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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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Not This Bad...Or Are They?

They’re probably not this bad, are they? How could they be? Twenty-two losses in thirty-one games seems to give us all the answer we need, as does the 3-12 stretch that’s unfurled since their last pairing of consecutive wins, not to mention the active streak of five defeats during which the most recent collapse or implosion feels it can’t be bottomed, yet the next day it is. The odds say sooner or later the Mets who are making a science out of finding ways to lose will accidentally win a game, and from there a few balls will bounce in their favor, and suddenly…

Suddenly, what? At best, they’ll soar to the status of not this bad; not a team that lets wins slip away; not a team that leaves almost all of its runners on base; not a team that allows opponents’ runners to come home exactly when they shouldn’t; not a team that swears afterward, in so many words, we’re not this bad. Perhaps I shouldn’t so readily dismiss their habitual recitations of positive-reinforcement affirmations. They’ve been told their whole lives as competitors to shake off whatever went wrong today, hold their head high and go get ’em tomorrow. In theory, it’s a healthy attitude to bring to any task. It’s just a little galling to hear after every loss. I’d gladly take some variation on “We were bad today. We’ve been really bad for weeks. We have to be one of the worst clubs going. I’m sorry our fans have to experience this.” Nobody’s going to say it out loud. Just once I’d like it said. It wouldn’t convert losses to wins, but it would hew somewhere near the reality we are witnessing.

The Mets’ absolve themselves from their wretchedness by noting how close they come to winning most of these games. I honestly don’t believe it works that way. Almost winning on a daily basis is the equivalent of losing day after day. Yes, they’re usually in these games right up until the final pitch or swing (or at least, as on Saturday, until extras roll around). Yippee. You’re professionals. You’re not supposed to be blown out more than a handful of times in a season. You’re also supposed to win more than a few of these close ones. That’s a core competency that’s wafted away from Citi Field in May. It usually takes until June.

I’m past trying to figure out if this team has a chance to creep into the bloated playoff picture. I’m just trying to figure out if this team has a chance to form a handshake line between now and, say, the Fourth of July.

They probably will. Won’t they?

12 comments to Not This Bad…Or Are They?

  • LeClerc

    So Lindor has vision problems – therefore he bats leadoff (?)

    Diaz can now be counted on to blow saves – therefore “HE’S OUR CLOSER!” thus spake Mendoza.

    Alonso bats second? Nimmo third? Who is Martinez “protecting”?

    Houser is still on the roster? (does he have compromising photos of David Stearns?)

    Win a game before Strawberry Day!

  • K. Lastima

    It bears repeating: F. Lindor

    What the hell was with that 3-2 pitch? He’s soft and a quitter, emblematic of the team, absolutely perfect that he should be on a 10-year contract as the standard-bearer for this woe-begotten franchise.

    • Rumble

      Absolutely agree. Horrifying lack of character, in addition to a NY Met to-date $341 million .241 batting average. This is only one example of a larger systemic and institutional dysfunction – in other words, they are “this bad.”

  • Bruce From Forest Hills

    It’s the competitor’s job to do and say the things that competitors do and say. It’s the writer’s job to analyze those things. We shouldn’t expect the competitors to be the writers. Otherwise, what do the writers do?

    IMHO, if Lindor had swung at that pitch, he would have missed it. Francisco basically said that after the game. That he had guessed wrong on every pitch of the at-bat, so he wouldn’t try to guess anymore. But Lindor used competitor talk to say that.

    Ever since Lindor has arrived in New York, this has been his team. If Lindor has really lost a step, and there is no one to pick up the slack, then the Mets are really that bad.

  • Curt Emanuel

    Jeff McNeil has convinced me. His days as a .300 hitter are behind him. Now that he’s started hitting at Syracuse I’m ready to see Acuna.

    I suppose it’s too early to give up on the season but there is just no reason to watch this team right now. With some young guys playing we can at least see how they come along.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Yes, they are worse than expected but many of us did not expect a great deal. Would still have a shot if Diaz was old self. He has now wrecked TWO seasons with a stupid off-season injury.

    BUT most depressing is that many of us were excited about relaxing this year and getting to follow the great young players so what has happened to crush even that? Mauricio out for year. Alvarez badly hurt. Gilbert and Jett long injured. Baty doing little (tho some perhaps fleeting hope for Vientos). Even bullpen hope Lavender out for year. All we’ve got is some starting pitchers looking good but total flops by Vasil and Hamel in AAA.

  • Seth

    This shows all the signs of a toxic work environment. Something isn’t right with the culture. I guess we expected more from this transitional season; that they would show some character, some folks would step up big time, and there might be some surprises. Still time for that, but the Mets are their own worst enemy.

    These are the bad old days…

    • Orange and blue through and through

      The bad old days indeed. No fire, no drive and no competitiveness. The ’62 Mets were a collection of scraps the NL “let” them have. The ’92 Mets were a bunch of mercenary assholes that never meshed. Art Howe was complete incompetence. This year though is just bad baseball, played at it’s most depressing level. No leadership from “the core.” Trade everyone with just a hint of value before it’s too late.

  • open the gates

    “Well, they came close in most of those games. They don’t get blown out. The make the other team work to beat them.”

    That’s what I used to say in my early days as a Met fan. Those early days were the late ‘70’s. If we’re drawing from that well, we’re in real trouble.

  • Rumble

    “This shows all the signs of a toxic work environment.”

    It begins and ends with This.

  • […] Not This Bad…Or Are They? »    […]

  • BlackCountryMet

    I’m reminded of 2 things

    Mr S Cohen “I’m not a fan of people learning on my dime” Yet you employ that clown Mendoza?

    Groundskeepers in Major League (film) “They’re shitty”

    It’s really hard to watch at present