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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.

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The Unanticipated Anticipation

I thought I’d be excited to be going to the first Mets’ postseason game ever at Citi Field. I am, but I have to confess that element of this Met October journey — our ballpark’s first BIG moment — is not quite registering with me.

Utleygate is all I’ve been thinking about Metwise since Saturday night. Since we last spoke, the vile one has been suspended for two games; he has appealed (though he appeals to none of us); his appeal will have to wait until his conflict-of-interest representatives at the MLBPA can get their act together (because there’s no compelling interest in expediting the process ASAP?); he will be disgustingly eligible for Game Three (which means he has to stand in the batter’s box, probably); and Matt Reynolds has replaced Ruben Tejada on the roster if not yet in our hearts.

Matt Reynolds has never played in a major league baseball game, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. And he did a hit home run last March to win an exhibition game started by Matt Harvey. So having him around from a karma perspective can’t hurt. Whether it helps from a baseball perspective, we’ll see.

Of Matts who will be cheered when the Mets are introduced tonight (after the Dodgers are reminded of their shortcomings as people and players), it’s not Matt Reynolds who be carrying the weight of the franchise on his shoulders. This Gotham-Dark Knight stuff has a chance to actually be activated tonight. Matt Harvey: you, baby, you. We were so pumped when you came back that afternoon in Port St. Lucie, then that gray day in Washington, then on the first night of 2015 in Flushing. It was all leading here.

Matt Harvey. The playoffs. The Mets. Citi Field. Just like we drew it up in our dreams, save for the little matter of Utley breaking Tejada’s fibula and 43,000 of us preferring to eschew rally towels for bloody shirts. That was a twist we didn’t anticipate.

But anticipate is what we do hours ahead of Harvey’s first pitch, which hopefully comes in high and tight at somebody. And then a lot of swings and misses in the tops of innings, with a ton of contact in their bottoms.

Which is to say let’s kick the Dodgers’ asses tonight in every way imaginable.

Also, good luck later today to R.A. Dickey, starting his first postseason game at Arlington for Toronto. Not how we dreamt or drew it up circa 2012, but times change. Time for tonight’s game at Citi Field changed to 8:37 from 8:07 because the Blue Jays beat the Rangers yesterday (go make sense of that sentence if you’re not attuned to the strange ways of Major League Baseball), but if it gives R.A. a shot at a long-awaited moment, we’ll put up with the extra half-hour wait.

Not that I can wait one minute more.

30 comments to The Unanticipated Anticipation

  • Dave

    On complete overload 7 hours before game time. My head’s going to explode (I should probably warn people sitting near me).

    Just as when Clemens started heaving projectiles towards star catchers, the stakes are too high to exact direct, eye-for-eye revenge right now, and we need as few Dodgers on base as possible in general. But in 2016, the Mets should add generously to Utley’s HBP stats, and I would nominate Thor and his 100+ cheddar for the job.

  • Dennis

    I’ve had enough of BS associated with tonight’s game……Just Win Baby!

  • mikeL

    yes what a weird mix of emotions ahead of tonite’s game.
    indeed it’s harvey’s chance to really carry this team’s flag and channel this city’s anger/desire to end this here, tomorrow into each and every pitch.
    i like the vison of that first pitch ‘at’ somebody.
    greg, enjoy the game in person. boo the wretched dodgers for all of us here not fortunate enough to be at the park.
    let’s go mets…IN FOUR!

  • dmg

    i’m just concerned that harvey will be too amped — like i am right now.

    my son is one of those millenials who only associate the mets with the last nine years of futility so how could i deny him a chance to see them in the playoffs? he’s flying in from college to laguardia, eta 5:45, so i’m actually glad for the later start.

    as far as i’m concerned, two words to harvey: not tonight. i don’t want any ejections, i want a WIN.

  • Gadhzilla

    Tonight it’s all faith, no fear in Flushing. Find our tailgate by listening for the Dark Knight Rises soundtrack.

  • Brad

    With all the talk about retribution, etc. and all the hype, I’m sure nothing untoward will happen. It’s when you don’t expect it, that things happen.

