The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com. (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

These Are the Days of Miracle & Wonder

This happens, right? Against all playoff probability odds, let alone preseason projections, some team finds the field and proves itself better than imagined, better than its competition, better than its most fervent and loyal supporters dared to dream.

This is happening…right?

Wright.

Brothers and sisters, rub your eyes, pinch your extremities, do a double-, triple- and quadruple-take. Those are indeed our New York Mets sitting atop the National League East with nothing directly beneath them except five-and-a-half games’ worth of stratosphere and four teams incapable of dislodging them in the very short term. Three of those teams are spiritually if not mathematically eliminated, while a lone, legitimate competitor lurks on the decreasingly elastic edges of possibility’s realm. The Nats remain within spitting distance of the Mets, but mostly they keep slipping on their own saliva.

Honestly, though, it’s beginning to not matter what the Washington Nationals do. It’s the Mets who are doing what needs to be done, the Mets who are, night by night, doing what no Mets before them have ever done.

If you’ve treated yourself to a viewing of That Thing You Do! every blessed time it comes on the air, then you know The Wonders (originally The Oneders; eventually revealed as classic one-hit wonders) had themselves a song called “Dance With Me Tonight,” which included a timelessly relevant lyric, whether you are listening in Erie, Pa., in 1964, or anywhere across Metsopotamia in 2015.

Tell everyone in Philadelph’ya
There’s a party goin’ on.

Is there ever. It’s thrilling. It’s bracing. It’s ecstasy over SNY and WOR. And boy oh boy, is it powerful.

• The Mets hit eight home runs Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. That’s a franchise record, breaking the old mark that was established in the very same setting on another night the Phillies didn’t have a prayer.

• The Mets added seven doubles to register fifteen extra-base hits in toto. That’s another franchise record, surpassing the thirteen collected exactly ten years earlier in Arizona — and completely outdoing that thing their predecessors didn’t do exactly forty years earlier in San Francisco, which was the day the 1975 Mets were no-hit by Ed Halicki, who, if he’s so tough, why doesn’t he come out of retirement at age 64 and face this powerhouse of a batting order?

The Mets won by a Namathesque final of 16-7. You who are now trained to keep your eyes peeled for the rare and elusive Unicorn Score can mark down yet another one. It was the first 16-7 win in franchise history. Maybe it will be cloned. Maybe it will be dwarfed.

They are farther above .500 than at any time since 2008. They lead the pack by more lengths than at any time since 2007. They look and feel, by every measure, more like a playoff team than at any time since 2006. Those years ended in various shades of pain and horror. This year is coming in on an altogether cheerier frequency. Try to tune in fear and all you get is static.

Who knows anymore what this team can do? Who knows what they will do? It’s folly to pretend to know. Throw out your formulas and resist the pull of magic numbers. Here’s all you need to lean into: If the Mets play 1.000 ball in their next game, everything will be one game closer to taking care of itself quite nicely.

When this particular Unicorn Score has gathered dust, it will likely be inferred to have been the result of something resembling a hard-fought sluggers’ duel. To a certain extent, that will be a reasonable inference, for the Mets actually trailed in this game. They trailed by a lot. They trailed by the kind of margin teams like the 2015 Mets of the part of 2015 that isn’t this one don’t usually come back from. What’s more, they were trailing on the tattered tresses of Jacob deGrom, whose ERA is normally as short as his locks are luxuriously long.

DeGrom, however, didn’t have whatever it is deGrom usually has: command, feel, touch…you name it, it wasn’t at his fingertips. When you can’t rely on your best pitcher, who can you depend upon?

How about everybody else, starting with your Captain, whose presence has just turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign?

The Mets’ starting lineup encompassed in its cleanup slot the player who’s been in more Met starting lineups than any Met ever. On the kind of night when copious amounts of “more” and “ever” were bound to dot descriptions of what the hell (or heaven) just happened in Philadelphia, it was, too, the kind of night that called for the return of David Wright from spinal stenosis purgatory. The Mets had been doing dreadfully without him for the longest time. Then they were doing phenomenally without him for the latest time. Now that they are phenomenal and he has returned, could there be any doubt the two of them together would be explosive?

