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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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Don’t Let Go, Mets

The Greatest Show on Murph continues. Every postseason night, a supremely credentialed starting pitcher faces the New York Mets and every postseason night, Daniel Murphy trumps that ace, converting him into just another overwhelmed spectator craning his neck in a venue jammed with gobsmacked gawkers. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and now Jake Arrieta have each been left a standing-room ticket by the Met second baseman. It entitles the bearer to reluctantly stand on the mound, glumly turn his head and helplessly watch the ball he threw leave the ballpark.

The crowd goes wild. The pitcher goes silent, wondering where his intimidating persona, his sterling résumé and his best stuff went.

It went that-a-way…over that fence over there. See? See? Go ahead, watch the replay. It’s really cool…unless you’re the pitcher who gave it up. But don’t feel bad if you are, though. You’re in really distinguished company.

Murph’s glitzy pass list duplicates his October victim list. A home run a game against any pitcher at any time of year would be pretty impressive. What Daniel is destined to imprint itself on the consciousness of a franchise and its legion of fans for all of baseball eternity. If someday you have trouble recalling what you’ve been seeing from Murphy in this particular string of playoff games, either get yourself tested for memory maladies or reconsider your self-identification.

No Mets fan should ever forget any of this.

The best part about Daniel Murphy is he’s part of a set. He comes with 24 teammates, several of whom do significant things to help Murph’s team win the most important games of the year, the kinds of games the vast majority of them had never participated in as recently as two weeks ago. These days, they’re all decorated postseason veterans, having already won one series; the first two games in a second series; and the chance to return to New York as champions of their league.

They’re not there yet. Make no mistake, no matter how succulent the math seems. After beating the Chicago Cubs, 4-1, in Sunday’s NLCS Game Two, the Mets hold a two-nothing series lead. That’s halfway to the World Series, but it might as well be a world away. Two more wins are needed. The sooner they are attained the better. The longer it takes, the more fraught the journey becomes. Just ask the 2003 Cubs, who led the then Florida Marlins three games to one in the National League Championship Series well before anybody had ever heard the name Steve Bartman. Their 2015 descendants aren’t here by accident. They’re dangerous as is and now they’re cornered.

Thus, there should be no letting up, not by the Mets, not by we who root for the Mets. Our job in these two home games just played was to give our team all the support we could muster. I can attest from personal experience that we full-throated our role on Saturday night. Sunday I could gauge from TV and radio (via volume-muted, DVR-manipulated TBS video synced as best as possible to WOR’s delayed audio feed over SiriusXM) that 44,000 were, in the favored phrase of Keith Hernandez, on point again. With the action shifting from Citi Field to Wrigley Field, our mission is less about twirling towels than tending karma.

No kidding. Let’s not think potentially harmful thoughts like “I hope the long layoff doesn’t hurt them going into the Series.” Some idiot who looks an awful lot like me found himself thinking that for two seconds late Sunday night and then properly berated himself for getting waaaay ahead of the present. The present, up 2-0 on the 97-win Cubs after withstanding Lester and Arrieta, is a precious enough gift.

Besides, why would we want to rush through this? This part is incredibly sweet. We gotta savor it.

Gotta savor Noah Syndergaard’s Norse god poise and 9K heat in Arctic conditions.

Gotta savor David Wright slowly climbing out of his morass to drive in the first run of the night.

Gotta savor Curtis Granderson always making something happen, whether stealing a base at third or a home run at the wall.

Gotta savor Yoenis Cespedes — who now gets pitched to because Cy Young candidates no longer want any part of Daniel Murphy — placing a grounder in just the right spot to bring home Grandy the thief.

Gotta savor that relief pitching: Jon Niese for an out, Addison Reed for a perfect inning, Tyler Clippard for a security blanket and Jeurys Familia for a Mets-record fourth postseason save, or one fewer save than Murph has hit homers.

Told ya Daniel had help.

