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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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A Game That Needed a Noah

A long time ago, it looked like Noah Syndergaard was on his way to a perfect game.

That wasn’t 40 days and 40 nights ago — that’s the story of another Noah — but by the end of this deluged and drowned evening, with its two rain delays, it sure felt like it had been that long. MLB mercifully put an end to the stalled proceedings shortly before 12:30 a.m., making the Mets officially winners of a 2-0 contest that had gone from taut to tempest-tossed.

I feel slightly sorry for the Clevelanders who took advantage of the Indians’ New York, New York series to take a Big Apple vacation. It must have sounded fun, but at least a few of those folks must have seen their team go 2-4, left Citi Field during the first rain delay because their planes were going to depart without them, discovered their planes had all been delayed but not yet canceled (in storytelling we call this foreshadowing), and wound up sitting in La Guardia or JFK or Newark wondering why no bar in the tri-state area shows Mets games. I hope they weren’t on cots somewhere in Terminal C when the plug got pulled.

(Note I said slightly sorry — it’s not like I wanted their team to win or anything.)

But back to our Noah. He herded the Indians back into their dugout three by three not once but five straight times, and up here in Maine (where the weather is beautiful, by the way) I was starting to get a little antsy while listening to At Bat. Given Syndergaard’s arsenal, he has a lot of games in which you catch yourself thinking about perfect games and no-hitters too early — I do the same thing with Jacob deGrom — but this was different. I couldn’t see Syndergaard’s pitches, but didn’t need to, because I could hear the crowd soaring and crashing on every pitch, and the excitement in Howie Rose’s voice. Syndergaard had brought his A-game, and Howie sensed this performance might require his.

The first enemy batter of the sixth — our old friend Kevin Plawecki — didn’t do much to douse the enthusiasm, as Syndergaard erased him on two vicious sliders sandwiched around a fastball. Syndergaard then worked a 1-2 count on Tyler Naquin and threw him a changeup at the bottom of the strike zone. Naquin served it over second, into the vicinity of a charging Juan Lagares, who reached down with his hoovermatic glove … but arrived a third of a second too late.

Lagares tried to sell the one-hopper to the umps as a catch, a bit of trickery rendered vestigial in the era of replay review, and endearing because of that. Two batters later Francisco Lindor tallied Cleveland’s second hit, and we had to put aside our disappointment at losing a ringside seat for history to make room for our potential disappointment at seeing a hard-won lead get away. The speedy Greg Allen slapped a ball between first and second, which felt like disaster, except Pete Alonso fell on the ball, shoveled it backwards, grabbed at it desperately and heaved it towards first.

The Indians lost a game Wednesday because a veteran pitcher left a base uncovered; Syndergaard beat Allen to the bag, recorded the inning-ending out, and then exchanged a slightly awkward chest slap and then an emphatic chest bump with Alonso. It was dopey and goofy and adorable — if the Mets keep rolling like this an overamped Alonso may be tearing teammates’ uniforms off mid-game come September — and I’ve only watched the clip seven times while grinning ear to ear.

(No wait — make it eight.)

Alas, it was the last pitch Syndergaard would get to throw. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth and offensive hero Wilson Ramos at the plate, the deluge came. The game stopped for two and a half hours, and when it resumed it was a mess — soppy conditions, wet balls, poor fielding and the certainty that more weather was to come.

Syndergaard was long gone by then, and I found the faintest of silver linings in the fact that he wasn’t robbed at a chance for perfection by something so fickle as the weather. But his departure left the Mets back in circumstances all too familiar and trying — needing to find a worryingly large number of outs, a day after they’d nearly emptied the pen playing into extras.

Happily, the back end of our often-suspect bullpen was as crisp as everything around them was soggy. I didn’t think Noah’s arc would wind up including Jeurys Familia with an olive branch in his mouth or Paul Sewald as dry land amid the waters, but that’s the way this story unfolded.

Both Familia and Sewald were sharp, and then the rains came again, bringing with them a radar map with way too many dark green and yellow blotches. Half an hour later, the portents were clear for those well-versed in the routines of ancillary stadium personnel: Lumber was brought out to weigh down the tarp, and the sunflower seeds and gum disappeared from the dugouts.

I’ll remember the significance of such sightings next time I’m in rain-delay limbo, as a couple of minutes after that (not seven days, thank God), Mother Nature recorded the last six outs herself.

The waters may not abate from the Earth until this afternoon, but that should give the Mets plenty of time to prepare for their next test. The Braves were the last roadblock encountered by the Mets in their unlikely surge back into the thick of things; and hey, perhaps they’ll be that again. But the Mets just passed another test, and with flying colors, no less. A once-moribund season has become fun again, and doesn’t that call for a little faith?

17 comments to A Game That Needed a Noah

  • Vincent Albanese

    Sorry, this one was my fault..I texted my brother at the end of the 5th to make sure he was paying attention, and managed to do it without saying anything that would attract the attention of the destiny gods…then I flipped on, which had, as the lead story, that he was Perfect Through FIVE…It was doomed from that point on. Glad we got the win, but I wanted to see what the kids would do with 2 on and no one out in the 8th…ah well, save it for the Braves…

  • Jacobs27

    It needed a Noah, agreed, but the Jonah didn’t do so bad for himself either! Not a whale to be seen in all that water!

