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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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History, Even If You Ignore It

It seemed like a good idea. With our kid headed off to California with grandparents, I asked Emily if she wanted to go to the Mets game. Noah Syndergaard was pitching, and tickets were 66% off. She thought it was a capital idea. We snagged two seats in the front row of the Left Field landing, got tacos and were in our seats before the top of the first was over.

Why on earth was no one here, I wondered? The Mets, warts and all, were in first place, they had an exciting rookie on the mound and it was an absolutely perfect late-spring evening. I surveyed the empty acres of green seats grumpily — and got grumpier when I realized the seats that weren’t empty were disproportionally filled with visiting Giants fans. Gangs of them, in orange that was the right color yet the wrong allegiance, chanting and hooting and being entirely too conspicuous.

None of us, of course, had any idea that something special was coming.

The Giants contributed half the Mets’ National League birthright, including the small matter of that signature orange NY on the caps. And the Giants have done an admirable job of remembering their New York origins, bringing back old heroes and World Series trophies to the remaining Gotham fans. The Mets have responded by giving that half of their legacy mulishly short shrift: Citi Field’s rotunda is an homage to the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers and a tribute to Jackie Robinson. (Perhaps you’ve heard?) There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that, but the absence of any gesture towards that other team is unfortunate. The Mets once made noises about the green seats being a nod to the Polo Grounds, but nobody believed that; the closest they come to admitting they owe the Giants anything is by keeping Willie Mays‘s No. 24 unofficially retired, and that has more to do with respecting original owner (and Giants diehard) Joan Payson than with the club that put the orange in the orange and blue.

Well, the Giants certainly pushed their historical narrative tonight.

You can’t call balls and strikes from the Left Field Landing, so I have nothing to say about whether Chris Heston was hitting his spots or home-plate ump Rob Drake was helping him. I’ll wait for the pitching charts, while throwing down an early warning about sour grapes. (Anybody want to celebrate the slightly belated anniversary of Johan Santana‘s one-hitter?)

From my distant vantage Heston’s stuff seemed pedestrian — high-80s fastballs mixed with curves. Later, looking at the highlights, I was more impressed: That curveball was a killer, and the sinker was perfect for pounding balls into the ground for an infielder to retrieve. I saw a couple of balls get called strikes, yes, but nothing screamed travesty to me.

Look, no-hitters are flukes; what makes them fun is that they come out of nowhere. Sometimes great pitchers throw them when they’re on top of their games and have smothering stuff, but great pitchers also throw them when they have lousy stuff. And sometimes lousy pitchers throw them when they have great stuff. Tom Seaver has been open about having nothing the day he threw a no-no for Cincinnati; the likes of Len Barker and Philip Humber have been perfect on the mound. Stuff happens.

Heston hit his spots, didn’t make mistakes, and pitched to his defense. (A defense that was a lot better than ours — in the early going Syndergaard kept getting double-play balls that Met infielders turned into fielder’s choices.) The Mets hit one ball hard all night — Eric Campbell‘s grounder to Brandon Crawford‘s backhand. Everything else they swung and missed at or patty-caked to an infielder.

Heston earned his accomplishment; he should savor it. And so should the Giants fans who were lucky enough to be there to see it. I’m not pleased right now, but I suspect in a week or so I’ll be thinking, “You know what? I saw a no-hitter in person. That’s pretty cool.”

Anyway, by the 7th inning I was experiencing the opposite of that jittery sense of expectation you get when your pitcher is creeping closer to a no-hitter. I figured Heston would do it and wasn’t particularly surprised as he got closer and the Giants fans got louder. I wasn’t rooting for him, but by that point I didn’t see sneaking a ball through the 5.5 hole as lipstick worth smearing on this particular pig.

I went to the bathroom in the top of the ninth and walked back through the nearly empty section to take my seat next to Emily. Heston hit Anthony Recker, struck out the next three Mets looking and that was it. I took a picture of the scoreboard for my brother-in-law and his family and waited for the Mets to acknowledge the second Citi Field no-hitter.

