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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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And The Mets Play On

Maybe all the Mets needed was a little sunshine. The sun makes living things grow. The Mets appeared to be the opposite of a living thing since departing Cincinnati with a division title stuffed in their luggage. Perhaps they were under the impression they had entered the afterlife.

Not quite. They had only qualified for it. There was a little business left to be taken care of back on earth, a little pulse to be shown. They proceeded to play five games under cover of either darkness or clouds. The results reflected the gloom.

Sunday the sun came out. And so did the Mets, who did just enough to make the rest of us shine. Heaven no longer waits. It arrives unencumbered, at a time to be announced, this Friday at Dodger Stadium.

Funny thing about depositing yourself at a sun-kissed ballpark for the last few hours it was supposed to be open for the year. You forget your problems. You forget your team’s problems. You forget the total lack of scoring from the several games before. You forget the total lack of hits from the game directly before. You remember that even though the game you’re at was slated to mark the end of yet another season, this year it serves as a gateway to something potentially divine.

Under the Sunday sun at Citi Field, in Game 162, the Mets beat the Nationals, 1-0. One run more than their opponent — any opponent at this point — was all we needed to burnish our brightness. We got it. We got it against the Nationals, which was a nice and I’d say necessary boost for our collective self-esteem. The Nationals lost and went home. That’s where they were headed anyway, but it was better to send them away emptyhanded. Their disappearance from October before October really gets going provided a healthy reminder that it is the Mets who are sticking around to take a bite out of the meat of the month.

The Mets are going on to play more baseball. They start the new fall season Friday. They were the breakout hit of the summer. We’ll see how their act plays in prime time. Right now just knowing that they’ll be there to tune in to is pretty special. It was special knowing that on Sunday.

Ah, Sunday. Closing Day. It’s my thing every year at the end of the baseball year. I’ve come to cherish it more than Opening Day. It’s when I reflect a lot and mourn a little and appreciate a ton. But what about the rare year like this one when the Day in question is less about Closing and more about keeping the gate ajar?

What one sacrifices in sense of closure is more than made up for by the sensation of anticipation. My gosh, knowing the Mets and Citi Field will remain open for a while longer, maybe a significant while longer, doesn’t detract from Closing Day at all. It adds a whole savory dimension to the experience.

Thus, I wasn’t my usual melancholy self on the train ride in Sunday. I wasn’t kissing, hugging or heartily handshaking the season and its inhabitants goodbye. I wasn’t slumped into my seat at the end as I tend to be when the last out is recorded. I was light on my toes in my head all Closing Day long.

There was still the pageantry I arrange for myself on the occasion of the final regularly scheduled home game, a date I have now kept with the Mets for 21 consecutive seasons, 23 in all. There was the Chapman tailgate extraordinaire, this year with a Seaver Vineyards-supplied toast to a division title just won and a division series just ahead. There was a dime (or more) dropped on a t-shirt, a pennant and a pin that confirms the Mets really are champions of something. Usually Stephanie and I search the team store for clearance items. This year the shelves were stocked with new merchandise. It was no bargain, but I can’t question the value.

We walked the field level one more time. We said hi to people we see mostly at Citi Field. People who see us mostly at Citi Field said hi to us. We stopped in our tracks when the PA gave me what I’d been wanting to hear since April: Bobby Darin welcoming us to “Sunday In New York,” a song that had been a Sunday staple in Flushing dating back to early in the century. I thought they stopped playing it, the way they stopped playing “Takin’ Care Of Business” after Mets wins. I was willing to move on from BTO to Ace Frehley in the name of changing our luck, but I’d been missing Bobby Darin something awful.

“If you’ve got troubles/Just take them out for a walk/They’ll burst like bubbles/In the fun of a Sunday in New York.” I’ve got troubles. We’ve all got troubles. The Mets aren’t one of them. Sometimes we act as if they are. Even when we’ve had an appointment with the Dodgers guaranteed for more than a week we could, amid the clouds and the darkness, convince ourselves the sky was if not falling, then drifting dangerously downward.

