For all the complaining we do as Mets fans when we have to endure a broadcast crew other than Gary, Keith and Ron, ESPN play-by-play guy Dan Shulman hit it right on the head in the ninth inning:
“It takes a hearty soul to be a Mets fan sometimes.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Well, I would have added brains of stone, kidneys of steel, and nervous systems made of applesauce. It probably takes all of that and more to endure the constant heart attacks this team gives us night in and night out. Jon Niese pitched a gem for eight innings and it was almost blown to bits by the bullpen. Now mind you, this is a bullpen that has pitched to a 2.53 ERA in its last 10 and 2/3’s innings when it was meaningless. So you knew that this ‘pen was itching to have everybody talking about them again like a celebrity fading from the spotlight. The best way to do that was to do what it does best: kill us.
So with a 6-1 lead Josh Edgin, who we love, comes into the game. Walks Larry Jones. Hits Freddie Freeman with a pitch up and in, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because when was the last time a Mets pitching staff made a concerted effort to make a batter who had been killing them uncomfortable. I’m sure Edgin didn’t want to hit him, but there’s nothing wrong with coming inside Freeman, who has had two long HR’s and six RBI’s in the last two games. Hitting him wasn’t in the script, but it’s collateral damage for a long term victory.
Then after two outs and another walk by Edgin, here comes Frangag Frantsisk. And all holy hell breaks loose. He walks his namesake Juan Francisco with the bases loaded after a 3-0 count turned to 3-2, and then Francisco fouled off four pitches (one of which would have gotten him out of Frantsisk was actually a closer and not a relief pitcher) before Frantsisk finally put him on base. Then Michael Bourn, who the Mets aren’t signing this offseason, didn’t even take the bat off his shoulder as he walked on five pitches. Martin Prado followed with a double to right which brought the Braves to within one with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Out went Frantsisk, who set a New Mets record by only needing 19 pitches to cause a fan to attempt to slit his wrists (shattering the old record of 25 by Armando Benitez.) In came Jon Rauch, who put smiles on many faces, including his own, but striking out Jason Heyward. (Go look at Rauch’s numbers. Better than you thought, eh?)
Frantsisk had an interesting reaction in the locker room. And I give him credit for facing the media after the horrific game he had. Sure, it’s easier to do it when you win, but you could sure as hell see Benitez hiding in the clubhouse, can’t you? But Frantsisk conducted his whole post game interview while trying not to laugh. Came up with the classic line: “I feel great. You know why? Because I feel good.” And then finally at the end busted out in a fit of laughter at the very end, as if he couldn’t hold it in any longer. If that doesn’t nail the mentality of the Met fan right now, I don’t know what does. Met fans are past anger on the day-to-day level. Past sadness. Past the rage and fire and brimstone. It’s all gone. Now, Frantsisk realizes that you have to laugh to keep from crying, much as I think Met fans have realized. What else can you do? Laughter comes with having a hearty soul and steel kidneys.
And oh by the way, on the same day that the Mets bullpen had one of their patented epic meltdowns:
With a scoreless ninth by Armando Benitez the Ducks pick up the win 7-2!
— Long Island Ducks (@LIDucks) August 12, 2012
That’s not funny.