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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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Let This Spell Last Forever

Consider this not a wet blanket, but at most a moist towelette: I attended the game in which Mike Bordick made his Met debut. In his first at-bat, he led off the bottom of the third and hit the first pitch he saw over the wall at Shea Stadium. At that moment, Mike Bordick — the surehanded shortstop who came to us from Baltimore in exchange for lovable but momentarily miscast Melvin Mora, as Gold Gloved Rey Ordoñez languished on the DL — was one of the best midseason acquisitions a contending Mets team had ever made.

Fifteen years later, on another Saturday in late July, the name Mike Bordick came up in idle conversation before that night’s Mets game. It wasn’t in a complimentary vein. A few hours after that, without any irony whatsoever, I leapt to my feet to applaud the first Met home run hit by Kelly Johnson in his first game as a Met. He was traded for on Friday. On Saturday, he and his fellow erstwhile Atlantan Juan Uribe went about transforming the Mets from frauds into legitimate contenders. At least that’s how I decided to see it from Section 329, where you could barely see anything that didn’t look like a pennant drive for the ages taking shape.

Welcome back, my friends, to the tease that never ends. These Mets, whose secondary logo is a .170 batting average, came to life on Saturday night in a way they’ve never lived and breathed at Citi Field. They set a stadium record for most runs (15), most hits (21) and most hope (tons). They pounded every Dodger pitcher not named Kershaw, Greinke or Ian Thomas. Almost incidentally, they had Matt Harvey pitching like Matt Harvey. It was easy to miss while reveling in everybody — Harvey included — hitting like hitting is something the Mets do every single day.

Oh good gosh, that was something to behold, wasn’t it? Was it all on account of the addition of Johnson (2-for-6, including that home run) or Uribe (1-for-2 and a fine diving play at third when inserted as a laugher replacement)? Maybe in some cosmic, karmic, veteran leadership sense those two altered the chemistry of the clubhouse and/or put everybody on notice that if you want to play, you have to produce. But when the box score is bulging with big, juicy, succulent numbers up and down the agate, it’s surely about more than a pair of rented strangers.

Michael Conforto, the Met who preceded Johnson and Uribe by an entire day, was on base five times, four via hit, two via double, all via Binghamton (as if jumping up from Double-A was going to be an obstacle to so natural a talent).

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who once hit three home runs in a single game, you know, also registered four hits and drove in four runs — two of them carried by Conforto, who scored another two times besides.

Lucas Duda gave up sheep-herding or whatever vocation he’d been pursuing in recent months and took up professional baseball again with a vengeance, launching two home runs and passing David Wright on the all-time Citi Field home run list, which it might surprise you to know exists (Duda 48; Wright 46…and unavailable to compete).

Daniel Murphy hit a home run and drove in three runs, which sounds like something he used to do in other seasons.

Ruben Tejada collected three hits and didn’t step on Conforto’s head or any part of the rookie sensation when he almost played modern-day Hahn to Michael’s Theodore.

• Harvey — remember him? — drove in runs in two separate at-bats, with a double and a single. He gave up a pair of solo home runs as well, which in the distant past of pre-July 25 would have saddled him with a 2-0 loss. But these are the Mets of Johnson and Uribe and Conforto, and they are freaking unstoppable.

Well, they were on July 25, and if that’s all this personnel overhaul adds up to, I’ll take it. I never before saw the Mets score 15 runs in person. Few Mets fans have. There was a Saturday at Shea in July 2006 (Mike Pelfrey’s debut) when they scored 17 runs. There were consecutive Shea Saturdays in July 1985 when they scored 16 runs apiece. And that’s the sum total of home games in which the Mets have scored more than 15 runs. They’d only scored 15 three other times at home prior to this Saturday night in July, none since 2000, a few months prior to their trade for Bordick, who was going to help them get to a World Series at last.

Actually, he kind of did. Or they got there in spite of him. Either way, in 2000, it didn’t hurt to have traded Mora for Bordick just as they were bringing in Bubba Trammell from Tampa Bay. From 2001 to eternity, it’s a different story, but sometimes you have to live in the moment. At this moment, the Mets have those two ex-Braves they got for two guys nobody ever mentioned as the next Harvey, deGrom or Matz. Johnson and Uribe could someday drift into oy, Mike Bordick territory. The could do it in a matter of weeks. Doesn’t matter. They gave us one hell of a boost and something tells me the boost isn’t over yet.

