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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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Squeals & Echoes

Have you ever squealed in the literal sense? An honest-to-goodness squeal? Like a pig?

Have you ever pursed your lips and let out an “oooh!” like you were really amazed?

Have you ever reflexively combined a squeal and an “oooh!” again and again? It might sound something like this…

SQUOOOH! SQUOOH! SQUOOH! SQUOOH!

That was me when Endy put down the bunt that ended the game in the twelfth. It was really loud, too. Woke up the wife and everything. She’s the one who pointed out to me during Game Seven that Endy’s catch elicited a Warner Bros. sound effect from my throat. That was more an “uhAAH!” then an “oooh!” and less a squeal than a Hamilton Beach blender set on grate.

uhAAH! uhAAH! uhAAH! uhAAH!

Endy Chavez should go into ADR when he’s done playing, which is to say not for a very long time.

Of course Endy is about more than sound effects. He’s about sound baseball. It’s easy to take him at his leaping essence after he demonstrated The Strength To Be There last October 19, but as if we’ve forgotten, he’s a helluva player no matter what he’s doing out there. A helluva thinker, too.

Anybody can be blessed with speed (well, anybody but me and Ramon Castro) but Endy also has the gift of vision. He saw Clint Barmes playing back at second. He saw the drag bunt as a legitimate winning possibility. And he took what he saw.

That’s thinking. The Mets are good at that. The Met you tended not to think about before Tuesday night is a prime practitioner, or so we learned. No doubt a clever drag bunt into the devil’s triangle bounded by first, second and the mound is using your head as well as your feet. But a ball clean-and-jerked well over the left-centerfield fence? Damion Easley gave that one some thought and revealed it wasn’t just brute force at work.

Just after the game, SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt asked Easley what he was thinking about up there when he tied it in the tenth. Maybe because Damion had had two full innings to contemplate the answer or maybe because he has plenty of time to think in his job, he had a great and thorough answer.

“I’m just tryin’ to relax,” he said, walking Burkhardt and us through the whole at-bat, how he took one pitch that he shouldn’t have and then swung at one in his eyes that he was still obviously annoyed by. So he relaxed and he eventually got to Brian Fuentes, admitting later on “I kind of expected it to go out.”

The Shot Heard ‘Round Ten O’Clock may not have been the most dramatic home run in baseball history but Easley’s thought process was remarkably similar to that of another New York National League slugger who delivered in a late inning once. Bobby Thomson has been asked to replay what was going through his mind when he approached the plate to face Ralph Branca on October 3, 1951 probably thousands of times. The answer is always terrific: “I kept telling myself not to get overanxious…give yourself a chance to hit.”

In other words, relax. I thought of Thomson when I heard Easley. I thought how little baseball changes in the way these guys have to think their way through game situations no matter how much talent they may have. I thought, too, of how Jose Valentin was thinking clearly when he laid down a less celebrated but just as crucial bunt as Endy’s in the twelfth, the perfect sacrifice that moved Shawn Green from first to second. I even thought Ryan Speier was as heads-up as he could possibly be in trying to flick Endy’s dachshund of a drag to Helton with his glove. It didn’t quite make up for his maybe-thinking-too-much balk that pushed Green from second to third, but it was admirable in a desperate sort of way.

I also like how Willie Randolph thinks. When he was asked if this was his favorite game of the year, the manager did not sound like a fan. No, it was not his favorite — we left too many men on base for that. Good point, one he’s paid to remember, one we are free to forget, though I must confess I wondered as the zeroes were applied to the scoreboard how it was possible that two Major League teams, one of them our certified offensive powerhouse, couldn’t score for nine innings. Good pitching beats good hitting, but good hitting is good hitting. We’re just so used to scores like 7-2, 9-6 and 6-1, that 0-0 administers a shock to the system.

Though 2-1 is the balm that ensures a sound night’s sleep.

***
Say, here are the complete Major League standings through last night, April 24, 2007. Let me know if you notice anything similar to those for the close of business from September 3, 1990.

 

23 comments to Squeals & Echoes

  • Anonymous

    Don't know if I have ever heard Gary Cohen as surprised as he sounded when that ball left the bat of Easley,great call,and it was a surprise wasn't it?
    Graet game,gotta love Chavez,hateed the booing of Wagner,that ball should have been caught.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, is that the last time the Yankees were in last place?
    Don't jinx us now Greg.

  • Anonymous

    I almost got up and left when they started booing Wagner. Met fans just suck.
    But… ENDY!!!!!! Need I say more?? That one word is so fraught with incredible, godlike meaning that I don't believe I need to.
    And I think our “more Endy, more Easley” sentiment of a few days ago has just been validated.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    You're not alone needing to rest your vocal chords this morning; Endy's bunt ranks as the fourth loudest yell from within our apartment for any Met game – the loudest was the wild pitch to Mookie followed by Endy's catch (he's the only one with two Joe D. yells) and Buckner's misplay. It ranks slightly ahead of Beltran's shot against St. Louis last season and your favorite -Todd Pratt's 1999 walk off homer. Considering last night was only an April contest I'm surprised at the amount of amplification I was able to muster from my voice.
    Still, few talk about Spier's balk that literally cost the Rockies the game as much as Endy's bunt won it for the Mets since Green would have remained on second. It's the kind of play smart, winning clubs take advantage of, which Endy did. It was worth the gamble since the first and second basemen were playing normal depth. It sure caught Gary Cohen and Ron Darling off guard since they often point out (in other, similiar situations) that teams have to be on their toes against the possibility of a bunt with a speedster at the plate. Had Mex been in the booth (being a first baseman) he might have commented on the infielders needing to stay alert, however, Darling (being a pitcher) was probably concentrating on Spier.
    It was as beautiful a drag bunt one could ask for.
    … and I won't be a spoiler disclosing the answer to your question.

