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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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What So Proudly We Hailed

Instead of settling an old score, the Orioles wound up losing by it to the Mets all over again.

Instead of settling an old score, the Orioles wound up losing by it to the Mets all over again.

O’s, say, they could see. The O’s could see the first-place Mets coming. It was more twilight’s last gleaming than dawn’s early light, considering the overcast skies and 46-minute precautionary delay before a single pitch was thrown Tuesday night, but once a second pitch was thrown, the Mets led Baltimore in Baltimore, 1-0. Curtis Granderson’s seventh leadoff home run of 2015 had seen to that.

Baltimore had seen worse. Baltimore had been seeing worse since September of 1814, when the British attacked and the Americans defended and Francis Scott Key was inspired. Baltimore hung in there those nights. The town withstood 5,000 enemy troops and a royal bombardment. Surely a solo blast cheered by an invading 7 Line Army wasn’t necessarily cause for calamitous concern.

But modern-day Baltimore might never have anticipated anything so perilous as the pitching of Jacob deGrom, whose broad slider and bright fastball will take the fight out of any batting battalion. Backed by another Grandersonian rocket aimed squarely over Camden Yards’s ramparts — and aided by Jonathan Schoop’s less than gleaming defense — deGrom gallantly streamed to a 3-1 lead through seven-and-two-thirds innings, his ERA descending to the nearly unheard of depths of 1.98.

Jacob’s commander proceeded to nervously remove him from the Interleague fight, much to the Mets’ potential peril (Brigadier General Collins certainly drew my red glare). Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia each gave signs of bursting in air, but with the bullpen having been buttressed by another couple of runs in the top of the ninth, the scoreboard gave proof that our lead was still there.

In the end, the Mets defeated the Orioles, 5-3, the same glorious score by which the same combatants completed the final battle of their War of 1969. Oh, say, that championship banner did yet wave o’er the land of the Shea, where the Mets had ten days earlier secured a flag at home from the Braves. A new one so proudly we’d hail might wave somewhere nearby soon, but one baseball skirmish at a time.

History doesn’t always repeat itself, but sometimes it provides a damn fine echo.

32 comments to What So Proudly We Hailed

  • David Griffey

    I thought TC pulled Jacob too early again .I was in ATL at a game in June where he did the exact same thing and I believe it cost the Mets a ballgame.Btw He was nervous ,twitchy even You dont see a skipper like that often

    • Matt in Richmond

      That was my first reaction too, but upon further reflection the move made sense. Parra was coming up as the tying run, and he had already homered off Jake. Clippard had owned Parra (something like 1-10 lifetime). Clippard got his man, then in the ninth it was 2 totally fluky hits that made things tense followed by Familia walking two guys. Can’t blame Terry for that.

  • Daniel Hall

    I’m home sick and in my miserable free time granted by whatever bastard virus infected me pulled the game from this morning. And I swear if I hadn’t been shown the final score when hiccuped and broke in the bottom of the eighth, the actual bottom of the ninth would have driven me right into the deepest madness. This bullpen is not in a shape you need to enter the playoffs with.

    But what’s an easy victory you don’t have to suffer for?

    Brillant post, by the way.

    The 5-3 F matching game 5 eluded me completely in my reduced state, and I am ashamed that my answer to the trivia question was “Seaver?”. And I dare call myself a Mets fan.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Mets fans, hear me out! I know we’re conditioned to be pessimistic, to mistrust ownership and management, and to usually expect the worst, but now is not the time for that. Despite a pint sized payroll, a plethora of injuries, a fair amount of bad luck, and limited expectations, this team is in first place! Whatever you think of TC or SA or some of the particular players, they have earned this position, and also earned a bit more optimism from us. Let’s enjoy the ride.

    • Dave

      I would say we’re enjoying the ride, but the ride is an ultra-roller coaster, entirely in the dark, we have absolutely no idea of what’s coming next and know from experience that it could be very scary, even dangerous…we go way up, we go way down, upside down, backwards, spin around, go sideways, and anything else that the law of physics allows. As a wise old philosopher used to tell us all on a regular basis, fasten your seatbelts.

      This is as opposed to fans of the team in the Bronx, for whom a “ride” is a fast car driving down a flat, straight highway, with no other cars in sight.

  • Dave

    On 10/16/69, the Brigadier General leading our troops had the sense to keep the starting pitcher in for 9 innings.

    • Matt in Richmond

      Not so much a difference in managerial ability as a difference in eras.

      • Dennis

        I agree Matt. Has nothing to do with the sense of the manager, more with the fact that we’re talking about a style of the game that happened over 45 years ago. Not many pitchers today on the Mets or any team going 9 innings.

        • Dave

          Yeah, that wasn’t so much a knock on TC (although I think deGrom easily could’ve gone 9 last night). Different game now, although I’ve yet to see any evidence that innings limits or pitch counts have prevented any injuries or prolonged any careers. The primary motivator is probably the fact that a decent starting pitcher who’s entered the arbitration or free agent stage of his career sets a team back at least $10M a year, and they try to minimize their exposure. If MLB agreed to expand regular rosters from 25 to 30 players, the extra 5 would probably all be relievers and we’d see starters only going 5 innings.

  • Michael G.

    As I watched the ninth inning unfold, I was gripped by my Fear that Familia was going to blow the lead, and yet I maintained my Faith in his talent and grit. I’m glad that the latter was rewarded. Rarely a better example of your highly apropos blog title, albeit away from Flushing. The essence of Mets fandom.

    • Eric

      Though in his clawing for the strike zone, Familia floated up a meatball or two to Machado that Machado easily could have Upton’ed.

