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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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Soothing the Inner Lo Duca

Turns out the Mets have guys who play and guys who pitch when Pedro Martinez is otherwise engaged. They're not so bad.

Season's back on, one supposes. Might as well put this .667 winning percentage and our remaining 159 games to good use. Get well, Pedro. See you when we see you, whenever they say that is plus however long it will actually be.

When you win by 13 runs — and we can say that as if it happens regularly because two of the Mets' last three wins have been thirteen-zip teal whitewashes if you don't gag at the thought of including the final weekend of 2007 — you have to dig pretty hard to find something to complain about…unless terrible umpiring is in your midst. Then it's easy.

Beltran's fifth-inning home run that was a double but was really a home run was a lot easier call with the benefit of replay than it was in real time, I'll grant the boys in blue that. But you called it right once, there was ample reason to not overturn it, the Marlins didn't seem to be arguing all that strenuously, so what the fudge? You have a Helsinki arms agreement conference and you overturn? You decide Beltran hit a double suddenly? You take a run off the board?

How do players not all act like Paul Lo Duca in that situation? Maybe it's because they're not all juiced like Paulie allegedly was at times, but still. When I saw mild-mannered Carlos Beltran and calm and reasonable Willie Randolph gentlemanly accept the revised and wrong ruling, I was ready to go Lo Duca on umpire Rick Reed's ass. Just on principle, mind you. It changed the score from 6-0 to 5-0, which is a rare baseball occurrence (I didn't know you could lose yardage in this sport), but even that wasn't the point. The point was you bastards had it right and you went out of your way to make it wrong.

I was ready to jump through the TV and strangle whomever's windpipe would give me satisfaction. That's when I marveled that more athletes don't do that, that more athletes don't take the Lo Duca route. If I had hit a handsome home run, I would want credit for it. I would not look kindly upon being called back from the adulation of my teammates in the dugout to have to stand on second while Carlos Delgado did not drive me in. I would thirst for justice.

When you wonder why ballplayers make so much money, I think much of it is for achieving an exalted mental state that keeps them from assaulting the necessary authority figures who grow worse at their jobs year after year. I salute Carlos Beltran for his self-control now much as I steamed at it last night. And I would suggest the Mets put someone like me on the bench to emerge raging mad at the next atrocious call so I and not and not one of their useful players can be ejected. Every team should have one. Call him the Designated Jerk. He gets thrown out, he gets suspended, he gets expelled, no problem. He's just the Designated Jerk. You can always find another one.

Though it goes against all my post-2007 impulses (and we are, as Mets fans, living in a post-2007 world), but the run that was removed didn't really worry me in terms of the outcome even if you can never be certain and all that. The Mets were not fighting in their weight class in this series, which, along with the tiny reality that it's only three games, makes it difficult to assess if the Mets are truly a .667 team, if Ryan Church is really a .385 hitter, if David Wright is going to steal MVP votes from Angel Pagan, if Ollie Perez will unanimously win the newly named Ollie Perez Award. That's the kind of stuff you can't seriously get a handle on until you've played a fifth, maybe a sixth game.

These Marlins weren't ready for prime time, or even the 4:30 start on Monday. That the Mets didn't sweep them is caution enough against not taking them seriously. We've gone into the two previous seasons with a bushel of dates versus teams that the experts deemed 1962 Mets in waiting. The '06 Marlins straightened up and went 78-84. The '07 Nationals stirred in the second half, managed to go 73-89 and won five of six in September versus a club that was lounging in first place. The '08 Marlins may suck at times but they will find ways to unsuck when we don't need them to. Thus, when Angel tagged up in the ninth to make it 13-0, I didn't want to hear word one about unwritten rules and rubbing it in. The Mets need to rub like there's no tomorrow and score as many runs as they possibly can. If you want to be a heavyweight, keep pounding.

They're off to a good start in that respect.

So was WFAN's broadcast last night. You know that thump-thump-thump montage of highlights they play as the introduction to every game, what is known in the industry as the rollup? Usually it's five clips from five slightly memorable games from the current season or, as it was on Opening Day, last season? Last night, expecting nothing special, I was blown away:

• Curt Gowdy called the final out of the 1969 World Series

• Lindsay Nelson described the jubilant mob scene at the end of the 1973 playoffs

• Bob Murphy announced the Mets were champions of the world in 1986

• Gary Cohen tracked the fly ball into Timo Perez's glove that clinched the 2000 pennant

• Howie Rose spontaneously combusted when David Wright drove in the winning run against the Yankees at Shea in 2006: “Put THAT in your books!”

