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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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It's Not Going Well

Believe it or not, the Mets did some good things on Saturday afternoon before decidedly not good things started happening.

Mark Vientos collected a pair of hits, drove in a run and played the kind of defense I didn’t think he could play. J.D. Martinez once again looked like he’s shedding the rust of his late start. The recently somnambulant bats of Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil were heard from. Even Tomas Nido made some noise at the plate.

And since I’m in the habit of sneering and/or snarling at the Marlins when the slightest opportunity presents itself, a tip of the sartorial hat to Miami’s City Connects. The Sugar Kings alts aren’t just a good City Connect uniform — they’re a good uniform period. Better, in fact, than anything the Marlins have sported in their aesthetically misbegotten existence. It’s a pleasure to see them, even when those wearing them are doing horrible things to the Mets.

Which they did. Oh boy did they ever.

This one had the feeling of a New Soilmaster disaster when the Mets failed to put the hammer down in the first, again when they let the Marlins creep back into it against Luis Severino, and — sad to say — when Edwin Diaz warmed up with only a four-run lead. Yes, you read that right, and yes, I thought that.

I’ll spare you the particulars because I don’t want to relive them, and the historical record will just have to be the poorer. Suffice to say that Diaz is a walking disaster right now: not enough life on the fastball, slider out to perform sabotage, the pitch clock in his head and zero confidence in his pitches.

This is 2019 all over again, except this time it’s even crueler. Then, we didn’t know Diaz and reacted to his failures with the visceral distemper of a shopper sold bum goods with a forged warranty. The first time around Diaz, to his immense credit, somehow gave a doomed New York sports story an unlikely second chapter, in which he was transformed from reviled bust into a folk hero. Then he got hurt, and somehow he and we are back at the beginning. He isn’t scorned this time; instead your heart goes out for him, because we’ve seen what he can do and we’ve learned how much things mean to him and we’ve seen how failure eats at him. It seems impossible that we’re back in creeping dread mode, yet we are. And that’s left us wondering if we can possibly go through this again.

Now, baseball is habitually cruel: To quote a key tenet of the Kanehlian school of philosophy, “the line drives are caught, the squibbles go for hits. It’s an unfair game.” But there’s habitually cruel and there’s Book of Job outtake stuff. That’s where Diaz is right now, and unfortunately we’re all strapped in for the ride.

What happens next? To him, to the Mets, to us poor observers living and dying on the outcome, which means mostly dying right now? I wouldn’t dare venture a guess, not with the narrative having turned so Gothic and dour. Things are bad enough without tempting the baseball gods to show you that you’re still too optimistic.

12 comments to It’s Not Going Well

  • LeClerc

    A spell in Syracuse should do Edwin a world of good.

  • K. Lastima

    0 for 5 for Mrs. Cohen’s pet, I guess he needs another standing ovation. Brilliant idea moving him to lead off.

  • Flynn23

    The times are tough now. Just getting tougher.

    Another great job by Jason, who – let the record show – was all over Edwin being off his game very early in the season.

    One thing that didn’t show in the box score, but infuriated me even more than yet another one of his o-fers, was Lindor initiating a hug with Chisholm on second base as the bottom of the ninth began to implode. I know this is how many players roll these days, especially in the NBA, but come on, man, show some respect for your teammates. And your fans. Thumbs down.

  • VT Mets Fan

    If Diaz’s problems are more emotional/psychological than physical – which is what we’re hearing – than a sensible way forward is to move him out of the closer role for a bit. Slot him in early, where even if he doesn’t perform, the damage is easier to correct. I wish I had as “sensible” a solution for all the sleepy bats. That seems more like a Metsian chronic illness.

  • LeClerc

    Lindor looking up at the Mendoza line.

    Leadoff? How about 8th in the order?

  • eric1973

    When Diaz came into the game, it crossed my mind that while a possibility, there was no way he could ever give up 4 runs to tie the game.

    Also crossing, I hoped Mendy had a discussion with Diaz before the game that if he gave up a run, he would take him out in the middle of the inning, and then take the future as it comes.

    One would need to have this discussion before actually doing this because, not to digress, but today’s players, a reflection of society in general, are soft.

    At any rate, I had hoped Mendy had the courage to do this, but he did not. I also understand the other side, as he wanted to show confidence in Diaz, as we will probably need him if we are going to go anywhere. He was a major part of our 101 win season, and a major reason why we went nowhere last season.

    At any rate, it looks like another 100 million down the sewer, as relievers are extremely unpredictable anyway. The good news is that this is a drop in the bucket for Steve Cohen. Cohen may be rich, but may not be that bright, as he made a lot of his money by breaking the law, and then had enough of that money to cover the penalty.

    At any rate, we are up shit’s creek without any paddles, and hopefully the law of averages will turn this mess around just because.

  • eric1973

    I love the Marlin’s City Connects, and I also liked that Red Grooms thing that they took outside.

    I also love San Diego’s City Connects, as they are festive without being obnoxious. They are better than the usual brownish garb, which, BTW, never need to be dry-cleaned, even after sliding in the dirt or having a diarrhea attack in the middle of the game.

  • Seth

    This idea that Marte is the key to the Mets success is nothing more than gaslighting. He is a lollygagger, and has been since late 2022. No hustle at all.

  • eric1973

    This is what happens when Yankee fans own the Mets.

    Hey Flynn, I had to listen to the radio to the latter part, so I missed Mr. Sunshine’s group hug with Chisolm, a guy who, BTW, deserves one up and in, the way he behaves on the field.

    There appears to be something a bit “off” with Lindor, mentally, which has shown itself the past few years by various means, on and off the field.

    He appears to have a world of talent, but has not yet tapped into it as a New York Met, though one can surely show me stats that he’s deserved the MVP every year. I hope he proves me wrong, but so far, this contract cannot run out fast enough.

  • Eric

    I fear Edwin Diaz’s issue is physical in terms of maybe permanently degraded biomechanics. Consider his ‘freak’ injury, tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee from just a regular celebratory jump. That tells me the tendon was worn and frayed and ready to give way. Which tells me the tendon was worn and frayed in the first place because it’s an especially stressed and thus critical part of the biomechanical chain in Diaz’s pitching. It’s now surgically repaired so he can live with it and pitch on it, but it’s not what it used to be. In that case, Diaz hasn’t figured out yet, or can’t, how to compensate or work around the functional but degraded tendon, so the result is the closer we see with “not enough life on the fastball, slider out to perform sabotage”.

    Diaz was able to get away with newly lesser stuff earlier in the season, but I guess other teams have caught on, and Diaz’s efforts to adjust to their adjustments have so far only exposed him further. With the 3rd wild card tantalizingly still in reach, I hope he figures out how to be an effective closer again soon, even if his stuff stays stuck at less than what it was pre-injury. The rest of MLB looks to be catching up to Reed Garrett, too, so it’s not like there’s a ready substitute closer in waiting.