On Closing Day, with the sun prominent and friends along the trail and postseason logos in evidence, there was no trouble at Citi Field. There were no hits for the Nationals for most of seven innings, albeit without the drama Max Scherzer provided Saturday night. Terry Collins was changing pitchers like a neurotic foot changes socks, yet no arm — not deGrom’s, not Colon’s, not Verrett’s and, until it finally did so a little flukily, not Niese’s — gave up a Washington base knock. Then the regular bullpen guys Reed and Clippard resumed keeping the Nats hit out of luck.

The Mets who hadn’t scored since Cincinnati (or so it seemed) didn’t score until the eighth, when Curtis Granderson hit a ball over a fence. But they did score and they had an entire run more than the Nats. See? No trouble. It was 1-0, Jeurys Familia coming on for the save that would tie Armando Benitez’s single-season mark of 43. Two outs were quickly recorded.

Finally, it was Familia versus Bryce Harper to end it. Or not end it. Harper stroked the first pristine hit of the day, a double to left. Or was it a single and he was out on Michael Conforto’s bullet of a throw to second? Harper was called safe. Collins challenged. Good move, aesthetics notwithstanding. Let Terry get tactical. It’s not like those challenges can be saved for another day.

A replay was watched from a thousand angles. Harper was ruled safe again. Harper is a superb player. I hope someday the relationship between his excellence and our distaste for it has some edge taken off of it. I didn’t like that after he was hit by a pitch Saturday afternoon and briefly writhed in pain that he was hooted on his way to first. Karma doesn’t care for that reaction. Karma was disgusted when Mets fans cheered Kirk Gibson pulling up lame at second base in the 1988 NLCS. See where that got us. Saturday Harper, writhing shaken off, hit the home run that won the day game. I wasn’t surprised. Boo Bryce, but hold the malice. Trust me. It will work better for us in the long run.

Anyway, Bryce was on second and I guess he’s technically if not physically still there. Jeurys left him on base when he flied Jayson Werth to center to end the regular season. A Met had notched a 43rd save for the first time since 2001, which was when “Sunday in New York” entered my consciousness. The Mets, sporting a spiffy 90-72 record, won a 1-0 game for the first time in 2015, a veritable unicorn-style event for a season that featured back-to-back 14-9 affairs at the offense-fueled height of August. Better late than never to make with the pitching, defense and one-run homer.

The last time the Mets won, 1-0, on Closing Day was 1995, the year I began my current last scheduled home game attendance streak. They beat the Braves that Sunday in New York. Bobby Cox started John Smoltz and pulled him after five the way Collins removed Jacob deGrom after four. It was just a tuneup for the N.L. East champs. Their ticket to the postseason indelibly stamped, they were swept by the Mets that weekend. Those same Braves were so burdened by those three straight losses that they went out and won the World Series four weekends later.

You never know how these things will unfold, but I’ll happily take the 1-0 win in 2015 just as I happily took the 1-0 win in 1995. Strange habit I’ve developed. When I go to see the Mets play, I leave happier if I’ve seen the Mets win.

Connoisseurs of Closing Day know the day isn’t done just because the game is over. You stand and you applaud and you wait to see what will happen next. It used to be the best you could hope for was a montage of video clips from the season we’d just persevered through and maybe a cluster of Mets gathering outside their dugout and tossing a few wristbands and well wishes to the fans nearby.

This time we got something more. We got something I’d never previously seen a Mets team do.

The Mets, every wonderful one of ’em, transformed themselves into a human highlight film. They came out en masse and they waved, but they didn’t stop there. They jogged the circumference of the field. They greeted every segment of the stadium. It would have been easy enough to make a beeline to the 7 Line Army out in center and then a beeline right back into their clubhouse. The 7 Liners are the most visible cluster of fans at any game they hold down seats and they can’t help but attract the most attention.

These Mets, though, symbolically recognized everybody who came out to recognize them. It was such a simple gesture, yet it ran so deep. The manager circled the field. The captain circled the field (and later grabbed a microphone in order to share a few gratitude-laced sentiments with us before encouraging all of us, “Let’s go beat L.A.”). Everybody from Yoenis Cespedes to everybody who isn’t Yoenis Cespedes circled the field. The effect was electric. It was like they, the players, knew who we were and how much we care; like they knew we show up to see them across 81 home games plus however many times some of us hit the road to lend them support. All we ask for in the course of the season is that the hitters pile up runs and the pitchers allow almost none. We wouldn’t have thought of asking for this.

