The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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 (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.

Full of Cake, Want Icing

A while back I declared that we’d already won, and anything else that came our way would be lagniappe — games stolen from wintertime. That wasn’t an attempted reverse jinx (though I’m far from above such things) — I meant it. The postseason’s a crapshoot but gets all the attention; the regular season’s the prize, but the narrative turns it into a participant trophy unless the finale is a parade. It’s a shame, and we should resist the pressure to think that way.

But that’s not to say that this month of glorified exhibition games isn’t electric, exciting, joyous and terrifying. It’s all of the above, and Friday night I realized that nine empty years have left me sorely out of practice. I was pretty calm during the day, watching the Blue Jays and Rangers try to defeat each other and the Strike Zone of Mystery and then seeing a slice of Astros-Royals. But by midway through the Cards-Cubs tilt I had tunnel vision and was reduced to fidgeting and checking the time. And by first pitch I was a disaster, sitting rigid on the couch and reminding myself to breathe.

The game wasn’t exactly one to encourage relaxation, either. It was fascinating and riveting, a duel between two pitchers throwing a baseball about as well as it can be done. There were only two questions:

  1. Which ace pitcher would make a mistake?
  2. Which ace pitcher would get tired first?

The answer, in both cases, was Kershaw. The mistake came in the fourth, facing Daniel Murphy — the same Daniel Murphy I’d just been grousing on Twitter shouldn’t have been starting. That’s another marvelous thing about baseball — sometimes you’re over the moon to be wrong. Murph crushed a 2-0 fastball to the back of the right-field bullpen, one of those bolts he delivers now and again. Seriously — the ball wound up with DANIEL imprinted on it, like a 105 MPH iron-on. I am not kidding. Having connected, Murph cocked his bat like a sword, then discarded it and floated around the bases having given the Mets a 1-0 lead. (Oh, and this is adorable.)

It looked like that was all the Mets would get, though, because Kershaw was spectacular, carving up hitter after hitter with evil sliders and curves that looked hittable at the 59-foot point but then dived through the bottom of the strike zone. Or, on occasion, veered around it to check in at the point at the back of the plate — witness the backdoor slider that erased David Wright in the top of the third, followed by an impossible curve that bagged Yoenis Cespedes. (The pitch that got Wright was a strike, though you’d never know it by TBS’s tire fire of a strike-zone widget, which seemed calibrated to the back of the plate rather than the front.)

Anyway, Kershaw was spectacular, but Jacob deGrom — he of the shaggy hair and sheepish grin — was a little bit better. DeGrom got there via a harder road, relying on high-90s heat at the beginning and then finding consistency with his slider and change-up late, but he wound up in a better place: 121 pitches, seven scoreless innings and 13 strikeouts, the last claiming old nemesis Chase Utley. The list of Mets to fan 10 or more in a postseason game is a short one: Dwight Gooden (in ’88) and Tom Seaver (twice in ’73), and now deGrom. And only Tom Terrific joined him in fanning 13. You don’t have to be as historically minded as this blog to know that’s pretty good company.

DeGrom’s final inning came after the Mets had broken through against Kershaw and Pedro Baez. The Mets were hunting fastballs early in counts, but the rest of their plan was to wear Kershaw down on a bizarrely hot night. Witness Wright’s terrific first-inning AB, a 13-pitch walk, and the group effort in the seventh. Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada and Curtis Granderson all walked, sending Don Mattingly out to get his ace and bringing Baez in to face Wright with two out.

It’s been gratifying — to say the least — to see Wright return and contribute, but that seventh-inning at-bat was even more heartening than the first-pitch home run in Philly. The David Wright of his first years in Shea reminded me of Edgardo Alfonzo with his knack for taking a pitcher’s count and grinding his way to a neutral count or an advantage, then getting his pitch and hitting it hard. The David Wright of Citi Field looked different, too often expanding the strike zone and doing the enemy’s work for him. The Wright we saw in Game 1? That was Shea David. Facing Baez for the first time, armed only with a Michael Cuddyer scouting report, Wright worked his way to 3-2 and then rifled a fastball over the infield, making a terrifyingly slim 1-0 Met lead into a merely nerve-wracking 3-0 Met lead. Tyler Clippard hit a bump in the eighth, as he has too often of late, but Jeurys Familia collected four outs and the good guys had won.

