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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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Penultimate Weekend Wrapup

The Mets lost, 5-2, at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night, completing a weekend in which there was a definitive milestone of futility planted every step along the way. Sunday’s wasn’t as momentous as clinching a losing record (Thursday), being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention (Friday) or assuring the 2023 Mets would drop further from their previous year’s record than any Mets team before them (Saturday), but by losing, the Mets did fall to 14 games under .500 for the first time this season. There are always new depths to plumb with this team.

• The Mets were swept four by the Phillies, who had plenty to play for and played like it. So much for the spoiler role fitting this team like one of Francisco Lindor’s designer gloves.

• Impromptu Sunday Night Baseball — a 6:05 PM start was set Saturday night when the Phillies realized the scheduled one o’clock first pitch did not mesh with the ominous forecast — isn’t such a bad proposition when ESPN isn’t involved. Good advance contingency thinking rather than telling the fans to come to the ballpark and wait and wait for a window.

• The Mets lost on Fox/Channel 9 Thursday night, Apple TV+ Friday night, SNY Saturday evening and PIX11 on Sunday night. Four consecutive losses in the same series on four different frequencies must be some kind of record, unless you listened on the radio, in which case it was a lot of same spit, different day.

Ronny Mauricio left the One Met Homer Only club, which is a fine club to join, but not so great a club to linger within. Mauricio exited by swatting for his second home run a Cristopher Sanchez pitch that was a little more than a foot off the ground when Ronny connected with it. It came down over the left field wall, 389 feet from home plate, having departed the young man’s lumber at a velocity of 112.9 MPH (which experts say is quite the thwack). A runner was on base at the time, the time being the top of the sixth inning. Up to that point, the Mets trailed, 5-0, indicating Mauricio was responsible for the entirety of his club’s offense.

• Sanchez went untouched by the Mets, except for that home run ball (which would have been a scorekeeping ball had Mauricio declined to swing, because it was barely off the ground). The Phillie starter lasted through seven, striking out ten, allowing only three hits and one walk. Jose Butto, on the other hand, took a step back from the progress he’d shown in recent outings. Only four innings for Jose, with four runs and four hits. Fours were not lucky in this case.

• Butto’s presence on the CBP mound had me thinking back to 2022, which is a dangerous exercise for anybody who’s been watching the Mets throughout 2023. Butto, called up to make his big league debut in Philly, started The Mark Canha Game, which became The Mark Canha Game (also The Nate Fisher Game) after Butto dug the Mets a relatively deep hole that cloudy Sunday, leaving the Mets down, 7-4 after four. Four wasn’t altogether unlucky in that case, as the Mets came back to win, 10-9. The 2022 Mets would forge that kind of comeback now and then. Those were the Damn Thing days, my friend…we thought they’d never end. Or at least go on for another year.

• Hello to Long Island’s Own Anthony Kay, the 1,218th Met overall and a fellow who can be said to have waited longer than most Mets to become Mets. We drafted him in 2013 (didn’t sign). We drafted him anew in 2016 (he did sign). We traded him in 2019 (for Marcus Stroman, who had one of those eventful Met tenures that a couple of years later doesn’t seem like it actually happened). We grabbed LIOAK back on waivers recently and called him up to fortify the bullpen from the left side, which he did with a scoreless inning-and-a-third Sunday. Who says you can’t go home again for the first time?

• So long to Peyton Battenfield, who was called up Friday to replace Jeff Brigham, yet was not afforded the opportunity to tell his friends and family that he was the 1,218th Met Overall. Buck Showalter, apparently, was not lovin’ a Battenfield. Peyton sat for two game and was optioned to Syracuse to make room for Kay. Given that the Triple-A season is over, that’s a pretty cold place to send somebody. And Syracuse gets pretty cold as is.

• Hi from across the field to brand new major leaguer Orion Kerkering, hot Phillies prospect who came into pitch the eighth and made three Mets batters appear totally ineffectual. I mean more than usual for this weekend. I wouldn’t normally get caught up in any opponent’s success at the expense of the Mets, especially not one who could be haunting us in the division for years to come, but a) Kerkering’s dad was caught on camera in absolute tears at the sight of his son’s debut; and b) Orion Kerkering is a USF Bull. Or was until he was drafted by the Phillies in 2022. I, too, was/am a USF Bull, albeit of a much earlier vintage. For one eighth inning on one Sunday night when the Mets were sleeping through their classes, I’ll give a Horns Up to the kid.

• Congratulations to my and Orion Kerkering’s USF Bulls for beating the Rice Owls, 42-29 in Saturday’s college gridiron action. Our USF Bulls haven’t made a habit of winning at football lately. Given that the Mets couldn’t take even one of four games from the Phillies; and that neither the Giants nor Jets could succeed between Thursday night and Sunday afternoon; and that even the formidable ladies of the Liberty were pretty much trounced in their WNBA semifinal playoff game, I need to bask in whatever victory I can find. Orion Kerkering and I are thus stoked about our Bulls boiling Rice.

