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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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Doin’ Met Things

When the Mets win, it’s best that the Mets win by doin’ Met things. When the Mets win, perhaps it’s not important to give the win a litmus test and just accept the W, but it’s more comforting to sense the Mets are functioning as they are supposed to so a given win doesn’t come off as an aberration.

On Wednesday afternoon at warm and sunny Citi Field versus San Diego, the Mets were doin’ Met things. Pitching competently from the start. Piecing together innings toward the end. Power from the power sources. Aggressive baserunning from the aggressive baserunners. Unflummoxed by fielding. Maybe a Met-killer meeting his kill quota, but that’s a Met thing by definition. Maybe a few too run-scoring opportunities by the boards, but that’s a Met thing this year. Maybe an unnecessary hope raised from the injured list, but that’s a Met thing every year. And, something we perceive as very Metlike yet has been mostly missing this year: the come-from-behind victory.

Met things, for better or worse, are what attract us to the Mets. Repel us sometimes, too, but on net, we seek the Met.

Let’s start with Tylor Megill, which is what Buck Showalter has done three times in 2023 and has looked like a genius for doing so on every occasion. Megill is a bulldog. He will get in trouble but gnaw his way out of it. Five innings were pitched. Three had baserunnrers. One had two runs scored. But when Tylor’s day was done after 81 pitches, he was the pitcher ahead. Genius!

You really wish you could get more innings from your starter. That ship sailed when Megill was told to test the water temperature inside the home clubhouse showers. Four innings were required by arms not belonging to the starter. Thus, the struggle begins. It helped that Wednesday would be followed by an off day. Maybe the manager could roll the dice on this arm and that arm as opposed to that arm and this arm and not default to if I use him today, I can’t use him tomorrow. Sometimes “there is no tomorrow” can be a positive forecast.

Brooks Raley faced four batters, giving up a double and hitting a batter. It was not an outing to take pride in. Drew Smith got the Mets out of the sixth, but got them in deep in the seventh by walking two of four Padres. Out stepped Smith, in came seventh-inning specialist du jour David Robertson, the de facto closer of the Mets, but how about we slam the door when it’s forebodingly ajar?

That we did, via Robertson, the old pro who was brought in for pre-ninth inning situations but got reassigned by circumstances. The circumstances Wednesday demanded his presence earlier. He showed up and got it done, then did it again — not without a little tsuris — in the eighth. As Casey Stengel might have said, if you don’t get out of the eighth, you’re not gonna have a ninth.

We had a ninth, and we had the other auxiliary closer ready to go, Adam Ottavino. If it’s not bullpen depth like crazy, it’s sane enough to find your way to a necessary tenth, eleventh and twelfth out.

That’s a Met thing. It better be. So are home runs from our sluggers, with which we are blessed with two. One is the shortstop, Francisco Lindor. The shortstop! He blasted the tying run over the fence in the third. One is the first baseman, Pete Alonso. He put the Mets ahead in fifth, wounding Blake Snell’s prospects for as much as a no-decision in the process. Pete is up to 152 home runs in his career, sixth-most in franchise history, two from tying Dave Kingman for fifth. Pete came up five minutes ago.

It’s easy to take for granted that the Mets have Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso. It’s easy to think we’re missing something on those days Lindor and Alonso don’t deliver the big hit. Some days they remind you they are very much here.

Those home runs were both solo jobs. That’s two runs. The Mets needed more than that. They wound up with five in total. A steal from Tommy Pham set up the first run, driven in by Brandon Nimmo. A Jeff McNeil steal in the sixth got wheels in motion, and though he didn’t score in the same frame, Eduardo Escobar did, on another Nimmo RBI. Mark Canha also swiped a bag. If we’re going to have only two bona fide sluggers (plus several situationally capable of leaving the park), it helps to be able to run. The Mets, like a lot of teams, are suddenly rediscovering the basepaths.

They’ve also held on to their gloves post-shift. We saw two DPs on Wednesday, including the one that sealed the 5-2 final in the ninth. We may not be in “The Best Infield Ever?” territory, but defense is definitely keeping us steady most days. It shouldn’t go unnoticed.

A few Met things aren’t what you’d feature in a hype video, but they were in evidence as well. It’s part of the package. Juan Soto, even when not in the full bloom of his National youth (maybe he misses the cherry blossoms), treated a first-inning Megill delivery to a tour of the Queens stratosphere; the sky sure appeared more gray than blue at that juncture of the game. Later, Soto doubled to greet Raley in the sixth. It’s no wonder Buck, when the Padres had runners on first and third with two out in the seventh, called on Robertson to replace Smith — Soto was up.

Soto didn’t totally kill us, nor did the Mets leaving nine runners on base, as seven walks received didn’t necessarily translate to run after run. Because Robertson and Ottavino did their thing effectively, we didn’t miss our injured closer Edwin Diaz too much, but we saw who we don’t have because Diaz was at Citi Field Wednesday, letting reporters know he is encouraged by his rehabilitation — he looked a lot happier than he did when he limped up the stairs to wave to an adoring crowd before the Home Opener — and hinted he thinks he could be back this year. It’s a nice thought. It’s also probably self-sabotaging to our psyche if we let it fester. Too many Mets are expected back later in too many years. When they’re not quite ready, it’s a downer atop a downer. Just keep improving that knee, Edwin. We’ll see ya when we see ya.

The important thing is we saw the Mets win, and we saw them win after trailing. They’ve won seven games this season. They’ve only come from behind twice. Once in the series in Miami and this rubber game against San Diego. Maybe that’s why the season has seemed almost as stiff as those ad patches on the uniform sleeves look. Those come-from-behind wins adrenalize your season. Even if it’s a matter of losing in the first inning, taking the lead in the sixth inning, and holding it through the ninth inning, it says something to never saying die and intestinal fortitude and gotta-having-heart. If we can’t score five off the bat and then slowly pull ahead every single game, we need to know we’re not dead and buried at the first sign of adversity.

These are the Mets. Down by three in Game Five of the 1969 World Series. Down by three in Game Seven of the 1986 World Series. Down by six in the ninth inning one night in Philadelphia in 2022. A pair of rather famous Game Sixes. Examples abound. Such comebacks are what pump the blood. It all evens out after a while, but not overcoming deficits and taking them to the ledger (putting them in the books, that is) felt absent until they were present.

It’s a Met thing. Doin’ it defines us.

The pitch clock is ticking at National League Town. Listen to a pair of longtime fans grudgingly getting used to seconds being measured as never before.

2 comments to Doin’ Met Things

  • Seth

    Taking 2 of 3 from the Padres was quite satisfying.

  • Bob

    Well said!
    Badly needed to take 2 of 3 from a very good Padres team–especially after Clusterfu&^k ending last season.

    You mention “The Best Infield Ever?”–if I recall that would be our 1999 Mets-Ventura, Ordonez, Alfonzo & Olerud who had the fewest uneraned runs allowed and best fielding percentage, I seem to recall.
    Funny thing is I met Rey Ordonez at baseball Field (I played Sundays with a Cuban guys) in Glenday, Ca about 1997/98 he had come from Cuba.
    I saw skinny kid with Mets shorts taking grounders at SS and I asked another player–“who the hell is that kid..” and they told me he was SS for Cubna National team had had defected to US at Niagra Falls (slowly we turned..)
    A year later, I got Rey’s autograph at Mets Spring Training in Florida.
    Was also at game at Dodger Stadium where Rey busted his hand? during a play at 2nd base…sigh……………
    Now our Mets come here to California for tough road trip–I fear what Comforto & Wilmer will do during series with Gints in Frisco..
    Let’s Go Mets