We’ve survived Clayton Kershaw. Now here comes Zack Greinke, who’s as frightening as Kerhsaw, if not more so. But Noah Syndergaard‘s pretty capable too — and he’ll only be followed by Matt Harvey and Steven Matz.

Saturday night will be terrifying, of course — but after nearly a decade of spending October as a spectator in search of temporary loyalty, it’s a good kind of terrifying. And I’m looking forward to whatever these games bring, joyous outcome or not. We’ve had our cake, but I’ll take all the icing I can get.

52 comments to Full of Cake, Want Icing

  • Nick

    Fabulous. A wonderful night, and a great piece.

    To view it in a kind of future nostalgia… it is hard not to feel that this is really an incredibly special time, and that we will miss this one, this season and group of players.

    This is what it feels like when teams actually win.

    It was thus in ’69 and ’86 and so it has been again…

    Great start to the ride. Better than getting shut out by Mike Scott, that’s for sure…

  • Adam Nartowicz

    Hey Greg,

    This is truly magical! A group of players that seem to like each other, that fans of any team can’t help but pull for. A manager who has more than paid his dues getting a chance for redemption. And a team Captain, crippled by a serious injury, playing at a Hobbsian level. Never been prouder, never happier than for this group. A joy to be a Mets fan…as always.

  • NostraDennis

    Pile on the icing till we go into a collective diabetic cona, folks. And screw you, spinal stenosis.

    Oh, by the way, we now officially have more post season wins than that team in the Bronx. Not that it matters to us any more. Bigger sights ahead.

  • Daniel Hall

    That was 2:45 of the most wonderful torture I can’t wait to subject myself again tonight. My mantra for game 1 was, everything’s okay – no reason to worry, cry, or shiver – as long as they don’t fall behind to Kershaw, and that never happened. I know the box score says 3:14, but I dozed off for an inning and a half at five in the morning, which I consider excusable. I saw Murph’s very relieving home run before that, then came back to my senses with Duda on first and Ruben working a walk, so I witnessed everything that was key to the game.

    Keys for game 2:
    – I love Murph!
    – everything’s okay as long as they don’t fall behind to Greinke; no reason to worry, cry, or shiver
    – Did I mention I love Murph?
    – I’d like to see Conforto or Lagares play rather than Cuddyer, who looked very bad defensively, twice.
    – Man, I do love Murph!

  • Dennis

    Great piece Jason! One down, two to go. Outstanding performance by deGrom and nice to see the Captain come through. Can’t wait for tonight!

  • mikeL

    what a game and what a recap!
    first mission accomplished: win a post-season game/don’t get swept.
    indeed, we got a pitching performance for the ages, with it, that wonderful feeling that something special could be unfolding.
    at the very least, it will be a series.
    serious beauty in murph and david getting the big hits.

    i like noah in game 2,
    i like him a lot!
    let’s go mets!

  • Dave

    While it would be nice to see Yo start showing his ability to single handedly win games again, how cool is it that the hitting heroes were two guys who have been through it all?

    And what is this thing they call “home field advantage,” and why is it important to so many people? And not just talking about this series.

    • Rochester John

      Yeah, “home field advantage” is dumb. Except when we have it, which we now do! LGM!!

    • dmg

      yes, the fact that the good murph and the captain were the bats that came through gave this first win a kind of rough justice. an epic win that’s a curtain raiser to a postseason for the scrapbooks.

  • FL Met Fan Rich

    Couldn’t get a better pitched game.deGrom set/tied a bunch a records. Murphy even threw in a little defense in the 9th inning. All he does is hit!

    Why not take the second game also as all the pressure swings to the Dodgers!


  • Ken K. in NJ

    That’s Baseball, Part 163:

    The Mets 1st 4 hits off Kershaw were by lefties. We’re all just so smart, aren’t we. I guess we’re not nearly as smart as Terry Collins, who puts a left handed hitter with only 14 home runs who cant really hit lefties into the cleanup spot against the best lefty in baseball. A script waiting to happen.

