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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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There's Bad, There's Really Bad and There's Whatever the Mets Are

The Mets looked listless in dropping the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers, and that limp display was the highlight of the day. Certainly it was better than the first game, in which a terrific start by Tylor Megill went down the toilet when his teammates couldn’t field, pitch or manage to hit a fly ball a moderate distance.

I could talk more about these two games, but I don’t want to and frankly they’re not deserving of analysis. The Mets are on pace to win 66 games and anyone who’s watched them in May will tell you to take the under. The Mets aren’t merely we thought this would go better bad or trade every contract you possibly can bad; they’re a level of bad where everybody connected with the team should go sit on pillars in the desert for several years, repenting and begging for divine mercy.

* * *

Your recapper was in Phoenix over the long weekend for a sci-fi convention and saw about 20 minutes of the Mets – the 20 minutes I chose was when Saturday’s game against the Giants decayed from “Edwin Diaz save situation” to “latest debacle.” It didn’t exactly make me miss this team.

I slipped away from the con on Friday night to return to Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks. I found a pretty unique seat on StubHub in a section dubbed RFW. It’s a single row of seats behind the right-field fence in what looks kind of like an unused bullpen. Your toes are an eighth of an inch from the warning track, the right fielder (variously Randal Grichuk and Miami’s Jesus Sanchez) is on the other side of the fence and home plate is some distance that-a-way. A unique view, one that I suppose is available at Citi Field through the Cadillac Club, except the Cadillac Club costs a fortune and comes with complimentary booze and eats, while the RFW is just a row of seats on concrete and if you want a hot dog you take an elevator back up to the concourse to secure one.

It was pretty neat: I chatted amiably with my seatmates, most notably a guy named Keith who came to Arizona from Brooklyn (I swear everyone in Arizona used to live in Brooklyn) and was happy to talk the Dodgers, Roberto Clemente, what’s gone wrong for Corbin Carroll and anything else the game brought to mind. A nice evening, seeing how it didn’t involve the Mets – the only flaws were a) that no ball rattled off the fence with an outfielder just feet away; and b) that Miami’s Braxton Garrett threw a complete-game shutout and so the entire game took an hour and 58 minutes.

My new plan: Next time in Phoenix I’m getting a RFW seat again, but this time I’m coming for batting practice and bringing a glove. And then hoping the game lasts a little longer.

* * *

Not everything is terrible: Angel Hernandez has retired.

That’s the polite way of saying it; in reality he was bought out by MLB, which finally tired of his chronic incompetence, screw-ups gone viral and frivolous lawsuits and decided no price was too high to sever Hernandez’s connection from the national pastime.

A number of people, from his fellow umpires to baseball scribes, took pains to say that Hernandez is a very nice person. I don’t doubt it. It also isn’t faintly relevant: Hernandez was a deeply terrible umpire, unacceptably bad at both the irreducible basics of his job and also at how to do that job without calling attention to himself and thereby embarrassing his employers. He was the bomb under the table that the audience knows will go off, which meant his mere presence on the field was a source of tension that had nothing to do with the game.

Hernandez first became a Mets villain during the last game before the 1998 All-Star break, when he called Michael Tucker safe despite Tucker being thrown out by a couple of feet and never touching the plate, though his spikes sure touched Mike Piazza’s thigh. Piazza called it the worst call he’d ever seen; Hernandez had to flee the field to escape the wrath of a mob of Mets led by an incandescently angry John Franco. (He got suspended for three games.) What made the call part of Hernandez’s legend, though, was that he supposedly had told Piazza to hurry the game along because he had a plane to catch.

Is Hernandez a nice guy? Who cares? Getting him to stop vandalizing baseball games should only be the start: True justice demands that he be barred from attending an MLB game, watching an MLB game, listening to an MLB game, discussing an MLB game, or thinking about an MLB game.

Given the horrors the Mets are inflicting on baseball, it might be a fitting sentence for them too. But one improvement at a time.

11 comments to There’s Bad, There’s Really Bad and There’s Whatever the Mets Are

  • LeClerc

    Tyrone Taylor makes a great play early in the game to rob Teoscar Hernandez of a home run.

    But at the crucial moment in the ninth inning, with Daniel Hudson serving up a 3-0 count, Taylor freezes psychologically and lets Hudson make him look like a punk. Incredibly frustrating.

    Why does Lindor lead off? Why does Alonso bat second? Why is Martinez under-performing? Why does Nimmo strike out at an alarming rate?

    What are Mendoza and Gibbons thinking?

    On route to win 66 games. Can anyone here play this game?!

    • K.Lastima

      Good questions all, but not to be answered by Mendoza as I’m quite sure that he’s bound to following the directives from Stearns and his nerd squad. There’s a reason Mendoza was hired and it’s not for him to manage like Bruce Bochy but to be the first line of defense vs. criticism as Cohen/Stearns knew the media would treat him with kid-gloves.

  • ToBeDetermined

    There have been some comments that Angel Hernandez had middle-of-the-pack numbers for accuracy, and that he didn’t make any more bad calls than the average umpire.

    This might actually be true. But he certainly made more ridiculous calls than any other umpire in baseball history. The pitch an inch or two outside may perhaps have always been called a ball, but the pitch a foot outside was anybody’s guess.

    If not for the past month, we could rationalize that the Mets’ play in that doubleheader was Angel Hernandez Bad in honor of his departure. But they haven’t been at .500 since the off day on May 9, which just happens to be the date of Angel’s last ever game. I’m waiting to hear the theories about that…

  • open the gates

    Let’s go Rangers!

  • Curt Emanuel

    I had a commitment yesterday afternoon. Started heading home tuned to the game on Siri and found that it was tied 2-2 at the start of the top of the 10th. I was able to discern that a) Megill had been great b) We’d blown a 2-run lead and c), well, I listened to c.

    I did not participate in d) Game 2.

    I recognize my attitude of apathetic despair (when it comes to baseball). My most common emotion when it comes to this team. It’s just not supposed to be here in May.

  • mikeski

    Good riddance to bad rubbish and best of luck running The Braille Institute, Angel, you a$$hole.

  • Seth

    The most pathetic thing is knowing for sure all along (based on the “Mets” lack of hitting) that they will blow the 2-0 lead and lose the game, then it actually happens. But as it turns out, being a pessimist doesn’t make you feel better in the end.

  • K. Lastima

    Looks like Tommy Pham was right !

  • eric1973

    Diaz on the IL?
    Eppler must be back!

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I, for one, am really really looking forward to the recap of yesterday’s game…