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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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Look What The Stork Delivered

Mr. 1973, you can come in now. It’s time for you to meet your grandseason. His name is 2016. Do you see the resemblance? Yes, right there, it’s in his trajectory. Pick him up. Hold him. Have a gander at his late August. Normally for a bouncing baby playoff team, it would be much higher. But on 2016 here, it was set much lower. Uh-huh, just like on you.

Don’t be alarmed, though. That’s nothing to worry about. You of all seasons should know. You had a very low late August, but you turned out Amazin’. So has 2016. Look closer. Look at his September. Yes, it’s way up there, just like yours. I don’t think there’s been anybody in your family since you were born to have quite the kind of trajectory that you can trace upward so sharply from late August to the end of September to…yup, he has the exact same October 1 as you do. A Game 161 clinch and everything.

You gotta believe he’s incredibly healthy. I can show you reams of data you wouldn’t immediately grasp, but all you have to know is this key set of numbers: 27-12 from August 20 forward. For you, it was 21-8 from August 31 on. Like you, he had to pass through a very narrow canal of possibility, but we can see in hindsight that as long as you both kept pushing, everything was going to be fine.

He showed up just in time, as if he knew the gestation period wasn’t over until it was over.

I know you adore all the playoff seasons that came after you, but I can’t blame you for thinking this one is particularly special. Everybody fretted you weren’t going to make it, and I guess it’s fair to say there were some concerns about 2016 getting this far. Yet here we are, at the same stage of life, and we have every reason to kvell.

His arms? Frankly, I don’t think they’re quite as robust as yours, but sometimes you can’t tell at first glance. We took an MRI as a precaution…yes, we do that a lot these days. Anyway, in that space where you had a Seaver, a Koosman and a Matlack, we don’t see very much similar in him beyond the Thor. But don’t worry. They’ve done studies recently, and they’ve found a Lugo and a Gsellman can provide nearly as strong a foundation. And the Colon on this one is very durable. It can process innings sort of like the Stone that was never properly extracted from your system did for a while, assuming that it’s managed wisely and not ignored. It’s 43 years later, so we know a lot more about these things than they did back then.

I think what makes this youngster very special is his heart. You and I know where he gets it from, huh? Oh, and the guts. No, that’s not a sanctioned medical term, but you’re in all those scientific journals for the same reason he ought to be someday. Go ahead, place your finger in his palm. He Tugs at it. A kid like this should be able to handle anything. Doesn’t recoil, doesn’t give up. That indicates the presence of heart and guts not every season has.

The DNA suggests his hair could be a little Rust-colored eventually, but for now it seems to be coming in platinum blonde. Nature can be wild that way.

He leans a little to the left like you did. The shortstop, the third baseman and the left fielder are his dominant traits, kind of like yours when we examined your stretch run, except he generates far more power from that side. Those positions make all the difference for him, just like they did for you. I don’t know that his backstop is as sturdy as yours, but he’s blessed with a very resilient back end in his bullpen. Where you had one essential reliever, he has several. Why is that? Stretch runs simply didn’t require as much relief when you were born, but seasons come out differently today. Attribute it to evolution.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that he was nearly born without an optimally functioning Bruce. It wouldn’t have necessarily harmed him, but having a good one, if I may use a technical term, surely couldn’t hurt. All in all, 2016 is made up of a lot of parts that are easy to take for granted: a Loney, a Rivera, another Rivera, a Granderson…put them all together and you find yourself hugging an absolutely beautiful playoff season. Just another miracle brought into this world when we could definitely use one.

Would you get a load of that? He’s making a little fist, as if he’s going to be ready for anything or anybody who stands in his path in the coming days. Another family trait. It’s too soon to project much about where he’ll go from here, other than he can go home on Wednesday, but he’s definitely got the autumnal gene.

We’re as excited as you are to welcome 2016 to the postseason, Mr. 1973. We’ve been waiting for another one like you for a long time. But we better let him get a little rest now. Pretty soon he’s gonna have to say hello to America.

40 comments to Look What The Stork Delivered

  • mikeL

    wonderfully put Greg!
    late 73 is where my baseball-fandom began so it’s especially nice to see the mets do it such unlikely fashion.
    this one reminds me of ’99 as well, though that one indeed required a game 163 to seal the deal.
    how perfect that syndergaard gets to rest up for the big day – and that the other team may need to play another before citi.
    another great scene with the mets high-fiving many fans in the other team’s park.
    here’s to a big wednesday!
    LGM!!

  • eric1973

    Just as Carly Simon’s song was not about me, neither was this celebratory post.

    No matter.

    James Loney resolved the Loney/Duda discussion, and Addison Reed quelled the Josh Smoker attempted coup for control of the 8th inning (9 out of 10 indeed).

