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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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And Not A Moment Too Soon

Is 9-2 now comparable to 2-8 then? Like you said, math is hard. Especially when it eliminates you.

Didn’t really believe the resurrection scenario was going to happen, but it was fun to imagine the unimaginable. If it had gotten any more serious, it might have been a little too much on the ol’ nervous system to keep tracking Astros’ games with the idea that they could possibly lose six in a row (never mind our hypothetical historic winning streak and whatever we needed the Phillies to do after we beat them again). Not that we wouldn’t have committed to it, but it was never real, so, y’know, just as well.

Third place. One win from 81. Five in a row. Our second 9 of 11 in the past 40. And we cut the legs out from under another contender. As good a night as an 80-77 team not based in California could hope for.

Damn anyway. Stupid definitive towel. Now it’s a shroud.

At 10:08 PM, when Heilman took care of Abreu for the final out — can you believe that casually written sentence fragment? — I found myself jumping up, then down in my living room. It occurred to me that this would probably be the last time I did that for a good reason until April. We certainly took the game seriously even if the Phillies didn’t. (Big ups, per usual, to Gary C. for almost immediately comparing David Bell’s third-out-at-third blunder to Jay Payton’s seven years ago. It sprung to this Met-addled mind right away.)

At 10:40 PM, my hunch was confirmed when Brad Lidge retired his final Cardinal of the evening. Why did he have to do that? As Kanye West might tell you, because Brad Lidge doesn’t care about Met people.

Caught a glimpse of Braden Looper, unplugged and seated, with nothing to do late in a close game. Beautiful. Long live Padilla (the Yankees didn’t need him?) and Heilman, no matter what Willie says. So don’t call Aaron a closer candidate. Threaten to bat him eighth if that’s what makes you happy. For now, he’s really beautiful.

If San Diego makes the playoffs, Joe Randa will be in them. So much for the playoffs. Alas, the Giants don’t seem to be a good enough crappy team to knock off the slightly less worse crappy Padres. I did get a kick out of J.T. Snow making the crucial error that allowed future Met backstop Ramon Hernandez to come up with the bases loaded and hit the grand slam that eventually won that critical contest. I’ve never gotten over J.T. Snow taking Armando deep in 2000 even though we won. I can’t not blink at Snow and Armando being teammates. Nor Schilling and Olerud. Funny how the world keeps spinning without our storylines to slow it down.

ESPN claims a portion of the Turner Field crowd was chanting LET’S GO METS! when it was realized the imminent Phillie loss would clinch them yet another division title. Who woke them up? Watched the Brave celebration. Clubhouse consensus: Nobody thought we could do it, this one is special, no one will miss us if we fall down a hole.

Jose Reyes has 17 triples, 59 steals, 185 hits, 156 games played to date. Slides into third, takes a knee to the collarbone, dusts himself off and keeps playing. It’s worth remarking upon.

How have we gotten this deep into a baseball season and not, at least as far as I can recall, dwelled on Ralph Kiner? Shame on us (score it E-Blog). Ralph couldn’t have done more than thirty games this season, but he’s a breath of fresh air no matter what he says or how often he shows up. No, I can’t remember any particular insight from the last active link to the 1962 Mets Tuesday night. Yes, he’s a little halting in his speech and kind of gives The Best of Ralph when he speaks. But he’s Ralph Kiner. He has such amazing perspective to offer.

On a Friday night in August when the Mets were playing the Cubs, he mentioned that Derrek Lee reminded him of Pete Reiser. He was about to explain why when Fran cut him off to tell us that Shea was rocking or that Coors Light makes for cold blasts. (Fran Healy broadcasts like a six-year-old broadcasting to five-year-olds.) Ralph never finished the thought which is too bad. I ask you, what other baseball man working even intermittently behind a mic in 2005 can invoke one of the most exciting pre-World War II players and make it relevant to one of today’s?

I don’t know that we’ll hear Ralph any more this season and I don’t know what his future holds. But his voice is a spectacular portal to more than half of the lifetime of professional baseball as we’ve known it in these United States. Looking for a way to while away winter? Get Baseball Forever by Ralph Kiner and Danny Peary. Ralph’s stories date back to the early ’30s and they’re one-of-a-kind. For example, consider his recollection of Bing Crosby owning a piece of the Pirates and hosting the players at the legendary Chasen’s restaurant in L.A. at the end of spring training. Every year, Bing would croon, “Nothing could be finer than to be with Ralphie Kiner on the ballfield.”

Gives me chills to think that this man from like three eras ago is still a part of the Mets.

Shut up, Fran. Let Ralph talk as long as he wishes.

Who’s been having The Best Year Ever? Gotham Baseball has several answers.

And I’ve uncovered a stirring exception to the No Football Till November rule.

2 comments to And Not A Moment Too Soon

  • Anonymous

    Kind of like the guys on the field, we got both sides of Ralph last night. On the one hand, there was a discussion of batting gloves that went from banal to interesting when Ted (or Fran) asked Ralph if he'd worn them, and Ralph said he had (though only in BP) and thought he was the first guy to do so. He wasn't proud or boastful, just said it. On the other hand, Ralph was going on about something and Ted (sounding pained) had to jump in to yell “STRUCK HIM OUT!” because, um, the game was over.

  • Anonymous

    I just came across a friend's e-mail that reminded me that Ralph did say something worth noting last night. When Fran and Ted were marveling at how many RBIs the Mets' catchers had driven in this year, implying, I think, that a Piazza-Castro platoon could be something to think about for next year, Ralph said statistics are like bikinis: they reveal a lot but not everything. At first, I thought it was just a Kinerism for Kinerism's sake, but then I thought back to last week when Mike looked really overmatched by Dontrelle Willis' three 92+ fastballs in a row. To Fran's credit, he laughed and asked, “WHAT do you mean by that?” But then the action took over and we never heard another word on the subject.