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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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Better Than Fair

In a haughtier season, we might file away Friday night’s 4-2 victory over the Nationals as a nice, boring win. We’re not in a haughty season, however, so let’s not too hastily dismiss the delights of dullness. Besides, how low-key can any game started by Noah Syndergaard come off as? Noah, even when playing it cool, carries a Reggie Jackson-style “magnitude of me” to the mound. You can’t miss him when he’s in town. The eye finds him first, the same way you spot the observation towers overlooking what remains of the New York State Pavilion as you drive along the Grand Central.

Whereas Jacob deGrom has been our Unisphere this year — he’s the world to us — Noah has been mostly been something to behold in theory. A sprained index finger sidelined him for a start, then two, then, because every Met injury heals only when it’s damn good and ready, seven weeks. Theory begat Thor and, suddenly, the Mets had two top-notch starters again. The Mets were a few games above .500 when Noah disappeared into the cornfield on May 25. Is it possible that missing a consensus preseason Cy Young candidate could have something to do with a team completely falling apart in June?

It wasn’t like they weren’t already decomposing from the middle of April onward, but lacking Syndergaard couldn’t help but gape the growing void. We have him back and we are better off for it. Noah threw five sharp innings. Not suffocating — the Nats kept putting their first batter on base — but unquestionably professional. Yes, that’s the word for what the Mets were Friday night. Professional. Getting hitters out while in the field, pushing runs across while at bat, very little exploding in their faces no matter who the Nationals sent to torment them. Daniel Murphy’s not moving so well. Bryce Harper isn’t interested in legging out grounders. Tanner Roark hasn’t much roar. We’re having a terrible year, but they’re relentlessly disappointing. For one game we were bound to float by them.

As with any visit to the old World’s Fair site, you could get a sense of what used to draw people to Flushing and why people made such a fuss. Syndergaard (a five-game winner — just like deGrom!) limiting the opposition to a single run, or as many as he himself drove in; Lugo and Gsellman competently carrying the load to the end of the line; the top of the order efficiently generating three runs in the first; Rosario burning up the basepaths in the thrilling fashion the tout sheets said he would…these were the 2018 Mets from when the 2018 Mets were a certifiable attraction rather than the remnants of something rusting embarrassingly alongside the parkway.

Too bad you can’t go see them like that all the time.

5 comments to Better Than Fair

  • Harvey P Poris

    Great to have Noah back. By the way, Remember Matt Harvey? He’s now 5-3 3.64 with the Reds and getting better each game. I guess their pitching coach was able to straighten him out.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    After the Mets scored 3 runs in the 1st inning, deGrom had to be thinking “They score 3 for Noah in one inning, and they don’t score that many for me in a month.”

    In the bottom of the 8th, I’m watching Blevins and Swarzak warming up and I thought of an old game show called Who Do You Trust that was hosted by Johnny Carson before he became Mr. Late Night. Who did I trust in that situation? Neither one of those guys. I’m glad Mickey left Gsellman in to pitch the 9th.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I hate to keep thinking this, because we’ve been fooled before, but for the time being, pending further injury, trade, or some Metsian Calamity even we haven’t though of, we now have 4 very competent starters.

  • Curt

    There were some positives last night – Syndergaard was OK, not great but pretty good. Rosario’s been better than OK lately, we’ll see if that lasts. But it also featured the latest in a string of, “Really? Is that what it’s comne to?” moments when Jose Reyes was brought in as a defensive replacement at 3rd. Or maybe it should start off with, “You know you have problems when . . .”

    Why is Reyes even on the team? Where’s Phillip Evans (this is rhetorical, I know where he is) and yes, maybe Evans isn’t the greatest 3rd baseman on the planet either but he’s also 25, hit pretty decent last fall and while it may end up that he’ll be a “never was” you can’t definitively say that he’s done. Give him some more looks at big league pitching.

    But all that came later. Last night, it was more of an incredulous, “You mean our defensive replacement at 3rd is Reyes? “

  • Daniel Hall

    Only seven weeks for that wee finger to heal, huh? Turns out he missed a start after all. Well, then it can’t possibly take much longer for Cespedes to come back from that day-to-day leg thingie that is woeing him and sidelined him.

    IN MAY.