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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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Let the River Run

It took until his eighth start for me to hear the name Tylor Megill and think of Tess McGill, which surprises me. We hadn’t had Javy Baez for five minutes last Friday before I had to remind myself he wasn’t to be conflated with late ’90s scourge Javy Lopez or early ’90s infielder Kevin Baez.

Whereas Javy Lopez actually caught for the Braves when Greg Maddux wasn’t starting and Kevin Baez actually logged bench time with the Mets, Tess McGill is fictional, if likely more famous outside of baseball than any of the above real-life characters. Tess was the title heroine of the 1988 smash hit comedy Working Girl, starring Melanie Griffith. Melanie Griffith has had a long career in film. To me (and, I’d guess, to most), however, she’ll always be Tess McGill.

Tylor Megill will always be…well, we’ll see. He’s had only eight starts to define himself, a total we can’t possibly call definitive. If his career were to end before his ninth, we’d remember him as that righty who came up out of nowhere and gave the 2021 Mets a boost when they were thin on starting pitching. We’d probably speak of him fondly and forget that his eighth start was his least effective, especially at its start. Tylor would live on in a cozy niche of guy from whom we’d never expected anything and, for the most part, got so much more. Knock wood, but I think we’ll see Tylor for a ninth start, a tenth and many more. The eighth start will hopefully be forgotten in the sweep of history yet to come.

Tess McGill got off to a rough start when we first met her. Maybe if she hadn’t aspired to ascend above her station as a Wall Street secretary, she would have been fine. But Tess wanted to rise through ranks that weren’t designed for the likes of her to be risen through. Our Tess had to overcome a lecherous so-called mentor (Kevin Spacey), a cheating boyfriend (Alec Baldwin), a craven boss (Sigourney Weaver) and, most of all, her circumstances. No one was going to take Tess from Staten Island seriously until she took herself seriously. Sure, as she put it in a valium-addled moment, she had “a bod for sin,” but she also demonstrated “a head for business”.

She had allies along the way, too. Wise HR director Olympia Dukakis, who gave her a foot in the door. Her sassy friend Joan Cusack. Dreamy Harrison Ford, who believed in her. But mostly herself. Tess used her gumption and her wits to make deals and a name for herself. Most impressive was how she crashed a big-time wedding the way Tylor recently crashed a big league rotation so she could get face time with mogul Oren Trask. See, Tess had this idea to put Trask together with radio…

The important thing is Tess (spoiler alert) worked at her goal and succeeded. We should all have our fates so directed by Mike Nichols.

Tylor had his own pile of adversity to overcome. In the bottom of the first in Miami Monday night, he gave up two singles, had his third batter reach on catcher’s interference, and then gave up a grand slam to Lewis Brinson. Four hitters faced, four runs on the board once all four Marlins’ bony asses crossed home plate. (Tess’s insult of choice, not mine.)

This was gonna take more than gumption and self-belief. This was also gonna take more than modest contributions from well-meaning allies like Baez, who played through pain in his ankle; Pete Alonso, who delivered his 24th homer; and Brandon Drury, who remained hot if not ridiculously so. It would take a whole squad of Mets coming through to rescue Tylor so he could rescue himself. He certainly did his part, throwing five innings after that grand slam, giving up only three more hits and one more run.

But this script had no exhilarating ending for Tylor, no Carly Simon soundtrack playing over a travelogue-worthy shot of Lower Manhattan. He left after five and the Mets couldn’t roar ahead from behind. Not even Drury could get the very big hit that was desperately needed when the Mets loaded the bases in the eighth. Not even a brief glimpse of the old Michael Conforto, with a pinch-double to begin the ninth, could generate a storybook comeback.

The Mets lost the game, 6-3, as well as a length off their NL East lead, which now stands at 2½. Megill lost his first decision in the major leagues. I’m not worried about his future, though. He’s got a head for pitching and a bod for wins.

9 comments to Let the River Run

  • Seth

    With the current offense “situation,” it will be hard for this team to put the hammer down without deGrom.

  • open the gates

    I tend to see cultural references musically, rather than cinematographically. So I always thought of Megill, as one of the other correspondents here does, as compared to one who “called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy.” And of course, the ultimate Baez reference would have to be to folk music goddess Joan. But that’s me. There are no wrong answers here.

    As for the current Mets iteration of Megill, he was due for a bad outing. Let’s see how he does now. If he continues to flop, the names we’ll be thinking of may run more along the lines of Eric Hillman, Jason Jacome, and Bill Pulsipher – rookie pitchers who came up red-hot only to thud back to earth as soon as the league caught up to them. Hopefully this game was just a blip on a marvelous future for young Taylor.

    • Dave

      Eh, you beat me to the Jason Jacome parallel, I was thinking the same thing. Hopefully it works out better for Lil’s boy Tylor.

    • greensleeves

      His name was Megill, but he called himself Tyl,
      Now everyone knows him as mortal.

      I agree that Tylor was due for a fall, but his relatively stoic response to the grand slam augurs well for a rebound. The rest of this anemic lineup? At this point you’ve got to be in pre-mourning mode, if not burying your head in a soaked crying towel.

      Note: Tess, of the Cinderella allegory, Working Girl, was spelled McGill. Unlike our free-falling Metsies, she triumphs in the ends as Carly Simon sings the aforementioned title theme.

  • open the gates

    Tylor, that is. (!##%^ spell check…)

  • mikeL

    i worry less about tyler righting the ship than taejuan.the latter seems to be carrying much baggage – and a >15 ERA – since allowing that homer in the all-star game – beyond any physical fatigue he may be suffering.

    can’t help but wonder: can hefner still pitch?
    (and has there ever been a playing pitching coach?)

    the mets lead has hit rock bottom now or it will be gone soon.
    and against the marlins no less.

    if there were ever a time to go on a run, time’s running low!

    c’mon mets: GO-GO-GO!

    • Seth

      Hefner never could pitch, that’s why the choice of him as a pitching coach perplexes the heck out of me. I remember him as the guy you did NOT want to see take the mound (kind of like the Eickhoff of his day).

      • mikeL

        he did have a little stretch where – i believe – he led the staff in ERA.
        but he looked so uncomfortable in front of the camera even after god starts – voice cracking and the like.
        at times he does seem to say the right things to relievers in trouble.
        starters in trouble a whole different story…bookends nicely with our hitting coach.

        yes cleon, our mets are sinking, sinking….

        walker’s ERA since the break must be around 17 by now…
        so glad they opted for a strike out guy instead of a pitcher who strikes guys out.

  • Cleon Jones

    Our Mets are in trouble.