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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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You Gotta Have Start

First game of the first doubleheader in Minute Maid Park history. First game back in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. First start for Matt Harvey after missing two-and-a-half months. First innings pitched in the major league careers of Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan. First game in a Mets uniform for Nori Aoki. First time since 2009 the Mets are 18 games under .500.

So, a lot of firsts, ranging from gratifying to concerning. Honestly, I’d usually say “horrifying” where I said “concerning,” but a bad outing by a pitcher is nothing compared to what a bad week of weather can do to a city.

Glad to see people in a ballpark enjoying a ballgame, regardless or especially because of what’s gone on beyond the ballpark walls. Glad to hear from A.J. Hinch pregame, recognizing the efforts of all involved to come through a terrible ordeal (the Houston skipper’s hat tip to the Mets was classy). Sorry to see Matt Harvey look horrid on the hill (2 IP, 7 ER), but nothing went physically wrong and he sounded confident, if self-deceptively so, afterwards. Liked the arm on Rhame, especially. The hard-hitting Astros hit Callahan hard, but he also had a bit of hard luck, and by the time he was on, the Mets were winging and prayering it.

The Mets fell behind by scores of 7-0 and 10-2 on the 45th anniversary of the Saturday night they came from eight runs behind to beat Houston in Houston. When Wilmer Flores launched a grand slam to make it 10-7, I thought we were on to something. The something was Wilmer became the third Met to slam grandly in a loss this year; his predecessors, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, are no longer on the scene. They’ll be on the scene in October.

The Mets, who finished in the rear of a 12-8 final, won’t. The Mets have lost their 76th game. They lost 75 all of last year. This isn’t last year or the year before it. This is the year they scrounge about in early September for fill-in help. That’s Aoki, taking over for some combination of Cespedes and Conforto (the latter bound for shoulder capsule surgery, it was announced Saturday). Nori will play in the second game. So will the Mets. So will the Astros. Maybe an eight-run comeback won’t be in order. How’s that for a rallying cry?

There are many ways to support the recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey. Here is one of them.

10 comments to You Gotta Have Start

  • ToBeDetermined

    To whatever extent there was symbolism in Houston beating up on Harvey this weekend… well, under the circumstances, I’m fine with it.

  • Lenny65

    Man oh man, I never believed in a million years that watching Matt Harvey would ever make me feel this downright sad. My God he was strong like bull when he first arrived on the scene. The other guys in the system back then, who knew, but Matt seemed like such a lock. I’ve been following this team for longer than I care to admit and I’ve seen plenty of sad, sad stories play out, some sadder than others. But I can’t recall a more depressing sequence of events than those that led to Harvey’s rather, uh…not good start today. It’s impossible to not feel just terrible for the guy, it’s been absolutely disastrous for him since Game Five.

    • mikeL

      yup lennie, was thinking the exact same thing and wondering: in a parallel universe harvey gives familia the opportunity to redeem himself after such a hard-luck run of WS appearances – what happens if the mets pull out the win – with the careers of both harvey and familia.
      that game was the beginning of the end of that team. who thought two years later the mets wouldn’t be playing relevant games in june? and starting utility infielders in the outfield?

      very sad all around. but this sad tale says a lot about hubris…nicknames/costumes. lamborginis…spring training farm animals…

      the previous last great mets team’s end IMO began when wright and reyes smoked cigars and celebrated on field like it was the end of WWII after the clinching of the playoff spot (after 3 nights of champagne not opened in pittsburgh no less!)

      as much as i dislike the yankees, their go-about-business-like-you’ve-there-approach has much merit.

      gotta keep the air in that bubble that is success as long as you can!

      vibes to wilmer. can’t imagine what that felt like :0(

  • Ken K. in NJ

    With Wilmer probably out for the season, in the space of a month the Mets have now lost their 5 leading home run hitters (Cabrera leads with eleven). I doubt if that has ever happened in MLB history.

    It occurs to me that even if the Mets improve by 19 games next year, which would be their 3rd biggest year-to-year improvement ever, it would make them only a 500 team in 2018.

    Even 2015, which seemed to come out of the blue, was only an 11 game improvement over 2014.

  • Steve D

    It was weird to hear Harvey after the game say in effect that he noticed a mechanical flaw where he was using his lower body too much and he should not be dropping down. What Bizarro world are we in where pitchers should NOT use their lower body? Hope Seaver never reads that. Also, where Seaver showed the ball to third base, Harvey always shows it to second base, which some say lead to bad arm problems.

    • Eric

      I noted that, too. Pitcher with a growing list of serious arm and shoulder problems wants to re-shift the strain from his legs to his upper body? With his familiar assurances that he’s only an adjustment or two away, blaming drop-and-drive sounded like the desperate reach of a physically degraded pitcher running out of solutions.

  • eric1973

    Guess Wilmer had just one more strange injury in him to close out his season. Even TDA is scratching his head in astonishment.

  • Spammy424

    This is the Mets’ Red Wedding year.

  • Eric

    If Flores can play with a Phantom of the Opera mask, I hope he does. He still needs the reps in the field.

    I prefer for the Mets not to have signed Aoki and given the 3rd outfielder reps to Taijeron, another middling prospect like Evans, or even the utility players in training, Reyes and Reynolds.