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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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All of a Sudden, Low Expectations

I know nobody wants to hear it, but Justin Verlander didn’t pitch that badly.

Even I don’t particularly want to hear it. I’m up in New England, running around doing nonsense, and so on Thursday afternoon I got MLB At Bat fired up a little late and this was more or less my reaction: Waitaminute, 2-0 already? Back-to-back homers? Ya gotta be kidding me. 

I was stewing. You were stewing. Verlander, one presumes, was stewing. (Hey, at least I got to recap a game — my last three had been rained out, which I’m pretty sure is a Faith & Fear record.)

Nothing bad happened after that — in fact, a lot of good happened, and you don’t even need to squint to see it that way. Verlander was throwing 95/96, unlike his fellow former Tiger Max Scherzer, now officially the subject of worries. He worked out of a couple of jams by throwing hard and throwing smart in equal measure. He seemed physically sound. All to the good, particularly given the perilous state of the Mets’ rotation.

What wasn’t good was that the Mets were all but helpless against Eduardo Rodriguez — I’d make a cheap “who the heck is Eduardo Rodriguez?” crack except off the top of my head my list of Tigers would be a) Javier Baez, from whose bat an excess was heard this week; b) the decaying corpse of Miguel Cabrera; and c) uhhhhh. Well, the jokes on us — that collection of no-names just swept the Mets behind a comeback, a bludgeoning and a tight game that never felt tight. On Thursday the Mets never had a runner reach second — Tommy Pham and Brandon Nimmo were thrown out attempting to achieve this modest feat, with Nimmo’s erasure coming, for some unfathomable reason, in the ninth with Starling Marte as the tying run. (Buck Showalter likened the decision to a guy trying to make a 30-foot jumper, and I can’t improve on that.)

The Mets are now 16-16, and their mediocrity understates what a confounding season it’s been. The team either looks unbeatable or inept, with little in between, and the best description of that I can think of is “exhausting.”

There’s hope, of course — only the terminally cynical or conspicuously unserious write off a team before Mother’s Day — but at least for me, even that hope comes with a side of disgruntlement. The Mets’ biggest reason for hope is of course the fact that there are now 22* wild cards in addition to playoff spots obtained more or less honestly, which means all manner of flawed teams will make the playoffs and then hope, perfectly reasonably, to ride a handful of small-sample-size coin flips to a title.

We’re a flawed team, but probably not one so flawed it can’t clear that middling bar. The question that’s creeped into my head of late, whispering in a voice I don’t like but haven’t been able to silence, is how much of an accomplishment that actually is.

* This number may be incorrect, but ask me if I give a fuck.

4 comments to All of a Sudden, Low Expectations

  • Curt Emanuel

    Been on the road so I haven’t seen a game since the end of the Braves doubleheader – and none of the results have inspired me to sit through 3 hours of replays. (Why does leave the blank commercial break window up? can’t they delete that?)

    Only reason I can see for Nimmo taking that base is, since the run didn’t matter anyway, figuring it wouldn’t draw a throw. Except THAT run was meaningless but made the batter meaningful.

    As a Mets fan I’ve never had to deal with having the most expensive team in baseball and sucking anyway. We’ve always sucked honestly by being cheap as f$&!. The old response when someone says we suck of, “At least we didn’t buy our team like the Yankees” doesn’t work any more.

  • mikeski

    Why does leave the blank commercial break window up? can’t they delete that?

    They should show Morganna highlights.

  • Seth

    The app has improved a lot in the past few years. Unlike the Mets, who seem to be headed in the wrong direction. I understand that streaks are a part of baseball, but while the Mets are playing as bad as they look, they’re getting buried in the division.

  • Bob

    Flushing-We have a problem.
    Message to NL-East from Mets–Lookout below—SPLAT!


    Let’s Go Mets!