Gotta savor the entire experience of what’s going on around us. Sunday I savored from great seats in Section Living Room, which it took me a moment to adjust to. Having been fortunate enough to find my way into the first three Citi Field games this postseason (thanks again to my dear friends the Chapmans for two of them and good buddy Larry Arnold for the other), I went from thinking it unusual to be in a ballpark this time of year to processing it as second-nature — sort of like it’s gone from strange that the Mets are in the playoffs to…no, that’s still a little strange. Anyway, not having had any ticket-lottery luck for NLCS Game Two, I felt a little off knowing I wouldn’t be bundling up and screaming at Cubs.

Then I felt warm and didn’t altogether mind that I wouldn’t be sitting outside, except for one detail. I worried that I was endangering the cause we hold dear by not subjecting my ass and assorted other body parts to a live reboot of Frozen.

I realized the last time the Mets played a postseason home game I didn’t attend, it was Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS, which we lost, and that the previous times before that I hadn’t had tickets for Shea postseason games were the last two World Series contests there in 2000. We lost both of those. It’s not that the Mets win every high-stakes time I show up (they’re 12-4 with me since 1999), but they hadn’t won with me not there since the Subway Series hadn’t gone completely off the rails. I wasn’t silly enough to believe I brought the Mets good luck. I was, however, silly enough to believe maybe I warded off evil spirits.

Silly me. That’s what Daniel Murphy does. He also wards off outstanding pitching.

My not taking direct part in the wintry autumnal festival Sunday night didn’t impact the Mets in any tangible way. As for Saturday night, geez, that was ice-cold fun. Everything Citi Field told Shea Stadium last week remained true. It’s an epic place for an epic event when it’s filled with epic fans, and I’ll count myself as one of 44,000 of that species for these purposes. So much standing and roaring. So much blue and orange (the latter receiving my blessing in the New York Times, which you can read here in case you’re curious). So much clapping for two strikes and high-fiving on strike three. So much good feeling behind so much chanting.

So much chanting “LET’S GO METS!” which really struck me as Matt Harvey was giving way to Familia. “Let’s Go Mets” is our signature signoff. It is the quintessential Met sentiment — our aloha, our shalom. We say it and type it and acronym it so often that sometimes we overlook its inspirational power when it’s unleashed in its natural habitat, which is the meadow of Flushing in the month of October. The video boards had nothing on improvisation on Saturday night. What can we do for our Mets as our Mets are doing everything for us? We can Let’s Go on their behalf. And we did, repeatedly, right up until Familia went and got us a last out.

I can’t wait for Game Three of the NLCS and to immerse myself in whatever the Mets can win from there. Yet I’m in no rush to let this October go. Can’t we and Murph just live here?

37 comments to Don’t Let Go, Mets

  • Art

    Greg, it was really cold at Citi for Game 2. The play of the Mets can keep you warm, though. We are witnessing a magical run by a player and a planned run by a talented pitching staff. I will enjoy this now and savor it in the coming winter, which certainly gave us a taste the last two nights.

  • Daniel Hall

    Game 2 killed all my sleep, but that early 3-0 lead had me not worry a bit the entire game. Wonderful!

    Though should the magical Daniel Murphy sign on elsewhere this winter, I will be one terribly sad puppy.

  • Dave

    Having so far seen 2 home playoff games from sections 135/136, where there is noise and excitement and the company of thousands of fellow Mets fans, and 2 others from the comfort of my tv room, where there is never a queue for the men’s room, a steady 68 degrees and no hour and a half trip home, I’ll say it’s all good…wherever I can see the Mets win these games is home. Worry not about free agency and who is on the 2016 roster, leave that to fans of teams currently playing golf or, like Bryce Harper, wondering whether the next ride should be Tower of Terror or Toy Story Mania. The Mets – us fans – have now.

    • Dave

      Oops, had trouble editing. Supposed to say “The Mets – and us fans…” Not my intention to say that we are in fact the Mets.

  • Mikey

    This is insane….i cant believe we got arrieta for 3 runs. Gave thor a nice cushion. And the bullpen didnt implode. I have no illusions tho…we will be lucky to win once in chicago but then again nothing will surprise me anymore. Or will it?

    • LAJake

      I say the Mets will be unlucky to win just one in Chicago considering the pitching match-ups favor the Mets in any game Arrieta doesn’t pitch and possibly even in those as well.