    Apparently David Wright is now the longest-tenured current player with one team. I remember Bill James saying years ago that Free Agency wasn’t making much of a difference in that sort of thing, but that’s gotta be different now.

    PS: I am not nervous at all about tonight. We are now playing with the house’s money. No matter what, we go back to Citi tied 1-1 at worst, with Harvey rarin’ to go (if traffic permits…)

  • dmg

    confession: feared degrom would be overamped and throw a stinker, like in april against the yankees.
    instead, another season under the belt helped him develop into the met who wears the star. he’s my choice to start any absolute must-win game.

    that win was epic, and the start, maybe, of a run for the ages.

  • Rob E.

    A couple of the things that Collins got criticized for in-season worked themselves out last night. DeGrom got stretched the extra inning, short leash on the reliever, bring in Familia in the eighth. They can’t do that for 162 games, but it’s a different game in the playoffs, and last night’s was nicely managed. Great to see them take a step on a national stage. well done all around! LGM!!

    • Eric

      I can do without Cuddyer starting in the OF.

      Pitching-wise, no complaints, but thank Tejada for deGrom’s 7th inning. Collins said before the game the target for deGrom was 115 pitches. He finished the 6th inning at 103 pitches, including the 4 IBB pitches that Collins says he doesn’t count.

      If Tejada doesn’t grind his way on base, though, deGrom doesn’t stay in to sac bunt. Instead, with Duda on 2nd and 2 outs, I think Collins pinch hits for deGrom and brings in Reed for the 7th.

      Familia can cover the 8th inning, but not the 7th inning.

  • Michael G.

    Rookie of the year, All-Star game dominance, regular season brilliance, NLDS game-one gem — this DeGrom is pretty good. And kudos to Mr. Familia for slamming the door; man I love that guy.

  • Steve D

    Perfect formula that this team must follow…a 1969 low scoring game with great pitching and partially unlikely hero. My first WTF of the night was why bat Murphy cleanup and Cespedes third? Still not sure why you would do that, but we won.

    In my estimation our odds of winning this series went from 45% to 75%. (Since 1969, teams that have won the first game of a five-game postseason series have gone 83–33 in the series, for a .716 winning percentage.) A win tonight and I’m going to 90%.

  • DCLarry

    I spent so many years choosing not to watch Larry King. Why now must I watch him just because I’m watching my favorite team?

    • Dennis

      LOL! I was thinking the same thing last night!

    • Daniel Hall

      Was that actually Larry King? I looked at that guy again and again and thought “That guy looks like Larry King”, but what do I know?

      Seems like he had to go to bed early, though because I didn’t see him after it was 3-0. =)

  • 9th string catcher

    That was Shea-Wright and that was ASG deGrom. Awesome performance – really looks like he’s morphed into an honest to goodness #1 ace. And of course, Avatar of Chaos Murphy shows up. Big homerun. Big defensive play at 1st. 10 wins to go!

  • Eric

    “The postseason’s a crapshoot”

    The regular season nowadays is sabrmetric. In the post-season, old-fashioned gutty ‘That’s baseball, Susan’ is added back to the mix.

    The Mets already won the 2015 season. Now they’re piling on. After looking out of sorts after clinching, the Mets flipped the switch to play-off mode like the Cardinals, who also floundered at the end of the season, did earlier in the day. We knew the Cardinals would flip the switch. We had to wait and find out about the Mets.

    The 3 2015 team MVPS came through:

    Familia with his 1st play-off save, a calm 4-out cover of Clippard’s poor outing. I expect Familia to be on call for 4-6 out saves for the duration of the play-offs to lessen exposure to the Mets bullpen.

    Granderson did work at the top of the line-up against a pitcher the stats say he shouldn’t be playing against. Wright gets credit for setting the pace in his 13-pitch 1st at-bat, but Granderson jumping on Kershaw’s 1st pitch of the game and almost homering set the tone. Of course, besides his hits off Kershaw, his 7th-inning walk to load the bases pushed Kershaw out of the game.