In the moment of July 25, everything was good and everybody was happy. As if we knew we were in for the offensive ride of this ballpark’s lifetime, we rollicked early. We saw Cole Hamels, not normally a popular figure on these premises, was angling for history in Chicago, and we oohed, aahed and cheered when he completed his no-hitter. The Phillies have contributed eight wins to our fifty; we can tune in to their fleeting moment of triumph and be magnanimous.

There were too many Dodgers fans among us — they effortlessly radiate smugness — but their quiet spoke delicious volumes. At last they presented us with a pitcher who a) we’d never heard of and b) pitched to his reputation.

Who’s Zach Lee? ’Zackly.

Lee was followed to the mound and into the feeding frenzy by Chin-Hui Tsao, and I can’t imagine it went uncommented upon on SNY that Chin-Hui Tsao cost Steve Trachsel the first no-hitter in Mets history a dozen years ago. I remember it like it took place in 2003, but I’m still annoyed that it was a pitcher who left the only speck of cork in Trachsel’s otherwise sparkling wine glass that afternoon. Why, yes, I can hold a grudge. Six earned runs on seven hits in two-thirds of an inning off any opposition reliever would have made me giddy. That it was off Tsao made me ravenous.

Which was a good thing since the next Dodger victim was Josh Ravin. He entered at 11-2. He exited at 15-2. I sure hope Tommy Lasorda was watching. To quote Chevy Chase as Fletch when he observes an adversary’s framed photograph, “Hey you and Tommy Lasorda.”


“I hate Tommy Lasorda!”

At which point Fletch smashes the picture. Or Ravin walks in the 15th Mets run. I forget which.

When you lead 15-2, you see a dreaded wave develop and you shrug. When you lead 15-2, you hear the forced frivolity of the “Piano Man” singalong and you join in full-force (not tough for me as a staunch Billy Joel advocate, but even I think this particular exercise should be given a rest). When you lead 15-2, the barley & hops-fueled idiots behind you who keep repeating, “This is the best game I’ve ever been to!” get on no more than your first nerve because it probably is the best game they’ve ever been to. It’s definitely one of the better ones in my portfolio, I tell you what.

The Mets had more hits than Heart played postgame, and Heart played a whole bunch of their greatest hits (as Wilsons wearing Mets jerseys go, Ann and Nancy were positively Mookie-esque). Do the Mets have the heart to keep it going and not make this merely a one-night stand? Do they have the hitters to keep the hits coming? Is Conforto really here? Is Duda really back? Is d’Arnaud really returning? Is there another trade in the pipeline? Are Johnson and Uribe difference-makers of the first order, whether or not they turn into Bordick/Bubba pumpkins when all of 2015 is said and done?

Try, try, try to understand. Or don’t bother and just enjoy whatever goes right on the off chance this spell doesn’t last forever.

Coming Monday: That least consequential Met ever. And, no, it’s not who you’re thinking of.

26 comments to Let This Spell Last Forever

  • Matt

    So, that just happened. Out of all the bloated stats from last night, I wonder if Duda’s 2hr might be the most significant. He had a monster 2nd half last year, proved early this year he’s capable of hitting lefties, and now might finally have some lineup protection. I also hope this will at least temporarily quiet the nattering nabobs of negativism that have been chirping so loudly. Do people not realize how long a baseball season is? How often have I heard we need to fire Terry, trade for Tulo, get rid of Curtis, bench Murph, bench Lucas, etc etc? This team has stayed the course, & despite an absurd amount of bad luck and long odds to begin with are right in the thick of a race. Exciting stuff. LGM!

  • Matt

    Good one Greg!

  • Daniel Hall

    Yesterday was a flush of joy, and I got carried away with excitement a bit as the runs just kept piling.

    Which is good. You don’t save excitement for tomorrow. Tomorrow it might Greinke.

  • Mikey

    Great piece greg. Heart is my wife’s favorite band….she told me years ago that if you.hear a heart song during any day it was going to be a good day. I thought it was cute until I saw it with my own eyes and ears over and over again. So of course it would stand to reason that on the day of hearts post game concert the mets offense would historically come to life….there was nothing about that barrage I didnt enjoy. Now lets knock greinke out in the third inning today

  • Daniel Hall

    “Coming Monday: That least consequential Met ever. And, no, it’s not who you’re thinking of.” – Looking forward to that! I dug through unspectacular Mets teams a bit and I have a guy picked. Won’t call names, but he’s a right-hander from Boston.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    …I can’t imagine it went uncommented upon on SNY that Chin-Hui Tsao cost Steve Trachsel the first no-hitter in Mets history a dozen years ago…

    It didn’t slip by Josh Lewin on the radio side.

