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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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While the Getting’s Not So Good

These first-place New York Mets keep building on what they’ve accomplished. They’ve been doing it from Day One of this season. They’re still doing it. They have to keep doing it, not only because the second-place Atlanta Braves, currently three games behind us, are as formidable an opponent as the 1984 Cubs or 2022 Yankees, but because there’s little chance somebody will stand before a throng of Mets fans 38 years from now and wax rhapsodically about the 2022 Mets who showed what a group of talented athletes — some if not all young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed — they were unless there’s a payoff in October.
—from Faith and Fear in Flushing’s report on the 98th game of the 2022 New York Mets season

The Mets won their rain-interrupted Friday game on Saturday afternoon before losing their meteorologically copasetic Saturday night game, which was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, except it had to be pushed back in deference to completing the suspended Friday contest that would have been a washout under previous rules because it hadn’t gone at least four-and-a-half innings with the home team ahead, or five innings either way, thus Fenway Park wound up hosting a Saturday day-night doubleheader between the Mets and the Red Sox that wasn’t really a day-night doubleheader, except two different games were contested and resolved, one in the day and one in the night, and they were split.

Got that?

Through 98 games of the 2022 season, the Mets carried a record of 61-37. Through 98 games of the 2023 season, the Mets carry a record of 46-52. That’s 15 games worse. The only other time the Mets were as many as 15 games worse through 98 games versus the year before was the not so sainted year of 1993: 33-65, down from 48-50 in 1992, a season never to be confused with 2022, which, for all the carping it eventually inspired en route to a frustrating second-place finish and premature playoff exit, included 101 wins, a total we are 10 Met losses from guaranteeing we won’t see in 2023.

Got that?

Despite the Saturday night loss at Fenway, the Mets came away with the evening’s most shareable highlight when, in the fourth inning, Francisco Lindor singled, Pete Alonso doubled, and Jeff McNeil delivered everybody’s favorite kind of clip, the Little League Home Run. Technically, McNeil singled and took second on the futile throw home that didn’t nail Alonso. Alertly, Red Sox catcher Jorge Alfaro threw to second to try to get McNeil taking that extra base. Well, not so much to second, and not really toward second. That sucker sailed like it had eyes on the America’s Cup. Off to deepest center field it bounced, and around the bases our Squirrel flew. WHEEEE!!!! FOUR BASES!!!! Three runs, too, for a regrettably short-lived 3-2 Mets lead. Yet the real excitement came in realizing what we had just seen before seeing Jeff cross the plate. Lindor, Alonso and McNeil had all gotten hits in the same inning. When, I wondered, had that last happened? I had to look it up. This was Game 98 of 2023. It had last happened in Game 87 of 2023, July 6 at Arizona. Far more telling was learning the game of July 6 — 16 days before the second-ish game of July 22 — didn’t just contain the previous inning in which arguably the three mainstays of the Met lineup had gotten hits in the same inning; July 6 had been the last time Lindor, Alonso and McNeil had all gotten hits in the same game.

You get that, and you get a sense of why the New York Mets of 2023 are not just worse, but historically worse than the New York Mets of 2022.

That and Max Scherzer giving up four home runs and it not seeming all that surprising. A person didn’t have to look up the last time Max did that. It’s ingrained in the Mets fan memory that it came in the first game of the 2022 National League Wild Card Series, a round the Mets wouldn’t have been playing in had the Mets won 102 games, which, in retrospect, feels like a greedy ask, considering the Mets will likely fall dozens of bricks shy of their 2022 load of 101 in 2023, though, at the time, just beat the Braves once on that final weekend and you’re not playing the Padres, and no matter what happens in the playoffs, we’ve at least got a divisional flag for our collection. Except Scherzer (like deGrom and Bassitt and the offense) weren’t up to the task, and so try again to beam with pride that the Mets got anything at all for their 101 wins a season ago.

Anyway, Max gave up four home runs at Fenway, and the bullpen as a whole wasn’t as effective in keeping the game close on Saturday night as it had been in protecting Friday’s rainy lead on Saturday afternoon, which turned out to be a shame, considering the Mets roared back from a great distance in the ninth inning on Saturday night, cutting Boston’s sure-thing lead from 8-3 to a throat-clearing, collar-tugging, Dunkin’-spilling 8-6, and had the tying run at the plate with two out. The batter representing said run was Daniel Vogelbach, who had homered before Friday night became Saturday afternoon, providing the margin of 5-4 victory, and a similar swing might have catapulted either the Mets or Vogelbach’s trade value who knows where? Maybe as high as when the 2022 Mets traded for him? Except Vogelbach popped out, and the not-quite-doubleheader fell short of a sweep, and the Mets have to sweep most every game they play if we wish to kid ourselves a little that they’re playing for stakes beyond the mundane…though the mundane has its moments. By that, I mean DJ Stewart laid down a beauty of a drag bunt for a single in the top of the ninth on Saturday afternoon. It didn’t lead anywhere in terms of insurance runs, and it didn’t go viral like McNeil’s Little League Home Run, but it surprised the defense; it moved Mark Canha up to second; it put Stewart on first; it was Fenway Park in daylight; and it wasn’t raining. Sometimes you watch baseball to see things like that and hope for the best.

Sometimes you get what you get. This year, we’re getting the 2023 Mets.

2 comments to While the Getting’s Not So Good

  • K.Lastima

    Why Danny Mendick and not Mauricio ?!? . . . It’s like the Wilpons are still running things . . . maddening!

    • Stopgap fill-in for Guillorme doesn’t strike me as that bad a callup. If Mauricio isn’t here by early August, pending Pham and any other activity, then I have to wonder.