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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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Jake from State We Can’t Fathom

Dear Mr. Elias:

I am returning the earned run average you sent me following my most recent start in San Diego. I hope this causes no difficulties for you in your role as official statistician of Major League Baseball. While I appreciate the diligent recordkeeping that you’ve made synonymous with your globally recognized brand, the truth is I really don’t need an earned run average and I’d hate to think you and your associates at the Sports Bureau are going to the trouble of calculating one on my behalf.

Lest I seem overly altruistic in making my request, I should admit that during the pandemic, I became an adherent of Marie Kondo’s philosophy of keeping only the items that spark joy. As you can imagine from your coverage of so many athletes, we tend to accumulate myriad material goods. Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely grateful for the possessions to which my pitching as allowed me access. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about taking care of my family in these uncertain times.

Yet as I take a step back from what my career to date has yielded, I realize the most tangible thing to come out of it (besides my pair of Cy Young Awards) is the satisfaction I derive from competing roughly every fifth day, whether it’s vying against the accomplishments of pitchers who’ve come before me or trying to better my previous personal bests.

Oh, and the batters! Please forgive me for failing to mention their participation in my pitching. There’s nothing incidental about their presence in my games, as I do need somebody to throw my pitches past.

Though I may not be the most diligent student of analytics, I do understand the crux of my job is run prevention. My primary challenge therein is, having solved run prevention as a going issue, I had to find something else to apply my efforts toward. Lately I’m focusing on baserunner prevention. I can’t keep every runner off base yet, though I continue to try if not wholly succeed. In my aforementioned most recent start at San Diego, I did, in fact, allow as many as three runners on base in a single inning and greatly disappointed myself. Fortunately, I proceeded to strike out the succeeding batters and end the inning. It is gratifying for a pitcher to know he maintains such a skill set on the off chance it might be required within the course of standard competition.

I suppose you knew that, as you officially keep track of all the numbers, but at the risk of seeming dismissive of your endeavors, I have to admit I pay minimal attention to those numbers. Honestly, they get in the way of concentrating on my pitching and the joy it sparks for me (and, from what I’m told, others).

After I completed my work at Petco Park, I was informed my season’s earned run average is now 0.62, or sixty-two one-hundredths of an earned run permitted every nine innings. As you can plainly infer, that’s tantamount to not having an earned run average at all, therefore I’m hoping you see my predicament. Creating space in my life for an “ERA” that barely exists strikes me as an existential complication that potentially takes away from the pitching that constructs the “ERA”. I hope you understand the conundrum I’m attempting to untangle here…though the conundrum is proving to be quite an interesting one. To be honest, I needed a new challenge.

Let me reiterate I admire the work you put into your statistics. I know my teammates do as well, and by all means please note the solo home runs hit Saturday night by Jose Peraza and Francisco Lindor off my worthy opponent Mr. Musgrove, the run driven in on a pinch-single by Jonathan Villar, the additional run added later on via Kevin Pillar’s RBI single, and the scoreless inning apiece rendered by relievers Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz. They, along with the other New York Mets, are no doubt buoyed by their respective numerical accomplishments. Likewise, everybody on the ballclub is very enthusiastic for the greater baseball-following population to know we beat the Padres, 4-0. I include myself in that cohort. While I may compete at a level known only to me, I like to think of myself as “one of the boys” in most other ways.

As for what I did — the seven scoreless innings; the eleven strikeouts; the surpassing of Sid Fernandez for fourth place in strikeouts among all Mets pitchers ever; the three hits and one walk allowed (I apologize for both of those unbecoming besmirchments, even if perhaps I should welcome them as a reminder of our common humanity); and the lowering of my earned run average to 0.62 — I suppose keeping track of it all is what you do. What I do, however, is pitch. Your presentation of my statistics to me, frankly, seems beside the point. Maybe after the conclusion of the 2021 season I’ll be curious, but for now I’d prefer to pursue the perfection of my craft without statistical distraction.

For now, then, please accept the earned run average I’m returning in the spirit intended. Be sure to shake this envelope vigorously to retrieve it. My “ERA” is so small, it may be impossible to detect when you look for it.

Sincerely yours,

Jacob deGrom

12 comments to Jake from State We Can’t Fathom

  • Seth

    Of course the problem now, is he can’t lower his ERA on any given day unless he pitches a shutout (or more than 9 innings). What pressure!

  • Dave

    If 1968 was the Year Of The Pitcher, I suspect 2021 will go down as the Year Of One Particular Pitcher. As great as Doc was in his prime, I never thought I’d see a Mets pitcher approach Seaver-level good, but Jake is doing just that.

  • mikeL

    jake is doing the best impression of bugs bunny pitching that i’ve ever seen…so many helpless and hopeless swings from a powerhouse line-up.

    greg, you distilled jake’s postgame beautifully…BRAVO!

  • David Braun

    I agree with Dave above. I watched Seaver in his prime as often as I could and I will never forget the “imperfect” game. I never thought any Met pitcher would attain those levels, but Jake is there. If he continues this season at this pace, and tops it off with Cy Young #3, and perhaps even the MVP, I think he will be the new standard bearer for best Met ever. And since “The Franchise” is may all-time idol and favorite player ever, that’s quite a statement for me to say.

  • Bob

    Well, well-deGrom got some runs!
    deGrom still reminds me of Seaver in 1968, 1969, 1970…. each start now…..
    Would be good to get split of 4 games in San Diego-historically a place of not happy games for our Mets over the decades.
    I went to just about all Met games at Jack Murphy (brother of Bob Murphy) @ Petco from about 1984-2006.

    Also like to remember Bartolo’s Colons HR at Petco a few years ago–2015?

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Harvey

    Not that it matters much, but deGrom’s 75th win moved him past Bobby Jones for 8th on the Mets list. He’s now 6 behind Cone and 7 behind Matlack.

  • Daryl

    Good content as always!

  • open the gates

    The numbers, awesome as they are, only tell a piece of the story.

    There have been times when one athlete dominates a sport to such a degree that he or she almost seems to be playing a different game than everybody else, or at a different level than anybody else. In my lifetime, I think of seeing players like Wayne Gretzky, Martina Navratilova, Tiger Woods in his prime, Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan, even young Rickey Henderson stealing bases at will. It’s not just that that were beating everybody else – it’s more like their opponents were almost a supporting cast, like they were there just to help showcase the insane skills of these super elite athletes. Jacob deGrom seems to have reached that level, and at this point he’s been doing it for years. In a way, even the Mets winning or losing his starts is not that relevant, as that depends on the Mets actually scoring some runs for him. The point is that every time deGrom steps on the mound, you’re seeing dominance, you’re seeing artistry. As Seaver’s Met days were a little before my time, the only Mets I can even compare him to are Gooden, Piazza, and Ordonez’ fielding, and none of them rose so far above the rest, for so long, quite like Jake.

    We should appreciate every time we watch him pitch. We’ll be telling our grandchildren about it.

  • chuck


    Show my batting average to Tony Clark. Designated hitter my ass.

  • Dear Mr. Prince:

    For a moment there I thought maybe something addressed to me got mixed up into your blog, but then of course I realized that it was another one of your fresh takes on a salient aspect of Mets baseball. It really is Amazin’ to witness deGrom’s mastery, and we are in the center of it. Here’s to good health and another Cy to award upon the best pitcher of his generation.