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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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No Really, the Mets Are Good

I was in L.A. Thursday morning through Monday night attending Star Wars Celebration (and probably getting COVID, but we’ll see), and felt the usual guilt about abandoning my post. Though I didn’t, really — the Mets kept sneaking into the picture, as they have a way of doing.

There they were for the last couple of innings Friday night as I recuperated in my hotel room after a crazy day greeting authors and fans and the occasional dude dressed as a Wookiee. And there they were on Sunday in the hotel bar — I grabbed a seat where I could keep an eye on them, and was certain Drew Smith had torn his UCL after a glimpse of him walking off the mound. (Only a dislocated pinkie? Thank goodness!) Every time I saw them or checked in on the score, they were either mashing Phillies into a paste, ducking from balls that guys in maroon were flinging around unwisely, or doing unlikely heroic things when you really wanted them to. (Nick Plummer? Really?)

Monday, with the Nats come to call, I had no such luck — the Mets started playing after I got on an airplane and were done by the time I landed. So of course MLB was the first place I visited after my phone completed its post-airplane mode throat-clearing and hemming and hawing. That’s always a brief out of body experience: There’s a number next to the name of the antagonists and a number next to the name of the good guys, and it takes a moment to process them and make your brain identify the larger number and conclude that it’s good or bad. Five for them and 13 for us? That definitely qualified as good, and I was probably the happiest person enduring a long late-night wait for JFK’s AirTrain, because I was the one watching the highlights.

And then there was tonight, which was basically no contest once Starling Marte hit a missile into the center-field stands, to become a souvenir for a fan with a child in his other arm. (Good hands times two, my man!) The Mets poured it on from there, bedeviling Patrick Corbin and a parade of anonymous Nat relievers while Trevor Williams and a trio of Met bullpen dwellers were spotless — including the aforementioned Mr. Smith, whose digit is apparently no worse for wear and perhaps even slightly improved given recent history. By the end the Mets’ lineup was studded with numbers in all the right places and the scoreboard and standings were all shouting out glad tidings.

I was talking to my kid recently and said “the Mets are good,” which after a lifetime of being emotionally battered is rare for me to say and vanishingly rare for me to say in May. “The Mets are really good,” my kid replied, and while he has less baseball-related scar tissue encrusting his soul, he knows the game and he was right and we both knew it.

Back in 2006, the second year Greg and I pursued the lunatic idea of chronicling the Mets, they ran away from a weak division and hid, and I remember a) how Greg and I went from fingers-crossed pleased to unsteadily giddy to quietly certain and b) how I was surprised when Greg was the first one to say what were both thinking.

They’re not going to catch us, was the way I think he put it, earlier than I’d dared to say it but not before I’d dared to think it.

This year’s team isn’t there yet, but the calendar says June 1, the Mets are playing at the ’86 club’s clip, the Braves are 10 1/2 back, and Buck Showalter‘s team feels like a club that’s just rounding into form — Canha! Lindor! Marte! Pete! Guillorme! McNeil! — and has an excellent chance of calling on two Cy Young winners by way of reinforcements.

I won’t say they’re not going to catch us — the baseball gods are reliably cruel and a brutal second West Coast trip looms against tough competition — but every day off the calendar makes it harder to believe someone will.

7 comments to No Really, the Mets Are Good

  • open the gates

    Wonderfully said, and pretty much what I’ve been thinking. As you point out, a Met fan can never take anything for granted (see: 2007, 2008, two years that will forever live in infamy), but this year’s edition seems a bit more bulletproof than most. The reason being that these guys aren’t relying on a single individual to put them over the top – say, a deGrom being unhittable for months at a time, or an Alonso single-handedly smacking the bad guys into submission. This is an entire team, top to bottom, doing all the little things right and picking each other up. There are almost no weak spots, and the fact that guys like Robinson Cano and Dom Smith couldn’t make the cut is very telling. These guys mean business, and they are big league in every sense of the word. If this is what Steve Cohen had in mind for his Mets, we’re in for some very good times. I hope we can handle it.

  • Bob

    Well, it’s just AMAZIN’!
    Don’t wake me up–this is fun!
    Enjoy our ride…

    I’m impressed with our new manager–reminds me a bit of Gil Hodges.

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Eric

    Too about about Dom Smith. I’m a fan of defense and he’s an elite first baseman, clearly a better defender than Alonso. He just didn’t hit enough to push Alonso off 1B to DH. More than any other position, a first baseman needs to hit no matter how well he fields.

    Which points up my happiness with Guillorme’s hitting. Like Dom Smith, he’s an elite glove, except Guillorme is making sure with his bat that his elite glove will stay on the field where it belongs. I like his personality on the field, too. Cool, calm, serious about his business, a team leader type. Guillorme seems suited to play mistake-free and make clutch plays in the post-season.

    I’m relieved that Drew Smith is back and seemingly no worse for wear from what could have been a 2 month injured list stay. The rest of June is going to be tough, and with the starting staff shorthanded, the bullpen is going to bear a heavy load. It was a bad time to lose one of the high-leverage relievers, and it’s a relief to find out he’s okay.

  • open the gates

    Eric – agreed that Dom Smith is an excellent fielder, but Pete Alonso has clearly been working on his fielding. He made some absolutely sparkling plays in the field the last few days. And the other day, Mark Canha proved he could play him some first base. Guillorme probably can as well. I like Dom, and his home run walking off 2019 will always be a cherished moment. But now, he’s got his work cut out for him.

    • Eric

      In a better world, Dom Smith would have hit well enough to force Alonso to third base before this season and to 3B/DH this season.

      If he played 3B, Alonso could range as far from the base as he wanted (as long as Hosmer’s not there at least) without worrying about scrambling back to catch a throw. The biggest flaw in Alonso’s defense is throwing the ball accurately, reminiscent of Duda, but Smith’s soft hands and quick reflexes at 1B could have mitigated that.

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