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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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A Night for the Grown-Ups

The first half of Wednesday’s game burbled vaguely out of my phone from a waterproof pouch around my neck: It was Opening Day for kayak season, so first I was sitting in a boat off a Brooklyn Bridge Park pier making sure people didn’t drown or do anything dopey and then I was hauling racks of boats around and helping put things away. During all this, I registered that some Phillie had homered off Carlos Carrasco, that Carrasco otherwise sounded like he was doing pretty well, and then I noticed that PHI 1 NYM 0 had become PHI 1 NYM 2. Some quick poking at my phone revealed that Mark Canha was the man to thank; a few minutes after I got home, salty and tired but pleased to have been back on the water, Canha roped a two-run single off Aaron Nola to make the score PHI 1 NYM 4 — which was how things ended about an hour later.

I spent that hour appreciating Carrasco and the veteran Met relievers who succeeded him, as well as the sparkling defense turned in by Francisco Lindor and Brett Baty. There’s a lot to unpack in that one sentence, isn’t there?

For openers, while plenty of things haven’t worked out in this weirdo season, the defense has been spectacular. Lindor and Brandon Nimmo have elevated their already impressive games, and Baty and Francisco Alvarez have matured as defenders almost literally before our eyes. In the seventh, Brooks Raley fanned Brandon Marsh (who looks like he’s been living under a bridge like a troll from a storybook) and Edmundo Sosa but was nicked for singles by Knothole Clemens* and Bryson Stott. That brought Trea Turner to the plate as the tying run — the same Trea Turner who’s having an inexplicably horrible year but is still Trea Turner, so God help anyone and everyone in his way when his offense reverts to the mean.

Turner smacked a ground ball to Baty’s backhand — the kind of play where a third baseman has to gather himself and set his feet before putting everything he possibly has behind the throw. Two problems presented themselves at this juncture: a) Trea Turner is fucking fast; and b) that’s the kind of play where young players can get lost in that moment of self-gathering, so you instinctively cover your eyes.

Baty gunned Turner down, no sweat — the kind of play I’m not sure he makes in mid-April, let alone last year. But he’s put in the work, turning repetition into muscle memory, just as his fellow Baby Met Alvarez has.

Baty’s nice play aside, it wasn’t a night for the junior Mets. No, this one belonged to the more grizzled members of the roster, including two whose names have primarily elicited sighs of late. Carrasco has now authored two superb starts in a row, lowering his ERA from north of 8 to north of 5, and that’s definitely progress even if it points to the need for more. Canha is front and center in the ranks of the Milk Carton gang whose bats have gone missing, but driving in all four in a win is definitely a way to make grumpy fans like me say that yes, in fact, I have seen you. The future may belong to Baty and Alvarez, but it hasn’t arrived quite yet. Seeing more of the 2022 vintage Canha and Carrasco — not to mention Starling Marte and Daniel Vogelbach — would certainly help our cause until it does.

* OK, I guess I need to explain this. (Fair warning: It’s not worth it.) One of the many things that I loathed about Roger Clemens, besides his being a PED-addled Neanderthal headhunter, was that he gave all of his children names starting with K, because that’s the kind of thing dim self-aggrandizing assholes do. Confronted with an unwelcome reminder of Clemens’ existence in the form of a young Phillie, I flashed back to how we used to make up unlikely K child names to fill out the Clemens family roster: Kerosene, Kumquat and Koyaanisqatsi are three I remember particularly fondly. But I decided to call whatever child this is Knothole, just to increase the degree of difficulty. And because “knothole” is an intrinsically funny word. So be it: He’s Knothole Clemens, and his dad’s a dushbag.

8 comments to A Night for the Grown-Ups

  • eric1973

    Looks like we just might be ready to go on a roll. Need Marte to find himself, though. Buck had said that Alvarez would not play either WED or THURS, so that means he and Scherzer will be teaming up ‘tomorrow’ for a sparkler against old friend Taijuan Walker.

    BTW, it is so annoying when people say ‘later today’ when it is just after midnight. So it is, and always will be, ‘Tomorrow!’

    And ‘knothead’ is even funnier than ‘knothole,’ especially when expressed by an exasperated Oliver Wendell Douglas.

  • Joe D

    (Duh, that means you!!)

    Two must-reads:

    1) See Jason’s “dushbag” link above. Please consume post thoroughly.

    2) For icing on cake, also read Bill Simmons piece, link found in 1) above.

    Both of these delightful essays are metaphorical 102 mph 4-seamers plunking the Rocket squarely in his ‘roid-shrunken, non-HOF testicles.

    After reading these just now, more than two decades after the maddeningly unresolved Piazza incidents, the world makes a bit more sense, and I have finally achieved some closure.

    Heh-heh… “Knothole”

  • Seth

    I guess Nido’s new contact lenses are working out; he got a hit!

  • mikeski

    What the hell is up with Marsh? I mean, lots of guys have big beards, but his hair looks like it was struck by the Exxon Valdez.

  • open the gates

    If I were renaming the Clemens K kids, I would have gone with Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe. But that’s just me.

  • Joe D

    Well gates, since there are 4 K kids, you still gotta go to Knothole near the back end of the rotation.

  • eric1973

    Hey Seth, Regarding Nido’s hit, that’s why they call them ‘contact’ lenses.