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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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The Blame Game

A habit I’m trying to break as a baseball fan is the assigning of blame. If the Mets don’t win – even a stripped-down, playing-out-the-string version of the Mets – it can’t be that the other team won or something went wrong or an unlucky event occurred. No, it has to be someone’s fault.

For instance: Grant Hartwig hung a pitch to Jonathan India, who hit it over the fence, and the Mets lost. That practically has the elegance of a mathematical proof, and hey, it isn’t wrong. I could write that and then follow it up with a lot of grousing about Hartwig, which would probably open the door to complaining about Trevor Gott and Drew Smith as well. If particularly exercised, I might go on to note that David Robertson hasn’t exactly been lights out down in Miami, turning the recap into a lamentation about relievers in general. Note the presence of Alexis Diaz closing the game for Cincinnati while Edwin Diaz watched from the Mets’ dugout and we’d have a full circle of misfortune, regret and simmering annoyance.

And again, none of this would be wrong.

Just maybe … incomplete? Too easy? Pointless?

Buck Showalter was even-keeled when asked about Hartwig after the game, a stance that was probably wise even if it is his job. He noted that Hartwig has had some success and some lack of success and is working on things, learning at a level where he’s never been before. Which isn’t as satisfying as angry postgame lamentations about relief, but also isn’t wrong.

Hartwig relieved David Peterson, another guy whose had some success and some lack of success and is working on things. For Peterson it’s been his slider, which was sharp against the Reds on Friday night. That alone wasn’t enough to get Peterson a win, let alone put his promising turned puzzling career back on track, but Peterson’s quietly been pretty good since rejoining the rotation. And what are 2023’s dregs for, if not Peterson locking down that slider and learning (or relearning) how to make his other pitches work in conjunction with it?

The Mets got even after Peterson fell behind thanks to a three-run bolt from Pete Alonso off the hulking Cincy starter Hunter Greene, one of those homers that’s so immediately and obvious gone that you just beam at the TV and wonder what it must be like to be able to do that. Alas, it was all the offense the Mets could muster, despite a string of pretty good at-bats for garbage time.

The Mets made some mistakes – in the field, and most glaringly with Hartwig’s pitch location against India. They did some good things too. The Reds made fewer mistakes and did more good things. Maybe that will suffice, and the blame game can wait for another day.

4 comments to The Blame Game

  • Curt Emanuel

    After two consecutive very well played games last night was a reminder that we’re just a mediocre team. We didn’t play terrible but not well either. And bringing in anyone but Ottavino from the bullpen gives me a queasy feeling. Anything could happen.

    That’s OK. Last night’s game didn’t matter. The next two games don’t matter. But the last 13?

    Wouldn’t break my heart to mess up the Marlins’ season. But I REALLY want to destroy the Phillies. Like knock them out of the playoffs with 7 wins destruction.

    Not that this will make up for this dog’s breakfast of a season but it would make a nice consolation prize.

  • eric1973

    If one is to assume that Robertson would have flamed out if he had stayed with us, and that Scherzer, who had found himself with Texas, would have hurt his arm if he had stayed with us, then it would follow that Diaz would have hurt his leg anyway, even if he would have stayed with us.

    In reality, you cannot assume any of those 3 things would or would not have happened.

    And to stay on topic, the calmness and measured tones of a Buck Showalter is never as much fun as angrily blaming someone from the couch.

  • Eric

    Only 15 games left in the season. I wish there were more.

    Comforting is the word for me in regards to “I might go on to note that David Robertson hasn’t exactly been lights out down in Miami, turning the recap into a lamentation about relievers in general” and “The Mets made some mistakes – in the field…”.

    My takeaway from events since the trade deadline is the Mets likely wouldn’t have made a run to the 3rd wildcard if they had stood pat at the trade deadline and are better off having come away with a handful of legitimate prospects and giving more playing time to the Baby Mets. That’s comforting.

    If the Mets had stood pat at the trade deadline, this would have been the middle relief corps, more or less. They would have carried the same load, more or less. And they likely would have cost the Mets games in the same way. Even if fewer blown games, likely still enough to cost the Mets the 3rd wildcard with much frustration for us. Robertson hasn’t worked out for the Marlins. Verlander has given the Astros just about what he gave to the Mets post-injury: a solid 2 or 3, but not a 1. Scherzer was up and down as a Ranger with chronic injuries and blew a big start, much like he was and did as a Met. The Mets got a prospect for Leone and the Angels waived him. Pham and Canha have played well for their contending teams, but not better than their replacement, Stewart.

    While I root for the Mets to play spoiler, the Mets’ future is the priority, so I’m okay with the Mauricio error that came with him learning 3B. Neither Baty nor Vientos has staked their claim to 3B. Even if one of them does, Guillorme or McNeil-like position versatility is a good skill for the promising rookie to learn with Lindor entrenched at SS. In this case, an educational error by Mauricio is better for the team than professional defense at 3B by Arauz (or Escobar, who hasn’t helped the Angels).