The last time I was as unable to speak was when Endy Chavez climbed a fence against the Cardinals. It was as breathtaking as it was chilling and it was a perfect way to open a road game in Shea's final season (all of the aforementioned happened in Queens). I hope we hear more monumental moments from the past in that slot, just as I hope we hear great highlights from 2008…and that those are suitable for replaying in 2009 and beyond, too.

13 comments to Soothing the Inner Lo Duca

  • Anonymous

    I've gotta go listen to that WFAN roll up!
    The boys in blue and orange certainly did better than the boys in blue, this is true. I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for the boys in teal though. This is going to be a long year for them. I mean, they have no pitching. None. It's kind of incredible.

  • Anonymous

    I would have reacted much like Carlos did. Me going ballistic doesn't include yelling and screaming and throwing things. I usually get quieter as I get angrier. When I'm just staring at you, and calmly saying “just… go… away,” that's how you know I'm about as angry at you as it's possible to be. And when something goes horribly wrong in baseball, I'm likely to just sit there and stare at it, shaking my head. (Something goes right, however, and I'm a raving, shouting, singing, dancing, jumping, butt-bumping, high-fiving loon. Even at home alone.) The only baseball injustices that make me raise my voice in anger are a) a good pitch not called a strike/crappy pitch called a strike, and b) someone I hate hitting a homer against someone I love (and right now, Geoff F**king Blum, THIS MEANS YOU).
    Oh, but I LOVE the Designated Jerk idea. It kind of works in hockey. The Designated Jerk gets to beat the crap out of someone for no real reason, then he just has to sit in the corner for a few minutes to think about what he's done. We can set up a little penalty box in every dugout.
    But like hockey's, our Designated Jerk should also get a stick. A sharpened one. The Yankees' Designated Jerk had one, didn't he?

  • Anonymous

    Do not, I repeat, NOT ever feel sorry for the Fish. There's nothing remotely cute or charming about them. They'll kill you as soon as look at you. Be ever-vigilant.

  • Anonymous

    I'm surprised Big Dave's absurd catch/throw in the 6th didn't get a mention. I know it's same old Dave (making the hard plays, botching the easy ones), but c'mon… that play was friggin ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    Great play. Remind me of it next time an easy one goes awry. He did seem to be channeling his inner Ventura with that one.

  • Anonymous

    The Missus asked me why I was still watching such a blowout in the ninth. I used that play as Exhibit A: you never know what you might miss. Besides, I've been waiting for baseball for five months!

  • Anonymous

    Come to think of it, I would love to be a Designated Jerk. I can't hit a curveball for the life of me, but I can sure get mad at umpires.
    There are all sorts of amateur DJs at Shea all the time, in fact. And they ain't spinning records.

  • Anonymous

    Nick Punto of the Twins made one of the most ridiculous plays I've ever seen last night. I hope it made the highlights, 'cause it was sick. Maddux made a great diving play last night too.

  • Anonymous

    I sit in a whole section of 'em, alas.
    And Laurie's right, they've had guys like that on NHL rosters for years. My favorite was always Nicky Fotiu.

  • Anonymous

    Nicky! The best. And not for nothing: Fotiu was the first player in NHL history from Staten Island. He'd have that Rick Reed character straightened out in a heartbeat. I think he's coaching up in Hartford or someplace, maybe we can borrow him after hockey season ends,

  • Anonymous

    Nick Fotiu RULED!!! He wasn't a sick, sadistic freak like Dave Schultz, Tiger Williams, Bobby Clarke, Terry O'Reilly et al., though. But boy, did he ever get the job done. Anyone would step out of line and we'd start the chant… We Want Nick! We Want Nick! For such a sweet guy, he could be terrifying when he dropped those gloves.

  • Anonymous

    I actually saw somebody in a FOTIU 22 sweater heading up the steps at my LIRR station the other night, presumably for a Rangers game. Or just to bust some heads. Or probably both.

  • Anonymous

    NOOOOOO!! That's just awesome. He was one of those guys who could just do no wrong with us. And he was so great to all of us. The scramble to get down to the glass at the end of the pregame skate was hilarious… I got one of his famous pucks once. :-)