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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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Impressive Nonetheless

When Yoenis Cespedes re-accommodated yet another baseball over a relatively distant fence five innings into Wednesday night’s beatdown of Philadelphia, I was quite pleased. Really, I was. I glanced up from my tablet, mentioned aloud, “Hey that’s his third,” and, I’m pretty sure, raised a fist slightly above my right ear to further signify my approval. I may have even shaken it in triumph. My fist, I mean, not my ear.

Then I went back to whatever I was doing on the tablet, which wasn’t anything unusual. The Mets went back to whatever they were doing at Citizens Bank Park, which wasn’t anything unusual, either, at least for them.

Not that I don’t appreciate definitive drubbings of division rivals achieved via virtually pauseless offensive barrage, but, well, y’know, these things aren’t so rare at Citizens Bank Park that you’re necessarily gonna be moved to do anything crazy like shout volubly or clap effusively. Maybe I would have leapt from a sitting position for another home run from Cespedes (alas, he burnished his 4-for-6, five-RBI night with only a double) or hooted/hollered over a couple more from the Mets (they stopped at seven, one shy of their record). How about a gaudy picket fence? That requires crossing the plate inning after inning, and somehow the Mets forgot to score in the seventh. So a run in every frame was out of the question, but scoring in eight of them was fairly Amazin’…though not unprecedented, considering the Mets made that oddity a reality in Cincinnati three Septembers ago. Perhaps a Unicorn Score sighting would have gotten me truly revved up, but a winning final of 14-4 had been posted twice previously in Mets history, most recently in 1984. The putting out to pasture of a 33-year-old Uniclone is noteworthy, but even I’m not gonna go nuts about it.

Overall, I was reminded of the dream my favorite overwrought Chihuahua, Ren Höek, had while his demented cat pal Stimpy read to him from a bedtime story about a giant who was sad to be smaller than his peers.

“Why, he’s barely enormous!”
“He’s merely huge!”
“He’s no bigger than a house!”

The Mets’ merely huge victory was impressive nonetheless, yet as Phillies reliever and moral compass Edubray Ramos attempted to imply to the chronically power-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera seven months after Cabrera joyously flipped a bat into the heart of his psyche, sometimes you should act like you’ve been there before. Indeed, stomping the Phillies in their own ballyard constituted déjà POW! all over again. Wednesday night marked the third time in three seasons that the Mets went deep at least six times in Philadelphia, and on each occasion they demolished the Phillies by a minimum of nine runs. (They also blasted seven dingers and outpointed Philly by a dozen just one pope ago.) Cespedes had a three-homer game in his Met past already, so his power display was a sequel, too. Yo’s legitimately enormous 14 total bases pulled up two shy of Edgardo Alfonzo’s Astrodome-shattering standard from 1999. The club’s 14 extra-base hits measured one less than the bushel collected at CBP in 2015. Yeah, we’d been there before.

Say, here’s something unique: three Mets — Cabrera, Duda and d’Arnaud — each fell “only” a triple shy of the cycle. That had never happened before, but I believe the feat speaks more to the lineup’s ability to single, double and homer than it presents evidence of a threat to cycle. Does this team look like it’s gonna triple a lot in 2017?

Man, are our guys slow, though lack of speed won’t much matter if the Mets can just keep trotting between now and October. Besides, if our most pressing problem is too many hitters touching third on uninterrupted trips around the bases, I for one shall demur from queuing at the complaint department.

All Met starters but Matt Harvey had at least one hit, including seventh-place hitter Jose Reyes, who recorded his second of the season. All Met starters but Matt Harvey emerged unscathed from the proceedings, which seems like an exercise in lede-burying, because what’s that about Harvey? The relentlessly effective if not quite as ribful righty as he once was left a tad scathed in the sixth. That would doubtlessly be our most pressing problem, except it is sworn by trusted authorities (and who doesn’t trust authority these days?) that what appeared to be a tight hamstring was really just a cramp. Hearing that “Harvey expects to make his next start,” as we did after the game, was supposed to calm our nerves where our preternaturally fragile rotation-related anxieties are concerned. In the Met world, however, no phrase that doesn’t include the initials MRI is more terrifying than “expects to make his next start”. Reassurance of starting-pitcher health is about as comforting as the sight of Ray Ramirez trotting calmly to the mound, absent of expression and wielding his trusty scythe.