    Like our friends from 1973, you can’t measure this teams success by merely slapping an OPS on everyone and calling it a day. For these players have heart, guts, and SOUUUUUUUUL! Just as that 1973 team Tugged at out heartstrings, this one is perhaps a Stone’s throw away from the ultimate goal of never having to Say Goodbye to America.

  • Dennis

    Just a fantastic finish to an improbable run for a playoff spot. A gritty team just devastated by injuries. Losing 3 starting pitchers (4 really when you consider they never had Wheeler either), David Wright (greatest position player in Mets history), Duda and his 30 HRs for most of the year, Walker for the last 1/3 of the season, and numerous visits to the DL by other players. Credit goes to those who stepped up, as well as the moves that Sandy made (hey look everyone……Jay Bruce isn’t useless). But my hat goes off to Terry Collins (who should be named NL manager of the year) for another superb job of managing this team.

    I know that Matt and Rob E enjoyed this ride…..which hopefully lasts much longer than Wednesdays game. And those who felt this team should have been 162-0, questioned everything the manager did (because of course he was solely responsible for every loss and had nothing to do with any wins), and had this team dead and buried all the way back in April…….I hope you enjoyed it as well. LGM!

  • George Theodore made the delivery?

  • Rondiculous

    Delivered by George, the Stork, no doubt.

  • Lenny65

    Know who isn’t inconsequential? OUR 2016 METS THAT’S WHO! Congrats to one hell of a weird team and to everyone who hung in and got to see it through. Today was a glorious day, the kind of day that makes you take a step back and realize how precious these September and October days have been. For two years in a row they’ve given us a ride and anyone who’s followed this team for any length of time knows that doesn’t happen too often. These one-game playoffs are terrifying and who knows what this October holds but today I’m just thrilled, this bunch salvaged what could have been a total debacle and spun it into gold…well, maybe not gold yet but definitely gold-ish. We all know we could just as easily be here tonight bemoaning who to fire and acquire after another sleepy-eyed loss to Philly that leaves us twelve games under .500, bitching about Reyes jaking it and the horrible medical staff and watching Daniel Murphy’s 100% healthy ass gunning for .400 tomorrow. But here we are and who the hell wants to play this insane squad in a playoff series? Wednesday is too far away.

  • mookie4ever

    Wonderful post, Greg! Your comparisons between 1973 and 2016 are right on, at the risk of dating myself. I’m so very proud of this team and everything they have overcome this year. They’ve showed everyone (thanks Fox!) who they are, a team held together with spit and duct tape and heart and guts that never, ever quits.

    I look forward to a deep October run, but if it didn’t happen I’d still feel the same. I’d be disappointed for them, but never in them. Did we all see during the celebration how much they love TC? That is the only opinion of the manager that is important right now. He handled this horrible wonderful year exactly right and these guys will do anything for him. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy either. He deserves Manager of the Year. Anybody else ever pull off this arising from the dead stuff 2 years in a row?

    I’m looking forward to the LV51s whuppin’ the Phillies tomorrow, should be a fun game to end the season. Let’s Go Mets! Ya Gotta Believe!

  • GroteFan

    Nice work, but that is what we expect.
    While ’71 is the first season I remember, ’73 is the one that matters. I apologize for throwing cold water on our blue and orange camp fire, but if we do not get to play those rotten Cubs, I really don’t know how I am going to feel.
    I mean I am not diminishing the wild card spot, but really do not want it to end by 11pm Wednesday night.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Many kudos to ALL the Mets and congrats to all who cheer the orange and blue. Thanks for the shout out Dennis…it certainly is rewarding to have one’s faith affirmed.

    eric1973 my buddy, I had a feeling you might not be able to resist something along those lines. Come now, we all know one AB doesn’t settle anything. I’m pretty sure Bartolo Colon didn’t prove himself an accomplished slugger when he took Shields deep. And if late clutch performance is what you’re looking for it was only a handful of games ago Lucas missed a far more dramatic walk off homer by inches. The body of work is what matters and those stats tell a stark tale when comparing the 2. But hey, that doesn’t mean Loney can’t be an asset. Lets root for all our boys. That’s what has been so
    great about this run. We’ve gotten production from EVERYONE.

    Im all in with those who’ve championed TC for manager of the year. Backing up the WS appearance with this monumental achievement speaks for itself. It’s in some ways a silly award sure, but I’ll be damned if I can come up with anyone nearly as deserving.

  • Eric

    The Mets continue as the reigning National League champions in defense of their title.

    Game 161 couldn’t have gone better. Earned their way in with a win that set aside the Giants and the Cardinals, so they could punctuate the season by celebrating with victory on the field. The constants, Colon with the win, Reed with the set up, Familia with the save. Set up Syndergaard for Wednesday. Earned an important day off on Sunday. 3 days off is just about right. Not so long a break they’ll get rusty and lose steam, but enough time to recover from the stretch run (though the lingering injuries won’t heal in 3 days), especially the bullpen arms. If Reed and Familia are able to stay in for an extra 1, 2, even 3 outs, that can make the difference (another HR off Salas is worrying).