Doubt all you want. Your lack of faith will be blasted over any of several Citizens Bank Park walls.

David launched a long home run in his first at-bat. How long? Long enough to cover the distance between his uneasy removal from the game of April 14 to his welcome insertion into the game of August 24. His homer put the Mets on the board and pointed them in the…this is no night to resist the obvious…Wright direction.

Don’t waste another minute
Step into the light

This one was for David, whose team it was when nobody else wanted it. And this one was for David’s devotees, all those Ghost Wright-ers in the Stands who bought their No. 5 jerseys sometime after July 21, 2004, and continued to wear them through his and the Mets’ ascent in 2005 and 2006 and their trauma-fraught decline thereafter. Even when he appeared in no Met lineup as April became May became “maybe Tejada can play third,” you couldn’t miss his presence on the backs in your midst.

There were 33s. There were 48s. There were very lately 34s and 52s and 30s. There were still faded 57s and 45s and 15s and 7s left over from the last batch of good times. But the 5s kept coming throughout 2015, even during the titular bearer’s extended absence.

It turns out the one 5 that counts most of all is still around, still swinging, still connecting and, at last, winning.

David isn’t doing it alone. There is no stenosis in that Met lineup, just miles and miles of spine.

• At 3-0 Phillies, Wright homered to make it 3-1 Phillies.
• At 4-1 Phillies, Lagares homered to make it 4-2 Phillies.
• At 7-2 Phillies, Flores homered to make it 7-4 Phillies.
• At 7-4 Phillies, d’Arnaud homered to make it 7-5 Phillies.
• At 7-5 Phillies, Flores homered (again) to make it 8-7 Mets.
• At 8-7 Mets, Cuddyer homered to make it 9-7 Mets.
• At 9-7 Mets, Murphy homered to make it 11-7 Mets.
• At 11-7 Mets, d’Arnaud doubled (piker) to make it 13-7 Mets.
• At 13-7 Mets, Lagares singled (how precious!) to make it 14-7 Mets.
• At 14-7 Mets, Cespedes homered to break the round-tripper record, deliver a bouncing baby Unicorn and make it 16-7 Mets.

Talk about your extra-base hit wonders.

Sean Gilmartin didn’t homer, but he did single and hold the Phillies scoreless during that blink of a transition period between it being a ballgame and a runaway American dream. The whole thing’s rather surreal (W)right now, except when you scour the standings and see for yourself that there’s nothing quite like these New York Mets. I could throw historical comparisons at you — and you can throw them at me — but as we speak and as we soar, these things these Mets do appear to be without precedent.

We join our history, already in progress.

47 comments to These Are the Days of Miracle & Wonder

  • Brian Spencer

    Greg, FAFIF has become essential reading for me & looking in from afar that how much you, Jason & the rest of the Mets family are enjoying this year is so much fun………..long may the fun continue!

    LGM from across the pond!!

    • BlackCountryMet

      Brian, welcome to another UK Met, where abouts are ya

      Greg, I get excited watching the Mets, happy when I review overnight highlights. Then I calm down and start work. At lunch I log on to FAFIF and get happy, excited and BUZZING all over again! This is the best sason I’ve experienced as a fully fledged committed Met and man is it SWEET. I was convinced at the start we’d be good…but not like this. The train is gathering pace and so far, it’s a hell of a ride ;-)

      • Brian Spencer

        I’m a Geordie in Newcastle upon Tyne Black Country. Been to Citi Field a couple of times & actually got to meet Greg & Stephanie one time. There’s direct flights from Newcastle to Newark NJ during the summer months so hopefully I’ll get to visit again.

  • Ray

    “Next, this “Oneders”, with the O-N-E, it doesn’t work. It’s confusing.”

  • Andee

    Now I’m picturing Tom Hanks (now that we know, pace that famous quote, there is crying in baseball and it’s glorious) addressing this team as Mr. White before the game : “It’s very important that you don’t stink today.”

