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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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Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy

Reason 53,691 why I berate myself for listening to sports talk radio: the wet blanket hosts (you know who they are) who slap down every excited Mets caller with “don't go crazy now,” which is shorthand for you know your first-place team on the 15-4 roll isn't very good because I say it isn't very good.

To which I borrow from the advice of late Cardinal announcer Jack Buck: go crazy folks, go crazy.

If you're not enjoying your first-place Mets on their 15-4 roll, you are a little deranged. You're entitled to fret that it won't last and that they need more for the long haul and that, well, they're the Mets. I understand the impulse and I'm down with it, but honestly, to heck with that, amigos. ¡Van locas, personas! ¡Van locas!

I was going a little crazy myself at Shea this afternoon. Perhaps it was from the sleep-deprivation method of rooting that has become so familiar to me. Saturday night became Sunday morning and encompassed a long and winding road home, followed by the need to blurt out the great and terrible details, then a dozen winks, a quick shower, a peck on the cheek for the wife, a pat on the head for the cats (or did I peck the cats and pat the wife?) and back on the LIRR for more Mets. Thus, my baseball senses have been heightened and my reactions have been enhanced.

But why shouldn't they have been? Johan was pitching and for the first time in his Mets career, that meant something beyond accomplished starter keeps team in game. Johan Santana has been mostly a pleasing concept for four months. We loved the idea of getting him, we loved getting him, we looked forward to him. Then, for more than half a season, the Santana we got was akin to Tug McGraw's Peggy Lee fastball: Is that all there is? I couldn't tell whether the Mets' every-fifth-day inertia and our sour energies were letting him down or whether his ability to give up a given hit at the most suboptimal juncture was maybe, just maybe, letting us down. Either way, it was all good but not great. Where was this Johan Santana ace for the ages we kept hearing about?

Oh there he was: on the mound in the ninth, completing the first authentic complete game the Mets have banked since late '06. There he was again, belting two hits to right, even if one's fairness surprised him into a standstill. There he was before, taking a no-hitter into the fifth, efficient as IBM in its heyday.

The chants in the ninth that challenged my throat after a weekend of vocal pro-Mets, anti-Cardinal engagement were simple yet exhilarating: JO-HAN! JO-HAN! You could do it for any pitcher with two syllables, but for JO-HAN! it felt like deliverance. It's not so much the CG alone as it was the timing, a day after the night that wouldn't end, a day after the night when every reliever pitched and all could use a blow. Santana gave the Mets that. It would have been only a slightly big deal twenty years ago to throw nine. It was a huge transaction today.

Elsewhere in the Metstone galaxy of stars, Carlos Beltran began to twinkle again. I've held an article of faith about this club since 2006: if Beltran's hot, we're all on fire. Beltran was the one main Met not really joining in the parade of hits and homers since the Manuel era gained traction. But now he's hitting. And he's really, really fielding. The catch he made on Ryan Ludwick in the seventh — the one Steve Finley didn't make on Pratt in '99, the one Rick Ankiel didn't make on Tatis in the ninth Saturday night — I'm pretty certain was the best I've ever witnessed at Shea. DiamondVision chimed in with about a thousand angles immediately thereafter. They revealed Carlos made his catch with a bird floating by. A bird! And not a red one either.

Everybody hit, everybody fielded, everybody won. So when the standings were posted on the scoreboard after the final out (I don't know that I'd stuck around previously this season to watch postgame highlights), and I saw the GB column…

New York —

Philadelphia 1.5

Florida 1.5

…I went crazy folks, I went crazy. Not as crazy as the Yankees fan who (according to the sign his buddy waved) “lost a bet to a Mets fan” and paraded around in a summery gown, nor as crazy as the Missouri turnip farmer who wielded a PENDLETON 1987 placard all about before the five-run sixth exploded in his face (“WHERE'S YOUR PENDLETON NOW?” I shouted in sync with my borderline obnoxious behavior all weekend; “DIE ALREADY MOLINA!” was in heavy rotation, too), but good crazy. Just clapping and yelling and generally exuding over-the-top joy that first you wish your team would take up summertime residence in first place and then, hey, they've done it, with one of the best pitchers in the game shutting down a tough opponent, with three more batters busting fences, with every reason to laugh in the faces of those who would tell us our giddiness is unwarranted, that our enthusiasm is premature, that our craziness is crazy. (Plus I scooped up an abandoned giveaway lunchbox; whatever kid left it behind hasn't been a Mets fan as long as me and he surely hasn't been eating lunch as long as me.)

You're not going crazy over how well these Mets are playing? You're the lunatic, buddy.

12 comments to Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy

  • Anonymous

    What an awesome game. What was really spectacular was as the cheers from the crowd died down after Johan took the mound for the 9th, there was an incredibly loud crack of thunder. It was as if someone from above was applauding his presence. Ok, maybe that's a bit much, but hey, we're in first place, anything is possible!