    Next up: MadBum and the even-year Giants or the Cardinals Way.

    Bumgarner or Martinez will be tough. Looking ahead to the WC game feels like a 1-game version of looking ahead to the DS last season against Kershaw and Greinke.

  • Curt

    Loved the comparison. I was 10 in 1973 and that was the 1st year when I really followed baseball (I was still young enough and a good enough little leaguer to dream plus I’d read Seaver’s The Perfect Game). Though I had to mostly follow it on the sports report on the evening news. Now all we need is a playoff brawl to reprise Rose-Harrelson and create some real animosity.

    Strange, strange season. Here’s to 12 more wins worth of strangeness. What really feels strange? To not follow up something good with Alderson announcing that another player’s injured.

    Curious what the playoff roster will be. First time I can recall when September call-ups weren’t just a nuisance but a necessity. Guess I’m hoping for St. Louis so we don’t have to face Madbum but it doesn’t really matter.

  • Harvey

    In their 27-12 .692 run beginning August 20th, the Mets put up the best mark in the Majors, beating out the Cubs’ 25-14, the Red Sox at 25-15, the Dodgers at 24-16 and the Braves at 23-15.

    • Eric

      With the Giants and Cardinals finishing strong, lucky the Mets are finishing the season against the Phillies instead of the Braves, who are pushing the Tigers out of the AL WC race.

  • Bob K

    This one may be a bit of a premature birth but in the spirit of the New Year beginning tonight, let us hope and pray that he will be sealed in the book of Met life forever.

  • Wilmer just declared out for year.

    Anyone know if Lagares can actually do any damage except to himself now? Need a strong righty bat–and he had hit well vs. lefties before injury.

    Who knows, they might pick Ty Kelly for bench over Conforto given need for righty.

    • Eric

      If the focus is a pinch-hitting spot vs Bumgarner, Flores is a significant loss. He might have started at 1B, too.

      For a righty bat off the bench to replace Flores, Kelly stands out for his ability to work the count and make contact. He’s not a base stealer, but he doesn’t clog the base paths, either. The Mets seem to like Campbell in that role, though.

  • Mikey

    We can all breathe now….for a few days anyway. TC definitely should be mgr of the year. Those players live him like a dad…somehow i dont think some other mgrs can say that. Ahem mike matheny. Dave roberts will be in the conversation too.

    But i digress. This mets team has so much fight and its a beautiful thing we can appreciate for a few no stress days.

    Greg this was a gem in a season of them for you. Hopefully a sequel is in the works!

  • Parth

    Thx Greg- as others on the thread, I too came of age in ’73 and cried when Garrett popped up meekly in Game 7. This year definitely snuck up on everyone as I know i had misplaced anger at a team that had no business competing as long as they did. And while we could have settled for Yankee fan “everyone gets a trophy” optimism for 2017- we get a 163rd game in 2016! And being on the wrong side of 50, each playoff year is indeed special. LGM!

  • 9th string catcher

    And that’s why we’re mets fans. We like intrigue. We like psychology. We like how baseball works and what goes into winning not just a title but every pitching change, every at bat, every critical moment of each game. We never give up, and this is a year that the faith has been rewarded.

    Odds are that we’ll be rooting for one of the weakest teams in the tournament. So what? We’ll be rooting just the same, contemplating how to win a gsellman vs arrietta showdown.

    As always, LGM!

  • Bob

    Greg/Jason & Fellow Met Fans–REJOICE!
    Would say that 1973 Mets had better pitching–Seaver, Koosman, Matlack, Tug…but 2016 Team has more hitting…
    And in 1973-that Oakland Team(have hated reggie…since…)was very good..
    However for those old Met fans like myself who think we know stuff—we don’t!–I had our Mets dead & buried 6 weeks ago….wrong!
    Perhaps I’ll take a 20-minute drive to Casey Stengel’s grave in Glendale (CA)to give thanks–
    WHY–It’s just AMAZING!
    Let’s Go Mets–forever & ever!
    Met fan since Polo Grounds–1963

  • open the gates

    I wasn’t a fan yet in ’73 – the closest I can get in comparison is ’87, except this time, they got into the playoffs despite the injuries. (Although come to think of it, if they had a wild card in ’87 they might have gotten into the playoffs that year too, despite the injuries…)

    I will say, these past two seasons, as a body of work, will go down as one of my favorite stretches of Mets-fanhood, win or lose. And I second the nomination of TC as Manager of the Year, despite his head scratch moments. X’s and O’s aren’t everything. This team flat out played for him – through injuries and adversity beyond belief. He flat out deserves it. And kudos to Sandy Alderson for making the right moves in a beyond crazy year. Even his big flub, Jay Bruce, seems to be not such a flub anymore.