  • This run has been incredible to witness.

    “It all started with the non-trade, the Night of the Tears,” Gary Cohen.

  • Mikey

    it goes without saying that this entire season is a unicorn. Wilmer’s non trade may wind up being something a movie is made out of. And is Sandy Alderson this much of a genius or has he just stepped in crap this year?

    here is the weirdest part…..for the first time I can remember in a really long time, when the Mets got down 7-2 I thought they had a fair chance to come back. Two months ago they wouldn’t have even had those two runs, let alone score 14 unanswered. I’m okay with this continuing.

  • Dave

    And in that endless minivan commercial with Christie Brinkley in the passenger seat while Dad ogles the blonde in the convertible, Dad is the Wonders/Oneders bass player who quit to join the Marines, but although I love the movie, I’ve had quite enough of the commercial.

    Emailed a Phils fan last night in the 3rd inning in what I’d call resigned embarrassment. Did not hear back from him.

    • kdbart

      Ethan Embry. Also, played Rusty in Vegas Vacation and starred in Can’t Hardly Wait with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Seth Green.

      • Dave

        Well, Wolfman had superior bass chops, but by the time he came on board, the wheels were already coming off. I would hope that if they ever did any reunion gigs, they’d get the original lineup back together…(real songwriting and music supplied by the sometimes really good Fountains of Wayne).

  • Mikey

    i just re-watched Wright’s blast. did you guys notice Gary didn’t even have time to say “outta here?” He had to shorten it to the one syllable of “gone!” Love it

  • Dennis

    What an offensive performance last night! Nothing I enjoy more than seeing the Mets put up double digits against the Phillies. And obviously, a great return for David Wright….at least last night’s game can curb some of the idiotic criticism of him lately.

  • Lou from Brazil

    My favorite moment was not one of the pick ’em big hits. It was the photo of Wright, greeting his teammates at the hotel in Philly dressed in full uniform bearing cookies. Got to love it. We’ve missed you David. Let’s keep it going!

  • Dave In Chicago

    Sandy isn’t a genius by any measure, but this roster construction was not luck. Definitely a very deliberate plan to build around pitching and add bats by spending smartly, and not too much.

  • Tim Donner

    Saying this in hopes there is a scientist out there among our viewers, is it possible to bottle the last 4 days and preserve for future use?

  • sturock

    Adding Real Major League Baseball Players to the lineup was a good idea! And now The Captain is back. Funny, I don’t have as much to say when the Mets are doing well as I did when they were struggling. It’s too much fun to just sit back and enjoy it!

    P.S. Forty-nine runs in four games? Wow!

  • Gio

    Pure magic. Was irritated but didn’t feel helpless when the Mets were way down and kept watching to see them come roaring back, which would have been a near-impossibility a few months ago, even when they were playing well. Fangraphs and ESPN have the team’s playoffs odds around 80-85% right now. Somebody pinch me.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I’ll be the first to admit, my first reaction was “Cleanup??, Really??”. By the end of the night, to paraphrase Casey, “That’s when I knew we had ’em”.

    This was the game.

  • Steve D

    Sorry I have to be the downer…it would have been better for the Mets to lose 1-0 last night and have deGrom looking like a Cy Young candidate. Is this the same team that faced Kershaw and was pretty lucky not to have a perfect game pitched against them? They are now like a super nova now out of control. I would take a happy medium that can be sustained into October.

    • Eric

      I hope deGrom is okay. He’s struggled in 3 of his last 5 starts, albeit he was able to minimize the damage in the other 2 subpar starts. In one of the 2 deGrominant starts, he uncharacteristically walked 4.

      deGrom says he feels fine, but Matz coming up and going back to a six-man rotation to finish the season might be just the tonic to rejuvenate deGrom for the play-offs.

      In other ace worries, tonight’s start will be an important test for Syndergaard. As they demonstrated against deGrom last night, the Phillies will tee off on him if Syndergaard hasn’t solved whatever is holding him back on the road. He seems to be running up to his rookie wall, too.

