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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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Time and Tide

As Steve Martin told Garrett Morris when he was proven wrong about the sex appeal of the Festrunk Brothers, it’s okay, Cliff. Many American girls enjoy you, too. They enjoy your protruding buttocks all the time!

So you’re an idiot. Sometimes idiots win world championships.

While I was a little less fatalistic about mild and hazy Aaron Heilman’s chances than you were, I wasn’t exactly betting the next mortgage payment on the Mets dispatching the Beastmaster of 2003. It was said earlier in the week that Pedro hasn’t quite gotten that New York baseball fans didn’t hold him in utter contempt, just Yankees fans (who will never be rightly accused of knowing baseball anyway). In that vein, Josh Beckett knows there’s a difference between New York’s baseball teams. That other one he stifled. This one sullied him good.

But why are we talking about him, let alone them? Let’s talk about that tall drink of water who nobody wanted to sip from. Heilman. No. 1 draft choice. Struggled in the Majors. Stagnated in the minors. Unrequited trade bait. Got the call to fill in, one suspects, for the same reason Greg Brady was picked to be Johnny Bravo: because the costume fit.

Turns out the most reviled Mets starter since Kaztor Ishbrano just needed time — approximately six days — to develop, just as the Mets needed time — same amount — to turn the tide of this season from a wave of despair to a torrent of jubilation.

Time and tide.
Nothing and no one can stop us now.
For better, for worse, this time I’m sure it’s gonna last.

Remember the demi-hit “Tide and Tide” by Basia? Did you know that before going solo, Basia was in a trio called Matt Bianco, which doesn’t quite rhyme with Matt Franco? Did you know they recently got back together after more than fifteen years apart and released a new CD? Did you know they were scheduled to play Westbury on a Sunday night in early March but were postponed because of, à la Alay Soler, visa problems? Did you know they got their visas and rescheduled their Westbury date for Friday night, April 15? Did you know my wife is a huge Matt Bianco and Basia fan?

Well, ya do now.

This was the fourth time that a Met pitcher has flirted with The Great Unmentionable while Stephanie and I have been off doing something classy. Seeing as how we don’t do very much at all, that’s pretty remarkable. We’ve been at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tanana against the Giants), Sweet Smell of Success (Astacio against the Brewers), Bombay Dreams (Glavine against the Rockies) and, lately, immersed in the pop/jazz/neo-Brazilian stylings of Basia featuring Matt Bianco while Aaron Heilman played the corners of the strike zone like a virtuoso.

We should really get out more often.

Fortunately, we weren’t completely in the dark while history was being brushed up against. The concert didn’t start ’til eight, so we heard Aaron’s early brilliance in the car. Then there was a helpful, lengthy intermission between the dreadful opening act and the brilliant headliners, during which the tiny radio (don’t leave home without it) said it was 4-0. I deduced only one hit had been surrendered. Gary said it was an infield single, but I didn’t know just how infield it was and how (as I saw on the news) it could’ve been gloved by the pitcher and…ah, forget it. As Tom said to Nancy, more or less, why are you crying? We won.

I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed watching it from the couch, but Steph and I sharing the long headphones during intermission ­ and the two of us pumping fists simultaneously when Heilman got Lo Duca looking to close the seventh — was the signature moment of the young season. Basia then came in firing bullets, so it was a win-win for both of us.

We couldn’t have seen Aaron Heilman giving us this night just as we couldn’t have seen .500 was a mere five games away after last Saturday.

It is just .500 but this is so much better than if 5-5 had been accumulated in more random fashion. Two wins, a loss, a win, two losses would be maddeningly inconsistent. This way it’s poetry.

Actually, it’s better than poetry. It’s Aaron to Basia to Pedro.

Nothing and no one can stop us now.*

* Except possibly Leiter and Delgado and those gnats at the top of the Marlin order and whoever else they got. Sorry to step on your beautiful sentiment, Basia, but a fan on a streak has to respect the streak, which in my case means fretting over its imminent demise every few waking moments.

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