Yet they thought to give it to us. It was a splendid moment, maybe never to be repeated again in my lifetime. Or it will be repeated following another few clinchings and become Met tradition, like the video montage used to be, like “Sunday In New York” used to be. Who knows? I know I won’t forget it.

That’s my leitmotif every Closing Day, not forgetting because there’s so much to remember, so much to tie up and take into winter. This Closing Day, however, winter was nowhere in sight, ballpark chill notwithstanding. This Closing Day we bundled and stacked only so many memories. We are privileged to be able to add to them beginning this Friday in Los Angeles. It’s a shame Games One and Two and potentially Five won’t take place at Citi Field. It’s a blessing that our number of games remaining isn’t down to zero.

Here’s to the 2015 that’s happened. Here’s to the 2015 still to come.

43 comments to And The Mets Play On

  • rich porricelli

    Awesome on the road in the second half- I like our chances in LA..Amazin’ unforgettable year it was, and still is..

    Thanks for what you give us..That is, the Mets and you..

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Depressing stats, Mets:

    3rd on team in walks: Tejada, 38 (!)
    1st on team in steals: Granderson, 13 (!!)
    1st on team in RBI; Duda, Murphy (!!!), 73
    1st on team in BA: Murphy, .281

    Cespedes for a while helped us forget how lame this team really is offensively. This past week was a reminder.

    Depressing stats, Ex-Mets:

    2nd in AL in wins: McHugh (!!!!), 19 (not a typo…)

    • Rob E

      Last year Posey led SF with 89 RBIs, and Pence was #2 at 74, their steals leader had 16 (two guys), and their team leader had 59 walks (we have two guys over that, and one WAY over that). And they went all the way with that. The Royals HR leader had 19, and their top RBI guy had 74. Both teams had higher averages, but the 2015 Mets outscored both those teams.

      Not that the 2014 Giants and Royals are the undisputed model for success, but there is something to be said for depth and balance. I don’t see anything depressing here at all.

      McHugh had a nice season and piled up some wins, but if Matz and Wheeler are healthy he’s not even in our rotation!

      • Dennis

        Once again, great points Rob! Not sure how anyone can even bring up anything depressing when we are NL East champs and in the postseason.

        • Eric

          I’d like to have McHugh instead of Niese. For the past 2 seasons, give or take McHugh compared to Colon. McHugh would be useful next season. For all we know, Wheeler’s TJ-recovery season will be more Parnell than Harvey and maybe he’ll end up at O’Flaherty. Matz is not inspiring confidence that he’s durable. There would be a place for McHugh in the Mets’ rotation.

          My takeaway from Ken’s comment is don’t look for the Mets to roll through the play-offs like the August offensive juggernaut.

          The Mets’ likelier play-off formula will be the team we hoped Alderson would upgrade to in July: elite starting pitching that mitigates the shaky middle relief, a dependable set-up man, an elite closer, and a line-up that can muster league-average runs.

    • Dave

      Ken – You rather be the Nats? Nice stats there. They have a guy who will likely win the MVP with 42HR’s and a .330 BA, and a starter who threw 2 no-hitters. And they also have a closer who tried to strangle a teammate in the dugout, no manager, no coaches, and no remaining games in 2015.

      If ever there was a time to focus on the positive, it’s now. Saw a tweet this morning that had to point out that of all the teams in the postseason, the Mets have the worst record against playoff teams. What it failed to mention was that so far, all teams’ post-season records are 0-0. As wiser men than me have said, this is why you play the games.

      • Eric

        W-L from Baseball Reference:
        CHC 0 7
        LAD 4 3
        NYY 2 4
        PIT 0 6
        STL 3 4
        TOR 2 2

        One, like you said, the play-offs are a new season. See Mets-Dodgers 1988.

        Two, if the tweet compared aggregate W-L, then being swept by the Cubs and Pirates skews it. 11-13 W-L outside the 2 NL WC teams isn’t positive, but it’s only mildly negative. I’m not going to do a team-by-team comparison, so for all I know, 11-13 might still be worst among the play-off teams, but it’s not a striking disparity.

        Three, the Mets happen to be playing the DS against the play-off team against whom they have a positive regular-season W-L. Not that that makes Greinke and Kershaw any easier to beat or the prospect of facing Utley and/or Rollins with the game on the line any less nerve-wracking.