  • I want to channel all our energy toward our guys. Even bad energy channeled toward Chase Ugly is energy focused in the wrong direction. As my husband says, the Game 2, Inning 7 incident should be be a footnote to this post-season, not it’s defining story.

    So thrilled to be there, btw! Am going mad early to soak it up… LGM!!!

  • ljcmets

    Enjoy the game, Greg. For my part, I cannot believe how MLB continues to compound the umpire’s original mistake of not calling interference and a double play. First on replay, they reviewed whether Tejada’s foot touched the bag, but refused to review whether Utley ever touched second. If one’s reviewable, the other should be as well. The worst case scenario is Utley out at second, tying run scores, runner at first. Mistake One: awarding Utley second base.

    Then Torre comes out with the most convoluted (I’m being polite) reasoning I ‘ve ever heard of why Utley cannot be out…he left the field, believing he was out. So it’s OK for him to go back to second base, but not ok for the Mets then to do the standard appeal play of throwing to the base and / or playing the game under protest (I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that the Mets were told they could not appeal / protest because it was a ” judgment call.”). Mistake Two: Not allowing the Mets to preserve their right to appeal/protest, thus limiting any review to the true “judgment call” of whether Utley’s play was illegal, and making Mistake One basically not reviewable.

    So late yesterday, Torre announces Utley has been suspended for games Three and Four, basically for his own protection to keep the focus on those games and not allowing retaliation and/or the crowd to express its displeasure. Notably, the suspension does not extend to any possible Game Five, which would be in LA if necessary, and of course would be the deciding game, in which the Mets could not afford to risk any suspensions. This satisfies basically no one, as it is seen as the blatantly cynical move that it is, and is purely a CYA action by MLB. Mistake Number Three. The only good thing that be said about it is it removes the pressure on Matt Harvey to take revenge.

    But wait! Utley can appeal! Originally it was announced that the appeal would be held before Game Three, and widely assumed that the suspension would be upheld, essentially freezing matters in place, however poor the decisions up until this point. Did no one think to check with MLBPA or even the contract itself to see that the appeal required a certain amount of notice/time to prepare? Mistake Number Four!

    Utley, with great numbers against Harvey, is expected to be in the lineup. Mistake Number Five, through Mattingly, coming right up. The umpires are expected to warn both teams, and therefore any close pitches may lead to ejection of both pitcher and manager. Mistake Number Six! The same umpiring crew, which has a vested interest in protecting the “credibility” of its original, incorrect decision and will likely have an itchy trigger finger ad a result, will be working the rest of the series. Mistake Number Seven.

    Can no one at MLB see what they have created here? A howling mob calling for blood (one particularly unstable individual threatened the life of Utley’s family on social media yesterday); a player in Utley who gets hit by a ton of pitches and is famous for leaning in over the plate; no benefit of the doubt for either pitcher in throwing inside; a pitcher in Harvey who has already had both his commitment to the team and his manhood questioned over the last month, and, according to reports, a pitcher in Anderson who had the immaturity to engage angry Mets fans in a Twitter war last night. Quite the unsavory stew.

    What happens if ( a likely scenario) Harvey brushes any Dodger ( let alone Utley) back and he and Collins are ejected? Would anyone like to take bets on what would happen next?

    All of this because no one, least of all Torre, had the presence to overrule the original, incorrect call on the field of no interference. What a pitiful failure of leadership. Shaking my head.

    • argman

      This is the best thing I’ve read on this whole mess so far. I was thinking the same thing about the umpiring crew. If I was going to be at the game I would boo them more than Utley, although he deserves more than his share.

    • mikeL

      it’s telling that torre would suspend utley for an illegal play but would not overturn the improperly overturned call and do the right thing. suspend the game from the blown call and finish the game today, before game 3. of course the dodgers were his last team before going MLB, and his understudy donny baseball is now at the helm.
      this whole thing stinks so bad, only two completely dominant mets performances will even begin to fix this.
      of course the mets had better protect flores, their last remaining (mlb) SS!

  • Eric

    I hope Murphy apologized to Tejada for the throw that moved Tejada into a vulnerable position for Utley’s chop block.

