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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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Rather Anticlimactic

Sip it, savor it, cup it, photostat it, underline it in red, press it in a book, put it in an album, hang it on the wall, Dan Rather might have reported — the Mets won all three games they played against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in 2008. Yet somehow it came to pass that on the very day our beloved New York Mets crushed the despised New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium and swept, in however delayed a fashion, their entire season’s slate of games in The House That Uncouth Built, I concluded the night more anguished than ebullient.

Timing is everything.

No denying the beauty and wonder of the afternoon game nor the enormous accomplishment inherent, considering the ten previous attempts since the inauguration of Interleague play, in Metaphorically blowing up Monument Park not once, not twice but thrice in the same year, the third time with an offensive explosion as astounding as they come. It took eleven tries to go three-and-oh on the wrong side of the Triborough, but it happened; it happened at the end of a week that began as Mariner mulch and it happened at the beginning of a day no Mets fan with any sense of history could have anticipated with anything but pathos. The two-ballpark precedent was too strong to ignore, too daunting to embrace and too horrible to contemplate. But the first half of the obstacle course was nothing more than a child’s jungle gym, Carlos Delgado rising up as the righteous kid who put a stop to all the bullying at that playground your mother warned you against wandering into.

Delightful. Absolutely delightful it was to sit on a Long Island Rail Road train en route to a Mets game listening to a Mets game, one whose pinball score was soaring to TILT. Delgado hit another homer? Delgado set an RBI record? Delgado, for the moment, was no longer playing like Delgado? Let me emit satisfied noises from under my earbuds. Let me smile and clap without outward elaboration. Let me make sure to catch several Yankees fans’ eyes with my expressions of satisfaction. Let me make sure to start spreading the news, I’m leaving the train.

“Hey,” I helpfully related with a hearty pat on the shoulder to a total stranger at Woodside, “fifteen-five!”

“Yeah, I know. But thanks!”

The 7 from Woodside was just as nice. An express came immediately and it wasn’t overly crowded. I could stand by a door for maximum AM reception, hear Howie Rose and Wayne Hagin charitably devote half-an-inning to their wistful memories of the doomed Yankee Stadium (funny, neither of them mentioned Mlicki). The proceedings uptown dawdled on just long enough so I could get a “put it in the books!” at the precise second I descended the final step from the back staircase that leads one onto Roosevelt Avenue and off toward sacred ground. I listened to the Mets win a game as I prepared to watch the Mets win a game.

My preparation for the nightcap was sound as it was sudden. Tickets I had no notion of holding magically appeared hours earlier, FedExed into the palms of my hands by someone looking out for my best interests. Jim and I joined forces just after six and secured Subway Series pins before they could sell out. We then beelined to the table where you trade in unwanted old caps on shiny orange Mets models. These are our annual priorities and we took care of them immediately (fretting over hats and pins…we’re like ladies shopping, I said). Through the good corporate graces of a great old friend who joined us a bit later, we had nine-inning access to the usually restricted Field Level. When you’re not down there often, it’s a culinary and souvenir wonderland. Jim had to restrain himself from purchasing a $65 bat. My gastric judgment notwithstanding, I bought from the Broadway Brew House a hot dog the approximate size and price of a Louisville Slugger, a wiener I’m still digesting as of this morning.

What the hell? Everything seemed to be going down so beautifully Friday evening. The Mets mysteriously didn’t play a loop of afternoon highlights or even post a Game One score where anybody could revel in it, but like the fellow with whom I shared bonhomie on the platform at Woodside, everybody knew what had been achieved in the Bronx. From far right field, a ripple of applause went up when the Mets’ bus pulled in to the lot behind the bullpen. The travel team is back! And they’ve got the trophy! The ripple extended around the sparsely populated ballpark as our kids, our Mets, tromped into the clubhouse to change for the nightcap. Boy, did we love our Mets.

What was not to love?

