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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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You Can Almost Admire It

It wasn’t raining Tuesday night. The problem was one of tenses — not what was happening weather-wise but what had happened. It wasn’t raining, but it had rained. Considerably. Considerably as in “enough that they give the concentration of rain a proper name and track it over the ocean like it’s an invasion fleet.”

An amount of rain, in other words, that might make you cover an infield.

The grass-mowing, sod-tending members of the Mets didn’t do that while the bat-swinging, error-making members of the Mets were losing games in Philadelphia. Why? Beats me. The reason hasn’t been made clear, perhaps because it can’t be made clear. I’m neither a meteorologist nor a groundskeeper, but it seems to me that the presence of a tropical storm suggests a tarp be deployed.

No rain Tuesday, no game Tuesday. The field was unplayable, the Marlins’ reaction was unprintable, and I can’t say I blame them. If Francisco Lindor had offered the Marlins a jaunty “let’s play two” on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, one of them might have punched him in the face, and I wouldn’t really have been able to say I blamed them for that either. The Marlins are scratching and clawing for a postseason berth; any scratching and clawing done by the Mets makes you back away worrying about fleas.

Despite their wrath, the Marlins didn’t exactly come blazing out of the gate Wednesday afternoon. Pete Alonso homered and Lindor homered and Mark Vientos homered and Joey Lucchesi motored through the Miami lineup. You could see when the Marlins quit in that first game — Jorge Soler showed no particular interest in participating while in right field, which means the Little League remedy for such aptitude was already unavailable — and I wondered if they’d bring anything to the fight in the nightcap.

But they did: The Mets bent Johnny Cueto, as Lindor hit his third home run of the day and joined the 30-30 club, but couldn’t break him. Meanwhile, Kodai Senga struck out his 200th guy in his season finale, but also gave up a pair of homers, resulting in a stalemate.

The second game looked like it was going to turn when Jake Burger was at the plate with the bases loaded, two out and the score tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh, facing a rather shaky looking Phil Bickford. But Burger had to deal not only with Bickford but also with home-plate umpire Ramon De Jesus, whose strike zone was the kind of abstract art that makes you sniff that “my kid could do that.” (And if you’re right in that appraisal, please discourage your kid from both art school and umpire school.) De Jesus punched Burger out on a pitch that was clearly outside, then ejected Burger when he slammed down his helmet in thoroughly understandable disgust, tossing Skip Schumaker for good measure when the Marlins skipper came out to remind De Jesus that no one came to Citi Field to watch him.

That substitution looked fateful two innings later, when Adam Ottavino loaded the bases with nobody out (sigh) and found himself facing not Burger but Yuli Gurriel. (If I weren’t too tired, I’d try for a Hamburger Helper joke here. Let’s just pretend I did and it was funny.) Gurriel smacked an Ottavino sweeper right at Brett Baty, and all Baty had to do next was throw the ball home and watch Omar Narvaez step on the plate and then watch him heave the ball to Alonso at first, which would turn the inning around, and then…

…except Baty did what I just did. He tried to make the throw before he caught the ball and … oof. It’s been that kind of year for the kid.

Baty turned two outs into none, it was quickly 4-2 in favor of the finny visitors, and soon after that the Mets were done and the Marlins had not only survived but also pulled into a tie for the last wild-card spot. A split — which, if you think about it, wasn’t bad for a day’s work, as it required beating the Mets (well, once at least), the Mets’ groundskeepers, bad umpiring, a tropical storm and some measure of unkind fate.

You could almost admire it … well, if it weren’t the Marlins we’re talking about.

18 comments to You Can Almost Admire It

  • eric1973

    Senga really did himself proud, getting the 6 K’s for 200, and then getting 2 more. Great job, and a great signing, Billy.

    Very amusing to see Gary Cohen blow the HR call that wasn’t, with Alonso’s at-bat. If he wasn’t fooling around and playing the clown the past few years, maybe he would have gotten it right.

    He’s just a Kay-Rod wannabe. Really pathetic and sad what he has become.

  • K. Lastima

    So Lindor joined the 30-30 club … of course he did, another milestone for the consummate compiler

  • open the gates

    The fat lady is doing her vocal exercises. Just waiting for the postseason firings now. This wasn’t supposed to happen again.

  • Seth

    What an org – even the grounds crew is incompetent.

  • Curt Emanuel

    I’ll just mention that if you cover turf with a tarp for too long it gets smothered and dies.

    I do not know what “too long” is. Under a full sun not long but not sure here. Other ground crews seem not to have done this.

    As for the games, “meh.” Nice that Alonzo finally hit but it doesn’t really matter. Lindor hitting #30 and Senga striking out #200 mean marginally more. I suppose he may get an extra ROY and CYA vote or two for that.

