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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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Salute to Baseball

I had planned to let you know to listen to Jonathan Schwartz’s show on WNYC-FM this afternoon. For 36 consecutive Super Bowl Sundays, Schwartz ran what he called a Salute to Baseball. Before there was sportstalk radio and downloadable files and Rhino Records, there was Schwartz spending one hour in the middle of football overload on broadcasting baseball.

If you’re not familiar with Jonathan Schwartz, he’s more or less a disc jockey, a Sinatra guy. He’s also written books and has been described as a raconteur. For our purposes, he’s a crazy (mellow voice, but crazy) Red Sox fan in New York and that mattered because he would salute baseball. He’d play old baseball songs and tell old baseball stories and, my favorite part, run random clips of play-by-play. It didn’t matter what game it was or who had played. It was the authentic sound of baseball in January or early February. It was always great.

And I was going to hype it for all of us to enjoy ahead of Super Bowl Sunday. I was so anxious to do it that I got in touch with XM Radio (where he spends most of his time programming the Frank’s Place channel) to confirm that he would be saluting baseball as he always did. I figured it was a formality.

I figured wrong.

Sorry, but Jonathan will not conduct his Salute To Baseball this year. His XM-73 program for Sunday, February 5, will be pre-recorded and not consist of the usual hour-long Salute.

The Daily News elaborated on Saturday. WNYC is in the midst of one of its fund drives and Schwartz won’t have the hour locally to do his baseball show. So he’s apparently not doing it all. He won’t be playing a random bit of baseball play-by-play to get us through the onslaught of football and the declining mercury and the miles to go before we sleep and eat spring training.

He won’t. But I will.

GARY: Mets baseball is brought to you by Re/Max. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, call 800-REMAXNY or click Nobody in the world sells more real estate than Re/Max.

Second inning in a one-one game, Mike Lowell leads off against Jae Seo. And Jae’s first pitch is a curveball, taken low, one ball, no strikes.

Seo gave up three hits in the first inning and then survived when Paul Lo Duca hit a long fly ball to left that Cliff Floyd was able to track down.

Lowell hitting just .233 in a lost season, and he pops it foul back and out of play, one ball, one strike.

Lowell with just seven home runs and fifty-six runs batted in. This is a guy you count on for thirty homers and a hundred RBIs or somewhere in that neighborhood, but he has been in a very different part of town.

Now Seo with the one-one to Lowell, taken outside two and one. And Lowell was only in the lineup tonight because the Marlins were in desperate need of a second baseman. And yet he never played one pitch at second base, moving to third when Cabrera left the game after fouling a ball off his knee.

Here’s the two-one to Lowell, changeup hit high into the air to left field, routine play for Floyd as he ambles in. Cliff is under it, makes the catch to retire Lowell, one away.

So one out and nobody on, Robert Andino the rookie shortstop will bat. The out-of-town scoreboard is brought to you by Foxwoods Resort Casino, the wonder of it all in Mystic Country, Connecticut.

In Pittsburgh tonight, the Astros scored four runs in the first inning off Kip Wells who is seven and sixteen this year, and the Astros lead the Pirates four-nothing in the second, Roy Oswalt trying for his eighteenth win, Lance Berkman a three-run homer, his twentieth.

Here’s Andino, a right-hand batter, and he takes a strike, nothing and one.

Andino went oh-for-five last night, starting his fourth game in the big leagues. Alex Gonzalez can’t throw because of a bad elbow, Damion Easley sprained an ankle, so Andino is the shortstop.

Swing and a miss at a changeup, nothing and two.

Andino not only went oh-for-five last night, but he also made a key error, uh, a ball hit by Jose Reyes, a terrible throw that led to the Mets’ first run.

Andino is considered a whiz with the glove. We’ve certainly seen that from him back during spring training.

Just three-for-eighteen at the plate in the big leagues. And Seo winds, the oh-two pitch, fastball hit sharply OVER the first base bag and down the line. He swung late and got it right down the line! Andino heads for second, Diaz tracks it down and Robert Andino stands at second base with a double.

Well, Andino swung late on a fastball and was just able to keep it fair over the first base bag and down the line.

That’s the kind of hit you see a pitcher get.

As he reached for a pitch up and away, and now the actual pitcher, Jason Vargas, is a pretty good hitter will come up.

Vargas was a two-way player in college, a first baseman and pitcher and he had a very good college career with the bat.

He’s a left-hand hitter, he has six-for-twenty-two, so he’s hitting .273 with a couple of RBIs.