        Four, only 1 of the Cubs and Pirates will make it past the WC round. Then that team has to beat the Cardinals in the other DS before the Mets can face them in the CS.

        Five, there isn’t a clear favorite in the AL, but the Yankees are less likely than the Blue Jays to make it to the WS.

    • Eric

      The Mets’ over-all lack of speed is concerning. Their increased HRs covered that they otherwise play station to station. If they can’t count on HRs, then they have to be that much better at situational small ball because they’re generally too slow to take an extra 1 or even 2 bases. Yet they’re not a good situational small ball scoring team.

  • Steve2916

    @KenK
    I think the Duda/Murphy RBI stats are a bit skewed because of the time missed b/c of injury.

    The games in the playoffs will likely be low-scoring, and in such contests, I like the Mets’ changes b/c of their pitching.

    @Greg – beautiful post. And speaking of Closing Days, the last one I attended was another meaningless game vs .these same Nats, with both teams heading to the offseason, in 2010. It went something like 14 innings before the Mets lost, but I stuck it out to the end.

    Wish I had been there today, but I sold the tickets when it became apparent the game would no longer matter in the NL East standings. My bad. :)

  • I share your closing day sentiments and have attended several closings more so than openers -been to finales at Mets, yanks, Phils and Indians, where it is also a nice tradition what with the oncoming lake eire winters bearing down! bravo..PS just found you again after ESPN.com hid you the last several weeks!

  • eric1973

    Agree with Rob E., and we all need to realize that our (hitting) season really began on AUG01, when all our own hitters came off the DL, and our new acquisitions came on board. Anything before that may just have well been stats from a different organization.

  • LA Jake

    How wonderful for the regular season to end and know the Mets have more games to play. Beautifully captured as always by FAFIF.

    As to what the Mets are and aren’t, they are not the woeful group with Mayberry and Campbell in the middle of the order and they are not the offensive powerhouse that clubbed teams into submission for a month. They are a team with great pitching and a bunch of guys who are capable at the plate albeit streakily.

    Here’s hoping they find a hot streak starting Thursday that carries them for 3-4 weeks. If not, it has still been a fabulous season and there is much reason for optimism going forward.

  • Gianni Privacio

    Yes! You put the icing on the cake to (thus far:-) my third favorite Mets’ season in nearly forty. Doing what you do best, bringing us there with the little details. Means a lot to those of us not present.

    A great way to end it by the team, during and after. Whatever happens now 2015 a thing of beauty. In perspective, baseball is entertainment, right? When was the last time any of us got their money and/or time’s worth like this? While I would have taken pride if they got to 95, or even 92, I had them pegged for 87 before the season. Optimistically given the state of the roster then, so 90 and first place is gravy. And let’s face it, it wouldn’t have been a complete season of pure mythology from end to end of they hadn’t dramatized things with the end-of-season tankage, Cespedes getting plunked, right?

    Big shoutout to McHugh, also a great writer. Good for him, especially if you’ve read his blogs and such and know his struggles to make it. Excellent point about Harper. I had actually been fantasizing that the fans would have shown the class of winners, flipped the script and given him a standing O for his great season, maybe make him truly loathe playing in DC. Sigh.

    Stats: this team has “team” written all over it. Numbers don’t matter now, when you have guys like Niese fully embracing the bullpen role. Unless of course you look at Cespedes’ combined 84 extra base hits, Familia’s 43 saves, and the top of the rotation’s WHIP. Bursting like bubbles!

    Now we head west, into the shadows and towards a certain sunset of Kershaw and Greinke.

    Or do we? You couldn’t make this stuff up. Been saying for weeks that if Duda gets hot…so if you’re one of the fortunate few with a ticket on the 12th, whether it’s 2-0 or 0-2 – make it extra loud for the rest of us.

  • FL Met Fan Rich

    Vacation is over! Let’s get back to business. Would be great to take game one in LA. Let’s go Mets!

