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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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To Those Sticking It Out

Bravo to all the stalwarts who came out to Citi Field on a night water droplets were falling from the sky, accompanied by hits sprinkling a perplexed Noah Syndergaard. Winter-hat night seemed perfectly well timed. Imagine the attendance if a certain third baseman who most definitely is not experiencing a rift with his employeers, no absolutely not thank you nothing to see here, had been activated, but oh well.

Noah looked pretty good early, a start after throttling the Giants for a complete game, but the middle innings saw the Phillies racking up both walks and hits. Noah’s 109th pitch was a 98 MPH fastball that Cesar Hernandez turned around into a 110 MPH fastball to Syndergaard’s ribs, dropping him on the mound to crawl after the ball and then leave the game.

It was an awful moment, but X-rays were negative, Noah was full of jokes after the game and all seems well, so … exhale.

Fortunately — to use the word in the lesser, between-the-lines sense — the Mets were raining hits of their own down on Zach Eflin and his successors (his many successors), who collectively hung an absurd number of breaking pitches. The Mets certainly showed their gratitude. Tomas Nido picked up strikeout victim Dom Smith by whacking a one-out, bases-clearing double in the second, Todd Frazier launched a three-run homer an inning later, Michael Conforto chipped in a solo shot, and the Mets had enough firepower to keep the Phils at bay. (Tip of the cap to Jerry Blevins, who fanned old friend Jose Bautista after Syndergaard’s exit, preventing a laugher from threatening to become a groaner.)

Mets 10, Phillies 5. Somewhere Jacob deGrom is being stoic.

The box score has a couple of interesting stories in it — and here, I’m using definitely “interesting” in a “September of a lost season” way. Nido’s career began in a rather surreal fashion, as he collected his first hit at Wrigley Field and three minutes later ended a game by being tagged out approximately 25 feet from home. (Narrator: “That’s so 2017 Mets!”) Nido’s not being billed as the Mets’ catcher of the future, perhaps because the previous owners of that tag can be found on the disabled list or hitting in the .230s, but his defense has drawn plaudits and he does have a Florida State League batting title on his resume. That guarantees success about as much as a three-run double on a misty night, but it ain’t nothing.

Blevins’s year began miserably. Regarded as one of the trustworthy components of the Mets’ pen, he walked two guys in his first appearance and stumbled through horrific stretches in mid-April and late May, with his struggles perhaps not helped by Mickey Callaway‘s decision-making. (Remember Blevins getting caught shaking his head in disgust when not called upon at Citizens Bank?) His ERA sat at an unsightly 5.84 on Memorial Day, but since then Blevins has whittled it down to a more palatable 3.65. It’s still not a year Blevins will want to discuss when he’s on a porch in his rocking chair — hey, maybe the problem was that he finally got a Topps card as a Met — but it and he look a lot better than they once did.

Finally, how will the Phillies view 2018? They vaulted back into contention a year or two ahead of schedule and are battling for the division title with the equally precocious Braves, but neither team is exactly coming to the wire like a thoroughbred. Odds are that won’t mean anything come October, when the Mets and their own implosion of a season will be a memory. But the Mets are at least getting a chance to play spoiler, battling two teams that had fun summers but look like they’ve suddenly become all too aware of what’s possible.

4 comments to To Those Sticking It Out

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Until Blevins struck out Bautista, this game had “They win the damn thing” written all over it.

  • Jacobs27

    One of those post-game jokes, with typical Syndergaardian dead-pan: “I mean, everyone was asking if I’m OK. I’m just concerned if the ball is all right.”

    At least Thor’s funny bone seems to be intact.

  • Daniel Hall

    There is never no exhaling with the Mets no more. Or has there ever been? After some years, I have learned that it is always best to assume the rock-bottom worst. Although they sometimes go more creative than that.

    What on earth Syndergaard was doing in the game to begin with after being hammered for 12 hits, 15 of those in that seventh inning, is beyond me. I was gnashing teeth audibly there. What was Callaway even thinking? What do we have seven Jacob Rhame types for when we don’t put them on the mound in time to absorbe Hernandez’ rocket?

    Oh well, at least our team in the broadcast booth gets along with another. Some teams don’t even get as much…

  • Gil

    Makes you wonder why the Phils picked up Cabby. They stink.

    Nimmo, conforto, McNeil, and Rosario are mixing it up.