    • Dennis

      As wins are like gold (remember 2007 & 2008, when the Mets could have used at least one more in each season), for the life of me, I can’t understand how anyone can accept a loss over a win, no matter how poorly deGrom pitched.

      • Steve D

        deGrom is known around baseball as the Mets ace right now and I have to agree…he and Harvey are the horses we need to ride in the playoffs. To see him get shelled by the Phillies is a bit disconcerting. If there is anything wrong with him or he runs out of gas, we are in big trouble.

  • 9th string catcher

    Come on, Steve. Everybody has an off game now and then. Especially when pitching in a bandbox like Philadelphia. As far as I know, no one has ever gone 20-0 yet.

    Think about this – the Mets had 8 HRs in one game, without Granderson or Duda even in the lineup. It’s a long way from what Josh Lewin described as “the salad days of Danny Muno”.

    And, I for one would prefer the Mets handily overcoming a 7-2 deficit than another 1-0 loss. We had enough of those this year to last a lifetime.

    • Eric

      Bashing their way back from a 7-2 deficit to win going away while the back end of the bullpen stopped the Phillies cold are good signs.

      However, offensive outburst notwithstanding, the foundation of this team and the cornerstone of its championship aspirations remains the dominance of its young aces. This season, with Harvey’s TJ recovery, deGrom is the Mets’ lead candidate to start a must-win game. He had the worst start of his career last night. He’s recently experienced shaky starts, though he minimized the damage in the other ones. It’s worrisome when the most reliable part of the foundation appears shaky.

      Couple with Syndergaard’s recent struggles, and the Mets aces don’t look like the sure thing that they’ve been for most of the season.

  • open the gates

    All this and a Paul Simon quote on top of it? Doesn’t get better than that. Or does it? Tune in next time, when Paul says, “Don’t cry, Wilmer, don’t cry, don’t cry…”

    And welcome back to O Captain, My Captain. Possibly the most goose bumpy moment of the season thus far, though it’s got lots of competition.

  • Rob E

    IF deGrom is going to give up seven runs every three innings the rest of the way, and IF deGrom is going to walk a bunch of guys the rest of the way, then yes, that will be bad. But there’s a 24-game, 157-inning sample that says he gives up 2.3 runs and 1.8 walks/9. I’m guessing he’ll perform close to that the rest of the way.

    I’ll also add that the bullpen, which has been called a weak link, locked it down for 6 innings last night. So Jake got picked up and that’s what good teams do.

    Stats-wise and projection-wise, you throw these last four games out the window for both the pitching AND the offense. We’ve had three starters get completely blasted (and the only one who didn’t was a spot starter), yet they won all four games. Our starters are not going to have a 9.00+ ERA the rest of the way, and our hitters aren’t going to score 10 runs a game the rest of the way. They will gravitate toward their norm, and that’s fine because this is a real good & resilient team on both sides of the ball.

    • Eric

      As long as there’s not a physical issue with deGrom that recently introduced a factor that didn’t affect the earlier part of the “24-game, 157-inning sample”.

      If something in my car wears out 3/4 of the way into a road trip, that doesn’t mean it’ll continue to drive fine the rest of the way just because the worn part held together for the 1st 3/4 of the road trip.

      He’s now been off his game in 3, arguably 4, of his last 5 starts. Last night is the only time in those 5 games where his drop-off showed up in the statistics. deGrom says he feels fine, but last night’s start re-raises the concern he had quieted in his prior 2 starts. Colon has been in an up-and-down pattern; hopefully, that’s not starting for deGrom.

      • Steven

        Channeling Jason Robards when speaking to Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman in Crimson Tide, “You are both right and you are also both wrong.”

  • Rich

    I bought a David Wright jersey in 2005 (my first such purchase since a Mike Piazza in 98, and a Keith Hernandez before that in the late 80’s). I’ve worn it faithfully to every Mets game I’ve attended since then until this season, when I decided to retire it in favor of a brand new Matt Harvey purchase.