  • mikeL

    nice one greg…was wondering whether a mets team had done that encore lap before.
    i did a few closing days in the early 2000’s but sadly bought tix for the friday game of this series; i chose not to rush downstate for the early saturday re-schedule in the cold and gusty. clearly was on the same page as all of those 10’s of thousands not in their seats. sunday was the game. sunny and packed with fans. a tight win.
    must say, given the local weather, and the mets’ late-season success on the road, i like their chances out west, where it will be warm and where a change of scenery mag provide just the re-set the team needs.
    had the mets been on a roll, we’d all be worrying about losing the groove.
    the rotation ended strong, the team ended the season with a healthy lead and the hitters are poised to get hot.
    nothing to be depressed about.
    we just witnessed one of the best and most memorable mets seasons ever.
    and playoff baseball begins friday.
    LET’S BEAT LA INDEED!

  • Will in Central NJ

    Ah yes, Closing Day in 1995….when, like in other years, the Mets flung their caps into the stands, then signed autographs at the railings for about a half hour. That’s how I got the autographs of 1B Rico Brogna, RHP Robert Person and LHP Don Florence.

    I was at the Saturday afternoon game, and was very pleased to see the 2015 NL East flag fluttering in the wind over the Pepsi Porch. Hopefully, we’ll acquire new flags of greater importance, as this month goes on!

  • Dave

    What a great day to be at Citi yesterday. Couldn’t help but wonder how many in attendance bought their tickets on Stub Hub after Nats fans who planned a weekend in NY decided to see a matinee on Broadway instead.

  • Jestaplero

    Nice running into you on the Shea Bridge yesterday, Greg! LGM

  • Bob

    Greg & Jason:
    Thanks for all your articles/words during this season!

    My Met Flag will stay up in my yard here in Los Angeles–till…..

    Lets Go Mets!

    Met fan since 1963–Polo Grounds

  • dmg

    i too have taken to attending last games — there’s always something sweet about it. last year’s was awfully nice, with duda getting his 30th, bobby abreu getting his sendoff, and altuve getting his batting title — and isn’t it cool that both the mets and astros, also-rans in 2014, are in this year’s postseason?

    i passed on yesterday only because i didn’t want to jinx the playoff run (not that it would, but i have my own perverse logic to deal with). i watched the game and everything after, though, and actually choked up a little when the team made its own diamond dash. someone in that organization has a great sense of the dramatic.

    i would have preferred hfa for selfish reasons, but that’s all prologue now. like the david said, let’s beat l.a.!

  • Janie

    I’ve had season tickets since 1971 and Closing Day has always been a favorite for me and my family as well. I think that yesterday was wonderful…it brought tears to my eyes, but my most poignant memory was after the final out in an abysmal season in the 1970’s (I can’t remember exactly which year), when the team ran into the dugout and returned a moment later holding up a banner for the few fans in attendance, “THANKS FOR STICKING WITH US”.

    Anyway, if the Mets go on to the World Series, according to research, there are a lot of current 8 – 12 year olds who will become lifelong Mets fans. That’s a great thing, because the best of those lifelong Mets fans will be there on Closing Day even if they end up 59-103 (1993) or 71-91 (1974).

    The fans who endure the worst seasons deserve the team’s appreciation even more than fans who, like this year’s, already have been rewarded with the promise of postseason play. I love how Terry Collins and crew celebrated yesterday after the game (hopefully it won’t be the last celebration of 2015!) and I wish they would make it an annual ritual.

  • FL Met Fan Rich

    No shadows to worry about!

    Game 1 at 9:45 PM…..WTF

    • Eric

      6:45 Pacific. All 4 series will be going on Friday. 3 hour stagger. Rangers@Blue Jays start off at 12:45 pm. Someone has to play late. I guess Cubs/Pirates@Cardinals will get the prime slot.

  • Jestaplero

    Noah Syndergaard is Game 2 starter!

    • Eric

      Maybe game 5 starter, too, if the series goes that long and deGrom pitches game 4 on short rest.

      I wonder whether it might not be better for Syndergaard to start game 1 to give the Mets the option of starting him game 4, if needed, on short rest but at home. If he pitches games 2 and 5, if deGrom starts game 4, both starts will be in LA. Perhaps it would be better for deGrom to start game 2 and, if needed, game 5 on the road.

