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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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That Was Fun

So said Buck Showalter, engaging the media after the Mets’ 2-1 win over the Dodgers, and as usual Buck was right.

It was fun, wasn’t it? Fun with a side of heart-stopping terror, or at least severe spikes of anxiety, but then that’s baseball.

Fun was Jacob deGrom looking every inch the debonair assassin, carving up baseball’s best team with his fastball and slider. The Dodgers fought him pitch by pitch, grinding through relentless at-bats and forcing deGrom to engage a different gear than he usually needs, but that’s what the Dodgers do. Jake’s slider turned unruly in the last couple of innings, with Mookie Betts annihilating one that sat middle-middle and Will Smith just missing another, but he was his usual pleasure to watch even with the occasional blemish.

He might have been stuck with a no-decision, though, if not for the play of Brandon Nimmo‘s life. With one out in the seventh, Justin Turner tattooed a fastball that got too much plate, clubbing it on a menacing line to right-center and, it seemed, beyond.

A few years ago, Nimmo’s playing shallow and at best gets there in time to crash against the wall as the ball thuds down beyond it, tying the game. But Nimmo spent the COVID layoff dedicated himself to a workout regimen that made him a little faster and answered the Mets’ entreaties to play deeper, and that’s let him watch long fly balls come his way instead of trying to track them over his shoulder. Nimmo arrived at the warning track with the ball still in flight, moving sideways as he sized up its trajectory, made his leap and snagged the ball above the orange line — then, in a marvelous bit of showmanship born of perfect execution, came down on both feet, fist pumped and yelling in jubilation. It was an Inciarte level of robbery — just below Endy Chavez‘s stay-of-execution grab with a pennant on the line — but unlike Inciarte’s reverse walk-off, it was in service of good. I’ve seen Nimmo steal one before, but I’ve never seen emotion like that from him — or from deGrom, who threw both hands in the air and doffed his cap.

If Jacob deGrom tips his cap to you, rest assured you’ve done something pretty extraordinary.

Oh yeah, that was fun too.

So was Starling Marte proving not all Mets are roadkill against lefties — even lefties with herky-jerky, impossible to read mechanics like Tyler Anderson‘s. Marte’s two-run homer was a welcome tonic, to be sure, but with deGrom out of the game and Nimmo having pulled a rabbit back over the fence and into his hat, the Mets had six outs to get, and you knew the Dodgers would fight tooth and nail for each and every one of them. (It’s not news, but boy are they a good team.)

Adam Ottavino navigating his inning wasn’t fun, exactly — setup men’s tours of duty are mostly just anxiety, and my anxiety was loose and howling at the moon as Ottavino fought for every pitch in a thrilling duel against Betts, one that ended with Ottavino throwing a slider that had one of the sport’s best hitters spinning helplessly like a top.

OK, so that part really was fun.

And then, the most fun of all: Take Two of Timmy Trumpet getting to play Edwin Diaz‘s entrance music live.

In the early innings, when “Narco” was still a hope and not yet a plan, I wondered which Met official had drawn the assignment of explaining to an Australian star musician still getting used to this baseball thing that while he was welcome for a second night, his services might not actually be required this time either. The Mets had to be winning, or at least tied, but not winning by too much, more specifically they had to be … oh, let’s just say the save rule is a lot.

But the stars aligned and there was Mr. Trumpet, flanked by Mr. and Mrs. Met, aiming the bell of his trumpet at the stars and having the time of his life. It was electric, it was a little goofy, and it was most definitely fun — which is everything baseball should be.

Because I’m a Mets fan and so can’t help it, when the music was over I turned to my kid and said, “We’ll all feel a little stupid if Trea Turner hits the first pitch over the fence.”

“That would actually be hilarious,” was my kid’s somewhat alarmed response.

And hey, it would have been hilarious … eventually. Like maybe in 2042.

Diaz, though, seemed even more amped at having his theme music come to life. Trea was no Justin in the Turner department, fanning on three pitches and so requiring no Nimmo intervention, and Diaz then got Freddie Freeman and Smith to ground out, sending the Mets off the field in jubilation in a tidy 2:19, out-jubilanted by a packed house that had been in full roar all night.

Yes, Buck, all of that most certainly was fun.

It was fun, and hey, the season series is now tied 3-3. Which means that the Mets and Dodgers are playing Game 7 on Thursday. That’s interesting, isn’t it?

14 comments to That Was Fun

  • Dave

    Arguably the game of the year so far. And I have to admit to thinking/fearing the same post-fanfare result in the top of the 9th you were. Would’ve turned Timmy Trumpet into the 2022 Mets version of what the Black Cat was to the 1969 Cubs.

    Like many, I didn’t realize that Mr Trumpet was Australian, so presumably he won’t be at all home games moving forward. I do not play trumpet, but I could bring a very different feel to Diaz’s entrances as Benny Bassoon, Sammy Sax, Syd Synthesizer, Paulie Piano, Ollie Organ or Cliff Clarinet. Orville Oboe if you give me time to practice. Mets, call me.

    • mikeski

      “Uh, Mr. Cohen? I have a Harry Harmonica on line 2. Says he’s returning your call.”

      • Dave

        Harmonica I’m not great on, I’d really have to practice a lot to get it down. But I could be Mellie Melodica. In fact prior to Saturday’s game there was a guy near the Apple and the Seaver statue playing a melodica, I suggested to my wife that I could bring mine next time, then I realized he could be territorial and send melodica thugs out to push me out of Flushing.

  • Matt in DE

    I was thinking about that “Game 7” aspect to today’s game, as well. Good practice for late October (wink-wink), except, the game time will be a reasonable 4:30pm instead of the network-mandated 8:30pm or so.

  • chuck

    He’d be too modest to say so, but Nimmo had that catch all the way. His catch of July 10, 2021 had a greater degree of difficulty.

  • Joey G

    Perhaps Mr. Trumpet will serve as our musical muse for the post-season run, a role that Miss Pearl Bailey played for our beloved ’69ers. Trumpet and Narco should be held over for an extended engagement in Flushing.

  • Jacobs27

    That was the funnest win I can remember since the heady 2015 run.

    So much greatness. But the reactions from Nimmo and deGrom might be my favorite part.

  • Eric

    It was a welcome excuse to rewatch Chavez’s all-time catch. That snow cone so far above and *past* the wall.

    I imagine Nimmo’s excitement came from experiencing the result of working hard for years to hone raw ability, but not natural talent, into an elite skill and having all the effort and thought come together in one moment of proof. That wasn’t a deep fly that allowed Nimmo to set up at the wall. Justin Turner, whose revenge tour against the Mets is apparently forever, hit a line drive that required total execution to catch.

    DeGrom finally finished 7, thought not yet 100 pitches. His command slipped in the 6th again. That flaw in his game has meant a Cy Young level 2 ERA instead of an all-time level 1 ERA. Still, I hope deGrom’s endurance improves by playoff time.

    The Mets pitching and defense won the game. The slumping offense is still a concern.

    Mets have entered September in 1st place by 3 games. I’ll take it.

  • Seth

    Great win, although… offense? Hello?

    At one point Gary described Justin Turner as deGrom’s former teammate, but I don’t think that’s the case. Justin’s last season with the Mets was 2013, and Jacob came up in 2014.

  • open the gates

    Since we’re talking music, how about this: perhaps Mr. Cohen (Steve, not Gary) could be convinced to have a live organist accompany at least a few games a year, just to show the younger fans what the game used to sound like back in the day. I really miss that.