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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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The Boys in the Box

Welcome to another recap in transit!

Wednesday night’s game found me on my way to an airplane and ended while I was on said conveyance; Friday night’s began with me wearily navigating a Penske rental truck through New Jersey with Joshua as my co-pilot and supplier of Mets news. (More than you want to know: My mom is downsizing her house, which has led to an intricate, perhaps overly choreographed do-si-do of furniture moving between Virginia and Brooklyn and Maine.)

First off, a note that while I dislike next year’s Everybody Plays Everybody schedule, a silver lining will be fewer games against the Marlins, a team I may actually detest more than the Yankees.

I’ve gone on about this at length in the past, but the gist is that I loathe the Yankees’ cult of entitlement and the braying mooks who serve as its foot soldiers, but have an obvious respect for the franchise, its history and the way that history is woven into the history of the game and even the history of the country and my city, or at least the postwar era. With the Marlins it’s the opposite: I feel sorry for anyone who’s actually managed to be a Marlins fan, because they deserve far better, but the franchise’s entire history reads like bad satire, a not particularly subtle send-up of corporate cynicism, tasteless marketing/politicking and general shamelessness. The Marlins never should have existed and the mistake of their creation should be rectified by either reconstituting them as a new franchise in another city or contracting them posthaste.

Since MLB failed to take my advice by the evening of June 17, 2022, there were the Marlins infesting Citi Field and the Mets having to deal with them. Which they started doing while I was checking us into a shabby but otherwise inoffensive Comfort Inn: During our elevator ride a 3 popped up on the Mets’ half of the scoreboard.

That welcome crooked number belonged to Francisco Lindor, who’d slammed a three-run homer into the apple orchard (it’s only produced one fruit but by golly is it a big one) beyond the center-field wall. Said homer was a doubly happy occasion for Lindor: His wife, Katia, surprised him by bringing his mother, Maria Serrano, to Citi Field for the game as a Father’s Day present. Lindor’s mother has been in ill health in recent years and had never seen Lindor play in-person as a Met. (I don’t know if Lindor’s homer really traveled the advertised 440 feet, but we’ll add 20 feet or so for good familial vibes.)

Once Joshua and I got settled in we decided to forgo delivery pizza in favor of a sit-down restaurant, which in this part of the world means picking something a) attached to a mall; b) in a symbiotic relationship with a Wal-Mart; or c) anchoring a parking lot the size of a small sea. We opted for a) and so wound up in a vast barn of a craft beer/appetizer/sports concept restaurant, arriving via Lyft because at that point I would not have climbed back into my Penske rental truck even if pursued by a zombie horde of former Marlin All-Stars.

The TVs in said craft beer/appetizer/sports concept restaurant were all showing the Phillies (save for one tuned to a show I believe Joshua informed me is called American Ninja Vikings), and I’ve logged enough time in the Philly burbs to know how a request to watch the Mets would be received. But it didn’t matter, because these days I get to carry a little box in my pocket that lets me listen to the Mets and even watch them, provided I’m not within a certain distance of where they actually play. (That last part of course makes the inverse of sense, though MLB appears to be actually working on it.)

So there we sat, munching through wings and guac and other mainstays of the appetizer ecosystem while peering down at miniature Mets and their doings. At that scale what had happened with the ball Luis Guillorme hit to the conjunction of the fence and center fielder Bryan De La Cruz wasn’t clear, but what was clear to us was that the umpires had mumped it up and Buck Showalter wanted it un-mumped.

Guillorme settled for a single that loaded the bases, but the Mets took said mump-upping in stride, with J.D. Davis singling in a run for a 4-1 lead. Pablo Lopez fanned Tomas Nido and then departed in favor of Tommy Nance, who coaxed a flyout from Brandon Nimmo before the roof caved in on him, allowing runs on a walk and an HBP and then facing Pete Alonso.

Alonso connected for a grand slam just over the fence; given the cacophony of our craft beer/apps/sports surroundings, I was able to exult as loudly and profanely as I wished: “Fuck you Wayne Huizenga! Fuck you Jeff Loria! Fuck you Kim Ng! Fuck you Derek Jeter!”

(Huizenga’s been dead for four years; Loria hasn’t been a club owner since 2017; I like Ng and have hoped on multiple occasions that she might become the Mets’ GM; and Jeter no longer has any connection to this franchise. I just really, really, really, really, really, really hate the Marlins.)

The Mets now led 10-1, and that would prove to be enough, despite a spot of bullpen bother as Adam Ottavino cleaned up an off-night for Adonis Medina. Ottavino can be a frustrating sight on the mound, looking around in perturbation as he calibrates the path of his frisbee slider. How his appearances go often depends on how long the slider calibration process requires and how much goes wrong before it’s completed. On Friday night, Ottavino walked Soler but then got everything lined up as it should be, ending the eighth on an Avisail Garcia groundout and striking out the side in the ninth. That will do nicely.

Also nice: a dugout sighting of a smiling Eduardo Escobar, who’d been absent with some ailment discussed in the context of “non-workplace events” and HIPAA rules. Worrisome, as were reports that he’d seemed disoriented and teammates were concerned, but there Escobar was and the scuttlebutt seems to be he was felled by a migraine, inner ear issue or something along those lines. Escobar hasn’t set the world on fire quite yet, but he’s held third base down in a professional manner and is obviously both adored and revered by his teammates in a way that’s pretty rare in baseball.

Finally: Tip of the cap to Faith and Fear pal Jacob Resnick, who notes that it looks like we have our first Mets ghost since 2008. Tommy Hunter‘s return to the roster meant Gosuke Katoh was designated for assignment. Here’s hoping Katoh somehow finds his way back to the Mets and into a game, but if not, he’ll haunt our hearts forevermore.

4 comments to The Boys in the Box

  • 9th string catcher

    I really really really really really really love this post.

  • Eric

    Dodgers lost so Mets have the best record in the league in the loss column again.

    Carrasco’s start highlighted why it matters for Scherzer and deGrom to be back for the playoffs. Well pitched but 3rd time around the line-up, the Marlins were catching up to his solid 3rd starter stuff. A playoff team likely makes the same adjustment sooner.

    Last year, the Mets come out of the 6th inning with bases loaded, no one out with 1 run, maybe none. Not 7 runs. And at minimum the Mets use up their top relievers to preserve the lead.

    I don’t believe Guillorme can hit the ball farther than that, so I’m glad the ball hit the wall. Every bit of offense helps keep his gold-caliber glove on the field where it belongs, which is the important thing.

    I don’t blame the umpire for blowing the call because the ball came very close to bouncing off De La Cruz’s right hand instead of the wall. It’s not clear that if De La Cruz had made a highlight play that it would have been a triple play since McNeil and Canha tagged up.

    Can’t write off the Phillies. They can hit, they can pitch, they’ve cleared .500, and they’re charging almost as hard as the Braves. The Braves are looking over their shoulders, too.

  • Peter Scarnati

    Were you also transporting the Penske file with you on your journey in the Penske rental?

  • Bob

    Somehow you guys just keep writing better & better articles every day-and it’s like you read my mind every day!
    Keep up the GREAT writing!

    Let’s Go Mets!