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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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Degrees of deGrom

You want the Jacob deGrom who locks in, who maybe seemed a little off in the first or second inning, but wasn’t allowing any baserunners, but then he’s on by the third, and seems on to stay. You fist-pump the Ks, but you secretly embrace the efficient outs. You count his pitches because his manager and pitching coach count his pitches. You want that Jacob deGrom on the mound — and you want that Jacob deGrom at the plate, handling the bat, advancing a runner, getting to first in process, coming around to score, being a ballplayer, helping his own cause…and then getting back to pitching like Jacob deGrom.

You’ll accept a slightly lesser Jacob deGrom who you reluctantly understand can’t be “Jacob deGrom” every batter of every inning of every game, the Jacob deGrom who is outstanding rather than perfect. You want that Jacob deGrom to overcome whatever’s not working — don’t worry, he will — and still be ahead of the opposition when he leaves the mound at the end of a relatively challenging inning.

You can’t deal with no Jacob deGrom, but sometimes you have to. You can’t deal with Jacob deGrom departing a game in the company of Brian Chicklo. You don’t want to hear Brian Chicklo’s name whatsoever, but sometimes the Mets’ head trainer needs to cross the foul line into our consciousness. The worst way for him to appear is when his job intersects with deGrom being physically unable to do his.

Sunday, we had silk deGrom for four innings, gritty deGrom for one inning and Chicklonian deGrom precluding any more innings. Reports of Jacob’s tight right side, and how it was apparently different from what kept him from starting last Monday, elbowed every one of us in the gut. We’d have rather shaken hands with total strangers during the depths of quarantine than see Jacob deGrom leaving a baseball game under Chicklonian circumstances.

The game was left in responsible hands. Miguel Castro. Jacob Barnes. Edwin Diaz. Met relievers you can trust at the moment. Almost all the Met relievers are relievers you can trust at the moment. The moment can be fleeting, but the aforementioned fellows, along with those who made the intentional “bullpen game” on Saturday and the contingency version on Friday navigable, are to be commended. Same for the Mets on Sunday who made sweet catches (Conforto!), delivered timely contact (Lindor!) and displayed plate patience (Mazeika!). With a lot of help, Jacob deGrom was credited with the Mets’ 4-2 win, our stealthily first-place club’s low-key fifth in a row. Let his teammates lift him for a change. Lord knows deGrom doesn’t usually get much help and is too often credited with nothing but appreciative gasps of disbelief.

We gasped when we were told deGrom had to go for an MRI. We might breathe easier today having learned, via MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, that Jake’s “initial prognosis is good” and no “serious or long-term injury” is evident. We might breathe easier, but it’s not guaranteed. When we see Jacob performing free, easy and without Brian Chicko, we won’t have to think about our breathing. It will come naturally, just as watching and loving Jacob deGrom does. Jake is oxygen to us. You can’t cut off our supply and expect us not to be adversely affected.

6 comments to Degrees of deGrom

  • Seth

    It’s a bit concerning, since a) Jacob is almost 33, and b) he’d been asking for an extra day or two before his starts. So something hasn’t felt quite right all season so far. Maybe it’s the cold weather…

  • Daniel Hall

    I also need an MRI – I think I tweaked something gasping in utter disbelief when Ahmed’s pop dropped in between an unhelpfully pointing Boom-Boom Diaz, McCann McCarrying all his worldly belongings with no particular urgency in fair ground, and Jonathan Villar, who had to race half the distance of the Indy 500 for the ball, only to shoo back at the last second, and the Snakes would get the tying run to the plate.

    Going by Keith’s “What??” I am now also certain that he was already halfway out the door when Ahmed popped the ball up so he could beat the traffic on the way home.

    Holding my breath on deGrom, and being thankful Conforto and Pillar (Villar? Millar?) didn’t crush each other’s skulls in … you don’t want to leave that kind of injury to the Mets’ health department…….

  • Eric

    DeGrom’s added velocity has allowed him to pitch more aggressively over the plate with lower pitch counts. But it seems 33-year-old pitchers don’t simply increase their velocity from mid-90s to 100+ after all, no matter how clean their mechanics. Apparently his improved velocity overwhelmed his lat and connected back muscles. While thankfully there’s no muscle tear for deGrom, it still reminds me of Syndergaard’s lat injury for which Syndergaard was criticized for weightlifting to pump up his velocity … like deGrom’s velocity jumped this season. Durable deGrom with a mid-90s fastball is better than unavailable deGrom with a 100+ fastball.

    With Diaz, I was impressed he buckled down for the strikeout after the pop-up dropped. I expected him to become flustered and he focused instead.

    Between that play and the repeated problems in the field between McNeil and Lindor, I hope the infielders got together on the off day to work out their communication procedure.

    • Daniel Hall

      “With Diaz, I was impressed he buckled down for the strikeout after the pop-up dropped. I expected him to become flustered and he focused instead.”

      I would have been more impressed if he had actually bothered and caught the stupid baseball……

      Speaking of the bountiful madness of having Boom-Boom on the team, Seattle is said to call up some prospect outfielder bum named Jarred Kelenic this week. (stares blankly into the distance)

  • Harvey Poris

    Villar and McCann reminded me of the “Yo lo tengo” story from the 1962 Mets.

  • open the gates

    A few too many yo la tengos recently (see: Lindor, McNeil, rat, raccoon).