Every Mets batter must have looked like the grim reaper to every Phillies pitcher last night. Things haven’t been going too swimmingly for the crimson-clad ever since Jerry Blevins’s would-be wild pitch leavened into Travis d’Arnaud’s mystified mitt Tuesday night and Travis converted it with great Asdrubalation into a 2-6-3 putout. It was the Pesach Miracle for which we’d been waiting patiently since Jacob deGrom attempted to lead us resolutely from the run-starved desert where his outings had been doomed to dwell. (What a shame Team Israel stalwart and sudden Blue Jay inventory Ty Kelly wasn’t on hand to bear witness.) Next thing you knew, Met homers commenced to rain down on the Delaware Valley like plagues over Egypt and we’re hitting enough to extend a three-game winning streak into one that lasts forty days and forty nights.

Not to get greedy. We’ll take our chances with three in a row and Cespedes on a roll. Or on a matzoh, if that’s how you roll.

***

Take a chance on Matthew Callan’s Yells For Ourselves, a terrific Mets writer’s textured take on a terrific Mets era, the one that straddled the millennium and brought home a pair of postseason berths back when that didn’t automatically happen in consecutive years. Learn more about Matt’s promising project here.

11 comments to Impressive Nonetheless

  • Paul Schwartz

    A zessen Pesach to all. I guess everyone asked for a Met home run (or extra base hit) for ransom for the Afikomen. This streak may not last 40 days and 40 nights but can we make it last until some of us can eat bread again? Hopefully.

  • I was gently chided over at the 360 for leading with the Harvey bit in my recap.

    http://mets360.com/?p=31858

  • LeClerc

    D’Arnaud, Duda, and Cabrera each fell a triple short of a cycle.

    Cespedes failed to stroke both a triple and a single (although I guess he had a half-decent night nonetheless).

  • Eric

    I was pleased the Mets were able to finish the game with the back end of the bullpen and rest the front end in preparation for expected work with the back end of the starting rotation up next.

    Collins takes the blame when the Mets top relievers are overworked, but last night’s game is a reminder that it’s mostly up to the hitters how the bullpen is used.

    The impressive offense last night notwithstanding, I still want to see more ABs for Conforto and TJ Rivera.

  • Damrat

    Greg, I didn’t think I could love your prose more until you whipped out the Ren & Stimpy reference. So beautifully apt, as well. Keep doing what you do, man.

  • Daniel Hall

    Just when I wanted to complain that the 2017 Mets looked a lot like the 2016 Mets not only in their actual visual appearance, this game bopped along. Oh, I’ll take it. But caution, I will try to watch the one to commence less than 30 minutes from now, and I seem to attract the stinkers already in this young season. So far, due to night games and all and languishing on the wrong side of the Atlantic, I’ve also seen more Twins games than Mets games. Twins!

    Also, whenever some Met brass states that ‘oh, X will be fiiine’, complete with a dismissive hand gesture, I am reminded of this delightful post from two years ago: http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com/2015/03/15/youll-root-for-nothing-youll-like-it/

    Looks like I missed the Vic Black memorial patches.

  • Dave

    Very nice to see the all or nothing offense’s switch set to “all.” Or it’s set to “Citizens Bank Park.” Or maybe “Phillies pitching staff.”

  • JerseyJack

    THink I read that this was the first game in Mets history that 3 different Mets had 4 hits in the same game. Is that so? There have been so many high-scoring games in Mets history. U would think it was done before…

  • […] Cespedes, one from Wilmer Flores. In the fifth, Yo did it again. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Citizens Bank Marlins Park. Cespy and Flo “settled” for socking solo blasts, so it was only 7-4. More runs would have made […]

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