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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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Rising Tide

Jacob deGrom was good. Or at least pretty good.

But Chris Paddack was 2018 Jacob deGrom good. Which — spoiler! — meant better.

Too many of the postgame autopsies focused on Paddack yapping about Pete Alonso being Rookie of the Month for April; too many of the previews of tonight’s game will rev the silliness higher by focusing on Alonso’s yapping back about trying to win a World Series. Personally, it’s been a long time since I paid much attention to what macho dudes still trying out adulthood say with microphones stuck in their faces — Bill Parcells forever summed up said sound and fury with the crushingly bland dismissal that “he’s a young guy, young guys say stuff.”

Anyway, Paddack’s pitching spoke for itself. He kept the Mets’ hitters looking at the wrong part of the plate by throwing a plus fastball at the numbers and the knees, then mixed that with a brutal changeup to wreck their timing. That’s a formula that’s worked for a hundred years and will work for a hundred more. It’s a pleasure to see executed to near-perfection, even when it’s to your team’s detriment.

(If you are going to work yourself into a snit about Yapgate, don’t neglect to note that it worked. A good early sign for Alonso was his steadfast refusal to get anxious in big ABs and expand the strike zone and/or start swinging for fences two counties away. Last night, he was swinging so hard against Paddack that I feared he might dislocate his shoulders.)

But back to the between-the-lines stuff. Even when you’re the team on the short end of a solid performance, it’s always refreshing and reassuring to see bright new stars in the baseball firmament. There’s Paddack, maybe — because a good first month does not a career make. There’s his partner in yap, Alonso, maybe — same warning applies. I was sad to learn the Mets would miss Fernando Tatis Jr., but buoyed by the fact that my visit to Texas and Globe Life Park meant I was in the park for the first career RBI posted by another baseball generational, Vlad Guerrero Jr. New stars are baseball’s lifeblood; with luck two or three of those guys will still be shining in the 2030s, their presence in the sport’s night sky seemingly fixed and eternal. And, again with luck, a new generation of stars will be coming into view. They’re toddlers now, honing level swings in backyard T-ball, but just you wait.

As for deGrom, he left a couple of sliders in too generous spots, and that was enough to lose; following his departure, Justin Wilson was summoned off the injured list without having been sent out for a minor-league tuneup, which is the Daily Mets Hmm we all were unfortunately waiting for. Wilson got spanked and his bad inning moved a 2-0 game into the past tense column.

The game was over in a tidy two hours and 14 minutes, short enough and strange enough that afterwards I wasn’t quite sure to do with myself — my baseball clock told me it should be the seventh inning, but Petco Park was emptying out. I decided to see it as another silver lining. Even the best baseball season contains lots and lots of losses; a West Coast loss that takes 45 fewer minutes than expected isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

4 comments to Rising Tide

  • Gil

    I’m not freaking out that we’ve hit a little bump in the road, but man… they look medicore at best. Also, I’d take another hour and 45 minutes if that meant a W and a few of their pitchers getting knocked out. But I guess I’m in the minority of those who dont care how long the games go.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Even the happy surprise that is Jeff McNeil has this cloud: With little power he does not profile as a LF or 3B. But a perfect second-sacker. One problem: We’re stuck with PED-less Cano and huge contract for another hundred years. Subtraction by addition. But at least Brody, knowing Ces would be out for half or full year did stock team and minors with tremendous OF bats: Broxton, Parra, Gomez, Rajai Davis. Oh, wait…Well, at least we still have our top longterm OF prospect…oh, wait…

  • This game was fast paced (refreshing for MLB). Jacob deGrom pitched very well, but Master Paddy-Cake far better. I agree about young guys “trying out” for adulthood, Paddy-Boy has a long road to travel there. Baseball itself will wind him down eventually. It’s a marathon not a mere Sunday afternoon at a football venue. He has some serious growing up to do. Just like bat-flips agressive fist-pumps are not the norm in this game, nor are they very welcomed. Somebody is gonna charge the mound one day, empty the benches. He’ll figure it out or go down like a bug on a windshield.