      The Metsian Clevenger ‘hit’ clearly unnerved him. Given that the play would have gone 3-1 had Duda fielded the ball, he should have backed off knowing he was out of position and Familia was in position and let Familia take Johnson’s throw at 1B.

  • Eric

    Lost the big lead in Niese’s Padres game. Nearly lost the big lead in Harvey’s Marlins game. Now nearly lost a large lead in deGrom’s Orioles game.

    Is it a skewed perception or does the Mets bullpen struggle more holding big leads than small leads?

    Great starting pitching doesn’t mean as much if the bullpen can’t keep up.

  • Robin Moore

    My brother and I were in section 62..not very far away from Section 70 where the 7 Line Army was sitting. WOW…what an amazing group of fans. Everyone kept commenting on Camden Yards looking like Citi-Field South. The Mets fans were awesome! Looking forward to seeing another great Mets win tonight.

    • Eric

      Given his season-long road struggles (5.01 ERA!), Syndergaard beating a good team on the road would be like a double win.

  • sturock

    That mental error by Duda was an unwelcome flashback to the rut of May/June. But Familia finally got it together. A win is a win is a win. They are not all going to be pretty. Let’s do it again tonight!

    • Eric

      It was a flashback to Sunday.

      I’ve rewatched the replay of Parnell’s throw into CF several times and it’s still surprising that it got by Tejada. But what’s dumbfounding is Murphy actually ducked under the ball.

  • open the gates

    OK, so Familia is clearly no Mariano. But if he and Clippard can be our version of Orosco/McDowell, I can deal with that.

    • Eric

      The Nationals aren’t going away, plus the 6 head-to-head games are looming. The 4.5 game lead is too close for comfort. There have already been several large swings in the standings this season that happened over 2-3 week spans. Even assuming the starters keep up their exceptional pace, this bullpen can cost the Mets the division.

      Looking forward to the play-offs, it was already likely that Syndergaard or Matz would go into the bullpen while Niese stayed in the rotation as the 4th starter.

      At this point, I’m considering that the Mets need to transfer one of the young stud starters to the bullpen for the stretch run when Matz is back to shore up the bullpen more than to finagle innings limits. Or maybe there’s a way for them to mix in relief innings when they skip starts, although pitching, say, 3 days of 1-inning relief in place of a 6-7 inning start may still cause them to run afoul of an innings limit.

  • Will in Central NJ

    “Bring on Rod Stupid”, challenged Frank Robinson of the 1969 O’s, once upon a time.

    Tonight, may the Mets hitters bring on the rod, and spare no Orioles’ pitcher.

  • open the gates

    I’m just going to take this moment to revel in the fact that it’s late August, and the Mets are in a pennant race. In first place, no less. While there’s always room to deal with the inevitable valleys and low points, let’s not lose sight of that fact. Sandy Alderson targeted 2015 as the turnaround year, and here we are. And I’m loving it.

    • Living in the moment and enjoying what’s patently enjoyable? How did we let such an anarchic sentiment slip through our dissatisfaction-detection system?

      • Dave

        (clicks on favorite icon or like button)

      • Eric

        Depends on the kind of dissatisfaction.

        I feel sorry for the Mets fans whose predominant issue in the pennant race is whether the Mets will resign Cespedes before his release clause activates. They haven’t switched modes.

        Dissatisfaction from worrying and picking at the pennant race, though, is part of enjoying the pennant race.

  • eric1973

    Agree with Dennis, and Matt in Richmond (and Dave, too), mainly regarding different eras and pitch counts not causing injuries.

    —- In the Seaver-Koosman era, many of the relievers were ‘failed’ starters, not these fireball specialists we have today. So maybe it WAS better strategy to keep them in back then. That said, I would still prefer to keep these guys in today and let them finish. They are better than what we got to replace them.

    —– If there were no such thing as TJ surgery, might we have never heard of deGrom/Matz, and would the careers of Harvey/Wheeler been over after one year?

    • Steve D

      A big difference in the game is the use of the setup man and closer. A starter does not have to go 9 to be effective and the whole game is managed that way. Maybe this is why today’s starters do not know how to pace themselves so they can complete a game, but come out throwing 96 mph. I have heard a few old time coaches and pitches say that throwing every pitch at maximum effort is the true cause of all the injuries…not pitch counts, inning limits, etc. Another huge cause is mechanics. Seaver, the master, never had major arm trouble. I watch Tanaka, with his elbow pointing down, and it is no wonder he has a damaged ligament.

  • eric1973

    With apologies to Baseball Digest (for the pre-millenial set), here’s the Baseball Quick Quiz:

    What would REALLY happen if deGrom (or anyone else on this team) were allowed to finish these games, provided they are still effective?

    A) They would lose, and then walk off the mound looking like Bill Lee after that Yankee brawl.

    B) Nothing, and we would get these amazing, stress-free victories.

    I pick ‘B.’

  • eric1973

    DAY OFF Tomorrow, so:

    Needed 2 innings apiece from Verrett, Clippard, and Familia, and then bring in the dregs of society for the 12th inning on, if necessary.

    Use your good guys FIRST. Instead, you save them for innings that never come, you bring in guys like Robles and Torres, and you get what you deserve.

  • Gianni Privacio

    Just wondering, what does everyone here think about this:

    I have an opinion. Anyone else?

  • Paul Schwartz

    Matt in Richmond easily my favorite commenter. Is it likely that because he can’t get to a game (hope you’re not rained out tomorrow and Sunday ) he’s calmer and more rational than the always (or almost always) negative Erics? As I write this it’s just after a very ugly 3 game series in Philly. Can’t wait to read the panic that has ensued.