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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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Halves and Thirds

As the Mets scored their first seven runs on Wednesday night, I felt a tinge of sadness for the Orioles pitcher who surrendered them. It wasn’t a particularly ceremonial surrender. No white flags, just pitches that didn’t have much fight left in them. I wouldn’t claim to know if the same could be said for the man who threw them.

We’ve done Matt Harvey postscript plenty since the sun set on the Dark Knight. It would be redundant and kind of cruel to go there again. Likewise, it was redundant and kind of cruel for the Mets to keep hitting him, but that’s what they’re supposed to do to the opposing pitcher, regardless of opposing pitcher pedigree. They were having a very good evening in Baltimore. Harvey wasn’t. I’ll admit I was only partly enjoying the onslaught they’d wrought on our former ace. I was enjoying the runs, but wasn’t totally comfortable that they were being charged to who they were being charged to. I’ll additionally admit that when with two out in the top of the third, the Mets up by one and Harvey threatening to slip out of a first-and-third jam, I almost…almost wanted him to not give up anything else.

Then James McCann singled in Jonathan Villar, and Billy McKinney singled in Pete Alonso, and Kevin Pillar homered to bring in everybody else in this sentence who’d yet to cross the plate. It was 7-1. That tinge of sadness lingered like the television camera did on Harvey. “He looks like he wants to cry,” my wife said sympathetically. He wasn’t the only one.

Soon, Harvey and his 7.41 ERA departed the mound and the seven Met runs he yielded remained on the scoreboard and I wasn’t about to give a single solitary tally among them back, because though Matt will always be a Met icon to me, he’s not a Met at the moment. Kevin Pillar, who gave his face for our cause, is. James McCann, who borrowed a first baseman’s mitt and said “OK” when he could’ve big-timed or begged off, is. Billy McKinney, who’s now officially gone longer without ever having heard of me than I’d gone without ever having heard of him, is. Those are our Mets at the moment, and that will do when it comes to deciding battles for hearts and souls.

As the Mets scored their second seven runs on Wednesday night, I was quite content to gorge on the offense, regardless of whatever dismay it inflicted on whatever other Orioles pitchers. Listen, I can’t be responsible for the seamy underside of every boisterous blowout (good luck in future endeavors to Adam Plutko and Mac Sceroler). Furthermore, I haven’t checked the rule book lately, but I assume there is no actual saving “some of that for tomorrow,” especially when tomorrow from the vantage point of Wednesday (a.k.a. today) loomed as an off day. If the Metsies want to score 14 runs in one game while giving up no more than 13, they are my guests to do so.

As it happened, they — primarily via seven typically excellent innings from Taijuan Walker — gave up only one run. Nobody ever tells the pitching staff to save some of that for tomorrow, so why should the slugging staff? Better advice would consist of telling Pillar (two homers), McKinney (also two homers), Alonso (his third homer in two games) and Mason Williams (first homer as a Met) to do again very soon what they just did.

The Mets generated two seven-run halves on Wednesday night. While you’re coming to happy grips with such fabulous fractions, you might want to note the Mets completed the first third of their season at 30-24. Few were the games that ended 14-1 in the Mets’ favor, but there was a veritable cornucopia of victories in the realm of 4-2 and 5-1 and 3-1 and whatever it took to get on a pace for 90 wins, or twice as many wins as Met players have deployed to date. What’s more likely, ya think — the Mets finishing 2021 at 90-72 or the Mets using 135 players? Cite “at this pace” at your own risk, of course. Still, we’ve run through 45 Mets; maintained a very nice clip without a whole bunch of heretofore presumed key Mets available very much; and, well, here we are, out in front, winning a geographically challenging road trip and, at the end of it, bouncing back from a letdown the night before.

The competition stiffens for the next month. All those pesky postponements are knocking on our door demanding an extra seven innings of our time on multiple occasions. The plunge from our version of The Big Three to fourth and fifth in the rotation is as frightening as anything ever ridden at Great Adventure. But ours are the Mets of Pillar and McKinney and all the other blanks that keep getting filled in so very amply. Ample ain’t always sexy, but it gets the job done.

Swell bunch of parts we have here. The sum could be something else.

19 comments to Halves and Thirds

  • Daniel Hall

    I like that the Mets beat Matt Harvey (I like them beating just about anybody, except maybe old grandmothers on the street).

    I would have preferred them beating Harvey 3-1 through six, then tack on a bushel against the pen.

    Alas, Baseball isn’t Make-A-Wish… I’ll take the W and shut up.

