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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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The Fox and the Hedgehog


That was me early in tonight’s game while I watched Noah Syndergaard mow down Phillies with his ludicrously unfair arsenal of pitches. I could have waxed admiring about his curve ball too except I was out of characters.

(David Wright compared Syndergaard to a videogame player too, but I was there first, so nyaah-nyaah to our captain. Um, even if he did hit two home runs while I sprawled on a couch and tweeted.)

This was an intriguingly odd baseball game, what with the two teams collecting 17 hits and fanning 25 times and the Mets’ scoring consisting of four solo home runs and a cue-shot double by Lucas Duda against the shift. The most intriguing aspect for me was Philadelphia’s Jerad Eickhoff playing hedgehog to Syndergaard’s fox, a strategy that for a while looked like it might work.

Here’s your scouting report: Eickhoff was throwing his curve ball when he needed a strike. Whatever Met was at the plate knew it, you knew it, I knew it, the loudmouth guy in the good seats who kept barking attempted witticisms knew it, the little animated whale that briefly and bafflingly pinged around on SNY’s feed knew it, Cindy from Lee’s Toyota in her pretend Yankees uniform knew it, and all the Flyers fans getting ready to throw stuff on the ice across the street from Citizens Bank Ballpark knew it.

It didn’t matter, because that curve was hellaciously good, good enough for Eickhoff to hang around for seven fine innings and depart with the Mets on the plus side of an awfully thin 2-1 lead.

Enter the Philadelphia bullpen, though, and oh well. First David Hernandez gave up an absolute howitzer of a line-drive home run by Duda, one heralded by some Phillie fan’s mocking invocation of “DOOOO-DA” a nanosecond before Duda reduced the ball to a cloud of vaguely horsehide-scented mist. (Don’t you wish that could always happen?) Then Neil Walker once again played perfectly fine second fiddle, connecting for a home run to left that only seemed pedestrian because of what it followed. In the ninth, Wright capped things by hitting his second home run of the game, this one off Elvis Araujo, whose name Gary Cohen of course pronounces exquisitely while I can barely type it.

Can you imagine what numbers Wright would have put up if he’d made his 2004 debut as a Phillie in this park and stayed after that? Philadelphia fans would argue over Wright or Mike Schmidt while we bemoaned having run through 712 mostly lousy third basemen. We’d also have come up with half-assed reasons that Wright was loathsome, which makes for an amusing thought exercise. Um, he wipes his nose on his jersey or something before each pitch? Yeah, that’s kind of gross. David Wright is a Phillie snot rag!

Nah, it wouldn’t work. We’d just be bummed that he wasn’t ours.

Happily, he is. The Mets are .500, Syndergaard is a monster, Duda looks alive and reports of Wright’s professional death have been somewhat exaggerated. Funny how a couple of days can change one’s outlook on things.

12 comments to The Fox and the Hedgehog

  • Dave

    Eh, I’d rather not think about a parallel universe in which David Wright was a Phillie.

    I can’t imagine there is a hitter in baseball that wants to step into the batter’s box and face Thor. My relatively meaningless predictions include him on the 2016 All-star team. Gary and Ron considered the question last night as to whether this is the best trade in Mets history…might still be premature to go that far (I’m sticking with Allen and Ownbey for Keith for now), but the potential is definitely there.

    • Eric

      I remember when d’Arnaud was the high-profile prospect in the Dickey trade.

      I hope d’Arnaud comes around. Not a good start to the season with the glove and bat and he’s hurt again. It looks to me like the pitchers are more comfortable working with Plawecki.

  • dmg

    as it happens, today, 4/19, is the 11th anniversary of a memorable blast by the david at citizen’s bank park. it was already a slugfest in 2005 when the new manager of the phillies, charlie manuel, intentionally walked doug mientkiewicz to get to wright. watching the game at home with my son, i turned to him and said, that’s a mistake. boom. grand slam for david wright.

  • Nick

    It’s a long season. We say that when we lose, when Harvey gets bumped around, when Yoenis casually swats at a line drive hit his way as if it were a gnat — so let’s remind ourselves of that now that David Wright has hit his first two home runs. This is an aging, injured player. He is giving it his all, and we should be grateful. But let’s not act like we can even count on 20, 90, .280 from him.

    • Dave

      I don’t think anyone is expecting those kind of numbers from him…I’m assuming when all is said and done he plays maybe 100 games this year and he may find himself hitting 6th or 7th after a while. Perhaps we get 12 HR’s and 50-60 RBI from him, and in a lineup that could have three OF’ers combine for 75 homers, those numbers might be all we need from DW at this point in his career.

      Maybe by next year he’s a part-time player, learns to play a little 1B, and maybe at some point down the road he looks at his friend Cuddyer and decides it’s best to walk away instead of making lots of money he isn’t earning. But in the meantime, you’re right, he is giving it his all, I suspect he’ll be the last person to ever wear #5 for this franchise, and they can start carving his plaque for the Mets HOF right now.

      • Rob E.

        The injury risk is real, the power has declined, and he is getting paid for what he has done and not what he is likely to do. That being said, he hit .289/.379/.434 last year and .289/.426/.526 so far this year.

        His AVE & OBP skills are still there. If he can produce close to last year’s line in a reasonable amount of games (110-120), that’s basically Daniel Murphy. And like Murph, that’s not a guy who hurts your team offensively. If he plays, he doesn’t hurt you, and if he doesn’t play, the backup is Flores, who also doesn’t hurt you. Again, he can be done for the season on any swing…that’s a fair concern. But he hasn’t shown that he’s anywhere near the offensive liability that Cal Ripken and Derek Jeter were at the end. That day may very well come for DW, and it may come sooner rather than later, but we’re not there yet. Enjoy this all-time great Met while we’ve got him, and while he is still contributing.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    DW is 16 homers away from owning the club record. Here’s hoping he turns back time and we get to see Shea David capture it in 2016.

  • Eric

    Syndergaard’s ‘off-speed’ pitches are progressing to the point that his 100-MPH fastball is his most hittable pitch.

  • Bob

    David Wright-Great
    Odin is Pleased–
    Duda, Duda!

  • Martin Dickson

    Just beat the Phillies 11-1 the panic city train has left the station on a one way trip!

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