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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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Chasing Something

When the Mets are behind, Keith Raad likes to convey the score to those of us listening on the radio or some radio-adjacent audio product by informing us that they’re chasing whatever the deficit is.

It’s a perfectly fine way to go about one’s business, and Raad has been a good addition to the narrator ranks. But I can feel a vein throb in my temple every time I hear it — because I’m hearing it so often these days.

On Tuesday night I heard it over and over again: “chasing three.” That was the score the Mets fell behind by in the third, when Adrian Houser‘s not bad beginning turned lousy in a fusillade of Guardians’ doubles, assisted by some crummy fielding by Starling Marte. The Mets chased down two of those runs in the fifth, courtesy of a Mark Vientos homer and a flurry of hits that drove fill-in starter Xzavion Curry from the game. (Curry at least spared us the thoroughly depressing spectacle of Houser vs. Carlos Carrasco in a matchup of exasperating fell-off-a-cliff Mets starters.)

Curry was replaced by Nick Sandlin, whom I never want to see again: Much as he did on Monday night, Sandlin walked the first enemy batter but then went to work, fanning Brandon Nimmo with the bases loaded, one out and a gimme run on the board, and then erasing J.D. Martinez. Chasing one … except Houser gave up a two-run homer to Jose Ramirez, and the Mets were immediately chasing three again.

Jeff McNeil had a two-run homer of his own to deploy, cutting the lead back to one. But in the sixth Houser gave up a leadoff single and was replaced by Jake Diekman, who gave up a homer to Cleveland supersub David Fry, no relation as far as I know. And so the Mets were … that’s right, chasing three again.

Diekman left to show a luckless water cooler who was boss; the Mets cut the lead to one yet again on a Marte homer and went into the ninth trying to make up that margin against deadly closer Emmanuel Clase. I didn’t have much hope, not so much because of Clase’s ungodly stats (though they sure didn’t help) but because I’d spent two hours watching the Mets doing this thing wrong and then that other thing wrong and I was pretty sure they had another shortfall in them.

To be fair, they tried in the ninth — none of the Mets’ current woes are due to a lack of trying. Harrison Bader ground out a good AB that ended in a groundout (ahem); Francisco Lindor reached on an infield single; and Pete Alonso smacked a ball to Josh Naylor, who started a nifty 3-6-1 double play to send the Mets morosely back to their hotel. The Guardians played tight defense and collected hits when they needed to, which is what good teams do; the Mets staggered around failing serially at various aspects of baseball, which is what mediocre teams do, and so the outcome felt almost preordained.

Things can change and it’s still only May, but those things better change pretty thoroughly and pretty quickly to avoid the judgment that this is a team in an earlier stage of its transformation than the people who run it hoped. In which case, I wish the powers that be would get on with it already.

Mediocre teams can be watchable if you can see them turning into something better, even if it’s by fits and starts. But it doesn’t feel like the Mets are that kind of mediocre — it feels like most of these current Mets will be gone before that something better arrives. They’re not part of the future but fill-ins and seat-fillers, treading water and spinning their wheels, and watching them do that is as frustrating for us as it must be for them.

7 comments to Chasing Something

  • open the gates

    NY Mets, a.k.a. “the mediocre kind of mediocrity.”

    Been there.

    Done that.

  • K. Lastima

    BLOW. IT. UP!

  • LeClerc

    After each disheartening loss, Mendoza provides post-game happy talk.

    Apparently, he liked what he saw from Houser (six earned runs in five innings). Isn’t it time to say goodbye to Adrian?

    • K. Lastima

      The post-loss happy talk that Mendoza spouts is dictated by Stearns after first being approved by Mrs. Cohen. Similarly, fan boy Gary Cohen, ingratiating himself to Mrs. Cohen, is reduced to touting Lindor’s “hard hit” outs … pathetic.

      • Orange and blue through and through

        Could it be that the Mets booth is being encouraged to spout positive affirmations to appease Hedge fund Steve?

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I’m still trying to decide what I think of the non-Howie Radio Road Crew. Raad is a little too excitable descrbing a team on its way to being 7 games under .500 in May.

    And they both sound a little too much like I’m listening to an Iowa Cubs game.

    But not horrible. On a nice night it’s still a pleasure to sit outside with a radio (yes, an actual radio).

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