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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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Best Break Ever

The goal of every baseball fan this time of year is to endure the All-Star break while complaining about its existence as much as possible. It’s interminable, it’s endless, it’s too long. Find some more synonyms. Traditionally, by Wednesday it’s completely outlived its utility, yet they went and extended it a few years ago to Thursday. What a cruel and unusual trick to pull on us smack in the middle of the summer.

Yet this All-Star break has been the best All-Star break ever, and I almost don’t want it to stop. Consider the context:

The Mets won their last game in San Francisco two Wednesdays ago. Jacob deGrom struck out ten. Eric Campbell homered.

The Mets were off on the Thursday that followed.

The Mets won last Friday. Noah Syndergaard struck out thirteen. Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer homered.

The Mets won Saturday. Matt Harvey struck out nine and homered, as did Duda and Ruben Tejada (hit home runs, that is).

The Mets won Sunday. Kirk Nieuwehnhuis homered three times. Daniel Murphy homered once. Jon Niese was perfectly serviceable and Jeurys Familia registered his fourth consecutive save.

The Mets were off on Monday. Jacob deGrom was about as perfect as could be during the All-Star Game Tuesday, striking out three batters on ten pitches and stealing Fox’s “look at how young everybody is!” promo. Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, Mike Piazza and David Wright were announced as the Mets’ Franchise Four and, by my reckoning, they were the four who most deserved the designation (as the key players in each of the four eras when the Mets won something), no matter the emptiness of the exercise.

The Mets were off on Wednesday, allowing us to bask in deGrom’s deGrominance of deAmerican League. The Mets were off on Thursday, permitting us ample time to at least skim Tom Verducci’s profile of “the Flushing Six” starters in the new SI and process John Smoltz’s assessment that the Mets pitchers of today are a) “way better” than his Atlanta staff of yesteryear and b) possess “more talent than we could ever have”. (We were also offered independent testimony that it’s more emotionally satisfying to be a Mets fan than any locally available alternative — hell, there’s even a t-shirt confirming our fun-ness as fact.)

To sum up, the Mets presently linger at a moment in time during which their best pitcher this season was the starriest of all the stars; their overall starting pitching has been identified by trusted sources as among the best that’s ever been; they homer whenever they play; they win whenever they play; and nine days have passed since they lost. Also, they are very close to the leads in the two playoff races in which they are contending.

Why would we ever want this moment to end?

Oh right, because we like baseball.

Still, this is almost better than baseball. This is baseball without the risk. All we needed to make this break perfect was a break from not adding any offensive talent to the big-league roster, but given recent trends, we’re gonna hit five home runs in St. Louis tonight, six tomorrow and seven Sunday. Even if that projection somehow doesn’t hold, we still have hope that maybe something will be done by July 31. We’ve always had that hope, but usually expressed with a layer of hostility. This week, we’re too mellow to be too hostile. It’s more like, “Oh, this pitching is so good…hey, you know what would really make it awesome? Some hitting!”

Then we turn over to get back to soaking in the rays of the mid-July when the Mets simply didn’t lose. Glad we’ll have games again, but it’s kind of a shame this feeling can’t help but evaporate.

Before I learned to stop worrying and love the All-Star break, I contributed a few words to the latest edition of On The Sports Lines, accessible here. Tune in around the 11:00 mark for my thoughts on our Mets.

12 comments to Best Break Ever

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Over the last week, I found myself using the expression that Steven Matz’s grandfather was caught on camera using. First, when Harvey’s ball sailed over the wall. Second, when Kirk’s third bomb hit off the foul pole screen. Third, at the conclusion of deGrom’s performance on Tuesday night. There have been times when I haven’t had three of those moments in a month. Lets Go Mets, and may we have many more moments of Grandpa’s expression.

  • Rob E

    They’ve actually been a pretty respectable team since the last break…someone on this board mentioned they were 86-76 their last 162 games. Here’s something to consider in light of all the “holes” that get mentioned; they’ve done that 86-76 with only three constant members of the rotation, deGrom, Colon, and Niese. They’ve done that with two different starting catchers. They’ve done that with a rotating assortment of middle infielders and 3rd basemen, the only constant being Murphy, and Flores from Sept 1 on. They’ve done that with two different closers, and the only other constant in the bullpen is Carlos Torres. They’ve done it with two different left fielders. And they’ve done it without David Wright.


