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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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Every Win a King

As he reintroduced viewers to Citi Field, Gary Cohen channeled (not Dr.) Bob Harris by calling Tuesday in New York one of the Ten Best Days of the Year weatherwise. Of course nobody keeps track of the “best” days by weather nor might any two people agree on what precisely confers such status on a given day. Maybe Tuesday was too warm for your taste. Maybe it wasn’t hot enough. Maybe you prefer a little drizzle in your life.

When Tuesday night’s game was over, I found myself thinking I’d just seen one of the best Met wins of 2022, though, honestly, I’ve had that sensation after most every win this year, not just the certifiable Mets Classics-in-waiting. The previous homestand encompassed six wins that didn’t feel perfunctory. The long and winding West Coast road trip produced the best 5-5 mark any team has posted in recent memory. The losses hardly stung — not a nightmare blown save among them and every frightening injury mended before the flight east — and each win tangibly elevated the Met zeitgeist between yawns. Serve was held effectively and effusively, and now we’re done with trying to stay awake for nocturnal transmissions for quite a while.

This is not just a team that wins substantially more than it loses. This is a team that satisfies with practically every win. The most recent one-of-the-best wins of the year, the 4-0 blanking of the Brewers with which the Mets rechristened Citi Field after it appeared they’d abandoned New York for California, had a little something for every type of baseball aficionado.

Do you savor sound starting pitching? How could you not embrace Chris Bassitt’s eight frames of zeroes? Appreciate redemption stories? You got Bassitt shaking off the recent uncharacteristic difficulties that had dogged him for a few starts. A fan of personal growth, are you? Bassitt explained after the game that he had failed to connect with his catchers, so he spent the prior week really getting to know Tomás Nido. Their newfound simpatico was apparent in the bottom line: no runs, three hits, one walk and a locked-in Chris.

I’ve noticed Bassitt bounces off the mound after every strikeout or perceived third strike, whether it’s called or not. Like every time. I get the idea that Bassitt, even for a starting pitcher, likes his routine the way he likes his routine. Not everybody can be a Flexible Fred if he’s gonna be his best. Remember how Max Scherzer zoned in on his warmup process to such an extent that he left a Japanese diplomat standing off to the side of the mound, depriving the visitor of ceremonial first pitch honors? That’s starting pitchers for ya, sometimes. For Bassitt to take off his blinders and discern why everything wasn’t bouncing his way the way he himself bounces off the mound showed a pitcher getting the most out of his thoughts as well as his arm. Good for him. Good for Nido meeting him halfway or however much of the distance was necessary so they could constitute a team within a team. Mostly, good for us.

Defense helped Bassitt, and who doesn’t love sweet leather? Brandon Nimmo flew through the air with only a modicum of ease in the third to rob Hunter Renfroe. Luis Guillorme leapt to the shortstop side of second to touch off a balletic beauty of a 4-6-3 DP with Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso in the sixth. If they still printed tickets rather than doing ducats electronically, they’d have to put Luis’s face on them, for he and his glove are truly worth the price of admission. The Mets made three double plays in all. Nido wasn’t the only one ready to bail Bassitt out of hot water.

Baserunning when done well is fun, right? How about Starling Marte, he of the heretofore day-to-day quad, tagging up from first and taking second on Lindor’s fly to deep left? Baserunning isn’t only in the legs. Marte used his eyes and sense of the situation and discerned he could advance ninety feet on the throw Christian Yelich was about to unleash. The Mets were up, 3-0, in the fifth, and the runner was now in scoring position with two out. That thing about “scoring position” is sometimes literal. Pete lined a rope into center that easily sent Starling home. That’s a run our right fielder’s entire body and mind brought with him.

The first three runs of the night were evidence of the Mets’ phrase of choice, the grind. Nimmo worked Adrian Houser for nine pitches right out of the gate and earned a ringing double. Marte got a little lucky on a grounder to the right side that couldn’t advance Brandon but also couldn’t be picked cleanly by any Brewer in the third-short neighborhood. Lindor couldn’t move either of them up a base, but it’s like what they say about the weather in some places: if you don’t like a Met making an out with runners on base, wait a minute and the forecast will change. Alonso was up next and he delivered a single to plate Nimmo and push Marte to third. After a wild pitch allowed Starling to ease on past the plate and Pete to land on second (scoring position), Jeff McNeil made exactly the contact he needed. It was an infield hit nobody from Milwaukee could effectively lay a mitt on, and by the time it was corralled, it went for a double. Pete could only get as far as third, but that was OK, because there was still only one out, and all it would take was a deep enough fly ball to score him. Oh, look — Eduardo Escobar just hit a deep enough fly ball to score Pete Alonso.

So that was the 3-0 lead after one that became 4-0 after five that became the sovereign protectorate of Chris Bassitt through eight until it was handed off to Drew Smith, who pitched more like the Drew Smith we adored in April this June night ninth. With little fuss but a whole lot fabulous, the Mets were again winners.

It was one of the best feelings of the year.

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