  • Jacobs27

    True to form, FAFIF echoes my sentiments better than I could have expressed them.

    Not so much fun giving such a round beating to your former ace when he’s down. But I’m glad Harvey saved his 6 innings of 1 run ball for beating the Yankees this year, even if that isn’t actually how these things work.

  • mikeL

    i had hopes for something of a pitching duel between our once and present pitching stars.
    it made me sad.

  • Karol

    Best part of the game…. Gary and Ron and the Topps baseball cards.
    Brought back some great memories for my husband!

  • open the gates

    Yeah, you can’t really call this a “laugher”, can you? More of a wincer. I can’t remember the Mets ever beating up on a former ace before, and it’s a weird feeling. Very bittersweet. I’ll take the win, tho.

  • Andrew

    Maybe I’m hard-hearted, but I didn’t have a single sympathetic thought for Matt last night.

    I appreciate all he’s done for the franchise, and I love a pitcher’s duel as much as the next guy. But as Pillar rounded the bases, all I could think of was: this Baltimore lineup knocked us around for 16 hits and 10 runs the previous night. We need all the runs we can get!

    And frankly, after so many years of ex-Mets thriving after they leave NY (Ryan, Dykstra, Mitchell, Kent, Turner, even Matz…), I’m relieved that, for once, it looks like the club was prescient by cutting ties with a declining star.

  • Seth

    It was what needed to be done. Still, it was sad to see how the mighty can fall.

  • Rob D

    Which is why I never begrudge a guy getting the biggest payday he can. Cause it can all be gone in an instant.

  • DAK442

    I hoped Matt would somehow reinvent himself in Baltimore, become a decent 4th starter if not recapture the Dark Knight magic. Last night was depressing, despite the win.

  • Eric

    I wonder if Harvey could be salvaged into a serviceable MLB pitcher — maybe as a reliever — with a renovation out of the MLB spotlight in the minor leagues or even an independent league or overseas stint. After all, he did start this season credibly before it fell off a cliff. His velocity isn’t what it was, but it’s still enough. It looked like the problem was mainly command. Second, lack of life on his pitches. What can be fixed with analysis and training? And what’s a hard physiological limit set by his surgeries? Right now, getting beat up starting for the Orioles isn’t helping Harvey. If the Orioles cut him, I would welcome the Mets offering him a last chance with the minor-league reclamation try he rejected in 2018.

    It was nice to see the Phillies tug the Braves back under .500 though both teams are close enough in the standings where they can overtake the Mets with a bad week.

    I wonder if McKinney will turn out to be a Gregorius or Urshela level keeper. And what that means for Conforto.

    Thank goodness for Pillar, Villar, and Peraza doing more than just filling in and making the team better.

    With Peterson disappointing and Carrasco and Syndergaard not foreseeable, thank goodness for Walker. The Orioles can at least hit. The blowout loss the night before highlights Walker’s performance. He’s eased some (not all) of the sting of letting Wheeler go to become the ace for a division rival. If Wheeler was still a Met, I don’t think they would have signed Walker.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    ….I assume there is no actual saving “some of that for tomorrow,”

    Hey, there’s an idea, an idea which I don’t think is much more stupid than some of the ideas MLB has come up with recently. If a game between two teams that also played each other in the previous game is tied after 9 innings, if one of the teams beat the other team by 10 runs or more in that previous game, they win the tied game as well. Game shortened even more, another problem solved that didn’t exist.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    hey hey hey there are no scary rides at Great Adventure

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Matt Harvey was a shooting star in the Mets universe. What comes to mind are the words Elton John sang about Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana. Your candle burned out long ago. Your legend never will.

  • Dave

    As bad as it may have felt watching Matt Harvey get lit up like a pinball machine pitching against the Mets, I can think of at least two scenarios far worse. One would be Matt Harvey getting lit up like a pinball machine pitching for the Mets, the other being Matt Harvey looking like Sandy Koufax pitching against the Mets. So we’ll play the cards we were dealt.

  • Great reminder of the way things can go too often in Metsland. So, yes, sad, but could have been just depressing.

  • eric1973

    Hey Greg, the last time I went to Great Adventure, the Haunted Mansion was right next to it, before it burned to the ground.

    Must have walked right by you!

    Maybe Wild West City was nearby, too, with those old commercials starring Uncle Floyd.

  • eric1973

    Loved it!

    And with our beloved Isles on a mini-break, we press on tonite, with deGrom vs. Snell!