  • Anonymous

    Not off topic completely, but Regarding the surprisinf Angel Pagan, did u happen to research the surgery for Labrum tears??…I google it and it t'would appear that the tears are very hard to identify and extraordinarily difficult to repair….the surgery is actually videod for replay on a Dr Gartman' site in the arthroscopic procedure, as opposed to the scalpel technique….quite amazing to watch really…but the point is that most people can't even raise their arms above their heads to do work even after 6 months of rehab….most likely Pagan is out for at least one year…and unfortunately there are many complications; so that most regular folks never get back their original strength and mobility

  • Anonymous

    Call me crazy Greg (most folks have), but I'm still not sold. I might go crazy on September 28th, but until then this team has a lot to prove before I'm won back. One month does not make up for an entire season of “I really don't care” playing.
    That being said, I was the only person out of a group of 32 people who went to Shea on a cruise Saturday and stayed until the end of the game at 12:10. Not because I expected a win, but because I would never leave great game like that one.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Can't help feeling crazy about this team, especially in consideration how crazy they had us the first 50 games of the season. In many ways, it's stronger than the '06 edition — Beltran, Valentin and Lo Duca had career years, our starting rotation depended upon youngsters like Pedro, El Duque, Traeschal and Gl@v#ne and no other teams were competiting wheras this year we are one of three. While similar by having holes in the corner outfield (Floyd was often injured and Green was only a stop-gap solution) we'll be alright because Church is expected to return and and Tatis (a major surprise) is not a fluke because he has hit like this in the past. True, middle relief has been both brillant and spotty but I think it won't be burnt out like '06 because we have a manager with a cooler head on his shoulders (sorry Willie) and not a Duaner Sanchez replacement who was a cast-off on steroids.
    The cameras also showed that guy roaming the stands in a dress and Mex immediately surmized he must have lost a bet. And talking about wierd dressing, I see you secured a kids giveaway without downing those knickers and holding a lollipop – way to go!

  • Anonymous

    what a game. sorry i didn't know you were there.
    took a friend from out of town to his first and last game at shea. our seats are literally at the edge of the right field loge: i looked down into the mets bullpen.
    they were actually among the best seats in the house for beltran's catch, because no camera has the shot we had: the side profile that included the part BEHIND THE WALL. his glove was about two-thirds above the wall and was pulled backward by the velocity of the ball snagging in his mitt. i'm just as impressed that he was able to keep the mitt shut and lock the ball safely within, as endy had in 06.
    yes, it's easily the best catch I've seen while in attendance at shea. but that's only, what, 41 years?
    other highlights: we could laugh through it, but wasn't santana giving up a homerun on the very next pitch a buzzkiller? shoot, we hadn't finished chanting CAR-LOS BEL-TRAN, and pujols took him deep, as if johan really wanted to give up a dinger.
    everybody contributed — delgado, reyes, wright, tatis, it goes on — making it as festive as the best days of 06. johan finishing the game was essential, and they didn't have anyone warming up at the start of the ninth. only when he gave up the leadoff single, did carlos muniz start loosening, joined later in the inning by schoenweis. (earlier wagner and a goggleless sanchez did the slightest bit of loosening up — maybe just to test their arm strength.)
    as johan closed out the game, i waved to muniz just thumbs-up, and he threw me his baseball. i have never gotten one at the park before. on top of everything else, it's got the shea stadium seal on it.
    that makes up for the lack of lunchbox. shea wouldn't be shea without its dmv mentality. it didn't matter i had pictures of my kids, away for the summer, to show the staffers handing them out. they wouldn't give me one. the ball? MUCH better.

  • Anonymous

    Now that's what I call having a ball!

  • Anonymous

    That thundercrack came about six seconds after I secured the lunchbox. The promotional gods, I guessed, must be angry.

  • Anonymous

    I'm certainly enjoying this run, though cautiously. This run reminds me of why I got my Mets tattoo in 2001: they took a miserable, garbage season and made it fun–if only for a while.
    As it stands I don't know which wagon to jump on: “this can't last” or “every year there's some team everyone says 'can't last' that does last.”

  • Anonymous

    OMG. I spent Saturday seething at the sorority girls from St. Louis, bouffant hairdos and designer jeans and expensive cell phones, who ignored the game except when “Yadi!!” was at bat.
    “DIE A PAINFUL DEATH, MOLINA” I finally yelled. In Section 8, Upper Reserved, this is fairly tame.
    But I think I shocked the Twins fan who came with me.
    I feel better now reading this.

  • Anonymous

    Over by me, there was an actual batchelorette party going on.
    3 or 4 women in black cmisoles embaloned “Team Vanessa” and one blonde in a pink one that read simply “Bride.”
    Helluva place for a batchelorette party…

  • Anonymous

    I should add that was Saturday night, not yesterday…

  • Anonymous

    Bullpen? We don' need no stinkin' bullpen!