    • Pete In Iowa

      Hey Mikey…. Ya GOTTA Believe!!
      While on an RV vacation with the wife to watch our daughter play college softball during Spring Break in Tucson this past March, our travels took us to Las Vegas and Laughlin. I was looking for 40-1 to win the WS, but the best I could find was 25-1 in Laughlin. I passed. The wife has been reminding me every night since the clincher in Cincinnati.
      Sorry Tug, please forgive me. Lesson learned…..
      Ya Gotta Believe (at any price!!)

  • Dennis

    Another magical night. We have the edge in starting pitching for Game 3. Would be great to go up 3 – 0 and finish this off in Chicago.

    • LAJake

      I definitely think Game 3 is key. A distinct advantage on the mound and riding high after the first two games, it would be huge for the Mets to bury Hendricks and put the Cubs on the brink. If not, now the Cubs will be thinking they have a shot and have Lester and Arrieta coming around again soon.

      It’s not that I think the Mets will suddenly panic, but you don’t want to miss a big opportunity. The great thing is the Mets didn’t miss it in Game 3 against the Dodgers and Brett Anderson so I have a good feeling they won’t miss it in Game 3 against the Cubs and Kyle Hendricks.

      • Eric

        The Cubs were supposed to win game 2 behind Arrieta and the Mets were supposed to win game 3 behind deGrom. If deGrom loses game 3, that just evens out beating Arrieta.

  • dmg

    i hadn’t thought of it, but, yes, i’ve been to three of the last four mets home playoff wins: game 6, nlcs in 2006; game 3, nlds, 2015; and now game 2, nlcs 2015.

    i won’t say you missed nothing last night — though as always your post proves you missed nothing. but sweet lord, it was top-of-alta cold in the promenade deck. i wore two jackets (one a ski jacket), four layers in all — and i was still freezing because of the wind.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Has any other player hit runs this season off Kershaw, Greinke, Lester and Arietta? And Murphy did it in 4 games.

    Glad you mentioned our rallying cry. I’ve been thinking about “Let’s Go Mets” a lot the past couple of months. I couldn’t figure out any rational way to research this, but I wonder if any other team in any major sport has a chant that has been the same for 54 years.

    Let’s Go Mets Indeed. So simple, so perfect.

  • Eric

    We’ll see your Cy Young favorite and raise you our number 3 starter.

  • argman

    Granderson has been almost as magnificent as Murphy. I also am encouraged by Cespedes going to right field twice last night, once almost leaving the yard. Could be he is getting back on track.
    Reed and Clippard both looked pretty good. And I felt really good for Niese, not giving in to Rizzo and winning a battle of wills.

    • Eric

      I agree.

      I felt best for Niese. He came up in 2008 with Murphy and Parnell. He’s put in his time and taken his lumps.

      Niese struggled in his crash course at the end of the season to become a middle reliever. Yet Collins trusted him with an important out and Niese delivered it.

      If he does nothing else in the post-season, at least Niese has made a mark in the play-offs.

    • Eric

      Plus: Collins using Niese, Reed, and Clippard in the 6th, 7th, and 8th showed Collins still trusts his bullpen to bridge to Familia. They delivered on his vote of confidence. With possibly 3 straight days of games coming up at Wrigley Field, saving a few pitches for Familia helps, too.

  • mikeL

    haha, my last comment yesterday was basically a dare, ‘murphy can’t possibly do it again?’

    but he did…jake arrieta who?

    i think last night – with the mets bats clicking and thor indeed looking pretty god-like – the mets stopped looking to me like the underdogs on an unlikely, magical run. trying to imagine how OUR team now looks to all those fans of the 28 teams playing golf, with citi field rocking – if not quite shaking(?) like shea – i’d say the mets must look pretty damn awesome. no fear anymore. i think i leff that in LA, best represented by this little breach of karmic protocol:

    http://www.thescore.com/mlb/news/855106

    (dude! it’s like, only the first inning!) …the clip also provides a picture of what a certain tall, geeky kid might have looked like in 3rd grade after too much cocoa-crispies.

    the series is just getting started and wrigley will be hostile ground for our mets but that said, it’s gotta be rough to be a cubs fan right now. just hoping for good baseball, more magic and more young mets pitching overpowering the young cubs sluggers.

    like sandy said before game one: i hope after this series the mets record against the cubs this year is 4-10.

    karmic correstness if there was.

