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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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My preparations for watching Friday night’s game included slippers and finding the fake fur throw that my wife was horrified when I bought — TV-watching components that made their last appearance one chilly day in May. It’s the baseball circle of life — a young season that needed spring thawing before we discovered what it would be has grown up and become a stooped old season trying to make it into the autumn.

And we’re still not sure what kind of season it is. That’s subject to ongoing negotiations between us and the baseball gods.

The Mets held up their end, shutting out the Twins behind Bartolo Colon, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. Colon was … well, what can you say at this point except that he was Colon? His so-simple-no-one-else-can-do-it strategy of variants on a fastball muffled Minnesota in happily familiar fashion, though the old master looked like he had a little extra pep in his step, whether it was bearing down to erase Jorge Polanco and a Twins’ threat in the third or combining with an also sprier-than-normal James Loney for a nifty out on Eduardo Escobar in the seventh. Colon was an afterthought at the beginning of the year, a seat-filler for Zack Wheeler; now Wheeler’s at the doctor with too many of the other whippersnappers, and Bartolo has a shot at winning 15 games. Amazin’, one might say.

Still, the game had a queasy Objects in Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear feeling — it was only 2-0 at the 7th-inning stretch, with the Mets ahead courtesy of back-to-back bolts by Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera. Yoenis Cespedes chipped in an insurance run and Reed was briskly efficient at going about his 8th inning duties, but 3-0’s not the stuff of invincibility, even with Familia on the mound.

And, indeed, Familia’s location was off. Happily, he righted himself, the plays went the Mets’ way instead of against them, and the game was won. But I still had the feeling we’d escaped. And I still refused to be lulled by strength of schedule. The Twins are having a lost season, but beware such teams. Earlier this week, I was in the back of an Uber in San Francisco when Ryan Schimpf of the lowly Padres’ wrecked a Giants victory. The car was at a light next to a bar with a big front window, and I got to look from Gameday on my phone to the pantomime playing out in the window: the little figures on the TV, the fans’ hands going to their heads in agony, the heads going down in despair.

Look elsewhere and you’ll see the Royals just got beheaded by the going-nowhere A’s, all but finishing Kansas City’s dreams of repeating as champs. The Cubs are safe this year, but whisper “Victor Diaz and Craig Brazell” into one of their fans’ ears — and then run. And how many of our pennant chases ended with ambushes by seemingly quiescent Marlins? Note that those Marlins’ descendants remain on our schedule, standing between us and October glory.

Or at least a shot at October glory — like all sports fans, we’re dishonest bargainers at this time of year, negotiating shamelessly with the baseball gods.

Just let my team salvage this wreck of a season and have something to play for down the stretch. OK, done.

Just give us that second wild card and we’ll see what our pitching can do. It’s currently yours by two games and (now one-stop shopping for stressing out about both baseball and the real world) likes your chances.

Um, it sure would be great to be the home team for the play-in game. Oh, I see. Greedy much? You’re a game out, so far from impossible.

You know, a 163rd game is a treat, but we really want a series. Just to see what might happen. Now you’re getting ahead of yourself, no?

And a trip back to the NLCS! Wouldn’t that be fun, to see if we can do it again? The baseball gods are sure it would be.

And repeating as league champs, well, it would validate everything. Last year wouldn’t be a fluke! [drums fingers on desk patiently]

And if we could just win the pennant, well, maybe this time there wouldn’t be quick-pitching and errors at second and wild heaves home and getting talked into an inning too many and then we’d be WORLD CHAMPS! Oh boy. Are you finished?

Yes, of course. Sorry! It’s just that … well, that would be so amazing. We’d never ask for anything again. And advisedly so.

Though, of course, back-to-back titles has to be about the best feeling a fan can have… All right, that’s it — get out. What will be will be.

25 comments to Chilling

  • Play every game left like it’s the freakin’ Cubs! LGM!

  • LeClerc

    Clean, crisp victory.

    Bruce still MIA (drop him to the six or seven hole please).

  • Noreen swart

    Jason, you and I disagree on politics but not on our Mets.
    This article was outstanding. I used up all my baseball god chits in 86. So, now I have to rely on somebody else to cash in.

  • The 43 year old has not missed a start this season, sign Bartolo for 2017 already!

  • Dave

    I’ve been living through everything with the Mets since early 1969. Speaking for all of us, including those who came before me and those not even born yet when Orosco threw his glove skyward, we’ve all damn well earned being greedy much. Hell yeah, I want more than being the road team for game #163. If the baseball gods have been paying any attention, if they truly are baseball gods, they understand completely.

  • Curt

    I do NOT want to play a WC game in San Francisco. That’s the place fly balls go to die and our offense is so home run-based. Then again, it beats not playing one at all.

    This season’s been counter-intuitive anyway. In a season where 3/5 of our starting pitching has gone down and the fill-ins have pitched better than the guys they’re replacing(well, Montero hasn’t been WORSE than Harvey), we’ll probably win the WC game in SF by manufacturing a pile of runs, highlighted by three Wilmer Flores stolen bases.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Jake to miss start tomorrow…likely done for year. That’s a blow.

