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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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We Interrupt This Met Victory Recap to Complain About No-Hitters

Well, we will do that, but not quite yet. (I think I just interrupted an interruption.) First, let’s go back to last night.

Bases loaded, one out in the sixth, Tigers up 6-5, David Wright at the plate, and I was sure the Mets were about to at least tie the game and likely take the lead. I wasn’t hopeful — I was certain. Yes, the specter of Daniel Murphy on third against the Cubs popped into my head, but I paid it no mind. Here came the tying run. We’d see this at-bat on the season-highlights DVD or watch it on Holographic TiVo years from now and recall that yes, that was one of those games that told you which way the universe was aligning.

Wright struck out. 6-5 was as close as the Mets got. First place — not counting a technical stretch of occupying it for a few hours — would have to wait.

And yet I wasn’t particularly bothered. I still felt like the universe was aligned, that good things would happen, that there would be magic in the summer nights to come. I just revised my feeling slightly to note that this magic couldn’t be flipped on and off like a light switch. There’d be plenty of it, but it needed to be rationed out a bit. And that was OK.

A night later, I can’t decide whether that’s the hard-won wisdom of a patient baseball fan, or shimmering heat mistaken for a desert lake by a desperate man.

But tonight lived up to my rather blithe self-assurances in the face of a frustrating loss. The Mets scuffled a bit early, then rose up against Kevin Slowey and pulled away to a comfortable distance without undue fuss, other than the last 90 feet of the journey home being repeatedly unorthodox: There was Wright scampering home after Denard Span’s throw to Joe Mauer bounced away, Ike Davis stutter-stepping through a red-light/green-light from Chip Hale and Ruben Tejada’s fingertips beating Mauer’s mitt to the side by an entire half-second at least. But it all worked out. Even the negatives called attention to positives: Nick Punto’s fifth-inning leadoff double clanked off the thumb of Jason Bay’s glove, prompting Emily and me to remark that for all his defense was maligned over the winter, that was the first misplay we could remember from Bay.

And then, with the Twins defeated, it was time to keep tabs on the Tigers doing nothing against Billy Wagner, and to see if Edwin Jackson could win his way past his own fatigue and the Tampa Bay Rays to gain entry to the formerly exclusive No-Hitters Club. Jackson walked eight. (!!!!) He threw 149 pitches. (!!!!!!!) The Diamondbacks’ bullpen was active after the sixth inning. He made it anyway. (And lest someone poring through the Faith and Fear archives a few years from now assume it was a fluke, Jackson was still alternating 96 MPH heat with 82 MPH change-ups in the ninth.)

It’s the fourth no-hitter of the still-young season, with Jackson joining the company of Dallas Braden, Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay, with Armando Galaragga offering a magnanimous, melancholy nod from just offstage. The Arizona Diamondbacks, a franchise that wouldn’t be old enough to get a learner’s permit if it were a person (and definitely shouldn’t be allowed to dress itself), have two no-hitters.

The Mets … sigh.

Jimenez’s no-hitter was the Rockies’ first, but they hadn’t been around long enough for the lack to become a defining characteristic. Ditto for the Rays, only in their 13th year as a franchise, and generous in allowing their fans to witness no-hitters by the opposition. That leaves the Padres — older than me by a month — and us. And the shared emptiness that has become our obsession.

I have always acted as if our no-hitter is coming soon. Each night I call “24 to go” if the Mets’ pitcher gets out of the first without a hit, then count down by threes after that. I’ve taught Joshua to do that too; we both mutter “another night…” after the first hit, with Emily sometimes joining us and always registering the fact that tonight is exactly like all other nights. I know to the word what the Faith and Fear post commemorating the apparently impossible will say. You’ll love it. I can’t wait to write it.

Besides, it’s not like I’ve never watched the apparently impossible come to pass. For years my fairly dedicated fandom came with an asterisk: I’d never seen a triple play, a curiosity I’d share with anyone who showed mild interest and plenty of people who didn’t. Then all of a sudden I was minding my own business in the Shea mezzanine on Aug. 5, 1998 and the Mets turned one against the Giants. SCREECH, end of that story. Now, I regard triple plays the way most people do — they’re the four-leaf clovers of baseball. I missed Angel Pagan turning his against the Nationals back in May, shook my head sadly when the Padres tripled up the Mets earlier this month during Jon Niese’s coming-out party. In both cases, I got on with it. Heck, I’ve even seen an unassisted triple play, something I never dreamed I’d get to witness. Cycles? Seen more than my share.

