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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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Never Mind the Previous 144 Minutes

Mets Classics showrunner, slow your roll.

Thursday night’s game against the Marlins ended on a blissful note, but said blissful note was first heard and completed in the very last minute of the game. The previous 144 minutes? They were nonstop squealing and blatting, a baseball cacophony alternately dull and unpleasant to the ears.

The Mets didn’t hit. Not just as in they weren’t hitting against a semi-anonymous rookie, in this case 24-year-old Roddery Munoz, but as in they didn’t even have a hit until the sixth. Munoz left pretty much everything in the middle of the plate and the Mets hit pretty much everything right at Marlin defenders. Getting undone by hurlers still wet behind the ears has been a Met problem for decades — somewhere Chris Nabholz is cackling — but it’s always puzzling and usually at least mildly infuriating. Fortunately, Skip Schumaker decided six innings from Munoz was enough, despite his pitcher looking like he had at least another inning in him in terms of pitch count. Schumaker obviously had information not disseminated to my couch, so I’ll forgo further commentary; suffice it to say no one in orange and blue or swearing allegiance to those colors was sad to see Munoz go.

Luis Severino, on the other hand, had a baffling outing. The results were fine bordering on sparkling — six innings blemished only by a Jake Burger solo homer — but the process by which those results were obtained was off-kilter and annoying, with Severino missing his spots, losing the strike zone and constantly pitching from behind. He was helped out by a key double play as well as the Marlins’ chronic lack of discipline, but it still felt like disaster was only a step away.

And it was the Marlins. If you’re a longtime reader you probably know that I detest the Marlins to a mildly worrisome degree and think baseball would be better if this misbegotten franchise were moved elsewhere and rebranded, or better yet contracted and replaced, with the world’s population forbidden to speak of them ever again under penalty of torture. Watching the Mets play badly is never fun, but it’s particularly hideous when they’re playing badly against the Marlins.

Besides the above jeremiad, I’ll note that the Marlins are haphazardly constructed, poorly coached, and their clubhouse culture has been the stuff of raised eyebrows for generations, with Jazz Chisholm Jr. the latest example of a talented player to underperform his potential due to a lack of mentors and accountability. Lest the horse become too high, of course none of this has stopped the Marlins from outpointing us in numerous years, and last night it was Chisholm who gave the Marlins a key insurance run, homering off Drew Smith.

(Granted, surrendering homers is what Drew Smith does. When it happened I just flipped a hand in the air in mild disgust.)

The Mets looked poised to erase a 2-0 Marlin lead in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out behind a pair of walks sandwiching a J.D. Martinez double. Anthony Bender went to 3-0 on Starling Marte, but Marte hit a room-service grounder to third, and the Mets exited the inning with just a lone run scored. I swear the Mets are at their least dangerous with the bases loaded and nobody out, and it makes me insane.

Sean Reid-Foley held the fort in the eighth and Edwin Diaz returned to at least semi-critical duty in the ninth, showing a peppier fastball even if the sliders still looked to me like they needed some work. That left the Mets facing Tanner Scott, who looked untouchable strangling them two nights earlier, but at the cost of a lot of pitches.

(This is called foreshadowing. Let’s just pretend I did it more artfully.)

Down a run in the ninth, one of course hopes for the trademark bloop and a blast, though one will also accept a walk, some frittering around ahead of a stolen base and that blast. Francisco Lindor supplied the walk and the steal, Brandon Nimmo looked not exactly himself in striking out, and up came Martinez — who, oddly, had 320 career homers on his ledger, none of them a walkoff. The lesson, as always, is that baseball is peculiar and defies sensible explanation.

Scott went after Martinez in the time-honored fashion, looking to change speeds and scramble his eye level by alternating fastballs up and away and sliders down and in. That led to a 3-1 count and a slider that was at the bottom of the zone — not a bad pitch by any means, but one a baseball’s height or so above where Scott wanted it, perhaps because his arm had been taxed and so was lacking a certain quantum of the critical pitching-related substance known as oomph. Martinez golfed the slider into the air, knew it was gone immediately, and happily trotted around the bases amid a post-homer light show.

Just like that the Mets had won, transmuting an annoying grind against a hateful opponent into a last-second reprieve and a triumph. Not one for Mets Classics — not by a long shot — but hey, it’s a shoo-in for Amazin’ Finishes.

5 comments to Never Mind the Previous 144 Minutes

  • Orange and blue through and through

    Jason, after reading this report, I went back and reread your genius studded diatribe about your hatred of the Marlins. THAT was amazing!! I too have viewed series with the Marlins as an acute stomach ache. Something you have to endure to move on to better things. The entire Miami organization is an example of what not to be. Keep up the great work! LGM!

  • Curt Emanuel

    Jason, for all your justified dislike of the Marlins you have to admit they played a very Metsian game.

    In the early innings they had first and second, nobody out and bases loaded one out and both times came away without a run. And then they gave up a lead in the 9th to lose. It seemed very familiar . . .

    Granted, it was the Marlins. Still, nice to remember that someone plays baseball worse than us.

  • Seth

    “Brandon Nimmo looked not exactly himself…”

    I believe he has been abducted by aliens and replaced with a lookalike clone that never learned how to hit. It’s literally the only explanation that makes sense.

  • eric1973

    Loved ‘jeremiad’ even before I googled it to see what it meant.

    I thought Nimmo looked exactly like himself in striking out, which is what this guy seems to do much of the time. I loved it when we signed him, but holy moly….
    He did come through for that walkoff against Atlanta, reminding me of the great Anthony Newley:
    “For Once in a Lifetime…”

    (Now we can each Google something!)