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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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They’re Better, You Bet

SNY spotlighted a clubhouse interview after Wednesday night’s game as if it was news. Francisco Lindor said the Braves were better than the Mets. This is news in the sense that this just in: Studies Show Pleasure Preferable to Pain.

What’s the scoop here? That one of the Mets’ leading players recognized that the team that beat his 10 of 13 times in 2023 and leads his by 24 games in the standings might maintain an edge by way of head-to-head comparison? I watched all 13 Mets-Braves games this year. I’m still wondering how we won three of them.

Since Atlanta moved to the National League East in 1994, they have finished with a lesser record than New York exactly five times: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2015 and 2016. Twice the two clubs tied: 2014 and 2022, although the latter tie isn’t really recognized as such. Once 2023 is over, the Braves will be 23-5-2 in this regard, though I doubt they spend a lot of time regarding themselves vis-à-vis the Mets. Conversely, when Steve Cohen bought the franchise and pointed to the Dodgers as his role model for consistency, perhaps he should have stayed within the division for aspiration. Atlanta is about to win its sixth consecutive NL East title and 18th overall…and they didn’t even arrive here until 25 years after the division was founded.

That’s a great team over there and this one over here is not. Of the ten Met losses to the Braves this season, Tuesday night’s 3-2 would-be heartbreaker (had we any heart left to break) was an exception in that it felt like it just got away or was there for the Mets’ taking. I know there were a few other close ones when the season was younger and not so obviously over, yet I was almost always permeated by the sense that the Braves were going to come along and grab them — including that dizzying night in June when the Mets took or increased a lead in five separate innings yet the game ended 13-10 in the Braves’ favor — because that’s what that team does. They’re talented, they’re deep, they’re relentless and they expect to win games. It’s what they do, it’s who they are.

Wednesday’s adios to Atlanta was close until it wasn’t, which is another hallmark of Mets-Braves games. Jose Quintana struggled somewhat but kept the Mets in it until he couldn’t and they weren’t. The Mets did next to nothing against Charlie Morton, a veteran I never realize is as grizzled as he is. You couldn’t tell from his pitching. The 39-year-old (who relieved for the Braves in a September game the Mets really had to have in 2008) struck out eleven over seven innings and would have had a no-hitter going if not for the double stylings of DJ Stewart. His two two-base hits and continued hot hitting burnished one of the legit feelgood stories of the dog days of August, though it felt less good when DJ stumbled after the first of them while taking a subsequent lead and got picked off second by catcher Sean Murphy.

That was in the fifth, when the score was only 1-0, Braves. By the end of the sixth, it was 5-0, Braves. Marcell Ozuna, who had a Troy Tulowitzki of a series, did damage. So did Murphy. So did pretty much every Brave. The final wound up 7-0, but the vibe was very much 21-3 from two weekends ago at Citi Field. These Braves may not score plenty early, but they score frequently eventually. One saving grace is they were ahead by enough and perhaps bored enough to go down in order in the eighth inning, which meant Sean Reid-Foley could claim a successful comeback from Tommy John surgery. Reid-Foley last pitched in the majors sixteen months ago, when the Braves were four-time defending NL East champions. Perhaps it was comforting for Sean to know, that for all he’s gone through in terms of rehabilitation and for all the new rules that have been codified within the sport in his absence, some things about baseball never change.

A new episode of National League Town is on tap. Fill your mug and enjoy!

8 comments to They’re Better, You Bet

  • Joe D

    eric1973, you have astutely made me see the dim reality of the foreseeable future for our New York Metropolitans ballclub.

    Yes, our owner invested mightily with his creation of “The Steve Cohen Supplemental Draft” (as coined by Greg).

    Yes, they greatly bolstered a farm system that was more than a few quarts low on depth.

    But with the flurry of all the deadline moves that were made, management ultimately failed us all by not finding a taker for Gary Cohen.

    I’m sure the Mets dialed up the Reds and asked what kind of Cohen+ package it would take to get eric1973’s hero, play-by-player John Sadak. Presumably after a great long belly-laugh, Cincinnati shut the talk down, snapping:

    “Gary Cohen is still a horrible unprofessional broadcaster! Are you out of your minds?”