But a no-hitter? By a New York Met? It’s eluded Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack and Nolan Ryan and Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez and David Cone and Frank Viola and Bret Saberhagen and Rick Reed and Al Leiter and Mike Hampton and T@m Gl@v!ne and Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, to throw out just some of the names offered incredulously by people who haven’t heard of the Mets’ epic run of imperfection. There’s no requirement that the man who breaks the streak has to be a top-flight pitcher such as Santana or Pelfrey, of course — it could be R.A. Dickey or Niese (he came close, as have others) or Dillon Gee or a just-acquired Jake Westbrook or Oliver Perez doing it while walking even more guys than Edwin Jackson.

Because you never know.

But as a Mets fan, in this respect you can guess pretty reliably.

13 comments to We Interrupt This Met Victory Recap to Complain About No-Hitters

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Jason Fry. Jason Fry said: The #Mets win! But let's complain about no-hitters. Faith and Fear in Flushing. […]

  • Andee

    In a way, it’s kind of ridiculous that a game where you have 820 walks and no hits makes the record books, whereas a game with one cheesy infield hit and no walks doesn’t. Jackson must have been channeling Joe Cowley out there. I just hope he doesn’t wind up suffering Cowley’s fate.

    So what do you think the odds are that if Jon Niese was pitching a no-no, and he was getting past 100, 120, 140 pitches, that they’d leave him in and let him try to finish it? I’d say they’re more than a little good, given our inexplicable drought.

  • dgwphotography

    The Mets never do anything normally. Their first no-hitter will be a perfect game in the deciding game of the World Series against the MFYs…

  • I don’t think the Mets will ever get a no hitter.

  • oldtimebaseball

    I hope you don’t mind some pre-Mets nostalgia here. The almost no-hitter I remember best is Bill Bevens’ in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series. Bevens walked 10 (two more than Jackson) in that game, and had even given up a run, so when the Dodgers came to bat in the bottom of the ninth, the score was 2-1 Yankees. With two out and two on, pinch-hitter Cookie Lavagetto (I always loved that name) hit a double off the famous Ebbets Field right field wall, knocking in two runs and the Dodgers won. I got home from school in time to hear the incomparable Red Barber’s call:

    That is still my favorite baseball call ever. I came as close as I ever have to dancing in the streets that day.

    Of course, the Yankees won the Series, and even got revenge for that broken no-hitter when Don Larson pitched a perfect game in 1956 (still the only no-no in Series history). My detestation of the Yankees is older than the Mets.

  • I just pray it isn’t a combined no-hitter. Because those suck.

  • Jestaplero

    I feel like R.A. Will throw a no hitter this year.

  • Lenny65

    I’ve always had this irrational fear that it’s going to happen and I’ll end up missing it somehow. I agree with “dgwphotography” above: if and when it does finally happen it’ll be under some sort of odd circumstances, like in a playoff game, or on the last day of the season with almost no one watching, or in a west-coast night game delayed by rain five times that ends at 4:45am EST. Because doing it during a Fox Game of the Week would just be too obvious.

  • Ness

    I’ve been to one game so far this year. Pelf gives up a hit in the first. Sure enough, I hear behind me: “There goes the no-hitter.”

  • […] throw a no-hitter. But after 66 years seeing baseball (by comparison, even the oldest Met fan has only waited 48 years), it was Edwin Jackson who finally gave Lou something he had never […]

  • Dave A

    Interestingly, you mentioned both the Padres lack of no-hitters, and later in the article, your having seen your share of cycles. Did you know that the Pads have also NEVER HAD A PLAYER HIT FOR THE CYCLE? Unfathomable.

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    When do the Rays come up in interleague play in the coming years? That may be our best chance for a no-hitter/perfect game.

  • Mrbassoon

    stop jinxing us with “24 to go.” Mark Grace started later.