The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com.

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Monsters and Cages

There are lots of baseball games like tonight's — taut little affairs that are closer than the final score indicates, not a lot of scoring, good pitching performances but not anything that leaps up and demands to be counted as brilliant, a long ball to admire, a managerial decision (of the non-fatal variety) to scratch your head at, most plays made, a couple not, most calls made properly, a couple not. Just a baseball game, in other words — one not much to be remembered beyond a moment or two that will become detached from the narrative and later need to be reaffixed to the proper date, but one for the lifers among us to enjoy as a fine use of two hours and change.

The first moment that will endure is Clifford's attempt to launch the world's first cowhide satellite; it was marvelous to see a week's worth of frustration and buzzard's luck vanish in the time it took to say Ohmahgawd, which is more or less the sound I made seeing that ball seeming to pick up speed as it exited stage right on its way to McCovey Cove.

The other? It was Bonds (it's always Bonds) just trying to remain upright, whether it was dragging his way around the bases on one of his final homers, or leaping the approximate height of a medium-sized city's yellow pages in his failed attempt to steal Nady's home run away. Watching Bonds struggle from Point A to Point B, I didn't say Ohmahgawd; I just kind of muttered and stared lemon-faced at the screen, not quite sure what to think, because I was thinking everything at once.

The normal reaction watching a professional athlete passing from twilight to night is a mix of pity that he (or she, for that matter) doesn't know his time has passed — athletes are almost always the last to know, betrayed in the end by the willful disbelief that let them become stars in the first place. To that, add in amazement that his time is finally gone, that he's at last been rendered mortal. And then comes, usually, some mix of appreciation (there he is, for one of the last times) and disquiet (my goodness, I remember when he was young — I must be getting old too).

And I did feel some of that strange mix for Bonds. But I also felt other things. The pity alternated with a determined refusal to feel it, for Bonds knows exactly what's happening to him, and on some level must grasp that it's his fault, that he and nobody else did the things to his body that grotesquely reshaped it and in doing so ensured its sudden, shocking ruin. There was anger at baseball for this whole terrible mess, for its shameful efforts to conceal what was happening from itself and for whatever stumblingly pathetic attempts it will make in an impossible effort to put things right. And there was sadness, once again, that Bonds could ruin his own name and numbers and legacy so thoroughly, and for whatever bottomless insecurity lies at heart of him and drove him to cheat when he didn't need to.

Bonds is like a man who lives alone in the penthouse of the tallest building in the city, and in his solitude becomes consumed with rage that he doesn't live at an even loftier height. And so he tears apart his own house to built some rickety contraption reaching ever higher into the sky, as the neighbors watch in horror through their binoculars. Now it's popping bolts and rivets and coming apart, and all you can do is look away.

Ah, enough gloom. We won. Cliff hit a monster shot. Everybody else in the East lost. And we're done with these post-midnight endurance tests for a bit. Life ain't so bad.

5 comments to Monsters and Cages

  • Anonymous

    actually, i always enjoy the late west coast games. when i worked nights, they were the only ones i could catch live after getting home, but even now, they have an intimacy to them that the rest of the schedule lacks.
    all other major league games decided, the last pro sports going as the dark fields of the republic roll on under the night and the north american continent slides tectonically into slumber. and me? i get to choose between watching on the coach, or listening in bed (and when i do opt for radio, it's a direct connection back to the days of youth, when bob and lindsey and ralph kept me posted on the doings of tom and jerry and jon).
    mets on the coast is not bad stuff… as long as they win…what a moon shot floyd had…four games up…pleasant dreams, all…

  • Anonymous

    The whole Bonds analysis is absolutely perfect. I've read Game of Shadows and I'm about halfway through Jeff Pearlman's new Bonds biography, and all I can think about is how sad it is that someone as talented as Barry was fucked-up in the head enough to do what he did (not just the steroids, but the way he treated those around him).
    But enough about that. I need to go watch Cliff's splash landing a few more times.

  • Anonymous

    The Pearlman biography is fantastic — and one of the sadder things I've read in some time.

  • Anonymous

    Bonds is like a man who lives alone in the penthouse of the tallest building in the city, and in his solitude becomes consumed with rage that he doesn't live at an even loftier height. And so he tears apart his own house to built some rickety contraption reaching ever higher into the sky, as the neighbors watch in horror through their binoculars. Now it's popping bolts and rivets and coming apart, and all you can do is look away.
    ———————————–
    I see you've been to the J M School of Metaphor. Good show…

  • Anonymous

    Barry Bonds.
    Directed by Tim Burton.