And Seo’s pitch, golfed foul back into the crowd, and he had a good cut at that, nothing and one.

The Phillies got a two-run homer from David Bell off Horacio Ramirez in the second inning, and the Phillies lead the Braves three-nothing in the third.

Brett Myers pitching for the Phillies after Jorge Sosa threw another gem for the Braves against Philadelphia last night. Sosa’s now thirteen and three. He’s been one of the real unsung heroes of the Braves’ season.

HOWIE: When you look at the injuries they’ve had between Hampton and Thomson in particular, he’s been a lifesaver for that team.

GARY: And Sosa with that effort last night might well have nailed down a spot for himself in the Braves’ postseason rotation.

Here’s the oh-one to Vargas, swing and a miss at a changeup, nothing and two.

Braves go into the night with a magic number of six for clinching the National League East and winning their fourteenth straight division title.

The Giants lead the Nationals two to one, bottom of the second. Now they go to the top of third in that game, two-one San Francisco, Brad Hennessy against John Patterson, Barry Bonds a two-run homer.

And a changeup just outside to Vargas, one and two.

For Bonds, his second in two nights, it’s his fourth of the year and number seven oh seven a lifetime.

Cincinnati and St. Louis go to the third, Cardinals with a four-nothing lead. Jason Marquis against Ramon Ortiz, David Eckstein a two-run homer.

Now Seo looks back at second, the one-two to Vargas, swing and a miss, he got him with the changeup, second strikeout for Jae Seo as he fans his opposite number, now there are two away, Andino still at second and Juan Pierre coming up.

In Pittsburgh, Mike Lamb has just added a three-run homer for the Astros and they lead the Pirates eight to nothing in the second inning. So, the, uh, Marlins will know in short order as soon as that gets posted, and it just did on the right field scoreboard that they need to win tonight just to keep pace, with the Astros out to an early eight-nothing lead.

Here’s Pierre with a runner at second and two out. Pierre laid down a bunt single in the first, then stole second, took third on a sacrifice and scored on Carlos Delgado’s two-out hit.

One to one game, we’re in the second. Andino leads at second, the pitch, fastball taken outside, one ball, no strikes.

Pierre the fifteenth batter of the game and GEICO wants you to know that a fifteen-minute phone call could save you fifteen percent or more on your car insurance. Call 1-800-947-A-U-T-O.

Wright playing even with the bag at third this time against Pierre, not a bunting situation. The one-oh pitch, and a called strike on the outside corner, one and one.

This is one of those spots where even if you are one of the best in the world at bunting for basehits, you’re doing your team a disservice if you try it. With a runner at second and two out, your job is to drive in the run, not move the runner to third base, even if you’re successful in beating it out.

Because all you’re doing is leaving it up to the next guy.

Here’s the one-one to Pierre, fastball up and away, two balls and a strike.

Later games in the National League, Cubs and Brewers, actually they’re just underway, no score bottom of the first, Mark Prior against Tomo Ohka. San Diego at Colorado after the Rockies’ record-setting twenty-to-one win last night. Matt Holiday had eight RBIs in that game for the Rockies. Tonight they face Jake Peavey.

The two-one pitch and a changeup outside, and now Seo behind on Pierre three and one.

Mike Esposito will make his Major League debut for Colorado.

Dodgers at Diamondbacks tonight, Brad Penny against Brandon Webb.

In the American League, Matt Lawton a two-run homer off Rodrigo Lopez, the Yankees lead Baltimore two-nothing, bottom of the third. Randy Johnson pitching for the Yankees and, let’s see, he’s already pitched three innings and he’s still in the game, so he’s way ahead of it tonight.

HOWIE: Either that or he’s wearing some tape over his mouth…

GARY: [Laughs]

HOWIE: …or a muzzle.

GARY:: Whatever works.

Red Sox have three home in the second against Scott Kazmir and lead Tampa Bay three-nothing, Tim Wakefield going for Boston. The Red Sox a half-game ahead of the Yankees.

Here’s the three-one to Pierre, and it’s on the outside corner, a strike, three and two.

The Indians and White Sox conclude their series after the White Sox’ dramatic victory in ten innings last night on Joe Crede’s walkoff home run. The Indians a half-game up on the Yankees, three-and-a-half behind the White Sox. Scott Elarton against Jon Garland in Chicago tonight.

Andino leads at second, three-two to Pierre. Changeup fouled to the left side out of play, still three and two.

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