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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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Concerned Parties

Jacob deGrom says “my level of concern is not too high” concerning the right flexor tendon of Jacob deGrom, revealing yet another layer of distinction that separates Jacob deGrom from the rest of us. The rest of us had a level of concern higher than the seventeenth row of Promenade once Jacob deGrom had to leave the one-hit, ten-K shutout Jacob deGrom was throwing after six innings at repopulated Citi Field precisely because of the tendinitic condition of Jacob deGrom’s right flexor tendon. As matters of concern went, Jacob deGrom’s right flexor tendon immediately superceded Jacob deGrom’s near-perfect game, which Jacob deGrom was leading, 3-0, thanks in great part to Jacob deGrom’s two-run single.

You can see how whether Jacob deGrom was excelling or exiting, Jacob deGrom thoroughly deGrominated our thoughts Friday night, similar to the way Jacob deGrom thoroughly deGrominated San Diego batters. If Jacob deGrom is pitching, Jacob deGrom is the show. If Jacob deGrom is hitting, Jacob deGrom is the salvation. If Jacob deGrom is suddenly departing and we are given a barebones diagnosis, we are all on WebMD striving to discern a prognosis for right flexor tendinitis.

The only thing we non-medical personnel knew for sure when the game was over was that the Mets had won it, 3-2, holding off the Padres without their leading man. It was as if Jacob deGrom’s teammates had chipped in to give Jacob deGrom a going away present…even though the win was crafted primarily by Jacob deGrom. It’s less that they presented their win to Jacob deGrom than they didn’t give Jacob deGrom’s win away to the Padres.

I didn’t know how long Jacob deGrom might be going away for, but when a pitcher of Jacob deGrom’s caliber (which is basically Jacob deGrom) goes away even a little bit — heading down to the tunnel rather than back to the mound — and the word “flexor” enters the conversation, it’s reasonable to brace for a bad case scenario. Maybe not worst case, but definitely bad case. A good case would have been Jacob deGrom going back to the mound.

The best bad case scenario I could come up with on the fly was another minimal trip to the IL. I could live with that. I did just live with that, only a few weeks ago for a different injury that turned out to be not that bad, but was an injury nonetheless. True, a turn or more through the rotation without a Jacob deGrom start is like a day without sunshine, yet there are shades of overcast when the clouds come out. I doubted we were headed for a dark night of the soul. Jacob deGrom had tendinitis? I once had tendinitis. It didn’t end or seriously derail my career. It probably wouldn’t end or seriously derail Jacob deGrom’s, never mind that only one of our careers involves pitching and only one of our careers is of utmost concern to millions of Mets fans.

Then Jacob deGrom sits for the media after the game and pronounces himself unconcerned regarding the chance right flexor tendinitis might prevent Jacob deGrom’s scheduled return to the mound five days hence, which is either fantastic or delusional. Probably closer to the former, because the fantastic Jacob deGrom — who lowered his ERA to 0.56 and passed 100 strikeouts quicker than anybody in a season since pitchers began to stand sixty feet, six inches from home plate in 1893 — doesn’t seem to delude himself. Jacob deGrom knows his right arm, flexor tendon and all, better than anybody else. If Jacob deGrom chooses to not be concerned, perhaps we should follow his example. Then again, Jacob deGrom doesn’t watch Jacob deGrom pitch, let alone hang on every strike (and extremely infrequent ball) Jacob deGrom throws, so how would Jacob deGrom know enough to be monumentally concerned with Jacob deGrom’s right flexor tendon?

Because Jacob deGrom is Jacob deGrom, and who are we to doubt Jacob deGrom?

8 comments to Concerned Parties

  • Bruce S.

    My therapist is Jacob deGrom. I see my therapist Jacob deGrom every five days. If I don’t see my therapist Jacob deGrom every five days I become upset. I usually see my therapist via my electronic devices. Last night I saw him in person. This was good. I was calm. My serotonin levels were excellent. Then my therapist left me in the middle of our session. I was upset. The first replacement therapist they sent wasn’t good. Fortunately, the next two were good. But now I’m afraid that my therapist will miss our next session. I’m very upset. I will increase my medication until further notice. Thank you very much.