    LET’S GO METS!
    (IN 7 IF NEED BE)

  • BlackCountryMet

    Last night was viewed from Section 433,Row 1 thanks to my Richie O and pretty damn fine it was too. The explosion of joy in the ballpark when Murph was incredible, people leaping around and high fiving all around us. I can attest to the fact that it was seriously cold, by the 5th inning I was thankful for the light down jacket purchased earlier to go underneath the other down jacket already being worn(blue outer,orange inner of course!) however the rich people in the posh seats who decided it was better viewed from comfort of the lounges should be taken to task! Empty seats behind home plate in a play off game, ain’t a great look. As you put Greg, halfway there but, though I do have a ticket should it be required next Sat, I’ll settle for the series being done in Chi Town and a celebratory bar crawl instead :-).

    • Eric

      The whole point of being at the ballpark is to be immersed and part of the physical environment of the game. That means feeling the same cold and wind as the players on the field. Or else, why pay the money and go through the trouble of traveling just to replicate watching the game on TV at home?

  • Eric

    Greg:
    “I can’t wait for Game Three of the NLCS and to immerse myself in whatever the Mets can win from there. Yet I’m in no rush to let this October go. Can’t we and Murph just live here?”

    We can.

    The way for us to live here is you writing the book on the 2015 Mets season. Your telling will be the way for us to come back here.

    Listening to callers on WFAN talk about resigning Cespedes or Murphy, I want to tell them that this experience of the 2015 season we’re in as Mets fans right now is distinct. Maybe unique.

    The Mets could return the current roster intact in 2016 and they wouldn’t repeat this.

    The team might well be annual contenders until the wear-and-tear that degrades power arms and the siren song of free agency pick off the young stud starters. But even if this season kicked off a dynasty, this season wouldn’t happen again.

    Soak in the 2015 Mets season as much as we can for as long as they keep up the magic. When it’s over, the only way for us to come back and live here is Greg’s book.

  • Matt

    Did I hear wrong or does Noah Syndergaard really have something like 37 strikeouts in 27 innings?

  • At game 2, I don’t mind telling you I froze my Roman Catholic touches off…

  • Dave F.

    Anyone know what bar in Wrigleyville has been designated the Mets fan hangout?!?!

  • Lenny65

    I am stunned and amazed, the Mets are handling the best (non-Mets) pitchers the NL has to offer and they’re doing it while they’re less than at their best batting-wise too. They’re taking every stupid “sports pundit” narrative and turning them upside down too. First we had to endure hearing about how the Nats “gave it away”, then we had to listen to the prattle about how the Dodgers aces would just be too much for us to handle, then it was how the Cubs mighty sluggers would chew through our little ‘ol up & coming pitchers. And the Mets have feasted on it, chewed it up and spit it right back in their doubting faces.

    I remember Gregg Jeffries, Melvin Mora and Timo Perez very well, but I can’t remember a Met coming into full flower at a better time than Syndergaard has. All that promise has emerged into reality at the best possible time. Remember back when we thought we had “too much” pitching?

    • Eric

      I don’t fault the pundits. Analysis is based mostly on prior performance, but these Mets keep evolving beyond their track record.

      Murphy homering off of Kershaw, Greinke, Lester, and Arrieta in consecutive games, more so consecutive play-off games, more so in big situations, is something to marvel at.

      The Mets’ ascendant pitching, from the young stud starters to the young stud closer, outdueling Cy Young favorites in a row in the play-offs is something to marvel at.

      But we had an inkling from prior performance that the Mets had the potential for those things in them. Maybe not the homerun barrage, but we’ve known Murphy to get hot and be clutch. We’ve seen the pitchers’ special talent and rapid development.

      The new development from games 1 and 2 of the CS that says all bets are off is the Mets are manufacturing runs now.

