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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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Niese In Our Time

I went to a baseball game Tuesday night and Jonathon Niese broke out.

I didn’t go to see Niese. I never go with the express purpose of seeing Niese. I went for the Gary, Keith & Ron bobblehead. That was the inanimate object I craved, not Niese. Grass grows, paint dries, Niese pitches. It’s not usually very interesting, but not everything can be interesting. You still need grown grass, you still require dry paint and now and then a little Jon Niese goes a long way.

This time around, Jon Niese was dynamic, omnipresent and went everywhere. He threw a complete game shutout at the Phillies, who suddenly don’t travel so well now that they’re as lame as us; he scored the first run (through Tim Teufel’s stop sign, no less, because he’s been around this offense enough to know better than to count on his teammates); he drove in the three put-away runs on a double Kyle Kendrick unsportingly dismissed as “lucky” after surrendering it; and he made me yammer delusionally on the way out about how, sure, we’ll be missing Harvey next year, but if you have Niese pitching like this and Wheeler pitching like he did last night and Gee pitching like he has the entire second half and Mejia pitching like he did before he went down…well, we have no hitting and we’re gonna have to rely on some Matsuzaka-Marcum type at least once every fifth day, but, uh…

It wasn’t worth finishing the thought. Still, any attention diverted from the looming absence of Harvey Days in 2014 (no matter what the Daymeister himself is Tweeting) is a welcome distraction. Jon Niese distracted us for two hours and nineteen minutes with his one-man show. Ideal length for a well-rounded win.

Swell bobblehead, too. Kudos to Lynn Cohen and her Pitch In For A Good Cause efforts. Always a pleasure to run into so many familiar faces at these events — besides the ones that bobble, I mean. I attended the game with my Crane Pool comrade Paul, whose last name I have yet to memorize, but it’s the Mets and it’s the Internet, so nobody’s too much of a stickler for details. Our conversation across the evening encompassed, among others, Charlie Neal, Chris Cannizzaro, Ron Swoboda, Kevin Mitchell, Chris Jones and, inevitably, Matt Harvey, but we didn’t dwell on The Bad News.

I didn’t dwell too long on Citi Field’s inability to have hot dogs ready to serve in a section where vouchers for hot dogs were part of the deal (I was told I could wait 10 minutes after having waited 10 minutes in line) or the lack of diet cola in the next section. I wasn’t put off by the presence of the U.S. Open invading our sovereign territory despite my annual instinctive resentment that other things attract people to Flushing Meadows besides baseball. As we rode the Super Express toward Woodside, a lovely woman from another country asked how the Mets did. I told her they won. She expressed good tidings. I then pretended I knew who any of the tennis guys she mentioned having seen were. It just seemed sporting. More so than Kyle Kendrick, at any rate.

7 comments to Niese In Our Time

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Gary hit it right on the head. Teufel tried to stop Niese because he didn’t want to risk yet another pitcher injury. Whoo boy. Next d’Arnaud will be told not to block the plate on close plays.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    Isn’t is something that the best hitter in the lineup also happened to be the one whom we had on the mound? Should we do a Babe Ruth?

    How did if feel getting a Marlon Byrd tee shirt a few hours after he was traded as well?

    • The Byrd shirt offer was limited to those who bought a special ticket package (as was the GKR bobblehead), so I don’t know.

      Mets could have rebranded it on the spot as a Throwback Classic or something similarly collectible.

  • vin

    After 7 hours of a hot and free for all style of seating and matches (or draws as they say), at US Open…a nice 2 hour 19 minute nitecap at Shea Grounds was just what the doctor ordered! Length of game perfect got home an hour earlier than normal after a long hot day! US Open is a great event and adds to Flushing…McEnroe followed the Mets and scolded a writer before semi-finals in 85 for denying Gooden a no no on a swinging bunt by Moreland the nite before at Shea , a game I attended! It (open/overpriced as it is) is superior to the Football and NBA hype anyday!

  • Barry F.

    Sounds like Sept 7 1984 actually. Friday night game. Best pretzel I ever had two days later after they won the Sunday game.

    • vin

      I wasn’t sure if it was 84 or 85/but game was great/was a game I went with fellow Prudential employees on a bus trip from Parsippany! Thanks for the details and response!

  • […] 24, I was 5-1. Then came nine consecutive losses that left me, as of June 30, at 5-10. Yet when Jonathon Niese shut out the Phillies on August 27, I was 13-14, leading to the possible conclusion that my year was more streaky than […]