    Starts like today’s game, more so with the extra flavor, is what we envisioned for Harvey when he arrived in 2012 and excelled in 2013. This is why he’s here.

    deGrom, whose achievements have outpaced our expectations for him, set the bar for staff ace in game 1. Game 3 is Harvey’s turn to fulfill our expectations for him by matching or better yet exceeding the bar set by deGrom in game 1.

    Harvey needs to go at least 7 innings in order to reach the option for a 6-out save for Familia. The Dodgers ran up deGrom and Syndergaard’s pitch counts. deGrom worked his way through the pitch count; Syndergaard did not. Harvey needs to be mindful because TJ-related innings limits aside, he has the 100-pitch line after which his game tends to come unsprung.

    I won’t call game 3 a must-win game after the Mets beat Kershaw and almost beat Greinke, but this is the one game of the series where the Mets own a distinct advantage on the mound. If they lose game 3, the Mets could still come back to win games 4 and 5 with Matz and deGrom, but it would be tough to must beat Greinke and possibly Kershaw in order to win the series. Losing game 3 would be demoralizing.

    I doubt Conforto will start in LF, but I hope Collins will start Lagares in CF and Cespedes in LF over Cuddyer in LF. Bats aside, controlling Harvey’s pitch count is key in order to reduce exposure to the Mets bullpen other than Familia. Cuddyer’s poor defense ran up deGrom’s pitch count in game 1.

    For that matter, Flores at SS and Murphy at 2B make for a defensive liability. Tejada’s walk against Kershaw was pivotal in the game 1 win and his ability to grind at-bats will be missed. I hope Flores has had enough time to recover and his bat and glove are on point. Flores’s bat cooled off before he got sick and hurt. Maybe the extra time off has helped.

    I hope d’Arnaud’s bat wakes up. He’s been cold since mid September.

    • Rob E.

      What does Murphy have to apologize for?!?!?! He was doing the same thing Tejada was trying to do…turn the play quickly for the DP. The only difference with a perfect throw would be Tejada would have gotten nailed on the other side of the bag and probably would have touched the base for the out.

      This IS a must-win game. This is the pivotal game, and they set it up before any of this nonsense happened. In light of the nonsense, this is the kind of game where a young team either steps up and shows they’re not taking it, or shows that they’re not ready to make that statement. Hopefully it is the former, but this is absolutely must-win.

  • rich porricelli

    I’ve seen a lot of big game baseball in my life..I’ve never seen an ejection for a hard slide at any base or at home in a collision .. I have to mention the 73′ playoff Harrelson vs Rose..much was made of that confrontation , neither ejected..

    Alas , so much has changed in the game..Torre caved in, why?. He should have said ‘deal with it, Met fans ‘..In 73’ they chucked whisky bottles..What can happen now? Collins ordering a retaliation? Doubt it!! How about the fans? Perhaps they will hurl there Iphones in a spontaneous act of outrage..

    I’m a 45 year fan of this team..This team has been like family to me..I got over it..Lets hope Harvey can hold the line..

    • Rob E.

      No one’s complaining because it was a HARD slide, we’re complaining because it was a HIGH and LATE slide. I don’t think Utley intended that, but that’s what happened. Torre caved in because he looked like a complete asshole on national TV trying to justify the idiocy of the night before. Of course he looks like a double asshole now suspending a guy on Sunday after ruling it a clean play that cost a team a playoff game on Saturday.

      You’re right, in the end, we just have to deal with it. But for all the people who say it’s a clean play, if that’s true, then there should be no problem seeing this same “clean hard-nosed” play EVERY game. For all the Dodgers who high-5’d Utley, let’s see how they feel when Corey Seager misses a year with a knee injury because of a “clean” play.

  • Sorry, Rich. I’m not getting over it. I don’t want to see any retaliation tonight. I just want to win. But….. I’ve been watching this game for just about 60 years. I’ve been a Mets fan from the beginning. And all this talk of the way the game has been played for years is complete manure. “Back in the day”, it was considered acceptable to beat your wife. Guys would chuckle about it. “Real men” beat their wives. Just because something was done before does not EVER mean it was right. No ejections before? Damn well about time to start. All this talk about “changing the rules” is more manure. Takeout slides, like Utley’s, are ALREADY ILLEGAL UNDER THE RULES–just as beating your wife was illegal when “real men” were doing it. What’s the effing point of having rules if you’re not going to enforce them? As a people, we move forward. We make mistakes, realize they were mistakes, and attempt to become better. Its NOT OK to beat your wife. It never was. Its NOT OK to discriminate against minorities. It never was. Its NOT OK to take out a fielder with a body block. The rules already SAY that’s its not OK. Just because its how it has been done before does not, IN ANY WAY, make it OK. IT IS NOT OK. Anyone who thinks it is probably thinks its OK to beat their wives. Those people should be driven out of society entirely–banished to the caves. IT IS NOT OK and I am NOT going to get over it.

