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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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Somebody to Shove

I’ve had one conversation with Zack Wheeler in my life. It came after his rookie season, two years after the Giants had traded him to the Mets for two months of Carlos Beltran. When I asked him about that July 2013 game — seven three-hit innings, one run allowed, plus his first double and RBI en route to a fairly easy win over San Francisco — he didn’t mask his spiteful glee from having reminded them who they gave up on when he was merely a minor leaguer. Zack smiled and told me he really wanted to “shove it against ’em”.

I never forgot that remark and I surely remembered it Sunday afternoon. If I were the type to bet on baseball, there’s no way I wouldn’t have put whatever I had available on Zack to keep on shovin’ against teams he used to pitch for.

Wheeler left the Mets as a free agent following the 2019 season. Brodie Van Wagenen and the ownership he represents didn’t exactly try to block the door with any kind of competitive offer. The Phillies lured Zack with a lot of years and a ton of money. It was a sensible deal to make only if you like knowing you’re likely to have a very good starting pitcher on your ballclub for something resembling the long haul.

The Mets, at the moment, are down in the starting pitcher category. Health, slumps, career arcs…none of it suggests a rotation that Wheeler would have trouble cracking let alone helming at this precise moment. Most of whatever the Mets had going for them entering Sunday — on-base streaks for Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, a home run streak for Dom Smith, encouraging outings after rough first innings for Rick Porcello — all opted for a day of rest. Nimmo and Conforto neither hit nor walked or took one for the team. Smith stayed in the yard. Porcello had his usual first-inning stumble (in five first innings this season, Rick is pitching to an ERA of 12.60), seemed to recover (his second-inning ERA is down to 1.80), but eventually got tagged for four earned runs on ten hits in six innings, the tipping-point blow coming from Andrew McCutchen via a tie-breaking two-run homer (Rick’s ERA in all innings currently stands at 5.76).

A couple more runs crossed the Citizens Bank Park plate to give the Phillies six in all. Six on Friday. Six on Saturday. Six on Sunday. That’s 6-6-6 in case you were playing the numbers. Throw in an extra 6 for the quantity of hits the devilishly effective Wheeler scattered over seven innings in the 6-2 Mets loss, and you can draw your own satanic conclusions

5 comments to Somebody to Shove

  • Lenny65

    It’s always so depressing to see the Mets who got away. Just today I discovered that our old pal Rafael Montero is now a closer in Texas.

  • Daniel Hall

    Up 2-1 in the middle innings, I had that feeling of inescapable doom that I always have with the Mets when they are without their very best on the field. (And even then, sometimes their best include Omar Quintanilla and Greg Burke…). Crummy pitching, patchy hitting, braindead baserunning (twice), bottomless defense. And I yelled things at J.D. on *that ball* that replay then promptly showed to have caromed off the base, but I can never take these things back, so now I feel like a butthole.

    But, the hitting. Boy! That stat was depressing! Mets first in base hits, first in walks, but 11th in runs scored in the NL?? … And that NL very much still includes the Fish and Cards! Two teams that have played a combined six games since the Reagan Administration …!

    Did ya all see my boy Gimenez diving for a ball up the middle though? Granted, didn’t reach it, but he was in the same shot as the ball, which never happens with another shortstop who shall not be named.

  • I listened to 2 of these 3 depressing games on the radio. The only good at this point is not having to hear the endless stream of noise coming from the Phillies’ ballpark for a while. Cripes! What a senseless racket!

  • Seth

    I guess it would be depressing and useless to complain about not re-signing Zack Wheeler. It just seems to happen a lot — I’ve got this feeling of deja vu. The Mets will never put their best team on the field if they don’t retain their best players.

  • open the gates

    This game was inevitable the second Zack walked out the door. As was the fact that Zack is the only healthy Mets pitcher from this or last year who is willing to pitch. This sort of thing is possibly the most freakishly infuriating aspect of being a Met fan, and that’s saying a whole hell of a mouthful.

    Can someone please give the W’s a boatload of money and get this team away from them? Please please please?