  • DAK442

    I have absolutely no problem with Bryce Harper, based on a couple of quotes I read in the Daily News. After clinching, he said he’d be rooting for the Mets in the postseason since we are in the same division. And Saturday after his hilarious “psych” fake toss of the ball to the fans in CF he said that he enjoyed the fans in NY, admired our passion and how into it we are. Seems like an OK guy to me.

  • Eric

    As a fan, I have no issue with Bryce Harper. He’s good and seems passionate about the game.

    90 wins is a traditional hallmark of a good team. A division championship is another hallmark of a good team, notwithstanding nowadays a team can qualify for the post-season without winning their division.

    For the sake of exorcising the 2007 collapse and subsequent LOLMets era, conclusively stamping the two hallmarks onto this Mets season mattered – for the record. In contrast, the Astros won neither 90 games nor their division and the Cubs won 97 games but not their division. Embrace the redemption.

    The team coming out to celebrate their achievement of 90 wins with the fans at home like they did in Cincinnati after clinching the division speaks to the extraordinary meaning of this season, unlike even other winning seasons.

  • Eric

    Here’s a rationalizer to help accept losing HFA:

    While every game of the series is important, the team considers game 3 of the 5-game series to be pivotal whatever the results of games 1 and 2. Hence Harvey’s 1 start of the DS is game 3.

    By that logic, better to set up game 3 in the Mets favor with other factors besides Harvey vs Wood. With HFA, game 3 would be in LA. Now without HFA, game 3 is at home.

    A 5-game series can’t be decided in games 1 and 2, but it can be won or lost in games 3 and 4. However excited the home crowd would have been to start the series on Friday, I imagine they’ll be more excited for the middle and possible end of the series next Monday.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Thanks to Greg and Jason for doing what you do. I don’t know how you pull it off, but I sure am grateful.

    I made it up to NY for the last 2 games, my first ever. Yup, after 30 plus years as a fan, the Mets got no hit in my first game. Hard to fathom the unlikelihood of that, but there’s been much that’s hard to fathom about this team. I’ll say this; despite the cold and the occasional overly grumpy fan, I still was blissed out just to be there. Me and my brother got to our seats right before first pitch and I said, this looks like a good night for pitching to dominate. What an understatement!

    As much fun as I had Saturday, Sunday was a whole new level. Beautiful bright skies, energetic happy crowd, more great pitching, and a heroic performance from Curtis. Watching the team jog around after the game thanking the fans, Murphy attempt to dance, and the Captain get us fired up with his “Let’s go beat LA” was the icing on the cake. Thank you NY for being such an amazing city. Now I can’t wait to get back. LGM!!

  • Sbrand

    i was there too Greg. Sorry I didn’t see you. I was so struck after the game at all the smiling faces in the crowd. Everyone looked so happy! I’m sure I had a big smile on my face too. I will be there Monday. Happy to say I was at the last playoff game at Shea and will be at the first one at Citi Field. So excited.

  • Rochester John

    Another, here, whose opinion of Harper is starting to thaw a little. Maybe he doesn’t run out meaningless popups, but on Sunday, down 1-0 with two out in the ninth, in what was, for the Nats, a meaningless game, he absolutely busted his ass to turn a single into a double and get the tying run in scoring position.

    I have a feeling that he is going to be this team’s Chipper. We’re going to hate him a lot of times, but in the end, respect him a lot more. Just hope he doesn’t name his kid Citifield Harper.

  • eric1973

    Agreed on thawing a little, but still glad he lost the Batting Title and finished with 99 RBI’s.

    Will certainly spice up the division if they hire Wally!

    LGM!

  • Tim H

    Since it’s a slow Mets news day — and if it’s not verboten — I’d like to mention the other MLB team from the Big Apple on their (possibly only postseason) game day.

    Back in 1969, when the Mets were the toast of the town and the Yankees were — how you say? — not, a great, but short-lived sports magazine began publication. It was called simply “Jock” and it was a welcome addition to the sports scene, especially in New York. Before the end of the baseball season, a long profile of Yankees president Mike Burke was written under the headline, “Hey Mike Burke, don’t you wish you were the boss of the Mets?” It’s an interesting read, but I would like to point out the very nice quote from Burke near the end of the piece.

