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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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Finding Meaning in Meaninglessness

The Atlanta Braves are going to the playoffs, which meant on Friday night the Mets faced a lineup that featured a handful of Atlanta’s young frontline players but not its older ones — a sop to hangover recovery times, perhaps. That made the game meaningless multiple times over, with no chance for the Mets to play spoiler or otherwise do anything of note beyond our own parochial circles.

But to quote noted baseball aficionado Bilbo Baggins, it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life. The Mets were playing, with only two more days left on which you can say that. And they played the kind of encouraging game one wishes they’d played more often in 2021.

Sure, never trust what you see in April or September, with October grafted on to the second half of that statement. But there are mild exceptions. For instance, Tylor Megill has looked spent in recent weeks, no sin for a pitcher who wasn’t on the Mets’ radar screen for 2021 and was pushed far beyond his allotted innings, with the league given a chance to size him up and start punishing him. That’s a lot of alibis available for the taking, but Megill was great on Friday night, pitching aggressively and even chipping in a long double.

And he got support, most notably from Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo. Alonso was relentlessly upbeat even as the Mets’ season crumbled, shrugging off the grumbling and mockery that came his way for that. But his walk kept pace with the talk, as he’s kept socking hits off and over walls and working tirelessly on his defense. Alonso recently insisted he sees himself as a potential Gold Glover at first, and while that strikes me as something of a reach, it’s preferable to a player offhandedly agreeing that adequacy is about his limit. Nimmo, meanwhile, clubbed two homers, motored around the bases with his usual pep (another source of occasional mockery in the past) and got about as close to a smile as one can on a sub-.500 team from which much more was expected.

The Mets won, a young pitcher dug in and showed us something, and his teammates looked on point doing the same. Sure, we’d hoped for more at stake on this final weekend. But the simple life has its pleasures too. Here’s to them.

4 comments to Finding Meaning in Meaninglessness

  • Seth

    Megill pitched really well, but he’ll need a few more solid starts under his belt before I’m willing to pronounce his first name “correctly.”

    I confess I thought they were going to blow this game, and was quite happy to be wrong.

  • Eric

    I don’t take much away from a post-clinch hangover game. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the win and Megill finishing his season on a promising note.

    Alonso needs to catch bounced throws better if he wants a Gold Glove. Assuming the DH is coming to the NL, I’m still hoping Smith hits well enough to push Alonso to DH and place an actual Gold Glove caliber defender at 1B.

    160 gone. 2 left.

  • open the gates

    Truth is, baseball can be enjoyed on a game-by-game basis, as opposed to just one more piece of a pennant race. That’s how I survived as a kid rooting for the Mets in the late ’70’s/early ’80’s wilderness. The postseason was never on the radar. Just win today, baby. Or at least make it competitive.

    But yeah, the pennant races were more fun.

  • eric1973

    Yep, when I was a kid in the late 70’s, I always thought we had a chance, even when we were really deep in last place on AUG30.

    1973 will do that to you.