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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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Monsters in the Mirror

I stopped attending Subway Series games years ago because they’re like Thanksgiving dinners where every single uncle and cousin you dislike RSVPs that they’ll show up drunk and eager to talk politics. No thanks — I’ll catch these from my couch, where any woofing mookdom can be addressed as an internal affair.

That part’s predictable; the rest of a Subway Series game isn’t. I certainly didn’t have David Peterson pulling a Houdini after facing bases loaded and nobody out, a sequence that started with a first-pitch single to Anthony Volpe and a pitch-clock violation, meaning Peterson was somehow stuck with a runner on first and an 1-0 count to Juan Soto after one pitch thrown. Though calling what Peterson did a Houdini act misses the important lesson: Peterson trusted his stuff and so struck out Gleyber Torres, Alex Verdugo and old friend J.D. Davis.

Another thing I hadn’t predicted was Gerrit Cole reporting for duty first without his location and then without his velocity. The location issues led to a trio of first-inning walks, with Francisco Alvarez coming back from 0-2 in another cool and collected AB, and a run when Tyrone Taylor punched a ball through the hole, though Pete Alonso was thrown out from you to me at home to short-circuit further celebrations. Cole had been touching 98 in that inning but came out for the second with his fastball much reduced, and he paid for it: Mark Vientos and Harrison Bader took him deep, with Vientos and Brandon Nimmo unloading on him in the fourth. It’s not our problem, but Cole is either not ready or not right.

Vientos, on the other hand, is turning into a monster, losing balls with a bat in his hands and not losing as many balls as we’d feared while wearing a glove. His growing confidence has been great fun to watch, to say nothing of how his more formidable bat has made the lineup deeper and more dangerous. (I’ll spoil that a little by admitting there’s probably an April recap in which I say something similar about Brett Baty.)

Peterson started leaking oil in the fifth and was excused two outs from the long side of a 6-1 decision — Carlos Mendoza has never shown the slightest interest in making moves based on the win rule. Dedniel Nunez needed just one pitch to coax a double-play grounder from the Solar Bear, and when the Mets added three more runs against momentary Met Phil Bickford it looked like we’d enjoy the rest of a laugher, with SNY doing its part by offering loving montages of Yankee fans slumped at Citi Field looking variously sullen and stoic.

(Speaking of which, it’s remarkable how intertwined the 2024 rosters are. Mendoza was Aaron Boone‘s bench coach, of course, but the Yankees roster includes former Mets Davis, Bickford, Michael Tonkin and Marcus Stroman, while the Mets employ former Yankees Bader, Adam Ottavino, Ben Gamel and Luis Severino, with Luis Torrens having arrived from their minor-league system.)

The laugher dissolved as everything fell apart in the eighth. Ottavino didn’t have it, Danny Young didn’t have it either, and with the bases loaded Reed Garrett was summoned to face Judge. Garrett immediately got to 0-2, albeit on a pair of cutters that sat in the middle of the plate, and Alvarez called for a fastball up and in, a waste pitch intended to push Judge off the plate and change his eyelines, setting up a cutter low and away.

That’s been a solid plan since the ball got lively a century ago, but Garrett missed his catcher’s up-and-in target by two feet, leaving a fastball in the middle of the plate; I’m pretty sure I let out an eeep! even before Judge swung. It looked like Bader would corral it deep, though he wasn’t doing his foot-crossing backwards prance, a play dripping with mustard that always makes me laugh. That was a sign of trouble; so, it goes without saying, was the ball plopping over the fence for a grand slam that cut the Mets’ lead to a definitely eeep!-worthy 9-7. The Yankees are a billion games over .500 for a reason, and any lead that will be contested by Soto and Judge should come with that rearview-mirror warning made famous by Jurassic Park: OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.

Garrett spent the top of the ninth stomping around in the dugout, no doubt thinking about what he’d done; I’d have preferred watching him exhale after the Mets put up, oh, six or seven more runs, but ’twas not to be. Also not to be, fortunately for him and for us: a Yankees lineup with Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo. Garrett retired Verdugo on a first-pitch liner to Alonso, got a grounder from Ben Rice, and fanned DJ LeMahieu to secure the win.

Exhalations on the couch! High-fives all around! Though mostly I was just tired — the Subway Series will do that to you, regardless of your vantage point.

7 comments to Monsters in the Mirror

  • Joey G

    I hear you about missing these un-Civil wars live, but it certainly is a joy to be there when things go well, like witnessing the emergence of Jack Clark II (er, Mark Vientos). My section had a pair of loud Yankee “rooters” who spent the majority of the evening disparaging the Highlanders through repetitive use of every FCC-prohibited bad word George Carlin ever spoke of, and a few other commonly used epithets. I certainly empathized with those young men, whose Yankees unfortunately did not live up to their obvious high standard of comportment and achievement that they surely must exhibit in their personal lives.

  • Seth

    I’m not familiar with the term “mookdom” — wasn’t that the area in left field that Mr. Wilson used to patrol?

  • Seth

    …Yankee fans slumped at Citi Field looking variously sullen and stoic”

    Yankee fans look that way all the time, even when their team is winning.

  • Curt Emanuel

    “I’m pretty sure I let out an eeep! even before Judge swung.”

    I didn’t do anything audible but I was thinking it was time to make Judge chase. Was in the middle of my follow-up thought, “Yeah, and now he’ll walk him on the next 4 pitches” when the ball went out. Think Garrett was pissed. He was hitting 98 mph in the 9th – doesn’t his FB usually sit at around 96?

    Brandon Nimmo’s in the middle of a stretch I keep waiting for Pete to have.

  • Scott M.

    ‘I stopped attending Subway Series games years ago because they’re like Thanksgiving dinners where every single uncle and cousin you dislike RSVPs that they’ll show up drunk and eager to talk politics. No thanks — I’ll catch these from my couch, where any woofing mookdom can be addressed as an internal affair.’

    This. Exactly the same for me. Although I could never put it the way you do Jason.
    Your description of Yankees Mets is on par with your Ottavino fatalist word paintings.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I believe this is my only previous encounter with the word “Mook”.

  • Fred

    My wife said it best: “How many times are you going watch Judge hit a grand slam but the Yankees still lose?” Sparkling game, great result. 9-2 in the Grinch Era.

    All in all, a satisfying evening at Citi Field.