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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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Forget It Jake, It's Coorstown

Even in this age of humidors, Coors Field still produces games like Saturday night’s, with hits raining down like artillery, big leads proving smaller than they look on paper, a starting pitcher who’s been effective elsewhere left gasping for air, and relievers sawing the bullpen phone off the wall and hiding in that weird little alpine meadow in hopes of escaping their fate.

Honestly, that could be the recap: It’s Coorstown, where they play a game descended not from rounders and other gentle diversions invented on English town greens but from Calvinball, a dizziness generator dreamed up by a chaos-minded child and a stuffed tiger. It’s Coorstown, and for your own sanity you should have a short memory about what befalls you there.

Still, I’ll evade my own advice like a ball up the Coorstown gap for a couple of notes about whatever that was Saturday night.

First off, kudos to Justin Verlander, who got strafed but then hung around, somewhat sparing his bullpen and maybe keeping a horse or two on the right side of the barn doors. Not an outing for Verlander to treasure — in hindsight, his good career numbers in Coorstown should have been accompanied by ominous minor key music — but things could have been a lot worse.

The Rockies’ City Connect jerseys are pretty damn good. Every couple of weeks I catch sight of a team wearing its newfangled alts (which, to be clear, are primarily intended to facilitate the redistribution of income from fans’ pockets to the already bulging ones of Nike and MLB) and I get to worrying about what the Mets will do when their City Connect time comes. Something timid and dull? Something that makes you wish they’d opted for timid and dull? The best City Connects are true alts, departures from a team’s established identity that still tap into something about the city and/or the franchise. They’re interesting what-ifs instead of a slight variant of something already in the team closet. Rather than coming up with Purple 1A unis, the Rockies thought about it, used Colorado’s iconic green license plates as a starting point, and came up with something that’s clearly says Colorado but in a way that hasn’t been said before. (Additional credit because “thought about it” has not exactly been what comes to mind when you review the work of the current Rockies regime.) If you want to go down this rabbit hole, ESPN recently ranked the so-far-unveiled City Connects; my highest marks would go to the Rockies, Marlins, Nats, Red Sox, Padres and Giants, with sad shakes of the head for the Royals, Cubs, Braves and Willy Wonka Blueberries Dodgers.

Reluctant points to Colorado’s Nolan Jones, who had the kind of game Friday that makes you avert your eyes in pity, yet was right back in there a night later and punished the Mets, playing a key role in his club’s victory. That’s not an easy thing for even some veterans; it can be doubly difficult for a player who’s still yet to record his 100th AB.

Two members of the Mets’ HAVE YOU SEEN ME? milk-carton gang actually acquitted themselves well, with Starling Marte chipping in a briefly decisive hit and Mark Canha looking more like his 2022 self at the plate. And in even more positive news, Mark Vientos actually got to start and performed as if being affixed to various benches hadn’t fazed him. Vientos needs to play, an annoyingly large number of Mets Proven Veterans™ have demonstrated no particular evidence that they need to play, and it’s high time to make this next transition.

One transition that is gloriously complete is from various misfit-toys catchers to Francisco Alvarez. I’ve banged on about Alvarez since seeing him up close as a Brooklyn Cyclone, and Saturday night’s game was a showcase for why. Alvarez plays baseball greedily, as if it’s the sweetest air and he wants to gulp down as much of it as possible. (Not a bad idea given the altitude of Coorstown.) You can see it in the little things: his emphatic gesturing to faltering pitchers, the way he uses everything from his setup behind the plate to his framing skills to massage location, and even the way he snaps a hand back for a new ball from the umpire. Alvarez draws eyes to him no matter what he’s doing on the field, playing with what’s definitely swagger but is more than that — there’s a joy and hunger to what he does that even non-Met fans will come to appreciate very quickly. He’s also hungry to learn: Yes, he short-circuited an inning by paying more attention to celebratory gestures than hanging onto the bag after an unlikely triple, resulting in a painful out. Not an unheard of growing pain for a young player, except I’d put $100 down on Alvarez never making that mistake again. Two ABs later, he came up  with two on and two out and demolished a curve that Brent Suter left in an ill-advised place for a 435-foot game-tying homer. If you thought his exuberance might be dimmed even a fraction of a watt by his earlier mistake, well, you haven’t watched Francisco Alvarez.

5 comments to Forget It Jake, It’s Coorstown

  • open the gates

    Love the Calvinball reference. It’s the perfect simile for the travesty that is Colorado baseball.

  • Joe D

    Hijinx did ensue.

  • eric1973

    Things it appears I am the only one who hates:
    1—- Cityconnect Jerseys
    2—- The Wild Card(s)
    3—- The Balanced Schedule
    4—- Citi Field (as compared to Shea Stadium)

    Buck seems to know that these games are meaningless (wait for it) right now, due to the Wild Cards, and I think (I hope) that he’s giving this dead wood one last breath before he puts it through the Chipper (no pun intended) and goes all in on Vientos and Mauricio (sic, probably). Sacrificing now for the greater good later (or soon).

    And too bad about Vogelbach, perhaps on the verge of playing Left Out. He has never had a problem with his (lack of) speed costing us anything, but someone must have told him recently that “A Walk is as Good as a Hit,” and it’s going to cost him his career.

  • eric1973

    Yes, some solace.
    Thanks, Jason.