I wondered what they’d say. The stadium-operations folks had proved graceful hosts in the All-Star Game, so I figured they’d have some congratulatory note for Heston, along with some historical context. Something about how that was the 17th no-hitter in Giants history and their ninth since moving to San Francisco. Or how it was the fifth Giants no-hitter since 2009, or the franchise’s second against the Mets. Or perhaps the video board would note that Heston was the seventh pitcher to no-hit the Mets and the first since the late Darryl Kile.

Amazingly — shamefully — there was nothing. The Mets followed a night of doing nothing at the plate by doing nothing to honor an opponent for something of historic significance. It was negligent and crass and embarrassing.

I don’t know why it happened. Perhaps somebody in stadium operations was afraid they’d get in trouble. Perhaps someone thought it wasn’t right to do that at home. Perhaps it just didn’t occur to anybody. Whatever the case, here’s hoping the stadium-operations folks get together with the Met powers that be and talk it through and come up with an answer that has the proper grace and class.

Because with this lineup, the situation could arise again very soon.

32 comments to History, Even If You Ignore It

  • Dave

    Maybe the employee in charge of acknowledging opponents’ no-hitters is the same one responsible for marketing Banner Day.

    As for the Mets, I’m impressed that this was only the first no-hitter thrown against them this year. Took until June.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    Congrats on attending a no-no. It’s too bad it wasn’t the other way around, for sure, but it’s a cool experience to have under your belt. There are certainly worse teams who could have done it against us.

    Last time Thor pitched it was part of a fluke back-to-back Elias Special, so let’s hope Harvey can get us fluke back-to-back no-no’s tonight. I seem to recall the last time a Mets pitcher coming off a missed season pitched to a catcher fresh off the DL…

  • Shawn B

    What a great last line, Jason. Thanks. And, yes, I was rooting for one in the 5.5 hole. I understand a loss is a loss, but I never want to see my team get no-hit.

  • open the gates

    Have to disagree. If I were ever unfortunate enough to be at a game where the Mets were no-hit, the last thing I’d want is for some announcer to rub salt in the wound by congratulating the pitcher who just humiliated my boys. My guess is there were more than a few fans at Citi who share that view.

    • Dennis

      I don’t think of it as rubbing salt in the wounds….it’s an acknowledgement of a historical baseball accomplishment. Nothing more.

      • Kevin From Flushing

        Right. “Congratulations Red Sox”

      • Matt in Woodside

        Kind of surprised to hear they didn’t do anything on field at the game. SNY broadcast an on-field interview with Heston within minutes, and they invited him, Posey, and Bochy to do interviews in the Mets press conference room afterward. Seemed gracious enough to me.

        • the guy got mobbed by like 40 different media outlets immediately. I’m not sure he’s gotten to sleep yet.

          to me, the boxscore up there on the scoreboard was all they needed to do. But I haven’t been to a Mets loss this year before last night so maybe they do that anyway.

          But I’ve thought the scoreboard operations at Mets game has sucked for as long as I can remember.

  • Michael G.

    I was there last night with a friend, a rabid Giants fan. I was happy for him. Ambivalence otherwise. I hated seeing us no-hit, but to witness an actual no-hitter? Yes, very cool.

  • dmg

    before the game, when i saw the triple a lineup the mets were putting out there, i wondered how they were still in first. (yes, they’re still in first, and yes, i’m still wondering.) if this ain’t ringing alarms to trade for a bat immediately, then the front office is just not interested in winning this year.

    • Rob E

      The problem is “who is the bat you want to immediately trade for, and at what cost?” Of all the guys who have been linked to the Mets, the deal that makes the most sense on paper for both teams is Starlin Castro for Syndergaard or Matz…is that the trade they should make? They could move Flores to 3B, and then either Flores or Herrera becomes obsolete when/if Wright comes back…these moves have ripple effects.

      If not Castro, who’s the bat, and which Met is he pushing out of the lineup? It’s not that they don’t want to win, it’s that you can’t compromise your long-tern plan to fix a short-term problem (3 out of 8 starting position players are on the DL). It’s not so easy. It says something that they are still in first after this run of anemic offense.

      And yeah, they should have acknowledged it at the game. I mean, come on!

      • Daniel Hall

        Trading for Castro still makes no sense, since he might be the one shortstop that is even more miscast there than Flores. A trade for a true third baseman makes more sense, since I have a Feeling that Captain David won’t be back this season at the least. Aramis Ramirez would fit them well. He will retire at year’s end, and I’d imagine the Brewers would be willing to shed him for way less than Matz. He’s batting .213 but his BABIP suggests that he’s been cursed. Maybe the curse is local and he can thrive in Flushing.