    Damn it eric, those Reds had done their homework and read all of your scouting reports on Gary, so we had zero chance of dumping him. Now we’re stuck. How depressing…

  • Seth

    Imagine how different the history of the 1980’s Mets might have been if the Braves (a mediocre team in the 80’s) had been in the East division and the Cardinals (a championship team in the 80’s) had been in the West (which geographically would have made more sense). It’s one of the great injustices of baseball that the Braves got moved to the East just when they became a generational team.

  • Joey G

    Wasn’t it heartwarming to see Marcell Ozuna have a great series? Always nice when good things happen to good people. Anyway, really nothing to see here for the duration other than the Bartolo retirement game and some Ohtani sightings this weekend. Perhaps Mauricio will emerge from witness protection before long, and maybe we can find a relief pitcher or two between Reid-Foley and Coonrod. If you are looking for topics in what portends to be a very Grant’s Tomb like September, may I suggest:

    (1) A Bruce Boisclair retrospective.
    (2) A critical evaluation of former catchers who managed the Mets – Westrum/Berra/Torre/Torborg.
    (3) Why Whitey Herzog’s departure in ’72 was to the focal point in time which led to the demise of the Mets in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
    (4) Our Love/Hate relationship with one David Arthur Kingman.
    (5) A daily recap of the best seven-week period in Mets history, which began with a 1-0 Kooz win over the Giants on this date exactly 50 years ago in 1973.

  • Joe D

    I’m always be game for a Bruce Boisclair retrospective! As a kid, for no sane reason, he was one of my favorites from that late-70’s clunker era!

  • eric1973

    I don’t care if we do finish last, as long as the Yankees keep losing these heartbreakers like they did today.

    Joe D, that is the f’in funniest thing I ever read! The John Sadak reference had me dying! In the late 70’s, we were leaving a rain-shortened Met loss to Montreal, and got lost around Main Street. So we pulled over to ask a guy in a van for directions, and it was Bruce Boisclair! I wrote it on my ticket at the time, on June 21, 1978. It was a Dairylea game. I always liked him, too.

    And I loved Dave Kingman, too. The way the Mets are retiring numbers these days, maybe ole number 26 is next.

    Straw and Doc and Keith should instead go into the Underachievers Hall of Fame. Wearing a Mets cap, of course!

    Joey G, Go into Len Firman’s website (no, not Len Berman) that Greg turned us onto, where every day is 1973!

  • Joe D

    I used to work in the accounting department for a big insurance company. Back in the mid-90’s, e-mail hadn’t yet taken over as the main inter-office communication medium. Therefore, using Word, we still laser-printed the original memo and any cc copies and sent them out ourselves via the old large yellow reusable inter-office mail envelopes.

    Anyway, I had a buddy in underwriting named Mike, a hard-core Met guy like myself. At some point I started adding obscure Mets to the cc list at the bottom of my memos. The first one was a memo to Mike, probably about a billing issue or something on one one of his accounts. I cc’d an accounting manager, someone in collections, and of course, Bruce Boisclair.

    Although the other 2 recipients probably paid little attention to the name at the bottom they didn’t recognize (Hmm, Bruce… maybe a new guy?), Mike called me when he got his copy, laughing his ass off — said he was having a shit day until then.

    The power of Bruce Boisclair.

  • Joe D


    eric1973, your comment made me look up the box from 1978. Rain-shortened indeed, Boisclair was in the lineup, went 0-3 before Torre double-switched him out for Tom Grieve! Steve Rogers besting the tough-luck Mike Bruhert! Mets falling to 30-39! Glory days!

  • eric1973

    Joe D, I worked at an ad agency around the time you mentioned, and we used to have to write letters or use fax machines to request client invoices. And I sat in a cube with a guy, and we had to take turns using our one computer.

    BTW, I wrote on my ticket that Boisclair struck out with the bases loaded. And I think 1978 was the year we led the league in Hendersons (Steve and Ken).