    Can’t wait to see the next episode of this soap opera. Let’s Go Mets!

  • eric1973

    We may be the weakest, but we’re also the hottest, and perhaps that makes us the strongest. The Cubs sleepwalked through their whole season without the intensity our guys had to play under, so maybe they are ripe for the taking.

    More nervous about MadBum right now than the Cubs or the Cards, or the Nats or L.A.

  • BlackCountryMet

    So,looks like I’ll get about 4hrs sleep before work on Thursday, let’s hope I’m dreaming of a trip(or 2) across the pond when the game is over!

  • Dave

    Besides the pure guts this team showed, my favorite thing about this season was that it was literally one of those rare teams where the phrase “everybody contributed” wasn’t a trite cliché. Who could possibly have predicted a few months ago that they’d be in the postseason thanks to Seth Lugo and Rene Rivera and Robert Gsellman and TJ Rivera and Josh Smoker and hell, even Ty Kelly, who is the type of player the Cardinals usually find somewhere. Everybody in this organization not named Ray Ramirez or Jonathan Niese did exactly what they needed to do.

    Anybody anywhere near section (I think) 137 on Wednesday, see you there. LGM!!!

  • GroteFan

    87 Wins.
    He us a veritable miller Huggins.
    All bow to terry.
    This a team that after getting to 9 0ver at 28-19 on May 27th Terry shepherded his flock all the way to…oh well…60-62 on August 19t.
    That is what 32-43 over 75 games.
    No doubt the guy is brilliant.

    • Dennis

      Another disgruntled Met fan who can’t be happy because he feels the wrong guy is managing the team. Convenient how you leave out their record after August 19th (Psst……it was 27-13 with a team decimated by injuries).

      Question……how many teams have you guided to the MLB postseason?

      • Left Coast Jerry

        Dennis, don’t you realize that it was Terry’s fault that the team went 32-43 in the middle of the season. The fact that the team had a 55-32 record around that stretch was despite Terry. Miller Huggins would have gone 162-0 with this team, despite the fact that he wouldn’t have had Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the middle of the lineup.

        Don’t you know that Terry Collins is the evil spawn of Satan and the Wicked Witch of the West and is probably responsible for the assassination of JFK and the Hindenburg disaster.

  • Steve K

    The past meets the present…

    I happened upon a copy of Roger Angell’s classic “Five Seasons”. It includes an account of the ’73 Mets ascent from last place in the NL East to a division title and playoff spot.

    Amazingly, starting after Aug. 20, the team went 27-13.

    This year, starting on Aug. 20, the Mets went 27-13.

    Btw, anyone with access to this book should read Chapter Seven – “Mets Redux”. Even 40+ year later, Angell’s wonderful writing is a compelling read.

    #LGM

  • eric1973

    Each year, when I visit my grandfather’s gravesite, I stop off at Gil Hodges’ grave, which happens to be nearby.

    Totally Amazin’, and hope through osmosis we can get a little luck and get by MadBum.

    Ya Gotta Believe. Loved Yogi and everything, but wished Gil was there in ’73.

  • Paul Schwartz

    Why shouldn’t we carry just noah, whoever would start game 4 of nlds, and our top six relievers for,wild card game and 17 players (including 3 catchers)?

  • mikeL

    yea the one game roster issue is one i haven’t had to think about before. starting pitcher, ‘b’ option starter, and one more in case both fall in the shower, or off a curb (sorry jerry)?
    i guess i’m glad we have a couple of days to take all of the season in before it could possibly end.

    i like the fact that madbum has to face guys he hasn’t had to face before…and that the mets have been doing playoff baseball for weeks now. 2 teams in opposite directions.

    whatever happens, this has indeed been a mets team for the ages. the same team i nearly left for dead out of total disgust – when they were supremely unwatchable.

    kudos to terry, but even moreso to the makeup of the guys on the field and the way they have all done big things, picked eachother up, and done all the seemingly little things so well.

    i was at one point just happy to get to this point, but like everyone here (i’m sure) i’m hoping for/expecting much more mets baseball.

    with much love, LGM!!

  • Dave S

    Faith appears to have regained the upper hand over fear in Flushing.

  • Gil

    Who has my ticket for Wednesday? Seriously.

  • Plenty of tickets on Stub Hub all over the place, if you can handle price (although far from World Series level). With that many tix out there I expect a good number of Giants fans in area.

  • […] been available to us. This was 2016, its very own chapter in our ongoing family history and a worthy descendant of a season we’ve been invoking for decades every time summer was down to a wisp and the contemporary campaign was circling the […]