  • eric1973

    Imagine if Cespedes had not fallen off his horse, or into the 18th hole, and someone named Lowrie was not injured, we would probably have never even heard of JD Davis and McNeil.

    Remember when all Davis was known for was being a double pumper throwing, bad fielder at third base?

    Damn, Cards and Cubs do not lose. Washington may just be the team to pass.

  • Fred B

    Believe believe believe. I believe in these guys.

  • chuck

    What, no mention of J.D. Davis’ catch?

    I’m being reminded of the 1973 game in which a fly ball bounced off the top of the left field wall and resulted in a runner being thrown out at home.

    I’d need a fact checker, but I though the next day Bill Gallo’s cartoon depicted Gil Hodges smiling down of Shea Stadium.

    To quote Bull Durham, the Mets are playing with joy and verve and poetry.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    AS long as The Mets can continue coming up with creative ways to keep Edwin Diaz from having to close games (last night’s was the most creative yet..), we can continue this Run for the Wikd Card Roses.

  • Greg Mitchell

    All good comments. JD’s embarrassed (or wtf) facial expressions after making that catch out-Nimmo-ed Nimmo. And as I’ve said many times before, “Sewald sure looked good….”

    Unfortunately we gained little this week despite sweep because of what others are doing. That’s the issue going forward. I looked at all the schedules and I fear the Cards have easiest go of it and may easily win 2/3s of games. That may leave Cubs, Phils and Nats–who we fortunately play–and the need to take series from them every time, in true “playoff” necessity. Very little wiggle room, but will be fun. Let’s hope Brewers continue downward trend at least or Giants win 9 in a row…

    • mikeL

      ^^ we’ll likely be forced bite nails to the finish. the price of a late-blooming relevance. i’ll take it!

      fittingly it’s been 20yrs since the season when EVERYTHING
      had to proceed as it did just to get to the one-game play-in AFTER the miraculous todd pratt long out-looking home run.

      i have a feeling this season’s finale will be a thrill ride, but requiring a slightly lesser alignment of planets. but if our guys make it, they’ll be fully dialed-in – unlike cross-town neighbors who will be waiting, trying not to get anyone (else) hurt.


      (three times for completing a sweep ;0)

  • Joeybaguhdonuts

    That 3-1 play and chest bump to end the top of the sixth was the type of play a winning team that believes it will win makes.
    I just realized that these Mets have two starters batting over .300, McNeil and JDFD, with a hot Rosario at .292.
    BTW, Jerry Seinfeld takes Matthew Broderick in a Lamborghini Huracan (Cespedes’ car) to Citi Field for coffee and they go through the Mets clubhouse. It’s worth seeing just for the clubhouse. On the wall at the entrance, Ya Gotta Believe is on the wall, rendered in the shape of New York State. It has the right attitude.

    • mikeL

      ^^^ was thinking the same thing. and so great to see the big pitcher chest bump the big first baseman!
      MLB take notice: the 2019 FKNG NEW YORK METS!

  • CharlieH

    I feel slightly sorry for the Clevelanders who took advantage of the Indians’ New York, New York series to take a Big Apple vacation.

    There were an awful lot of them on my 7 train Tuesday night.

  • CharlieH

    And this year’s Jimmy Qualls Award goes to Tyler Naquin.

  • Excellent writing, Jason. I enjoyed all of it, especially “…a bit of trickery rendered vestigial…” and “I didn’t think Noah’s arc would wind up including Jeurys Familia with an olive branch in his mouth or Paul Sewald as dry land amid the waters, but that’s the way this story unfolded.”

    Familia has his power sinker back and Sewald looks like he’s pitching mad. This bodes very well for the playoff run, as they can be key contributors in a bullpen that includes Lugo, a rejuvenated Justin Wilson, and hopefully, a returned-to-success Edwin Diaz. Now, can the Mets beat Atlanta soundly for once? All Mets fans who remember ’98 and ’99 (and ’01-’05) are hoping for this. The Mets continuing their winning streak in a sweep would be awesome. We have deGrom going next. Gotta win this first one.

  • eric1973

    Sure wish Legares would have laid out for that one. He caught it on the short hop, so he probably could have caught it on the fly if he dove.

    BTW, I think they changed the rule, so that rain-shortened no-hitters don’t count as no-hitters anymore. If this is true, wouldn’t that have been interesting.

  • eric1973

    Amazing catch by Davis!
    Baseball gods are smiling!

  • eric1973

    Sure wish Lagares would have laid out for that one. He caught it on the short hop, so he probably could have caught it on the fly if he dove.

    BTW, they changed the rule in 1991, so that rain-shortened no-hitters don’t count as no-hitters anymore. Wouldn’t that have been interesting.

    • Seth

      Every time Lagares dives for a ball he is subsequently out for the season, so I was glad to see he’s learned not to do that.