    Remember when deGrom was a fill-in bullpen arm whose chance for a 2nd big-league start depended on how he pitched against the Yankees as a last-minute sub for Gee? The 1st start of deGrom’s career was a must-win game. (He didn’t win the game, but won a 2nd start.) deGrom keeps climbing his career ladder and just outpitched the ace of aces in the play-offs. Which makes deGrom what?

    deGrom pitched brilliantly, especially covering for Cuddyer’s mistakes, knowing there was no room for error against Kershaw. The best ace aspect of deGrom’s game was minimizing exposure to the Mets bullpen by absorbing the extra pitches caused by Cuddyer and stretching his outing to 7 innings. Early on, it looked like deGrom would only reach a brilliant 5 or 6 innings then leave the 1-run game to the shaky middle relief and set-up men for 2-3 innings until Familia. Handing the game over to the bullpen to start the 8th inning allowed Familia to cover for Clippard. deGrom didn’t even need too many pitches. Collins said the target was 115 pitches. deGrom finished with 121 pitches with 4 of them on the IBB.

    Tejada’s walk was the pivotal at-bat of the game. Tejada’s one offensive strength, when he’s on his game, is his ability to grind at-bats. That’s a skill tailor-made for the play-offs. After being overmatched by Kershaw like every other RHB in the line-up, Tejada came through with a good Tejada AB in the clutch.

    Since Murphy’s rookie season, when he played well down the stretch of the 2008 echo-collapse, I’ve wanted to see him with a chance at the play-offs. 7 years later, and likely nearing the end of his Mets career, Murphy’s lived up to the play-off expectations he earned his rookie season.

    Lagares’s younger legs and gold glove should play over Cuddyer in the LHP-hitting line-up. Cuddyer should not play anymore OF. He should be a pinch hitter and back-up 1B.

    Cespedes was a hot hitter when he hit 2nd for the Mets. In terms of line-up construction, it makes sense to bat Wright 2nd and he’s done well there. But I wonder if Cespedes can get hot again if he’s moved back to 2nd.

    I wonder how much leash Clippard has. I hesitate flipping him to the 7th inning because Familia can cover for him in the 8th inning, but it’s harder to trust Reed to cover for Clippard in the 7th inning. At what point does Collins turn to Colon as a set-up man rather than middle or long relief?

    As a baseball fan, it’s sad that the best pitcher in the game is justifiably not trusted by his manager to work his way out of a 7th-inning jam in the play-offs.

    After deGrom outpitched Kershaw ace-v-ace, I want Syndergaard to top deGrom against Greinke ace-v-ace, then for Harvey to top deGrom and Syndergaard while sweeping the Dodgers.

    If instead, the series reaches game 4, I don’t want deGrom to pitch game 4 on short rest. I want play-off reps for Matz and to find out what he’ll do with a chance to top his fellow young stud starters in the play-offs. Plus, use him or lose him – who know how many starts Matz will be available before he’s mysteriously hurt again.

  • cleon jones

    Lets go Mets!!!!!!!!!

  • eric1973

    Great job of managing by TC, leaving deGrom in for 7 innings. Should have / Could have done this the whole season, as long as he remained effective. This 6 inning business only started last year with KC having the talented 7-8-9, so let’s not be brainwashed into thinking this cannot be done during the season. Always has, with great success.

    Great job managing again, with Familia and the 4-out save. If the 8 guy is ineffective, Familia is young and strong and can handle it, even during the season.

    Love Murphy. He can start on my team (at a number of positions) any time. Most likely 1B.

    If Mets win tonight, the overconfidence level for Monday will be sky high — dangerous level, to be sure.

  • eric1973

    Thank you, Donnie Baseball, for taking out the best pitcher in said Baseball, in favor of a ‘nobody,’ who may have had good a WHIP, or CHAIN, or whatever stat the youth of America uses nowadays. I prefer to use my own lyin’ eyes in these situations, and would have let Kershaw handle.

    I know we’re not supposed to criticize managers because they are all so smart, and ‘there are only 30 of them,’ but what is Matt Williams up to these days?

  • Lenny65

    Now we can stop talking about Kershaw like he’s the second coming of Cy Young, anyone is beatable on any given night. DeGrom was just magnificent last night, absolutely one of the all-time great Mets playoff pitching performances. When you match a record set by TOM SEAVER that’s something. Last night he looked like that one kid in little league who’s obviously gobs better than the other kids yet everyone likes him because he’s so freaking cool.