      The Mets have played station to station all season. They struggled to score at all. Then they relied on power to score. Now they’re stealing runs with Lagares and Granderson like throwbacks from the 1980s. It’s like the Mets conspired to hide the ability to manufacture runs all season and decided to break it out in the CS and catch the Cubs off guard.

      How is a pundit supposed to predict that?

      • Lenny65

        I don’t really fault them either, but it definitely demonstrates how a) little they actually know and b) how odd and wonderful this game is sometimes.

  • FL Met Fan Rich

    I was watching the game and a strange feeling came upon me that things were going too good and it seemed quite easy! Games 1& 2 have gone very smoothly, almost scripted.

    Not sure if I want that game Dodger game 5 “knot in the stomach feeling!

    Either way it’s a great time to be a Met fan….LETS GO METS!

    • Eric

      It’s not just being a Mets fan. The feeling of “things were going too good” makes sense because the defining characteristic of the 2015 Mets is their resilience. It’s been a rollercoaster season, which means the Mets have risen to their best this season by bouncing back after falling down.

      Following the loss at home to Kershaw in game 4 of the DS with a dramatic come-from-behind win over Greinke on the road in game 5 is just the latest iteration of the resilient bounce-back theme of the 2015 season.

      Except the Mets just defeated the Cubs in games 1 and 2 to go up 2-0 in the CS. The Mets have looked like the better team. Yet what doesn’t fall down can’t bounce back up. How are the Mets supposed to play at their best when they’ve pulled ahead right away?

      That deGrom is supposed to give the Mets a dominant advantage over Hendricks in game 3 makes me nervous. It’s uncharacteristic; I’m not sure what to make of the Mets playing the Cubs from ahead. Game 3 with the Cubs’ backs against the wall at an intense Wrigley Field will show us something.

      The Cubs came into the CS surfing their own special wave of mojo. Maybe it’s waiting for them at home. I don’t count them out yet.

  • Carolina Dave

    Great observation by Eric! What we are experiencing is Mets 2015 3.0. It’s no longer scratch out wins, nor is it overpower them with hits, it’s the complete picture. Great pitching, timely hitting, defense, and a shut down closer. Not going too overboard, they can turn our pitching around like we did theirs, but I like our chances.

  • Lenny65

    Hey, all I know for sure is that we need to somehow come up with six more wins. It might be a lot, it might be a little but of course it’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds. I’m assuming nothing, just like I’ve done all year.

    But man, post-season Mets baseball…I have missed it dearly. IMO there’s no sports thrill greater than playoff baseball, the way you’re hanging on every pitch, every swing, every little detail. As Mets fans we don’t get to experience it all that regularly but when we do it feels like it’s totally been worth the wait, you know?

    A Mets playoff game in Wrigley Field…never thought I’d see the day. I’m already getting nervous but with this team the best course of action is to relax and let ’em do their thing and just believe.

    • Eric

      They’re both teams of destiny. The clashing karma will be swirling thick. I don’t imagine the Mets will face a more intense road game than they’ll have at Wrigley Field with the Cubs down 0-2. It’ll be a good experience for them.

      Last night, the Blue Jays hit the Royals hard to take back their series to 1-2. If deGrom can shut down the Cubs in Chicago with their backs against the wall, that will be an achievement.

  • open the gates

    This has been the most fun being a Met fan since I can remember. But being a Met fan, there is always the feeling in the pit of your stomach of waiting for the other shoe to drop. That feeling doesn’t go away until the ticker tape parade.

  • Paul from Brooklyn

    God bless us all,every one of us! Terry is getting us to the promised land! DeGrom’s poise is second to none! Gil is smiling down on this.
    Thank you Mr. Prince! Thank you Mr. Fry!

  • Steve D

    Parallels to 1969:

    Awesome young starters
    Early 11 game win streak
    Mid season doldrums
    Key acquisition
    Scorching stretch run
    Win first 3 games of NLCS

    Let’s end this tomorrow and rest the staff.

  • […] Beyond patting the departees on the back and wishing them sort of well, we shall forever remember the October of Murph. Or we’ll try to keep it in mind the first time we see him in his new Walgreens […]