What a day it had been. What a night it would be, Pedro versus Ponson, Monumental momentum arriving in Queens with a police escort, an in-progress sunrise/sunset shutdown operation so effective it would do Derek Bell proud. It was all set up so beautifully…

Too beautifully. Pedro had nothing. Ponson had Reyes swinging at the first pitch and popping it up with the bases loaded and one out in the second, a sign as sure as any bogus vacation-ump interference call that all Subway Series day-night doubleheaders eventually run off the tracks. Sure enough, those who should have been wallowing in deserved misery were granted obnoxious salvation for Friday. We who should have been basking in the cool of the evening were suffering from a case of the cold nine-nothing sweats. As the hour neared eleven o’clock, even Jim’s vaunted impression of Walter Matthau couldn’t turn us back into the Sunshine Boys we’d been before 8:10.

You won 15-6 this afternoon? That was this afternoon. This is tonight. What have you done for us lately?

On June 27 — all of it — it should have been enough that Carlos Delgado drove in nine runs and the Mets smashed the Yankees at Yankee Stadium the way they stomped them there on May 17, savaged them there on May 18 and swept them there for 2008. It should have been enough that we won all three games we played at Yankee Stadium this year. By the end of June 27, however, it wasn’t. There was hardly enough time to sip it, savor it, cup it, photostat it, underline it in red, press it in a book, put it in an album and hang it on the wall before the split felt as if it had been spun into a loss.

I demand a recount.

5 comments to Rather Anticlimactic

  • Anonymous

    I don't get this team. I just don't get it. How is it they score 15 runs in the first game, then get shackled at the plate by Sidney Ponson? Sidney Ponson? You knock the Yankee staff all over the Bronx in the afternoon, but you can't get anything off Sidney Ponson later that night? Fatigue is not an excuse; he's the worst picture in the majors this side of Oliver Perez. This maddening inconsistency from the Mets is unbelievable. And the funny thing was that I knew that was going to happen. I saw the score from the first game and said to my wife, “Now, just you see– they'll get blown out in Game 2.” And they did. I've been a Met fan all my life, and I have never seen such a predictable bunch take the field in my orange and blue. Something's got to change, folks. This is a .500 team. They win one, they lose one. They look great one game, then awful the next. It's a miracle we're only three games out of first this morning. There's still time to shake up the roster, and I don't mean by adding Tony Armas and more retreads like Andy Phillips. Get some of the young guys up from Binghamton and give them a chance. Trade Oliver Perez for whatever you can get for him. Move Pedro to the setup role. Do something that'll really shake things up, Omar and Jerry. Come on, there's still time to fix this… somehow.

  • Anonymous

    No, I'm afraid the only way they know how to shake up the roster is by adding Tony Armas and more retreads like Andy Phillips.

  • Anonymous

    But did Pedro have nothing? It didn't seem that way…his stuff, damn it, is good. It's bizarre. Aside from the cutter (which has been mostly terrible) his other three main pitches seem fine. His velocity is pretty much back up to where it was before all the injuries. He's flashed some pretty nasty change ups and curveballs. What gives?
    Apparently he's tipping his pitches. Sure seems that way. I've never seen opposing batters look so comfortable against him. And his command, which seems to come and go as it pleases now, has regressed rather than progressed over his last few starts. Even more distressingly, he's given up hits on 0-2 pitches, balked in a run, failed to cover first on a ground ball, hit .207 batters with breaking balls–these things just don't happen to Pedro Martinez. Instead of the calm, intimidating confidence he usually exudes, he seems almost lost, often frustrated or flustered. It's unnerving.
    Used to be that Pedro's command and guile were so great that he could beat you even without his best stuff. Now, he's so out of whack that he can have his best stuff and still give up six runs. No one seems more disturbed by it than Pedro, of course. But I don't know how much more I can endure seeing him struggle to get a hold of what used to come so easily to him.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing might have been to strong a description. But not enough.

  • Anonymous

    No question about that. He might as well not have had anything, given the results.