  • Seth

    The thing that bugs me about SNY is that they don’t seem very good at reading the room. Do they not realize that gushing and showing graphics about how fantastic Zack Wheeler has been for the Phillies (a Mets divisional rival) might be somewhat and slightly painful for Mets fans? Do we really need to be reminded how great the Braves are, and how they’ve steamrolled the Mets for 32 years? There’s a difference between objectivity and rubbing feces in my face.

  • Nick D

    Honestly – what do we have in Baty? He’s got such a good looking swing when he connects, and he absolutely *seems* like he ought to be great. But he isn’t. Will he ever be? Is this Mike Schmidt hitting .196 in his rookie year – or Roy Staiger?

  • eric1973

    Escobar could not hit a lick, but no matter how bad he hit, he speared every single ground ball in his vicinity and always made the plays, no matter what bases were occupied, tie score, up by one, bases loaded, etc., anything and everything, and many many times left me feeling speechless AND lucky.

    Sure, I wanted him traded, too, to make room for Baty, but I’m not sure he’s learned anything in his trip to the minors. Certainly not how to field a ground ball with the tying or winning run on 3B.

    Has Vientos passed Baty on the depth chart?
    Will Alvarez ever get another hit again?
    Will Mauricio finish the season above .220?

    Those questions and more, on the next edition of “MetSoap.”

  • eric1973

    Roy Staiger!
    Man, he and the late Brock Pemberton were supposed to light up the world!

    Joe Frazier told me in the Mets parking lot at Shea in 1976 that Pemberton was going to be a good one. Then I got Frasier’s autograph.

  • eric1973

    Steve Cohen heard there was a 12% chance of rain, so he ordered the tarp to NOT be put on the field.

    After all, you can’t base a weather report on hope.

  • Eric

    The soggy field rainout was odd. Has there never been prolonged rain at home during a road trip before? It’s a 2nd rate look for the Mets organization. Lucky for the Marlins, the Cubs are losing, and the Marlins hold that tiebreaker.

    I was thrilled by Senga’s 200th strikeout, appreciating that it was the last Mets achievement to root for in 2023. He struck out 3 Marlins in his prior start, so it was no given he’d get 6 off the Marlins this time. He got 6 plus 2 for good measure. I would rather his ERA not have inched up to 2.98 but the important thing is that it didn’t rise to 3.00. Senga pitched well yet had to fight to finish 5 innings, which reminded that the Mets need to remake the bullpen. Diaz returning isn’t enough.

    I’m disappointed that none of the baby Mets have established themselves. Ugly swing and misses by Alvarez, ugly error by Baty. They’ve shown flashes, though.

    I’m impressed that the Orioles have hung onto 1st place against a dogged chase by the Rays all year, which the Mets failed to do last year against the Braves. I’m also impressed that entering game 159, the Padres still haven’t been eliminated.

  • Cobra Joe

    Roy Staiger and the late Brick Pemberton, great Met prospect names from the past! I still have my 1974 New York Mets Yearbook with a page in it featuring: “Young Men With A Future,” including Rich Puig, Lute Barnes, Greg Harts, Steve Simpson, Tommy Moore, Brian Ostrosser,, Randy Sterling (no relation to John) and Bruce Boisclair. Where are they now?

  • eric1973

    Cobra Joe, all those ’70’s Yearbooks are Classics.

  • Cobra Joe

    Eric1973, That 1974 New York Mets Yearbook went for .75 cents. I believe that the 2023 New York Mets Yearbook goes for at least $13.50. Talk about inflation!

  • eric1973

    Cobra Joe, I have not even bought the yearbook for the past 5 years. It’s just a big fat waste of time packed with 90% ads.

    If you look at the 1973 team picture, the revised edition shows an orange banner, which blocks out 4 players from the original picture, including Fregosi and Hennigan, moving 2 of them around.

    Pretty good piece of artwork trickery, and this is before AI.

  • Cobra Joe


    I remember listening to John Sterling on WMCA on the day that the Mets traded young pitchers Brent Strom and Bob Rauch to the then-Cleveland Indians for relief pitcher Phil Hennigan. John Sterling opined that Hennigan wasn’t very good. However, Yankee coach Elston Howard happened to call in to John Sterling’s show and disagreed with John Sterling, saying that Hennigan had pitched very well against the Yankees during the previous season.

    Needless to say, the long time New York Yankee announcer was not about to disagree with Yankee great, Elston Howard.

  • eric1973

    Ah, found both team pictures on the internet.

    Jerry May, Gosger, Hennigan, and Fregosi were standing next to each other in the original, and in the revised picture, are eliminated by the orange 1973 Championship banner. Hahn and Beauchamp are moved from the center of the picture, to the left, in order to make room for the banner.

    Since the 4 were next to each other, it probably made the change much easier.

  • eric1973

    Hennigan gave up Garr’s inside the park HR when Hahn and The Stork collided, and that was the last game of his MLB career.