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.

Sing, O Muse, of the Rage of Paul Lo Duca

No worries, blog partner. I couldn't hear you and you couldn't hear me, but we both knew that the other guy was yelling happy things.

OK, tonight's game wasn't quite epic enough to deserve this post's title. But it was a satisfying game for any baseball fan whose tastes run to pitchers' duels, but likes a bit of everything else on the side. If you're taking someone to their first baseball game, you hope for one like this.

Pitching? Why yes. El Duque was vintage El Duque (vintage in this case possibly referring to the 1940s, but that's OK), rising to repeated occasions and getting pushed across the 119-pitch finish line by a revved-up crowd. Baseball is a marvelous game on TV, but TV can't capture how dramatic the difference in speeds between a fastball and a change or a curve is. El Duque's mix of fastballs, curves, sliders and whatever else he might make up on the spot was great fun to watch, with his punchout of Eric Chavez on a not-over-the-speed-limit curveball the highlight. Even Chavez smiled and shook his head. Joe Blanton, on the other hand, didn't look like much at the beginning — he's on my fantasy team but I'd never seen him live, so I was startled to look out at a pudgy guy with a ridiculous chin beard and a little hitch in his delivery. But Blanton put on a clinic of his own.

Controversy? Indeed, though it was of the slapstick variety. I would not want to be on the same baseball field as Paul Lo Duca when he loses his temper, but from a safe distance in the stands it's immensely entertaining — he literally looks like a cartoon character, with his eyes bulging and his eyebrows reduced to perfect downward slashes that wouldn't look out of place on an emoticon. Tossing his gear wasn't enough, of course — the shin guards had to follow, along with the chest protector, which I'm surprised he didn't rip apart with his teeth or light on fire after it got hung up on the dugout railing. What actually happened with Marvin Hudson? I dunno, but it is not a contradiction to say that I love Lo Duca and also bet it was his fault.

Storylines? Oh yes. The only question was which one would emerge as dominant, leaving the others reduced to subplots. Would it be the Redemption of Carlos Delgado? The Start of the Delgado Watch? The Object Lesson in Anger Management for Lo Duca? No, it was The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Travis Buck. With Lo Duca/Ramon Castro struck out, Beltran hit a sharp single to left, Buck came up firing, and Ricky Ledee was just out at the plate, prompting this exchange.

Greg: What good is Ricky Ledee if he isn't fast?

Jace: Ricky Ledee needs a lot more than just being fast to be good.

So to open the 9th Ramon Castro somehow doubles off Santiago Casilla after being made to look silly on two sliders, which would be great, except it's Ramon Castro, who might get lapped by continental drift rounding the bases. So a pinch-runn — oh yeah, we can't pinch-run, because we're out of catchers. So they walk Beltran and Wright hits a little flare to right, where our old friend Travis Buck has now moved. If Buck plays the ball on a hop, the movement of crust and magma will migrate Castro only as far as third. It'll be bases loaded and none out for Delgado — which may seem like just delaying the inevitable, but the way Delgado's night has gone, he'll either hit into a triple play or get a hanging curve and drop his own bat. But Buck makes a foolhardy dive for the ball, it gets behind him, and even the supercontinent of Ramongaea can drift home.

The other nice part of tonight was the company. As Greg noted (keep reading after this post), he and I got to go in person, stopping off first to see if Donovan's Pub really has the best burger in New York City. (My verdict: Very satisfying burger, but doesn't top Shake Shack.) And we enjoyed taking in the game with Ray from the sublime Metphistopheles, making his first trip to Shea in 16 years. And, on the way out, Ray and I ran into Mark from Mets Walkoffs and Other Minutiae (after a walkoff, no less), making for an impromptu blogger summit beneath the 7 platform.

Good companions, good pitching, perfect weather, some melodrama and the joy of winning two in a row for the first time in forever. What more could a Met fan want?

4 comments to Sing, O Muse, of the Rage of Paul Lo Duca

  • Anonymous

    Gomez scores on that play at the plate. Even if he's just in as a pitch runner and further defensive replacement. I follow the Mets, blog about them, have been to 14 games, and I saw number 9 on the field today and couldn't remember who it was right away. I'm tired of Ricky Ledee, just leave Gomez out there!
    Shake Shake burgers are indeed delicious, I've never had Donovan's Pub burgers, but the Corner Bistro also has excellent burgers. The only difference there is instead of waiting on line in a park, you wait on line in a bar…with beer.

  • Anonymous

    I've never thought of Paulie as Achilles before, but the more I think about it, it fits. Both specialize(d) in throwing fits in poorly-chosen situation…
    Luv him anyway. At least we won!

  • Anonymous

    i too was in attendance for a game that was as entertaining as it was potentially excruciating. even my kids appreciated the pitchers' duel, especially el duque's k of chavez on a 53-mph curve. (wow, sez my daughter, he could have swung twice at that one.) and the photo in today's news backs you up, jace; lo duca really is a cartoon character.
    this by the way was weirdly our first of the year — had tix for the jackie robinson game before the flood, and a couple of other dates fell through after. so i'd felt like we had something to prove: i have a pretty high winning percentage at shea, and my son has never seen the mets lose there. (depending on when you ask him, he's either 12-0 or 18-0.)
    performed all the rituals: parked under the highway, scored the game in pen, all three of us wore mets caps. even brought out the heavy stuff: i wore the fafif tshirt (last used at game six), and my son carried a sign left over from the first-round sweep of the dodgers (“The Beast of the East Welcomes the Guest From the West” — he's awfully polite).
    good to know the ol juju still works.

  • Anonymous

    I was supposed to be at this game, but found myself 3,000 miles elsewhere.
    Of all the ones I'm sorry I missed…