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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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The Time Is SNY

Sorry to hear about your 5 o'clock vigil, hombre. I'll fill you in on Opening Night.

I arrived late — Joshua is sick and was on a mission to watch every episode of Harold and the Purple Crayon, so when I tuned in Mets pregame was beginning. So were AV mishaps. The picture kept garbling and cutting out, and the sound would degenerate into squealing and cut out as well. In classic Met fan/little brother fashion, I caught myself hoping this had happened on YES's first night as well. (In the News, Bob Raissman says it did. Whew.) Then the picture went black and you could hear the control-room guys discussing things with a fair amount of urgency, and I braced myself for inadvertent profanity and a horse-whipping in tomorrow's tabloids. (Hey, I would've been cussing, and it just happened to ESPN.) The control-room guys stayed cool under fire, but the sound never really recovered — it sounds gravelly and murky even now.

But you know what? That's OK. It's the first night. It's spring training. And I found myself thinking, with surprising pride, “Hey, this is our network. Cool!” I didn't think I'd care — it's only a TV network — but I did. This is ours, I thought, and I was happy.

Granted, we're the faithful. In a pre-satellite-radio age I drove through August nights in Georgia with the windows up and the air conditioning off so I could catch the faintest bits of WFAN through the buzz of distance, so a little gravel on the audio track ain't gonna throw me. Anyway, between parenting and a combination of iPod and treadmill, the sound was off in the Fry household for the first couple of hours. Watching a Mets telecast in silence — consider it my parting tip of the cap to Fran Healy.

When I did turn the volume up, Gary and Keith offered an excellent augury for the season. Cliff Floyd launched a home run, one of those Clifford blasts that seem to curl their way off the very end of his bat before vanishing deep in the night, as if he'd hit it with an oar. That prompted Gary to note that with his kidney woes apparently behind him (wood knocking!), Floyd is as happy as he's been.

Gary: …and that's what Cliff can do when he's happy.

(beat)

Keith: And when it's over the plate and down.

Low point: Seeing Derek Jeter. Repeatedly. I know ads pay the bills, but couldn't they run a warning so I could cover my eyes or hustle my child away from the set? Or ask 2KSports to film an alternate version in which a Josh Beckett fastball drops Jeter like a hot coal? (As for the Willie Randolph/Joe Torre Subway ads, I'm refusing to admit they exist.)

What's that? The game? Well….

* I know I've said this before, but Lastings Milledge has ridiculously fast hands. Please mark down his debut as a Why Would You Be Anywhere Else? night to get tickets.

* I'm already preparing my first, second and third posts moaning about why Jose Lima is our fifth starter. I know there's not much more than my paranoia to suggest he will be, but I sense the Ice Williams mistake all over again — if a guy's a veteran and a good clubhouse presence, so what if he has no apparent remaining ability to play baseball? Maybe Jose just needs more work — it's only St. Patrick's Day, and Roberto Hernandez didn't look great last spring. But what, honestly, can Lima do that Brian Bannister couldn't?

* Baseball is cruel. Just ask Jeff Keppinger. He had a pretty solid '04 for us, lost '05 to injury under tough circumstances, and has been treated dismissively, almost scornfully, by Randolph this spring for no apparent reason. Tonight Matsui injures his knee (you'd like to imagine everyone hopes he's OK), and suddenly people are actually paying attention to Keppinger. So of course he has to have a horrible game, doing nothing right at the plate, in the field, or on the basepaths.

Poor Keppinger. It's not such a funny game when it bites you in the hinder.