        • dmg

          well, my pick would be martin prado from the marlins. i think he’d be gettable for something less than a prized prospect or top-line pitcher — gee, maybe, or niese or montero, maybe two of the three.
          prado at third fits the position — as well as others — and while he’s not superbat, he’s a lot more reliable than the other folks who have been filling in. and he’d be providing support to both the lineup and infield.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    I once umpired a perfect game at allegedly the high school varsity level. The losing team had several exchange students from China who had never played baseball before. I hate to say it, but the Mets hitters last night looked like a bunch of Chinese exchange students.

  • Jestaplero

    I don’t really mind getting no-hit – it is a fluke – but I DO mind when my team goes brain-dead or quits. WHY were they taking so many called strikes in the late innings? When the ump was giving the kid everything in the 718 area code? What’s the strategy there? Draw a walk and leave it to Danny Muno?

    And another thing: WHY were the Giants continuing to use the shift in the late innings, just begging Grandy and Duda to break up the no-hitter? And why didn’t we accept the invitation? Bochy didn’t seem too concerned with protecting the no-no, even with a 5-run lead. And why is Rags calling the bullpen when the kid plunks Recker? Easy for Rags to be so cavalier with this kid’s no-hitter, he’s already got one…

    • Rob E

      You raise a couple of good points here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game where so many pitches out of the strike zone were swung at AND so many called strikes were taken. It was like hitting in reverse. Muno did get sandbagged, though….that pitch was not close.

      Also good point on the shift. Teams will keep shifting until somebody does something to move the needle.

      • DAK442

        That home plate umpire was as excited about the no-hitter as the Giants were. I don’t really have a problem with it, but it was like watching a late-90s Braves game there for a while.

      • Jestaplero

        Well, Our Team missed a GREAT opportunity to move the needle. Ruining a rookie’s no-hitter by bunting to third would get the attention of a LOT of people, I would think. I know it’s considered unsportsmanlike to bunt to break up a no-no, but for me that only applies to the normal defensive alignment. With the shift, you are begging the other team’s power hitters to try to lay down an infield hit, to take them out of their game and prevent an extra-base hit. Well, it’s asinine to do that in the 8th inning of a no-hitter with a five run lead facing a minor league lineup. Hey Grandy, you’re hitting .230. Duda, you are 0-for-June. GET A FUCKING HIT. ANY HIT.

  • Eric

    Is it time to be worried about Syndergaard?

  • mikeL

    isn’t it overly kind to call this offense anemic?

  • BlondiesJake

    After three innings, I called another big Mets fan and told him they weren’t going to score. He said he thought I was going to tell him they weren’t going to get a hit. Guess I should’ve. Heston was solid but that was some seriously awful offense.

    Rob E, I understand your point about not making a deal except you’re making a couple of big assumptions:
    1) Wright will return
    2) Wright will return as the Wright of old
    3) Flores and Herrera are so valuable you can’t imagine moving one or both in a deal

    I confess I believe Wright will return but as a shell of his former self and continue to suffer injuries. So I would package some prospects and/or eat salary and get Tulowitzki.

  • Joe G.

    The called strikes toward the end drove me mad. Sheesh.

  • Lenny65

    Well, it’s bound to happen when your lineup has all the “pop” of a soggy firecracker on July 5th. I only saw the last few innings but that home plate ump sure had a novel interpretation of what a strike is, no? Not that it’d have mattered much.

    Re: all the TRAID talk. Seriously, is there anyone who’s realistically available who’d make all that much of a difference? This theoretical player would still be surrounded by seven other lousy batters, you know.

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  • Will in Central NJ

    Pffft. The “hook from hell” was in evidence last night, but unfortunately, was used against the Mets. We tip our hat to Heston, turn the page and look ahead to tonight.

    I’m oversimplifying maybe, but here’s hoping that we take the next two and thus, the 3-game series. LGM!

  • JerseyJack

    Wait- How could this happen? I thought we had the hot-shot rookie pitcher who throws 98 or 99 mph, capable of no hitters galore !

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