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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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Ya Gotta Win the Ones Somebody's Gotta Win

Not an inspiring slogan, perhaps, but it fits tonight's game well enough — a bleary, fuzzy mess of a game, one in which the Mets looked at best mildly interested, but the Reds' parade of horrible pitchers (Todd Coffey came in with a 6.04 ERA and saw it go up) ensured they'd fall up into a rather ragged W.

Still, every season's going to bring at least 10 or 20 of these games — a contest that's “less than scintillating,” as Keith Hernandez called it, one of many points at which he seemed amazed that anyone would still be watching. So you may as well win them. As far as I know Elias doesn't keep track of teams' records in “hideous baseball games that would get neither team taken to the Tastee-Freez afterwards,” but maybe it should. Because they all count the same in the end, and being on the wrong end of that 11-7 crapfest could mean the difference between the camera dwelling on Fox flavors of the month bundled up in your stadium and Tommy Lasorda telling a sad man wearing your colors to get out of the tree.

Actually, Shawn Green does get to go to the Tastee-Freez, because he quietly had himself a superb game. I'm not Shawn Green's biggest fan — Emily and I were amazed to discover during tonight's game that he actually has a Gold Glove for his work in the outfield — but he was terrific tonight. The three hits were obvious, as was the nice stab made as Delgado's substitute in the ninth, but what stuck out for me was a play that went unremarked: In the sixth, with the score tied, Delgado on second (after some remarkably laxadaisical baserunning, to use the Keith coinage) and Alou on first, Green smashed a double. We all saw that, but as Alou headed home, the camera briefly caught Green venturing far off second, practically windmilling his arms at the outfielders. Knowing Alou is Alou, he was trying to draw the throw, willing to give himself up to ensure the score would be 7-5. Impressive — and then a pitching change later, Green read Lo Duca's little parachute right off the bat, ensuring there would be no play at the plate and it would be 8-5.

On the other hand, if Keith's heading for a Tastee-Freez anywhere near the Ohio River, I strongly advise the manager to turn the lights off, lock up, and hide behind the counter. What got into our favorite crazy-uncle announcer tonight? Emily and I were fascinated, amused, and slightly fearful. My God, the Reds have cheerleaders, and those cheerleaders are packing a few too many Michelins to be cheerleaders. What the hell will Keith say? And on and on, with Gary Cohen of course goading Keith at every opportunity, whether it was about his encounters with the Met faithful in coffee shops or what he was doing in the bowels of Riverfront Stadium or simply the Reds' stubborn inability to play baseball. All praise Pete Mackanin for not dropping the dangerously named Coutlangus back into the equation tonight. That said, it should be noted that Keith did immediately spot Delgado wincing on a swing in the ninth and drop all goofiness on the spot. The man's entertaining, but he's also really good.

Really good, and more than a little crazy, whether it was the spinning in his chair (like a kid in a luncheonette, Gary said in one of many great lines) or fretting about his fading red marker. After tonight's thoroughly entertaining, slightly edge-of-the-seat performance, I'm fascinated to hear what Keith will bring to a 12:45 matinee. Will SNY producers have an intern with a blowgun at the ready? (Marlin Perkins voice: “My assistant Jim will now attempt to take down the crazed color commentator….”) In 12 hours we'll find out.

15 comments to Ya Gotta Win the Ones Somebody's Gotta Win

  • Anonymous

    I'm thinkin' Little Paulie Lo Duca not only deserves his run of the Good Humor freezer, but that he gets to ride the bike after two homers and seven ribbies.
    What's wrong with Keith anyway? He was so bloody intense as a player. Now we find out that the other 140 or so hours of the week he was a total goofball. Without four at-bats and nine defensive innings, there's nothing to hold him back anymore.

  • Anonymous

    I was just about to mention Captain Red A** and his right to the ice-cream… and I'm OH so glad you mentioned Keith. He's always hide-under-the-bed-until-he-shuts-up embarrassing, but tonight… WTF?!
    The Coutlangus thing the other night had me actually praying for them to cut his mike. And yeah, Gary is no help.

  • Anonymous

    how can anyone not like hernandez as a broadcaster? he's funny, he's off the wall, but he's also attentive — if he's repetitive about the importance of the level swing, maybe it's because hitting can be that simple — and crucially, he's never self-promotional. he's our generation's ralph kiner.
    in no small way, the mets broadcasting team is as emblematic of the club as the one down on the field. i really get a kick out of keith and ron and gary. along with the radio crew, they are vastly more professional and enjoyable company than what that bronx group foists upon its public.
    another thing i'll cop to on wednesday confession: i pull for all the lads on the squad, but when shawn green's at the plate, i pull a little more.
    to me, his is one of this season's lesser stories, but compelling anyway: now a spent force in what is likely his last year as a daily player (indeed, he's lost that job), green came into '07 really intent on reviving his swing and started the season sharply. then, between the team head shave that left him looking like gomer pyle and the first dl-ing of his career, he lost his stroke and became as bad as his toughest critics labelled him. now, he's finding his way as a replacement player, and turning his at-bats into meaningful ones again.
    right field, jewish, runs with piano on back…doncha get it? if keith is kiner, then green is art shamsky, 2.0.

  • Anonymous

    Last night was probably the first time in sports history that an announcing crew was discussing Beowulf in the booth – I was cracking up over that!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, and Gary brought it up because somebody texted him during the game. Beautiful.
    Tim McCarver actually compared Game Six in Houston, while it was in progress, to Beowulf…because it was an epic, he said.

  • Anonymous

    I expected more of a circa-1985 McCarver. We're getting a 21st-century Rizzuto, a PG-13 one at that. It's not terrible, it's just not what I thought we were in for. Gary does like to egg him on, doesn't he?

  • Anonymous

    they remind me of my kids, who get along great, but when one is bored, he or she can usually find amusement in driving the other crazy.

  • Anonymous

    I can only watch the Amazins on MLB.tv, and they only run the home team announcers there, so I'm missing Keith's “Coutlangus” comments. As the ladies of the greater Metropolitan NY area surely are aware, at least Keith knows why “Coutlangus” sounds funny.

  • Anonymous

    Runs with a piano on his back which is why I was stunned when Gary noted Shawn's steal of second was his 10th stolen base of the year.
    Can that be right?

  • Anonymous

    Well said, DMG. I thought the Coutlangus exchange was amusing, and I love Keith, whether he's being insightful or merely goofy. But there's definitely a certain amount of worry that he'll flame out in some spectacular way.

  • Anonymous

    Zisk Online monitors “Crazy Keith” like they're doing opposition research. It's beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    Zisk Online is a great repository of Crazy Keithiness.

  • Anonymous

    I too am on MLB.tv and thus was spared didn't get to hear the SNY broadcast. Did Keith (with Gary abetting) really sit there and make Beavis and Butthead-style jokes about Jon Coatlangus's name?? Yeah, I'll bet Coatlangus hasn't heard those ever. (hard eyeball roll) I always had a feeling Keith's emotional maturity stalled somewhere around the sixth grade; this just confirms it.

  • Anonymous

    If Keith has an off-switch, I wish someone would find it. SOON. I'm nearing the end of my rapidly-fraying patience with him.
    Howie and Ronnie rule.

  • Anonymous

    Gary snarked that you have to be real careful when pronouncing that name. Keith said “yeah, it's a real tongue-tier…” Both stifled childish giggles as they agreed to move on. I felt like I was the only female at a frat party… which is what both attending the games and watching the telecasts increasingly feels like. Sad.