2 comments to The Time Is SNY

  • Anonymous

    The great (or crappy) thing about having DirecTV is that in order to catch the first Spring Training game – and perhaps Opening Day – I had to pony up $14.95 for a Spring Training and April package of mlb.tv in order to see SNY. I was glad I tuned in last night.
    I'm big into production, so if you're not, then this is long and probably going to bore you. For the rest of you (especially those who haven't gotten to see SNY yet), some comments on the game production…
    As great as he was, my brain found it tough listening to a watered-down Gary Cohen – it turns out The Buggles were at least half right. To his credit, he settled in pretty much immediately and showed himself to be a true announcing natural. It seems he's talking about a twelfth of the (radio) time, if not even less…and I suppose that's appropriate. And Keith, while very good, provides a lot of color…like between every pitch. I like what he has to say, but wish he would talk a little less, since Gary himself has a lot of color to add. Despite that (and my eternal pinings for Radio Gary's accurate-down-to-the-micron descriptions of what's happening on the field), it's already clear they're going to be a tremendous team. They seem to geniunely respect each other, and, being that they both speak their mind and offer a different point of view, that will make for some very interesting exchanges, with Keith always having the trump card of having been there and done that.
    The opening video is awesome! A flythrough of 3D graphics of the City and the subway and Shea intercut with dramatic slowdowns which feature various Mets singularly doing things like hitting, pitching, and trotting. The subway numbers count upward in their little colored circles. The whole thing must be seen to be appreciated, but I think they did an excellent job on it.
    Oh…and I like the music. Is it just Comcast Sportsnet music, or is it special to SNY? Either way, it's not obnoxious like FOX's. It's very “we've got a game to bring you, but we're not going to be pricks about it”. I suppose the rocket launch sound effects (which transition to and from every single instant replay) are part and parcel of any sports broadcast in 2006. Not hearing those was one of the benefits of having the TV down and radio up, but I'll learn to tune it out. And it's great seeing the Mets logo before every replay (the SNY logo appears after). One last thing on the graphics, I like that they have the score/outs/situation sitting in a box in the upper left hand corner. That's the appropriate place for it…it fits right in and doesn't really block things or distract. FOX's bar that stretches across the screen is an abomination, but I'll concede that it might be a matter of taste.
    Finally, difficult to tell because it's Spring Training, but they focused a lot on the on-field happenings. The camera shots didn't dwell on superfluities like the dugout and crowd. And if that little chestnut of joy carries over into the season, it's a HUGE bonus. TV is there to bring you the game first, and the periphery occasionally. Big ups to my man SNY for doing the viewer right. Also, just after the winning run scored, I'm pretty sure they cut straight to an on-field handheld (read: somewhat shaky) camera shot for the celebration at home plate – I'm not sure I've seen that before, except during the postseason and World Series, when it generally is a prelude to an interview. I wonder if that's going to be a mainstay, or if it was just a glitch. I think I rather like it, actually.
    Couple more things- on the air, Keith referred to the WBC as “the BS” a few times…and also mentioned right off the bat that the team “never quit” last year, which I read as a sly nod to his commentary on previous Mets teams. Or maybe he's just really into whether teams quit or not.
    And I did say there was one great thing about being forced to watch mlb.tv. Turns out, just like on the old 80's satellite broadcasts, you don't get commercials, and can hear some of the pregame and between inning behind-the-scenes happenings. Long before the game started, there was a camera on Jose Lima working out and donning his latest number, 17…and Cohen commented to Keith that it was “like when they gave Willie Mays' number to Kelvin Torve”. Priceless.
    Overall, the production really bodes well for Mets fans. Despite any of the techy glitches, which are completely expected at this point, and the fact that it was only a dumb Spring Training game, I give the production an 8/10 and expect it to get even better. They've laid a good foundation and, unlike so much of sports TV these days, seem to genuinely respect the viewer. I hope they keep it up.

  • Anonymous

    Having your own network is fun.
    The best part? The female reporter, as inevitable as rainouts or bad lefty relievers. She will have a cheerleader's body, but a face that leads to endless arguments as to whether she's Smoking Hot or Really Kinda Funny Looking.
    She will never quite shake the one-step-up-from-local-access stigma that hounds all team-run channels. But she will become a part of the fabric of your life.
    Just ask Derek Lowe.