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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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Bang Zoom My Ass

XM Radio allows me to listen to the home broadcasts of every team in the Majors. It's ideal for tracking the competition in a five-team divisional race, and when that evaporates (I think I just heard it go pffffft), it will no doubt be useful for any Wild Card business as long as that lasts.

It also has had one unintended effect: It got me hooked on Washington Nationals games. Well, not the whole games, just the ends. Just the part where they emerge victorious at RFK and their announcer, ex-Met fill-in and long-ago Tidecaster Charlie Slowes, exclaims, “The Nationals win again! Bang Zoom go the fireworks!”

This phenomenon, looking forward to a grown man imitating the sound of a firecracker, is childish, I admit. I started tuning into these games to hear the Nationals lose because the Mets might pick up ground on them (hahahahaha). But as you also know, the Nationals rarely lose at home. So while my enemy-tracking via XM was failing miserably, I found myself anticipating Slowes' triumphant signature signoff. Sure it reads corny, but for some reason it's endearing on the air. I didn't want the first-place Nationals to keep winning, but I liked hearing what was said when they won.

What an unexpected dilemma. Cripes, I was actually disappointed last week when the Nationals beat Pittsburgh. No, not disappointed because of what it meant to the Mets' standing in the pennant race (hahahahaha) but because a rain delay forced the game past midnight. There's no doubt a local ordinance against setting off celebratory fireworks that late, so Slowes ended it with “Bang Zoom, the Nationals win again!”

Didn't have the same spark. I wanted my fireworks call. I knew and I know that it was wrong, that it was sick, that it was counterproductive and that the Washington Nationals, as much of a marvelous story as they are, are to be loathed as a National League East rival.

And I do loathe them. Tuesday night reminded me that this deceptively ragged band of Exponentials, from cantankerous Frank Robinson to volatile Jose Guillen to fossilized cleanup batter Carlos Baerga to Jose Vidro (who is a vicious adjective unto himself and thus requires no modifier) all the way to the disappointingly unlooperlike Chad Cordero, are despicable as opponents. I may have pitied them at the very end when they were Montreal but I wasn't terribly concerned that the likes of Jamey Carroll be given a good home (which RFK, the prison exercise yard of MLB, isn't) and a bat with which to club us.

But with the Mets down there in a last-gasp attempt to close the chasm on the division leaders (hahahahaha), I had to see if there was anything to this slight flirtation I'd indulged in with their play-by-play guy. I've had my passing other-team infatuations. They never wear well. I'm not cut out for summer flings. I'm a one-team man.

My first and probably most meaningful rendezvous came in 1978 when I ran around town in a Red Sox cap because I just knew they were going to inflict humiliation on the Yankees that they would never live down. There were people who assumed I was a Red Sox fan for real. That's how convincing I was. Then there were 1982 and 1991 with the Braves when they were feisty underdogs in another division, and 1993 and the nutcase Phillies of Lenny Dykstra who provided a font of amusement and a touch of inspiration while the Mets dedicated themselves to finishing eighth in a seven-team division. My previously copped-to distant — now dormant — thing for the Angels was more an October fancy, but I retained some nominal feeling for them post-2002.

You'll notice all of these little winks I made toward other teams came in years when the Mets stank on ice. My beloveds didn't give me a reason not to look around, and to be fair, I never strayed very far. I was just looking for a little action when I wasn't getting the good stuff at home. But the 2005 Mets are, at least for another week, contenders (haha…stop laughing already). Except for '93, which doesn't (or shouldn't) count, I've never flirted with an N.L. Easterner. Yet here I was, a little too into what Washington was up to. Even Stephanie noticed something was going on.

Could “Bang Zoom” really be that much of siren song to me? I tuned in to the Nationals' series against the Cubs from Chicago over the weekend. That meant it was Ron Santo and Pat Hughes doing the games. I found myself rooting for the Nationals even though not a single bang nor a solitary zoom would filter through the XM. Mind you, I viscerally hate the Cubs (you never forget your first hate) and they are, technically, part of the same Wild Card scramble we're in. But I didn't like that I was just a little happy for the team that beat the Cubs.

To see if there was anything serious to worry about, I turned XM to the Natscast of the Mets game Tuesday night. This would be the real test. If I were actually drawn to “Bang Zoom” after a Mets loss (which seemed inevitable, rally or not), then I knew I had a problem. Frankly, I was concerned.

When the teasealicious ninth inning was over on MSG, after Brian Drawback brought shame to uniform No. 13 (I swear that for about an eighth of a second after I saw those digits, I thought the next hitter would be…well, you know who), I checked in with XM, whose signal is about a minute shy of real time.

Drawback popped up to deep short on DC's Z-104 just like he did on MSG. “The Nationals win again!” proclaimed a hearty Charlie Slowes. “Bang Zoom go the fireworks!”

I heard no fireworks. The only sound I heard was me snapping out of it.

I was no longer charmed by Bang or taken with Zoom. I had no use whatsoever for the Washington announcer or his partner whose last name happens to be Shea (yet actually referred to the excitement of “Nationals basketball” during the dreary wrapup). Any slight attraction to the first-place Nationals — whose only appeal is that they are not the second-place Braves — ended right then and there. All I could do in the aftermath of a bitter Mets loss was channel the spirit of Tanner Boyle:

Hey Slowes! You can take your signature call and your fireworks and shove 'em straight up your ass!

C'mon Mets. Let's go home.

3 comments to Bang Zoom My Ass

  • Anonymous

    Greg…I'm constantly amazed at the times of your posts. Do you sleep all day? Or do you sleep at all?

  • Anonymous

    They're still the Expos. And I still hate them. They're not cute, endearing or even remotely tolerable. “Oh, look at us, we're an adorable, ragtag little 'expansion team' who suddenly dropped from the sky this year to charm baseball fans who have obviously been living under a rock all these years. Aren't we CUTE?”
    Cute, my a**. You're the Expos and you must die.

  • Anonymous

    Sure. But I'm up now.