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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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Niese and Boring

“My goal each time I go out there is to put up a quality start, to give the team a chance to win. When I walk off the mound and our team has a chance to win, that’s satisfaction for me.”
September 28

Jon Niese is so uninteresting an interview that he thinks introspection is something that goes next to the carburetor in his truck.

“I just go out there and try and execute my pitches and keep the team in the game to give the team the best chance to win.”
September 21

When it comes to being reflective, Jon Niese is like a bathroom mirror after a hot shower.

“It makes a pitcher feel a lot more comfortable on the mound when you’ve got the lead.”
September 14

When construction crews want to bore a hole, they ask Jon Niese to break down his latest start.

There may be no duller listen in professional sports — or life — than Jon Niese after he’s pitched the Mets to a win…to which I say, bring on the boring!

Niese has just about nothing to say after he pitches well, but as long as he steadily produces enough to not talk about, which he’s done pretty consistently of late and continued to do in Atlanta Friday night, then there’s no reason not to embrace the tedium he disseminates among the microphones and notepads that dutifully surround him.

It’s a given that there’s only one R.A. Dickey when it comes to postgame chat. But starting pitchers are usually insightful if not wholly fascinating when discussing their craft. The Met tradition is strong in that regard: Seaver, Cone, Leiter, Martinez and Dickey are all-timers. Darling and Ojeda can still rivet, and neither has picked up a ball in more than fifteen years. Santana can talk. Harvey can talk. Pelfrey, Hefner, Gee, Young…they speak well for themselves, too.

Does it matter? Only to the extent that everything about the game of baseball flows from the mound. We understand it better and appreciate it more intently when the pitcher lets us in on his thinking, his approach and his state of mind. We are a more-informed citizenry when our pitchers clue us in as to what’s really going on out there. They’re the ones who know best.

If Niese can talk pitching, he’s too polite to show it. But he can pitch, and that does matter. Over the last two months, he’s given the Mets one solid, unspectacular outing after another, quality starts by definition and utility. Friday, in putting a damper on Chipper Jones Night festivities, he did it again: seven innings, seven baserunners and only three strikeouts but just one run, on a solo homer surrendered to Freddie Freeman. The Braves never otherwise stormed the Met fort, while Lucas Duda successfully infiltrated Tim Hudson’s wigwam with a three-run blast that gave Niese and three relievers sufficient cushion.

It didn’t make for engrossing conversation when reporters visited Niese’s locker afterwards. It didn’t have to. Seven innings of one-run ball says plenty.

7 comments to Niese and Boring

  • Dave

    A game where NIese and Duda, neither much of an orator, were the stars…beat reporters probably figuring they could get a few more rounds at the hotel bar nightcap. Those interviews weren’t going to take up much time.

  • Metsfaninparadise

    He’s not being paid to talk. Jason Bay, on the other hand, is a great interview. We know how valuable that is. By the way, doesn’t Hefner always seem to have that “deer-in-the-headlights” look?

  • YRK

    I still think that most players (RA being the exception, of course) more or less say the same things when they talk to the media: “I’m just happy that I could go out there and give my team a chance to win. Obviously we just go out there and try to win games, and I’m just glad I could go out there and help my team.” Add a few extra words and phrases, and voila. You’ve got a statement!

    • Dave

      Reminds me of the scene in Bull Durham where Nuke is getting a September call up and Crash gives him, pardon the pun, a crash course in interview cliches. And then later Nuke spits them right back out to a reporter verbatim. Those scenes hit the nail on the head, they’re hilarious.

  • Andee

    Yes, I do think Dickey has spoiled us — in many ways, but especially in this one. Thanks to him, Ballplayer Boilerplate sounds even sillier than it did before. And sometimes, pitchers don’t know how to talk about their game without feeling like they’re giving things away to hitters. Niese and Duda might just be — gasp — introverts. And unlike Dickey, maybe they aren’t well-read enough to make up for their congenital deficits in extemporaneous speech.

    But man, that Duda at-bat. I really didn’t think he had it in him. I kept thinking, “Come on, strike out already and get it over with, I can’t deal with this any more.” But he just kept fouling ‘em off and fouling ‘em off, with all those screaming yobbos in the stands, and then he got Hudson to mess up and give him one to clobber. And the yobbos went silent. Beautiful.

  • Lenny65

    He’s as dull as Pelfrey but he wins more often.