    Tomorrow is my bday and there’s only one thing I want. I have this feeling that they’re about to go off again, I really do.

  • Steve2916

    I had to turn off the game early as much as I hated to. Have my last major long run of NYC Marathon training and needed to rest. But, wait ’til you hear this. Before falling asleep, I checked the score and Mets were up 1-0.

    Overnight, I dreamed that someone got a base hit to put them 3-0. :)

    This morning, I made sure not to check the score before I watched MLB Network’s highlights, so I could enjoy some of the suspense.

    HUGE hits by Muprh and Wright. I’m so happy for both of them after they have been here through all the tough years.

    Final thought: Game Five of the World Series is the same day that I’ll be running my first-ever Marathon. Dare I hope that while celebrating my 26.2 miles that I’ll be watching the World Series clincher? :)

  • eric1973

    Wow, these marathon guys really are obsessed. I’ll stay out of shape, and stay up to watch, thank you.

    Lenny65 – It took me a second, but that was damn funny! Happy B’Day tomorrow!

  • Mikey

    winning game 1 of any series is big, but with kershaw pitching against us, this win was monumental. there is no reason to think we won’t get to Greinke too, hopefully with Conforto in the lineup and Clippard suddenly coming down with a mysterious injury or illness. oh and Thor will hopefully show America what he’s got.

    • Eric

      With how well deGrom and Familia pitched and the way they worked on Kershaw until he gave out, the game 1 win was a statement that the Mets have a formula that can succeed in the play-offs.

  • Lenny65

    Eric1973: Thanks! I also love the way Jacob runs out ground balls, it might not amount to much but it shows what a true gamer he is. The kid has confidence to spare too, not to mention some incredible stuff. IMO he kind of gets overlooked a bit but that will change, right now I’d put him up against anyone. Other than Bobby Jones’ legendary clincher game in 2000 that was possibly the finest postseason start in Mets history.

    Here’s hoping Cuddy gets a night off, the guy looked like he was being chased by bees out there or something. Baseball is such a weird game, you always think it’ll be the guys with no “postseason experience” who screw up. But all is forgiven after a W.

    I hate the late starts too but hey, it could be worse. Anyone remember the 10:30 weeknight game vs. Arizona in 1999? Fonzie cranked that grand slam at around 2:30 am, I was zombified for the entire next day but it was definitely worth it.

  • Ken

    When Wright swung at that borderline 3-1 pitch off Baez, I was surprised. It was in near the same position as the first two he took for balls. It was close, and I might have wanted him taking all the way on 3-1, or at least hunting for strikes down the middle.
    It was clear he wanted to hit, not walk.
    Or perhaps on that 3-2 pitch, he had somewhere in the back of his mind Beltran’s called strike 2, and there was no way he was going to let that happen to him. In the fashion of his friend Jeff Francouer, Wright was swinging all the way, and with that mindset was able to catch up to the 99mph fastball and drive home those key two runs.

  • eric1973

    Hey, tonite’s game starts at ‘907,’ a magical time in Met History, circa 1969, courtesy of Lindsey Nelson.

    All the stars are aligning!

  • The Shea David! Love it!

  • Daniel Hall

    Ruben probably needs some icing right now.

    And Chase Ugly needs a bat, best peppered with screws, taken to the face.

    How can he even be safe? I’m confused AND outraged.

    • dmg

      more than icing, unfortunately.

      mets postgame panel (keith hernandez, nelson figueroa, jim duquette) unanimous assessment: interference/doubleplay should have been called.

      even if only the uttley out call is upheld, mets end that inning tied at 2. oh yes, and their shortstop gone for the postseason.

  • Steve D

    In my mind, it should be interference on Utley, as he never touched second base, and it should be ruled a double play. I will be in the minority though and say it was not a “dirty” play in that after watching 45 years of baseball, that is usually called a clean, hard takeout, especially if it is your player doing it. Unfortunately, the fielder usually is in a position to see it coming and jump out of the way and this time he wasn’t. MLB should really look at this play and if I were in charge, I would make that type of slide illegal, even if the runner does touch the base. Replay changed everything and you have to protect the fielder in the absence of a neighborhood play.