    • Steve K

      Why are we only now finding out about this ulnar nerve issue? After the Mets announced he would start Sunday? Did they just discover it?

      Reminds me of Jerry Manuel’s quip, paraphrased here. “They say it’s only a cramp. Surgery tomorrow.”

      Nothing new with this franchise…

      • Rob E.

        The Mets certainly have a history of “bad optics” when it comes to injuries, but it’s not so easy. You have an injury here that isn’t structural, and is a question of bringing down inflammation and what the player’s pain tolerance is. You have a team in the middle of a riveting pennant race. The team NEEDS the player, and the player WANTS to be there helping his team. This is what they play for! You can’t just send him to the operating room on day 1. It’s not like a broken arm where the injury is obvious, or a torn UCL where the guy physically can’t pitch.

        They shut the guy down and monitored the situation over a couple of weeks. What else did you want them to do? There was no rush to operate, they crossed their fingers for a few weeks hoping he might come back, it didn’t happen, and they shut him down. They did nothing wrong here.

        • Steve K

          OK, I’ll concede that this injury was hard to gauge. However, why the announcement that he would start Sunday? To mislead the Twins?

  • LeClerc

    Starting from DeGrom’s August 18th meltdown in San Francisco, the Mets have a record of 18-9.

    Three of those losses were DeGrom’s (SF, St. Louis, Miami). One was the Montero Massacre. The other five were all competitive – with the bullpen folding late.

    Colon, Syndergaard, Gsellman, and Lugo make a formidable four for the stretch. The fifth spot has got to be pitching by committee – a very short leash for the likes of Ynoa & Co. We’ve got Robles, Blevins, Smoker and Salas in between the shakey fifth spot starters – and Reed and Familia to finish. Henderson, Verrett and Goeddel for garbage time.

    Look at this way: SF has Bumgarner and Cueto. St. Louis has Martinez and Wainwright. That’s about it.

    I like the Mets chances without DeGrom and Matz.

  • Steve D

    Last year I thought Colon should get post season starts…nobody agreed I don’t think. Now he is a stalwart. Syndegaard and Colon and pray for a bone.

  • eric1973

    When I heard about the deGrom fiasco, and that’s what it is, I thought the same thing. What did or did not happen, that we, and HE, are just finding out about this now. To quote Yogi, it’s a damn joke.

    They need an overhaul in the medical staff.

  • Paul from Brooklyn

    Sign Bartolo.
    We were there for his masterful pick off last night. He is the only player to get full fledged rounds of applause for taking hacks at the ball. It was a great night! He has two more tries to reach 15 wins. The back to back Reyes-Cabrera home runs were a treat.Bruce must sit.

    Thanks again for the greatest blog about the greatest team. Let’s go Mets!

  • Russ from new jersey

    Not to be negative after a nice win last night, but the nonchalance that Cespedis displays on the batted ball is infuriating at times like last night. Great blog!!!

  • Steve D

    I am the last guy to ever stick up for the Mets’ bonehead owners or second rate medical staff. But in this singular case, deGrom threw a bullpen last night that “went well”. Sometime after, he felt it again. There is no major structural damage, so they took a chance he might pitch again this season and it was worth a shot. They did not jeopardize his future or next year. What did they do wrong?

  • eric1973

    But did this discovery just happen today, or has it been there for a month undiagnosed?

    Which is it?

  • open the gates

    Not a big fan of Mets awful optics re injuries. But no problem with how they handled deGrom issue. It’s September, they’re already pitching a bunch of recent callups and patchups, and there’s no reason to worry about the DL one way or the other. Might as well keep deGrom on the active roster as long as possible. It worked, until it didn’t. The important thing is for deGrom and the others to get healthy again ASAP. Then during the offseason, there needs to be a freaking investigation into how the Mets train and maintain their players. If the Mets, or the league, won’t do it, the media needs to step in. This has been going on for too many years.

    Oh, by the way, awesome win tonight. Couldn’t be happier for Grandy.

    • Steve K

      +1 on investigating the Mets’ medical practices. No matter what happens on the field this year, including if they win the World Series.

  • NostraDennis

    Great take on our hopeful cheekiness, Jason. Last time I read about so much bargaining in a single conversation, Moses saved an entire city.

    Not having deGrom is bad news, but know what? We’re playing with house money considering where we were a month ago. Send David Wright strapped to a hand truck out to pitch. I will still be smiling.

  • open the gates

    Actually, it was Abraham, and he didn’t save the city in the end. Moses was more into pleading than bargaining. I’m willing to try that too. Please please PLEASE let the Mets get into the postseason!

  • NostraDennis

    Abraham. Right. Us Catholics arent the best Old Testament scholars. Moses was the guy with the Ark, right?

    As for our Mets, I am not above pleading, either. What’s the worst that could happen?