite pitching when it slips.

    Alonso should have taken the Jansen pitch. At the same time, if he thought he saw a pitch he could drive, it makes sense for a home-run hitter to swing.

    Baty’s bat appears major league so far, but his defense is as shaky as advertised. I’m confident that Guillorme holds onto the Grissom infield hit and throws out Grissom, despite Grissom’s speed, because Guillorme would have been quicker to the ball and he’s quick on his throws.

    The Harris hit is frustrating, but also baseball. Just the right angle between Lindor and McNeil. Maybe McNeil could have stopped the ball mid-field to keep Grissom at 3B. Maybe Nimmo should have run to the ball faster (though he may have needed the extra beat to field the ball in throwing position). Maybe Ruf should have let Nimmo’s throw go through or made a faster relay himself. Either way, Washington exposed Nimmo’s not-strong arm by sending Grissom.

    Tough game for Nimmo at bat, too.

    The Braves play like the defending champions and perennial division winners. After the Mets made a statement at home, the Braves replied in kind at their home. Now the older, hurting Mets won’t be able to rest and recuperate in September.

    And no let up in the schedule with 4 games in 3 days in Philadelphia, who will be looking to make their own reply in kind against the shorthanded Mets. For the rest of August, Phillies, Yankees, Rockies, Dodgers, while the Braves play Astros, Pirates, Cardinals, Rockies.

    • mikeL

      yup! texted a friend the same: guillorme scoops and throws and jake leaves with a tie and maybe mets are ahead by the time (oh no!) lugo comes in for a clean inning. ball 1, ball 2 and my magic eight ball saw this one getting away.
      the shift/no doubles alignment was damning on the harris II hit.
      that one beat the shift doubly! (i did my best brad pitt, end of Seven: “no,no,no,no,no…”)
      lindor *could* have gone half way to second. (or all the way to third) that balloon popped and made so many cry inside!
      just hoping the astros humble the braves and that thd mets can step up, pitching diminshed and all, and regain lost ground this weekend…and then complete their season-sweep of the yanks.
      chin up!

  • eric1973

    I actually thought Lindor did a great job in getting back to 1B, since the ball was in the air for an eternity, and by all rights should have been caught.

    Maybe Kirby could have notified Lindor somehow, but he probably would not have seen him anyway, frantically trying to get back.

    If only Pete would have taken the pitch, but a homer at that point would have outweighed the SB. Just one of those things…

  • open the gates

    Well, there’s no shame in dropping three of four to the defending world champions, but as Tevye the Milkman said about being poor, it’s no great honor either. So it’s gonna be a race. May the best team win. The good thing about the current Mets is that, unlike their predecessors from last year, they are not going to lay down and die. They’ll make it a fight, win or lose.

  • Jacobs27

    It was indeed a good game, but, man, what a frustrating way to get beat. I wish we were in the close possible world where the Mets made those plays and the Braves’ latest wunderkinds didn’t quite work their magic.

    But I’ve got faith in this team this year. They’re for real.