    Torre caved? No. Torre tried to cover his behind and keep a lid on the boiling pot. In so doing, he ALMOST discovered that the “LAW” (baseball rules) already says it’s illegal. ALMOST, but not quite.

    For the record, the Mets have had chippie players in their history. And I have NEVER supported them. I was every bit as vocal about the crap those players used to pull (Ray Knight comes to mind). I don’t care what colors you’re wearing, it is NOT OK. It is not EVER OK.

    Would you tell a woman beaten by her husband to “suck it up”, “deal with it” and “get over it”? Maybe you would. It. Is. NOT. OK.

  • Daniel Hall

    I long for blood. I long for Ruben to be avenged. I long for #33 to do the right thing, avenge #11, and make #26 require dentures for the rest of his life, should the despicable pig wish to eat something tougher than soup.

    Much of that blood thirst stems from the way the despicable pig slid into Ruben. Wait. Erase that. He didn’t slide. He basically jumped into him, knees first. Watch the video. Or look at that:

    If you want to see that move being copied over from WWE into MLB, fine, your choice. But that despicable pig had zero interest in ever getting to the bag. The despicable pig had so little interest in making the base that he didn’t even touch it once he was done crippling Ruben, into whom he jumped knees first, and with the whole weight of his body behind those knees. Yet he gets a safe ruling and shows his despicable grin, and him and the wholly incompetent umpiring crew get a pass by senile Joe Torre. Can we please get somebody other than a Yankee to decide in the case??

    I long for Matt Harvey to get that grin out of his ugly face, which obviously nobody in MLB gives a fudge about.

    And if they hide Ugly in the dugout, fine, take out their pretty boy shortstop. At Seager’s age, Ruben had already been flattened by Ugly once. The time for baby face Seager to grow up is now.

  • Patrick O'Hern

    ” Matt Reynolds has never played in a major league game
    But he did stay at a Holiday Inn last night” love that shit Greg!

  • Daniel Hall

    By the way, anyone having read something about how Ruben is? I’m not into all that social media fluff and I can’t find anything about whether he’ll require amputation or whether he’ll be back to tap dancing classes on Thursday… -.-

  • Steve D

    Met fans of a certain age recall how Shea reacted to Pete Rose for years after this…if Utley plays tonight, it will bring that back for me I’m sure.

  • eric1973

    Great shot on MLB Network at 829pm (on tape) of Tejada in full uniform walking out with a cane and cast during player introductions, to a standing ovation.

    TBS/TNT did not even show or mention this. They suck at doing baseball, their camera angles are horrible. And their post-game people are boring and brutal.

    The original angle of ‘The Tackle’ play looked like it was taken from the Goodyear blimp —– poor direction, I guess, on a regular basis.

  • eric1973

    Dennis, TBS finally showed it at 1040pm.

    10-3 lead big enough for some “chin music?”

  • Daniel Hall

    Nice to see the snippet of Ruben limping out to the field.

    Not that it gets the D-Bags of the hook.

  • mikeL

    13 runs now, a mets franchise record.
    a pretty nice fuck you/thank you LA.

    i look forward to seeing our guys cement kershaw’s
    rep as a complete post-season flop.

    keep the feet on their necks, guys!
    let’s go mets! in four!

  • Andee

    I’ll take 13 runs over a fastball in the ribs anyday. Especially if the one guy who actually deserved it wasn’t going to be playing.

  • rich porricelli

    For M Johns..I watched my drunken father work his drunken brutality on my mother many times..Baseball was a refuge..You call that violence? Dont ever talk to me about life and its ‘hard sildes’…