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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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Grin and Grimace

I didn’t expect a giddy stretch related to the 2024 Mets, and yet here we are.

I was playing mini-golf and eating ice cream, meaning I was late to my assigned duties (sorry not sorry) and yet was only mildly surprised to find it was Forces of Good 7, Defending But Currently Not So Hot World Champions 0. A David Peterson non-slider immediately made it FoG 7, DbCnsHWC 2 and I felt a smidge of guilt, but no matter; as I excavated the interior of my cup for beaded-up caramel, Brandon Nimmo restored momentum order and it was 9-2.

9-2 on the way to 14-2, with luckless Andrew Knizner pressed into service before the end. The Mets pounded out 22 hits, 17 of them singles, ambushing Jon Gray early and relievers late. (Knizner was unscored upon, because baseball.) Four hits for a suddenly incandescently hot Francisco Lindor (in two-thirds of a night’s work, no less); three for Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Mark Vientos and Francisco Alvarez; two for DJ Stewart including a put-em-on-notice three-run homer in the second; at least one for everyone in the startling lineup save Tyrone Taylor, who somehow missed the memo.

By the end everyone was a little giddy. Gary Cohen was explaining to Keith Hernandez how Mets fans want carnage, not close-game drama; Steve Gelbs was recounting a delightful story about chatting with Max Scherzer and a random kid in the stands; and Scherzer, now in Texas garb, was riding Alonso from the enemy dugout for taking a walk against Knizner. After the game, Gelbs ambushed Nimmo with a query about whether the Mets attribute their winning streak to Grimace throwing out the first pitch last Wednesday. (If you’re not Very Online, it’s a thing.) Nimmo, expecting another round of arglebargle about approach and teamwork and one day at a time, was tickled to be caught off-guard.

Everything’s fun when you’re atop the world, whether you attribute said status to unlikely first pitches, team meetings, sunspots or having sacrificed a pure-white lamb on a blood-soaked obsidian altar beneath the last new moon of spring. (Let’s hope it’s not that last one; sounds kinda mean.)

I’ve watched enough baseball and internalized enough of its maddening ebbs and flows to know not to think too hard about these stretches; it’s simultaneously true that no logic underpins them and that whatever logic is assigned to them anyway can become its own engine of further success. You just enjoy them, knowing from hard experience that the karmic wheel is still turning and so the view from the top is to be savored as long as it lasts.

9 comments to Grin and Grimace

  • Seth

    OK, but — where was this team for the first half of the season? At least we had come to terms with who this team is, now we’re unsure again.

  • Curt Emanuel

    Baseball is such a funny game. If Seager comes up with that ball in the 2nd it’s probably a double play and Gray is out of the inning. Maybe he finds his groove and maybe we’re down 2-1 after 3 with a ballgame on our hands.

    Instead we get 6 and a blowout is in progress with a position player finishing on the mound.

  • Wheaties54321

    I saw this statistic posted on another esteemed fan site…

    The Mets are 16-1 in the last 17 games Alvarez has played.

    It’s becoming apparent we collectively counted the 2024 Mets out before they had their full squad on the field and healthy. And the best arm (Senga) is still on the sidelines.

  • eric1973

    Aren’t WE allowed to use position players to pitch when UP a million runs?

    Why do we have to use Ottavino and Drew Smith, just as they are re-learning how to be effective?

    Seems to be a disadvantage if they then become ‘overworked’ and then cannot be used when truly needed.

    • Seth

      Why do we ever need position players pitching? What’s next, a mercy rule? If you’re getting blown out, tough boogers. You still need professional pitchers finishing games.

  • LeClerc

    Again: Dump Diekman.

    Call up Danny Young.

  • eric1973

    I was so proud that the Mets were (one of) the last teams to use a position player, until Bill Pecota.

    It seemed to last forever until that moment.

    • eric1973

      Seth, you are right.
      It is an embarrassment to the game.

      It was fine when it was a novelty and it happened once in a blue moon, but now it is used as a ‘smart guy’ strategy, when in the old days, it never really was.