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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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Tuning In Harvey

Perhaps you remember when you could cure what momentarily ailed a television set by whacking it on the side. It did the trick maybe once in twenty tries, but the memory of it working that one time stayed with you. So if your reception was erratic, your rabbit ears weren’t hearing your pleas and neither the vertical nor horizontal hold allowed you to get a good grip, you’d just give it a good zetz, and…

Hey! Grab the phone book and look up TV repairmen!

Matt Harvey already famously went into the shop and came back as close to as good as new as we could reasonably ask for, but still, sometimes the big picture comes in a little snowy, a little jumpy, not exactly crisp. I find myself wanting to give him the kind of purposeful, light zetz formerly reserved for the old RCA to help him tune in properly. I know he’s not a television, but I yearn deeply for him to be the best thing on mine.

Monday night in Washington, as the Mets braced for the challenge of the first relatively enormous series they’ve played during the Obama administration (which itself is in its seventh season on the air), the Nationals zetzed Matt Harvey early. It also didn’t help that the connections between a few of the batted balls he allowed and the Met defense around him desperately needed tightening. The signal was clear enough to see that this wasn’t going to be a Dark Knight kind of night.

With the Mets down by five and the pitcher’s spot coming around in the top of the fourth there were two programming options: pinch-hit for Harvey and insert Alex Torres — the one pitcher you wanted nowhere near Sunday’s long day’s schlep into night — or stick with Harvey, because since when do the Mets have a pinch-hitter? Besides, the memory of those few times in many tries that Matt helped his own cause stayed with you. Terry let Harvey hit, and Harvey drove in two runs.

The Mets were sort of back in the game and Harvey was back in the driver’s seat, pitching in brilliant, living color from the fourth to the seventh. If only the game had been joined already in progress, it would have won its time slot. Instead, the Mets never scored again, Torres left his usual blotchy mark on the proceedings and the Mets wound up losing by five en route to falling behind by three.

But we did get Harvey to come in perfectly for a while. I hope we can have that again next time he’s on.

16 comments to Tuning In Harvey

  • Michael G.

    Only here, Greg, do we get Yiddishisms such as zetz and tsuris to lighten the burden of the latest Metsian mishaps. Here’s hoping that Mr. Harvey gives both to his next opponent as opposed to what he’s been doing lately.

  • Steve D

    It is telling that Greg wrote such a short (for him) entry about this game. Luckily we have comments for people like me to rant that only a truly corrupted, inept management would trot out this lineup on a major league field:

    Granderson .249
    Tejada .255
    Murphy .267
    Flores .248
    Mayberry Jr. .175
    Campbell .174
    Lagares .255
    Recker .137
    Harvey .135

    Nieuwenhuis PH .172
    Duda PH .238

    I was going to maybe go to a few games this summer, but really? Instead I am going to go see the Binghamton Mets and hope Conforto is still there when I arrive. Putting him on the New York club would probably ruin him anyway.

  • LA Jake

    Sadly, most of us “knew” last night was over after the first inning with the failure to plate a run by the Mets in the top half and then the failure to field and use the brain in the bottom half.

    BUT, did we really expect the Mets to sweep the Nats? So today is another day and hopefully that floppy haired kid will produce on the mound and at the plate to secure a W.

    P.S. Thanks Steve D, for showcasing the best lineup refusing to use money can buy.

    • Michael G.

      Love your unbridled optimism. The LA weather must help!

      • LA Jake

        Not sure I can call my comments unbridled optimism, but I’m trying to avoid the frustration by looking forward instead of backwards. Regardless, LA weather helps my outlook, but the traffic cancels it out.

  • Eric

    With the 6-man rotation suspended and the young stud starters lined up specifically for this series, it’s disappointing the Mets’ 1st ace stumbled out of the gate.

    Harvey didn’t live up to his hype as the quintessential big-game ace under the pressure of the 1st true pennant-race game of his career.

    He’s excused because his TJ recovery can be blamed, but Harvey’s failure to rise to the occasion is a letdown nonetheless. His fielding mistake indicates nervousness was at least partly to blame.

    It’s been an erratic season for Harvey. The velocity has been there, but the control and movement have fluctuated. And when they’ve gone, he’s given up runs. Harvey has pitched well often enough to expect that 2012, 2013 Happy Harvey Day, Dark Knight of Gotham Harvey will be back again next season. But this season, every start is a roll of the dice.

    The Game 1 loss ratchets up the pressure on the Mets’ 2nd ace for Game 2. Let’s find out what deGrom will do with his 1st taste of pennant-race pressure.

    On the up side, the Cubs and Giants lost in the wild-card race.

    If deGrom pitches well tonight (which may or may not net a win with the dead offense and shaky defense), that should settle the question of which Mets ace should start the WC game this season.

    • Steve D

      Harvey throws a lot of pitches that don’t help him…usually bad breaking stuff…an elite pitcher wastes pitches with purpose. Hopefully he will get that back over time.

      • Eric

        The fastball is off, too. The velocity is plenty high with a lot of 96-99 MPH stuff. But. It doesn’t have the same life, so it hasn’t been a swing-and-miss pitch.

  • sturock

    Until Steve D can post a better lineup, it’s going to be touch and go for this team. If the staff can throw shutouts, the Mets have a chance. Nothing you guys don’t already know, but it’s hard to compete with the group they are running out there now.

    Meanwhile, is Lucas Duda toast? Has he simply reverted to his pre-second-half-of-2014 self? Tell me he’s hiding an injury so I’ll feel a little better.

    The way it is now, there’s not a single bat in the order that worries the opposition. Everyone can be easily pitched to.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    I don’t think this is a real word, but the only way I can describe the Mets hitting is utter putridity. Even the Stengel era teams would occasionally get a hit with a runner in scoring position.

    Can anybody tell me why Alex Torres still has a job? Once the novelty of his headgear wore off, his mound presence has absolutely no redeeming qualities.

    And let’s hope the Nationals never have the opportunity to consider adding Donald Trump to the presidents race.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Thanks for the flashback to our TV Repairman. Ours was Ray, of Ray’s TV in Bay Ridge. He’d do House Calls, and if it was just a tube or something he’d fix it on the spot. Or, he’d utter those dreaded words “I’ll have to take it into the shop”.

    Maybe it’s time to take Harvey into the shop.

  • mikeL

    my own tv trivia:

    i still had my first color set through fall 2000, but by then, the long-perfected process of turning the on/off:volume knob with a pull, and a holding it in place just-so (while the tube fired up and didn’t go black after a brief flash of light) had become so unreliable, so time-consuming and so aggravating that the i sprung for a new one on the eve the mets-yankees WS.

    i still have that tv, and it always works as it should.

    all these years later i can’t help but imagine how that old, flakey-switched tv would plyy out nowadays;

    game’s about to start. fiddling with the knob for a few minutes and without luck, i’m reminded of all the other games i’ve been able to watch this season…and i opt to do something more productive than watch guys with bats who are anything but…

    ahh! the price we pay each to see such great pitching!