• Happy Elimination Day, which arrived a couple of hours before Kol Nidre services, to all who observe. Like the Mets’ lack of postseason plans, the Yankees’ absence from October had been a virtually sure thing for months, but why let a festive annual occasion, however low-key it may feel this fall, pass without acknowledging its blessed nature? Good luck to every remaining American League Wild Card contender. Each of you is a winner in my eyes.

• Back on our going-nowhere end of town, six games remain, all at home. That’s 54 innings of Mets baseball, give or take, until there are none. I’ll probably need another week to get altogether melancholic about that. Spoilerwise, the Mets can still debone the Marlins a bit. The Phillies should have the NL’s four-seed locked down by next weekend. Honestly, the implications are light. Barring rain that can’t be worked around, the 2023 Mets can win as many as 77 games once over is over, or lose as many as 91. There is no good won-lost record at the end of this rainbow. There will be goodbye, though. Some years, that is for the best.

10 comments to Penultimate Weekend Wrapup

  • eric1973

    Happy Elimination Day to the Yankees!
    Always a jubilant occasion!

  • Seth

    Well, it looks like the Mets will swing at anything, just to get the hell out of the stadium, and the season. I’m shocked that they just decided to mail it in for the final 10 games.

  • Joe D

    eric1973 has already locked up the Rheingold Comment of the Day for his most salient observation above…

    Historically, for me, when our own fortunes have inevitably run amuck, any type of Yankees hardship always restores at least a bit of balance to my universe.

    Misery loves company? 100%

  • Bob

    Maybe the last 6 games Mets have will be rained out.
    Small comfort about team in Bronx not making post-season also.
    All we have left is– Wait till next year!

  • Eric

    Watching the Phillies sweep, it sucks remembering the Mets dominated the often hapless-looking Phillies last year when the Phillies barely squeezed into the playoffs. And now they’re looking forward to defending their league championship.

    The sweep placing the Phillies on the verge of clinching a wildcard tarnished the spoiler role, but I hope it’s back up by tomorrow. Depending on what happens with the Diamondbacks, Cubs, and even the Reds, the Mets can be instrumental eliminating the Marlins. Or at least placing the Marlins on the verge of elimination. I don’t want the Mets to be instrumental the other way as a stepping stone for the Marlins taking hold of a wildcard, like the Mets just were for the Phillies.

    In the other wildcard race, big start by Verlander tonight for those of us who speculate the ‘what if’ of standing pat at the trade deadline. If the Mets had stood pat and subsequently caught up in the wildcard race, the stakes for Verlander’s start against the Mariners might well approximate the hypothetical stakes for his ‘what if’ starts in these Phillies and Marlins series.

    Peyton Battenfield and Orion Kerkering are 1980s baseball video game names. I didn’t realize Battenfield was activated until he was sent down. I’m surprised he didn’t get a look. How many up and coming Mets prospects are throwing high 90s and wipeout sliders?

    I’m glad Anthony Kay got a look. I’m partial to giving a chance to homegrown Mets, including ones that were sent away and have returned home.

    Quintana and then Butto being hit by a contender after they had pitched well recently was disappointing in terms of looking ahead to next year.

    Mauricio’s home run reminded me of classic Vladimir Guerrero, Sr. If he can consistently destroy pitches out of the strike zone like Guerrero used to, I’m okay with Mauricio reaching for those pitches. Contrast to Alonso, who smashes, but looks bad whiffing when he swings at pitches out of the zone.

    As far as the Yankees, their elimination had been expected for a while. The Yankees finishing under .500 would be more impressive.

  • Was Proxy

    Great read, and then you turned it up to 11 with the Pat Benatar reference. Well done!

  • Curt Emanuel

    Ugh. My last remaining point of interest was seeing if we could screw up Philly’s season.

    Instead we rolled over and played, well, mostly dead. Where’s Miracle Max when you need him?

    Messing with Miami’s year doesn’t have the same appeal though if it could get Cincy in I’d be marginally interested. All that’s left is individual #’s. Can Pete Alonzo finish with a sub-.200 average? Can we set the record for blown saves in a season? (no idea but surely this must be within reach, or at least leads lost after the 6th inning). Can Alvarez, Baty, Mauricio and Vientos all blow out knees on a pop fly collision which simultaneously makes Kodai Senga’s right arm fall off?

  • Eric

    The Mets-West Giants were eliminated by Seth Lugo last night.

    • Eric

      Besides tripping up the Marlins for historical payback, tonight I’m looking for Senga to finish his season with an ERA under 3.00 and Ks at 200-plus. There aren’t any 2023 Mets individual achievements of note after that, and there’s no spoiling the Phillies in the season-ending series. Eyeing the 200-plus strikeout goal in particular, after Senga’s last start, I was disappointed that Buck announced Senga’s final start of the season would be on the 27th rather than a penultimate start on the 26th and season-ending start on October 1st. As it turns out with the rainout (sort of) yesterday, Senga’s final start of 2023 would have been tonight anyway, assuming he would not have gone out on short rest on the last day of the season regardless.