An all-too rare Mets rout almost turned into a blown save for the ages last night, as relievers Josh Edgin and Frank Francisco conspired to turn a 6-1, 9th inning lead over Atlanta into a mere 6-5 advantage with runners on 3rd and 2nd. On the same day Armando Benitez of all people tossed a scoreless 9th for the Long Island Ducks (very likely Francisco’s employers in 2014), Metsradamus describes what happened after Edging was pulled in favor of “Frangag Frantsisk”, “and all hell broke 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?
I think any answer I could give to that question would be considered unfunny and unhelpful by law enforcement if not Homeland Security. And why shouldn’t Francisco yuck it up? He’s due another $6.5 million in 2013. An $13 million Mets investment might offer some slim consolation when it comes to the anxiety he’s given fans, management and teammates alike.