    • Matt in Woodside

      I cannot CANNOT understand why they didn’t go with the ruling on the field after that dirty slide. Utley never even made an attempt to touch second base, even after the “slide.” He broke Tejada’s leg. I’m not one to normally say things like this, but I hope if he’s up in game three or four, he gets hit in the fucking head.

      • dmg

        utley has a history, of course — one that includes taking out tejada before. here’s an account in the nytimes about sept. 24, 2010:

        On Friday, the Mets were upset that Utley slid late and hard into Ruben Tejada, upending the diminutive 20-year-old second baseman, and the Mets threatened retaliation of some sort because they thought Utley could have hurt Tejada.

        “To me, yes, he crossed the line,” Beltran said in one of his more outspoken moments as a Met. “Not only on that play. He has done things in the past, like blocking bases. It’s O.K. to play hard, it’s O.K. to get outs. But once you try to hurt somebody, that’s no fun. He’s such a good player, too good, to be doing that. But I guess that’s the way he plays. We can play like that, too.”

      • Steve D

        I can understand the frustration…Joe Torre’s explanation leaves me baffled. Utley is told he is out, is leaving the field and Torre says if a Met player just picks up the ball and decides what the hell, I’ll tag him out, he would have been called out on the replay? That is insane. A player could have literally chased Utley all around the field and into the stands like Bugs Bunny trying to tag him. Keith said Utley is not a dirty player who made an illegal slide. I agree with that take.

        • Matt in Woodside

          Yeah, and the guy who could’ve gotten him out by just touching second after Utley not only left the field and went to the dugout, but also walked into the freaking clubhouse, has a broken leg and had to be carted off the field courtesy of Utley? My mind has been blown. How on earth does MLB justify this? Why not just allow NFL-style tackling of second basemen and shortstops to break up double plays? That’s what just happened!?

  • 9th string

    6 umpires, replay units and a long injury break and the umps botched a call like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’m a mets fan, but I’m a baseball fan first and foremost, and you can’t allow bullshit to stand. Pathetic. If it was the other way around, I sure as hell wouldn’t feel good about winning that way. Here’s to the pounding the Dodgers are going to get in New York. And I hope the crew chief gets a ball in his throat.

  • mikeL

    total bullshit to award @$&! utley a base. i seriously hope utley’s ok enough to play in nyc so that situation can be corrected by rueben’s teammates.
    and i hope the umps, having completely botched the call allow the mets players to exact some justice beyond sending the dodgers home to start their golf seasons.
    the way rueben was upended, i’m glad he didn’t land on his neck!
    let’s go mets. fuk the dodgers.
    heal up rueben! you played a great season and i hope your teammates get you a ring.

  • open the gates

    Memo to Matt Harvey: Give Chase Utley the most terrifying at bat of his career, and all is forgiven.

  • sturock

    You know, Keith Hernandez is an asshole. It’s long since past time that what Utley did is considered “just a hard-nosed play.” He intended to take Tejada out. He slid completely out of the baseline with the intent of upending Tejada. And now we have to talk about “getting even”? Now we have to talk about Harvey throwing at a Dodger? If Matt throws at anyone he’s gonna get tossed from the game and possibly suspended for the rest of the playoffs– all because of a dirty player. These slides should not be allowed. Period. Chase Utley has now turned this series into something ugly and violent. Why is this part of baseball? Part of “how the game is supposed to be played?” It’s despicable and it’s time MLB does something about it.

    • Matt in Woodside

      I don’t care if Harvey waits for Utley or if he straight up beans both Crawford and Kendrick and gets thrown out as part of a first inning benches clearing brawl to start game three. I am not kidding. I want to see someone hit in the head over this. I hate them and I hate their stupid fans.

  • Eric

    That’s Utley being Utley. Takeout slide by Cobra Kai.

    Somehow, someway, those Phillies were going to do their thing to the Mets in this series.

  • Dennis

    Never liked that motherfucker Utley and despise him even more now.

  • […] Friday, in Game 1 of the NLDS, Kershaw was merely pretty good at that; Tuesday night, in Game 4, he was a whole lot better. The difference, as noted by David […]