    My point is that they’ve done a pretty damn good job of patching holes, and they’ve done that without ever really getting the team on any kind of firm ground. When we watch the game tonight, there will be holes, but there is an infrastructure here that is floating this level of play. It’s not an “IN YOUR FACE” infrastructure that people notice, but how many Mets teams went 86-76, at ALL, let alone under the conditions that we’ve seen here the past year? This team can still drift toward .500-ish, or they can go on a 2014 KC roll, but I think what we’ve seen this season is their FLOOR, and if that’s true, that’s a really good thing, and brings with it a lot of hope for a future that is getting more nearer-term every day.

    • 88-76 last 164. Mets bottomed out at 38-49 on July 5, 2014. 7-1 rest of homestand, 34-33 after break. (62-51 from September 1, 2014, forward, for an 89-win pace.)

      Prior to July 6, 2014, 66-84 dating back to July 26, 2013 (night half of split doubleheader).

      Longer term: July 8, 2012 through July 5, 2014: 140-186. So we’re talking basically a 70-win team for two years having grown into basically an 86-win team in the past year.

      This refuses to register as real progress, I’m guessing, because when they’re losing, gads do they look helpless. Offensively helpless. They’re not defensively impressive but they’re also not comical (of late).

      Hunch: A few extra hits per week would makes so much of a difference in perception let alone the standings.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    Last time I remember being on such a roll at the ASB was 2008, thought I remember it being more, “ugh, this is going to kill our momentum,” and, “gee, Wagner really blew it in the All Star Game.” Still, we came back to win our 10th in a row if memory serves, and I was blasting Lenny Kravitz “It Ain’t Over” once again.

    Speaking of which, here’s hoping we get on a 1973 narrative to close the season. Correct me if I’m wrong Greg, but 73 didn’t really take off until everyone was healthy, correct? We have the underwhelming Eastern Division waiting for us, let’s take it and run! (And pray Terry doesn’t start Colon on short rest in Game 6 of the World Series over Matz)


    • The 2008 roll is one of the forgotten successes of modern times, though it gets a little less modern every year.

      Yes on 1973. Grote catches every game from September 4 on; Harrelson at short every game from August 26 on; Jones starts in LF every game from Septmeber 16 on.

  • dmg

    while the mets have in recent years had a nasty record of tailspinning in the weeks immediately forllowing the asg, i really don’t feel that’s going to be the case this season. for one thing, just about everyone in the lineup could use the days off.

    moreover, yes, the immediate schedule is a killer: cards, then nats, then dodgers. but analyzed the second half sked and said it’s pretty soft after that. “The Mets’ first 10 games out of the break will come against the Cardinals, Nationals and Dodgers — each of the three NL division leaders. If they survive that brutal run, however, things will get markedly easier the rest of the way, as evidenced by their second-half opponents’ .476 combined winning percentage. That mark is the third lowest among all Major League clubs, behind only the Marlins (.474) and Padres (.472).”

    downside to that follows in the next graf: “Don’t get too excited though, Mets fans, as the division-leading Nats sport a similarly favorable second-half schedule. The Nationals not only check in just one spot behind the Mets when it comes to remaining opponents’ combined winning percentage (.480), but they also have 40 more home games compared to just 35 on the road. By comparison, the Mets play 35 home games and 38 road contests.”

  • SkillSets

    But, Wilpons.

  • LA Jake

    I love all the optimism but remain incredibly frustrated by this team and games like tonight. I hope but am pessimistic the holes at SS and 3B and C and the bench will be patched with anything more than minor league callups. If not, the struggles to score runs will remain and the team will continue to waste great pitching performances on a regular basis.

  • Jacobs27

    Well put, Greg. (Just it was Familia, not Mejia).

  • cleon jones

    Wow. Great stats Met fans 86-76 last 162 games. Just think if we had an offense.Lets go Mets!!!!