    In answer to the article’s headline, Burke says, “Even though I am disappointed that things haven’t gone well with us this season, I love the Mets. I am rooting for them to win the pennant. I run the Yankees, but I am also a baseball fan and a New Yorker and I can see what joy they are bringing to this town. Also as a human being, you have to root for the ugly duckling to turn into the prince and marry the princess and the Mets are the ugly ducklings come to life.”

    It seems like that quote came from not only another time, but another planet. Michael Burke was a World War II hero, worked for the O.S.S., the Office of Strategic Services which was a precursor to the C.I.A., and a man of some charm and gravitas.

    Good luck to Yankees tonight -– but only if it means we will meet them for a real Subway Series.

    Here a link to the “Jock” magazine piece: http://thestacks.deadspin.com/hey-mike-burke-dont-you-wish-you-were-the-boss-of-the-1495498263

    p.s. There’s a photo in the piece (not easy to view, though) of Mike Burke standing next to a Yankee Stadium vendor. That vendor was also a colleague of mine as a Shea Stadium vendor. His name was Rolland Pierre.

    • And here was Burke’s telegram to his counterpart, M. Donald Grant, after the Mets clinched their first division title:

      Congratulations on being number one. Am rooting for you to hang in there and take all the marbles. As a New Yorker I am ecstatic, as a baseball person I am extremely pleased, and as a Yankee I consider suicide the easy option.

      Today stopped being a slow Mets news day when Matt Harvey hit traffic. Well, depends on your definition of Mets news, I suppose.

      • Eric

        Wright was pissed.

        If Wright’s the captain (which he is), then Harvey is supposed to be a lieutenant. Even though Harvey’s start is a week away, his tardiness reflects poorly on player leadership for a team in play-off mode. That one of his lieutenants isn’t squared away and leading his ‘platoon’ properly reflects poorly on the captain.

        Anyway, sounds like they’ve disciplined Harvey’s mistake in-house.

  • Tim H

    Well, at least Matt didn’t get on the wrong subway train.

  • LA Jake

    (If this is not kosher, just delete. Just trying to explore all avenues)
    In case anybody in LA is wondering, I would love to take my 7-year-old to one of the Mets/Dodgers playoff games this weekend and am willing to pay a reasonable price for a pair of tickets. If you know of any available from family, friends, co-workers, etc. that aren’t looking to make big bucks, please contact me. Thanks!

  • eric1973

    To be perfectly clear, and surprisingly so, the entirety of this has not been mentioned at all. This ‘innings limits’ nonsense is preventing Harvey from pitching Games 1, and 4 or 5. He is by far and away the best we have.

    As talented as he is, nobody in their right minds would choose Thor to pitch 2 games in this series instead of Harvey. Not sure why Mets submitted to this, once Harvey said he was all in. Playoff appearances do not grow on trees. Just ask Matt Williams.

    • Rob E.

      If he’s better than deGrom at all, it’s by a hair. Their numbers are ridiculously close, and there was no drama or question marks with deGrom. Harvey may have more talent, and he may have more upside, but to me, deGrom is the #1. He EARNED it.

      I’m OK with what the Mets are doing with Harvey, with game 3 being pivotal, and I’m OK with deGrom starting game 5 if necessary.

    • Eric

      You mean Harvey should be pitching game 2 with the option to pitch him on regular rest in game 5 if deGrom goes short for game 4, right?

      I would agree with that. Under normal circumstances, it should be game 1 deGrom (or Harvey), game 2 Harvey (or deGrom), game 3 Syndergaard, game 4 Matz (or game 1 starter), game 5 deGrom or Harvey with the other ace ready in the pen if Matz pitches game 4.

      I agree deGrom or Harvey should be getting 1st dibs as the game 5 starter, not Syndergaard. If Matz pitches game 4, then deGrom will be the game 5 starter if the series gets there.

      (I suspect if Matz can’t go game 4, and the Dodgers pitch their game 1 starter on short rest, the Mets will talk themselves and deGrom will talk his way into starting on short rest game 4 over Colon, with Colon ready to take over at the 1st sign that deGrom doesn’t have it.)

      Harvey is not “by far and away the best we have”. Like Rob E. said, Harvey and deGrom are 1, 1a or even 1 and the other 1. Maybe next season, Harvey will take over again as the clear 1, staff ace but not yet this season.

  • eric1973

    Mike Burke may have been a great guy and all, but tonight it’s “LGA!!!!!!”