  • ljcmets

    The smartest thing the Mets media relations team may have ever done in 60 years was let Jake speak to the media directly without a filter. I was ready for Rojas or Sandy or the trainer to come out and say “it’s day-to-day” and/or “we’ll be running some tests tomorrow, but he shouldn’t miss a turn” which as we all know, is not reliable at best or is the heralding of the Angel of Death at worst. All sports teams obfuscate about injuries, but the Mets have such an abysmal record on this score that no matter what anyone else said, I would not have slept well last night.

    The sight of Jake himself straightforwardly explaining the condition of his elbow was instantly calming because it confirmed 1)he was not on his way to the Hospital for Special Surgery writhing in pain; 2) here is one person at least from the Mets organization who takes his responsibility to fans and the truth seriously; and 3) the Mets were confident enough in his condition to put him out there without anyone else “ hovering” over him, interrupting to clarify or correct him. It may in the end mean nothing; We could find out later today or Monday or in a week that he is headed to the IL for an extended stay, but Jake is the most trusted messenger the Mets have. With all the comparisons to Seaver on the field, maybe this is the quality that makes that analogy most apt: To my memory, which granted is getting a bit cloudy, Tom never lied to Mets fans. I believe what Jake stated about the condition of his arm at that moment, and I would have brushed off anything anyone else said as spinning.

  • Let’s all pray for good health, for Jacob deGrom and all of us. And let’s be thankful for another classic deGrom performance, for the bullpen holding the fort, and for this Billy McKinney guy (nice to have at least one of the 17 outfielders productive). Also, rejoice that the Mets picked up another game on Atlanta and Washington. I predict that the mainstay hitters will go off in the near future, now that the weather’s warming up.

    Greg, your career should be of utmost concern to millions of Mets fans (and it could be if you shamelessly self promoted). I know of no other Mets writer who does what you do and who does it so well.

  • Seth

    A trip to the IL would be a disaster — with 33 games in 31 days they are already short of pitchers. They can’t afford deGrom to miss a start.

    Did Castro develop the “stiff neck” as soon as he walked out of the bullpen? Otherwise, why did he come into a game when he wasn’t ready to pitch?

    P.S. Dom Smith. Oy…

  • eric1973

    Castro got that stiff neck jerking it around to watch that ball fly out of the park. He is doing a great job this season.

    When Jake came out, I thought it was just Rojas (or whomever) jerking us all around again, as he usually takes the effective guys out 1 inning too early, and the ineffective guys (Walker last week) 1 inning too late.

  • mikeL

    well, if there’s one sliver of silver lining to this, jake was not still in the hunt for a perfecto.
    with the hyper focus and adrenaline that would accompany **that** into the late innings our hyper-self aware ace might have brushed off – or totally ignored the tell-tale sensations he described so re-assuringly in his presser (and YES! props to the new ownership group for letting the man talk. i was able to sleep, i felt like jake might indeed take his next start, if on a few days’ extra rest).

    and yes Seth, OY to dom smith. it took such a long mccann at bat and inning altogether to set up what looked like a promising inning and pffft…look away for a second and you would have missed it.

    jake again took offensive matters into his own hands, burnishing his legend all the more.

    (i did express concern after the DP that jake had spent a lot of time on the bench for NADA!
    at the time it all seemed annoying and academic …)

    here’s hoping…

    and in the meantime, may the mets continue to deflate san diego’s previous air of invincibility…they may need to meet them in the post!

  • Eric

    This is now deGrom’s 3rd nagging injury in the 1st third of this season in which he’s also routinely taken himself out of games at around 80 pitches. His lagging starts and innings pitched are knocking him out of MVP consideration in my opinion, though he’s still the Cy Young favorite.

    The present quality of deGrom’s pitching is all-time great, but it apparently costs a greater physical toll than his almost 33-year-old body can take. Add to that deGrom’s history of annual injury albeit he’s only missed a few starts since 2016.

    I don’t want deGrom to dial back, but I wonder if his body can sustain his current level of pitching. An ace should be reliably available, especially for the playoffs, and I wonder if deGrom will be broken down by then.

  • […] Padres with customary controlled fury. Then he felt a little something. He left the game. Later, he wasn’t overly concerned. If he wasn’t, we weren’t. When his next start came around, we saw not a question mark but an […]