    Is it bad that I felt a twinge of guilt last night immediately after Wright blasted that home run? I’m sorry David, I still love you buddy. Let’s bring home a championship.

  • Dave

    One of the highlights of last night was when someone tweeted a screenshot from Google Maps with the traffic overlay, so that you could see the outbound traffic around the stadium before the game was over. See, this is where modern technology is our friend. I am very happy for those among us who trekked down the Turnpike last night and no doubt endured early taunting from the locals, only to wait it out and see the tables very convincingly turned.

  • Lenny65

    Believe it or not, even Tom Seaver had poor starts every once in a while. I drove out to Shea in August 1985 just to see Gooden pitch and he got knocked out of the box early and Terry Leach came in to mop up. It happens and it’s no reason to freak out. DeGrom will be fine.

  • Bob B

    During RA Dickey’s Cy Young year, the only game I got to was the stinker he pitched kin the rain in Atlanta. Stuff happens. Not worried.

  • Matt in Richmond

    These are the days of lasers in the ballpark.

  • Eric

    Setting aside concern about deGrom …

    The Mets bullied the Phillies last night.

    The best part was the pounding came from everywhere in the line-up, except for Tejada, who had decent at-bats. (With the pitcher up next and a runner in scoring position with 2 outs, I supported Tejada swinging 3-0 to try to bring in the run.)

    The game was the most optimistic pre-season projections come to life for veterans Murphy, Wright, and Cuddyer, and better yet, the development of Lagares, Flores, and d’Arnaud at the plate. Not to mention young Conforto showing off his pinch-hitting potential by coming off the bench to lace a double off a good curve.

    The Phillies have ambushed good teams since the all-star break and showed how they’ve been doing it when they jumped the Mets. Yet the game was like a schoolyard fight where the bully is teasing but not really angry until the frantic victim, who’s practiced working a bag with his dad, throws a punch that draws blood. Then the bully stops teasing and grounds and pounds his victim with deliberation.

    I look forward to the Mets’ LHH line-up tonight with Conforto and Granderson shuttling in, plus test two for Wright.

    Duda’s missing from the LHH line-up, of course. His “thoracic disc herniation” is worrisome. At best, that’s a manageable condition in the short timeframe remaining in the season.

    We’ll be watching for Syndergaard to correct his struggles in away games. The 2nd-half Phillies are a good test. If Syndergaard is off his game again, the Phillies will be ready to jump him like they jumped deGrom last night.

  • Eric

    Syndergaard v [Williams; Shields v] Strasburg. Span is back leading off for the Nationals.

  • Gianni Privacio

    Nice reference to Super Bowl III score.

    And now,

    This is our moment. Met fans with the financial wherewithal to actually attend games, I exhort you: do not let up until the last team is demolished.

    We have waited years for this moment. I could go into details about the who, where and why but why bother?

    Remember, as you snarf yer pricey burgers from Shake Shack, as you enter into the, um, Jackie Robinson Rotunda, as you recall the recent years of suffering perhaps culminating in the selling out of the Wilmer Flores crying photos – an unforgiveable offense to the man who has become the lightning rod for all of our pent-up frustration, by Steiner Sports. Remember to boycott the company!

    And remember how the fans impacted the outcome in 1969 and 1986. Give it everything you have. Leave no team unafraid to enter into our dominion. Send them back to Miami, Philly, Atlanta and Washington with fear in their hearts. Of course please break no laws of our current various legal systems in place.

    This is our moment.

  • eric1973

    On the first play of deGrom last night, the do-over, he appeared to take an awkward step when he covered first base. Then all hell broke loose. Hope it is nothing.

  • […] These Are the Days of Miracle & Wonder »    […]

  • […] been for an eternity. How apropos that our first game intentionally viewed in tandem arrived on the same night David Wright returned to genuine baseball […]

  • […] You hit and you run, or as Tom Hanks as Mr. White advised the Wonders at the Ohio State Fair in the oft-cited 1996 classic That Thing You Do!, “You unplug and you run, run […]