  • Anonymous

    To be precise, it was the last time that there was this particular dynamic of first in the N.L. East and last in the A.L. East.
    Not that we pay attention to such minutiae.
    We now return you to your regularly scheduled division.

  • Anonymous

    I do believe, Joe, that Gary suggested the Rockies be on their toes for Reyes bunting for a base hit with Green on third. I think I said something to the effect of “yeah, right.”
    Gary wasn't far off, as it turned out.

  • Anonymous

    Things I thought during Easley's at-bat last night:
    “Don't forget your bag.”
    “This is a bad omen for a new season at Shea for me. Pretty sure I won my first 4 last year.”
    “Do I have to pee?”
    “Will the 7 be crowded?”
    “I have no faith here. None. Does that make me a bad fan?”
    “I'd feel better if Willie had gone down with Castro here. At least he has a chance of hitting one out.”
    Then, wow.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    We were all thinking that when Reyes came up. On the Met website Green said he suspected the possibility when he saw the type of pitch being thrown.
    - Joe

  • Anonymous

    My “Whhooaaaaahhhhheeeeeyyyyyyy!!!!!!” came perilously close to waking my daughter upstairs.
    Stupid work… 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and I can't get to the game today because we're too busy and I'm too responsible.

  • Anonymous

    I refuse to believe the Yankmes are dead yet. They are like 25 cockroaches tied together — no matter how many times you swat them with your shoe and appear to impede their movement, there just isn't a shoe big enough to get all of them at once.
    But seventeen years since the Bronx was all the way down and Flushing all the way up? Wow, that's a long damn time. Was Deion Sanders still a Yankme then? How many of their current “fans” even know Sanders used to play for them?
    And yes, I squealed. Times two. But I'm a goil. It's expected, although given the length and thickness of my vocal cords perhaps it shouldn't be.

  • Anonymous

    The SNY camera work had me totally fooled on Easley's shot.
    When the ball came off his bat, I said “Shit. Ballgame…” I thought it was a routine Fly to Finleyville.
    But it just kept carrying…

  • Anonymous

    And then, of course, Endy did hid best J.C. Martin imitation.

  • Anonymous

    They're not dead by any means. They were on deathwatch in this space two years ago and that never worked out. But what the hell? It's better than watching the finale of this series too closely.
    Deion Sanders had literally left the club by then, off to his football career. But Jimmy Jones, Matt Nokes and Oscar Azocar were holding down the Fort Apache.

  • Anonymous

    Who in their right mind would ever count the Yankees out–in APRIL?! Not I, and certainly not Greg. But that doesn't mean we can't thoroughly enjoy their misery while we can… however fleeting it may be. And I fully intend to.

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was a routine Fly to Finleyville
    As a longtime, unashamedly card-carrying member of the Steve Finley Fan Club, I salute you for this fabulously descriptive line, Charlie. Ain't it the truth!!

  • Anonymous

    We're still tied for first and they're still in last.
    Chilly comfort after 11-5, but we take what we can get.

  • Anonymous

    They suck. heh

  • Anonymous

    OK, so I want to worship Easley, because who saves the game with a last-strike homer AND has an adverb for a last name? (Future GEICO trivia question?) But I was talking to my friend, who told me that when Easley signed with us he gave some interview about how disappointed he was to be playing in New York for a team other than the Yankees, who are the only worthwhile team in the city (or something to that effect).
    I can't find any mention of this online, and I have a slight suspicion my friend made it up. Anyone have any idea what I'm talking about?

  • Anonymous

    Would any player actually say such a thing? Especially following a season in which both won the same number of games and the Mets actually went deeper into the playoffs? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof — ask your friend to prove it.

  • Anonymous

    That was my thought too. Waiting to hear back from my friend (who despises the Yanks, so I can't imagine why he'd make it up).

  • Anonymous

    You'd have to back to Bruce Kison, a free agent pitcher in the winter of 1979-80 who was asked about the Mets' interest in him. He responded, “if I wanted to play in New York, why would I sign with the Mets?”
    Dark days, indeed, both for us and for tact.
    I've hated Bruce Kison ever since. But I love Damion Easley right now.

  • Anonymous

    I also seem to remember Rudy May (in 1980) and Mike Mussina (in 2001) expressing similar thoughts while swilling down Steinbrennerian shrimp cocktail & roast beef…

  • Anonymous

    Was it Rudy May who said that? I seem to have Don Baylor stamped on my Metsmory as having said something like that around that time. Maybe they both said it. It wouldn't surprise me either way, the whole world was dumping on the blue and orange then.
    But there is a difference between signing with one team over another and expressing one's preference for the team one signed wtih, and signing with a team and immediately expressing regret that one didn't sign with the other team instead. That's what I think doesn't sound very credible. Maybe when you've moved on, sure, you could say, “I should have gone with team X instead,” but right after signing with team Y? That would be the height of cheesy. Even Gary Sheffield gives it a few months before he starts kvetching.