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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 Is Pain

I mean, sometimes it’s joy. A lot of times it’s joy, in fact.

But sometimes it isn’t.

Take, for instance, Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee, which certainly did not count as joy.

I guess you could make a case that it was better than losing 10-zip on Monday, and superior to losing 9-0 on Tuesday. On Wednesday the Mets a) scored actual runs; b) scored six of them, in fact; c) held a lead, an aspect of baseball we’d forgotten existed for a while there; and d) actually held two of those mysterious things called leads.

None of which mattered in the end, as Garrett Mitchell — who’d just been foiled in attempting to bunt his way aboard, for Chrissakes — smacked an errant Adam Ottavino frisbee into the right-field seats for a walkoff 7-6 Brewers win.

Pain. On so many levels.

The pain of losing to start off the ninth without recording an out, which shouldn’t feel worse but somehow does — like getting walked off in the eighth with an asterisk. Nobody tell Rob Manfred or that will somehow be a thing by Memorial Day.

The pain of a three-game sweep, which is never fun even when you’re not outscored by nearly three touchdowns.

The pain of seeing a long streak of being .500 or better go by the boards.

The pain of getting steamrolled by a team that could do no wrong right after having your way with lesser competition, with all the discombobulation to one’s self-image and creeping existential doubt that brought with it.

The pain of confronting that oldest and bitterest of baseball questions: If your team’s fated to lose, would you prefer that they lose meekly and pitifully from the jump, or horribly and tragically at the very end? (There is no right answer. In fact, there is no answer. To this, or anything else.)

The Mets lost, and it was pain. Pain watching David Peterson walk the ballpark and Drew Smith report for duty to discover the mound was so fucked up nobody could do anything from it. Pain handling Corbin Burnes just fine only to have it not matter. Pain feeling like the outcome was preordained even after storming back to take a 6-4 lead on the second of two Pete Alonso homers. This was the kind of game where you shove yourself into the mud face-first, like a doughboy getting shelled in a trench, and pray that you’ll find yourself alive when the bombs stop gouging the earth while doubting you’ll be so lucky.

The Mets are already rained out for their home opener, a development that elicited a sigh of relief from me, because this is definitely a team that could use a day not playing baseball or, more accurately, not attempting the kind of baseball-adjacent activities that have been inflicted on us the last three days.

Being glad your team isn’t playing when baseball just returned to being part of the daily routine? Yep. Like I said: pain.

8 comments to Baseball Is Pain

  • Seth

    I hope there doesn’t turn out to be an increase in injuries to pitchers due to the increased stress of being forced into a quicker rhythm – less time to recover between pitches.

  • Dave

    I already went into the season concerned that the Mets were trying to stretch “now” by one year too many with last year’s win now roster. This series didn’t exactly elevate my level of optimism.

    Also notable that today’s rain isn’t supposed to start in earnest until well after a 1pm game hastened by a pitch clock might be over. But I concur, in fact my initial reaction to the proactive rainout announcement was “good, they need to clear their heads.”

    Early season test, let’s see what this bunch is made of.

  • Rudin1113

    Already there are shades of the 1965 Yankees…at least that team was coming of five straight WS appearances. Then again, we’re 7 games in.

  • Blair M. Schirmer

    Well, for some kind of solace we have ‘You’re never as bad as you look when losing, never as good as when you win.’

    Still, this game was for everyone who said the Mets’ extra starters were good enough to start on most teams.

    They really, really, aren’t. Beware of MLB starters with no track record of sustained success above A ball. Both missed at least a year of work in the upper minors thanks to a paucity of MLB caliber pitching on the MLB Mets squad, and to the funky distortions of 2020. It shows.

    Plus, in the They have to be kidding us dept.: After the inevitable Tommy Hunter IL stint, the wrong half of the pen is now John Curtiss, Nogosek, Dennis Santana, and Denyi Reyes. Respectively, career, that’s 139 ip and a 5.02 ERA; 31.2ip, 4.55 ERA; 86.2 ip, 3.63; and 7.2 ip (and a 4.74 ERA in 240 AA and AAA innings.); totaling a lifetime -0.8 rWAR for this cohort.

    This is whom they had an entire offseason to find, and no apparent end of money to find it. That’s troubling, particularly as it’s consistent with Eppler’s biggest weakness with the Angels, and that Diaz and Octavino’s brilliance masked a lot of uncorrected weakness. Billy’s going to have to find real relief pitching at some point this season, but doesn’t appear to know how.

  • Daniel Hall

    On the plus side, we really wore out Bernie Brewer!

  • Dr. Lou Verardo

    Jason, I keep near me at all times a copy of your post (at 1:42 am on October 10, 2022) titled “Everything Ends”. It was relevant and comforting then, and it is so once again. Losing the way the team did definitely hurts, but it is a long season, it’s April, and these guys are resilient, so we as fans should share in that resilience.