    PS: Josh was good from his Day One, but he’s really been shining lately, especially with Howie out (Howie’s Mom passed away, so he ‘s out again for a few days). In fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard a play by play radio guy quite like Josh. He’s a joy to listen to, especially on a warm summer night on the deck with a cold beer at my side and the Mets up by like what seemed like 25 runs and counting.

  • Michael G.

    A relaxed Duda — with legit hitters around him — is a dangerous Duda.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Personally, I’d feel much more confident it last night’s game played out against legitimate major league pitchers. Yes, Johnson and Uribe are an upgrade over Muno and Mayberry. Yes, I’d rather have Conforto in left field than Cuddyer. But I still am in wait and see mode to see how this plays out over the next week or two.

  • Gene F.

    Revised Mets-jersey-wearing Wilson ratings:


  • Tristram Shandy

    I was just thinking the other night about Mike Bordick, except that I couldn’t remember his name.

    Thrilling game, and I’m soaking it in. Today comes Greinke, and it’ll be fun to see if they can touch him. Or it’ll be infuriating if they don’t.

    Last night will be sweet no matter what, but maybe the hitting will regress to mediocre for the rest of the season. Wouldn’t that be a thrill?

  • mikeL

    “These Mets, whose secondary logo is a .170 batting average”

    nice one!

    last nite was too much fun from a team that made scoring look too easy.


    yes hopefully the arrival of mets 2000-2002 was some kind of karmic, alchemical ingredient that stirs the drink that has been sitting stale but not yet gone-bad all this time.

    uribe’s ninth inning glovework/arm-cannon work was a nice punctuation to a fine evening.
    the smile and tip of familia’s cap said it all!

    let’s get split and start a streak!

  • LA Jake

    Just like last night’s game was loaded with Mets hits and runs, so this blog is loaded with great stuff including these brilliant lines:

    “Consider this not a wet blanket, but at most a moist towelette.” I’m not sure a post about the Mets has ever started better.

    “Welcome back, my friends, to the tease that never ends.” Not only fits perfectly but the Mets 1986 recap video used Karn Evil 9 to showcase the antics of that group like hot foots.

    “Lucas Duda gave up sheep-herding or whatever vocation he’d been pursuing in recent months and took up professional baseball again with a vengeance.” No comment necessary.

    “There were too many Dodgers fans among us — they effortlessly radiate smugness — but their quiet spoke delicious volumes.” Having to live amongst them is painful.

    “To quote Chevy Chase as Fletch when he observes an adversary’s framed photograph, “Hey you and Tommy Lasorda.”


    “I hate Tommy Lasorda!”

    At which point Fletch smashes the picture. Or Ravin walks in the 15th Mets run. I forget which.” Quoting Fletch never gets old.

    “Try, try, try to understand.” Love the finish with the Heart lyric.

  • Bob

    LA Jake–About living among Dodger fans is “painful”–Having lived in LA for almost 40 years–it’s NOT as bad as living back East among those skank fans!
    Lasorda–in March 2006 at Pt. St. Lucie saw Lasorda at Tradition Field and yelled at him–“Hey Tommy, What did you think of Kingman’s performance?”

    Maybe Mets score some more today?

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • LA Jake

    Bob, good point. Love you bringing up the Kingman story. for those who haven’t heard it or just want to hear it again.

    Dennis, for the record, I agree with TC pulling deGrom for Familia. Let’s hope it works out. Even if it doesn’t, then move makes sense.

  • LA Jake

    Dennis, for the record, I HATED TC bunting with Tejada. Even if successful, Dodgers walk Murphy and then look for DP vs Uribe with Jansen. Doesn’t make sense.

  • LA Jake

    But love having legitimate bench players.

  • KMan

    I was impressed with the ELP connection as well; I missed it the first time.

    Gary, of course, was all over the Trachsel one-hitter (there’s very little he doesn’t know).

    Maybe it’s just me and I’m an optimist, but I think this team now is ready to go on a tear. And Wally Pipp Cuddyer may be watching the rest of the season.

  • Lenny65

    deGrom > Greinke.

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