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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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 Day the Killer Rally Wasn't a Rally Killer

My moment of clarity — or what passes for such for the likes of me — came during the fourth inning of yesterday's rain-shortened Met victory, alongside Greg and Stephanie and Emily and Joshua.

Mets up 2-0. Rain coming down steadily and worse rumored to be on the way. Three Nats outs required for an official game. Three Met outs required to begin working on those three Nats outs. So swing those bats, boys! Runs are always a good thing, but time has joined the Nationals on the enemies list.

Easley singles on a 2-2 count, the seventh pitch of his at-bat.

Castro works the count to 2-1 and drives a ball to left-center.

The fans stand up. The apple goes up. I scoop Joshua up so he can see. Home run!

All right boys! 4-0. Now. The rain. The rain is coming down in sheets. Up in the Cliche Factory, buckets are being put on the Descriptions of Weather conveyor. Cats and dogs are being assembled for possible deployment. Let's get in the dugout and get Maine back out there.

Gotay swings at the first pitch…


… and singles!

It's sacrilege to say it, but this may be too much of a good thing. There is no one out. We need outs, even those of our own making. I lean over Professor Joshua to mention something along these lines to Greg. He gives me the gimlet eye he reserves for when I'm mucking around with baseball's karmic third rail and tells me we don't assume things. He is right, of course. I am still worried.

Maine sacrifices Gotay to second on the first pitch.

An out! And an efficient out at that!

Reyes works a 2-1 count and grounds out.

Two out!

Milledge works out a walk after a seven-pitch at-bat that takes about a week — a very wet week. Billy Traber is done for the day.

And during the pitching change, it hits me: The Mets are playing like the complete opposite of the flat, lead-assed team I've just buried in a volcano of postgame angst. They're working counts, getting good pitches, pouncing on wounded pitchers, and doing all the things that we associate with 2006, not 2007. Except they're doing it at the worst possible time. Where's Moises Alou hitting the first pitch into a double play when it might actually be useful?

Sitting under the overhang of the mezzanine listening to Joshua declaim about baseball and watching the rain fall as Chris Schroder warms up, I know what's going to happen: The Mets are going to have a big inning, doing all the things I've recently accused them of no longer doing, only they're going to take so long doing it that the umps will finally signal for the tarp. Conditions won't improve, the game won't be official, and none of it will matter. Their own rally will be the killer.

I'm distracted from the abyss opening beneath our feet by the fact that loungey jazz piano is playing over the Shea PA. That takes me a minute before I realize that the pitcher's named Schroder. Ha, that's actually kind of funny. As my wife puts it, “the trained rats made a joke!” (It's long been Emily's contention that the music choices, out-of-town highlights and scoreboard factoids are chosen by trained rats pushing levers — makes perfect sense to me.)

The game finally resumes in increasingly underwater conditions. The folks in the right-field Dream Seats have a canopy to keep them dry. The canopy for the left-field Dream Seats is broken or nonexistent; those fans are struggling to cover themselves with some sort of tarp. Guess those are the Bad Dream Seats. Back to my own unfolding bad dream, where Wright continues the Mets' ill-timed display of patience by coaxing a 3-2 count out of Schroeder. (I now have “Linus and Lucy” stuck in my head, possibly for the next week.)

Gotay and Milledge break and Wright singles on a 3-2 pitch. Gotay scores, Milledge to third.

5-0! But arrgggh! This is now a 30-pitch inning.

Delgado flies out to right on the second pitch. Whew!

You know the rest. Maine set the Nats down in order to make things official (though a long opening at-bat from Tony Batista had me on edge) and my bad dream vanished like the morning mugginess did in the rain. The only sad thing about the day was that Joshua didn't get a chance to run the bases, a reversal he accepted philosophically in large part because Emily and I had begun lowering expectations at breakfast time. But that's OK. The kid'll get another chance to run the bases. And despite my doubts following Saturday's doubleheader, the Mets ran them just fine.

Postscript: It was great fun listening to my four-year-old instruct Greg about this thing called baseball. Greg did his part kindly and admirably, listening respectfully and peppering Joshua with questions, which he was thrilled to answer. My proudest moment was when Greg asked Joshua who the fastest Met was and he passed up the crowd-pleasing easy answer to reply, “Carlos Gomez is the fastest Met — but he's hurt right now.” (Heck, this might be my proudest moment as a father.) The funniest moment? I interrupted their colloquy to warn Joshua about the possibility that the game might be called before it was official, and started explaining what needed to happen for an official game. I knew I'd got something wrong when Greg suddenly went rigid and looked miserable. A quick backtrack with the help of my blog brother (home team doesn't need to complete the fifth if ahead … duh, Jace) and Joshua's baseball education continued along the right path. As did the day and, perhaps, this confounding season.

6 comments to The Day the Killer Rally Wasn't a Rally Killer

  • Anonymous

    I'm just glad Maine gave up that one hit. Wouldn't that have sucked? “Hey, look at the size of your only no-hitter! That's not even a real no-hitter. It has an ASS-te-risk!”
    They won this one, but I would have been pissed big-time if the roles had been reversed. Pardon if you've heard this particular rant from me, but an official game should be nine innings long, no less. And that home run A-Rod didn't hit in the completion of the suspended game against the Orioles would have been his 500th – I don't care what they say.

  • Anonymous

    Jason – my husband's reaction to the bottom of the 4th was identical to yours. He was begging the Mets to just swing and make their outs quickly.
    Fun game, despite the dampness :)

  • Anonymous

    My 7 y.o. daughter's stoicism about the rain, the resulting canceled b.p., shortened game, and no baserunning made me proud as well. I actually went to the trouble to score picnic area seats just so we'd be some of the first ones in line for the baserunning — we both enjoyed it immensely last year. On the car ride home I apologized and she said “that's ok, the Mets won,” and I couldn't have been happier.

  • Anonymous

    That's a kid with her priorities straight!
    RTM, what are the Shea rules for parents running along with their kids? Not sure whether Joshua will be upset if one of us doesn't go with him or not, but any heads-up in setting expectations helps…..

  • Anonymous

    We did it last summer, after the “Milledge high five” game. We entered through the center field wall –presumably not the same spot this year — walked together along the right field warning track, down the 1st base line (in foul territory). At first base she ran from there to home while I wandered slowly in front of the Mets' dugout (unbelievable amount of sunflower seed shells) toward home plate. There we reunited and made our way slowly up the third base line past the visiting dugout (not so many seeds), sat together on the tarp for a couple of minutes and took pictures, did a cool foreshadowing of Endy's Catch where I lifted her halfway over the left field wall, then exited through the visiting bullpen. Mr. Met and some staffers were along the basepaths to provide high fives and guidance to the younger runners. The mood was amazing; the staff laid back and friendly. All in all, an absolutely awesome experience, and one we were really, really looking forward to repeating yesterday. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

  • Anonymous

    Jace, we all know you just want to run the bases.