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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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Hey, That's Our Guy

If you've explored the upper reaches of your digital cable or satellite packages, you may have come across the test airing of the MLB Network. It's debuting in earnest New Year's Day, which is excellent counterprogramming against all that inane college football. We know the only bowl game on which to be truly Bullish is the not-at-all embarrassingly named magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl, kicking off this Saturday at 4:30 P.M. on ESPN2. USF is an 11½-point favorite…to beat the traffic from Tampa, presumably. But never mind that right now.

All MLBN has shown to this point as it gives a transponders and whatnot a dry run is the 2004 World Series film (with a generous dose of 2004 ALCS, always delightful viewing); the 2005 World Series film (an underrated affair despite it being a sweep); one long montage of great moments; and a slew of promotional spots wherein the images of players past and present assault you at lightning speed.

There are a couple of Mets in Met uniforms, which is of course uplifting as hell in the third week of December. There are too many shots of Phillies, which is of course dismaying as hell any week in any month. But then there is the final player pictured, throwing a pitch and punctuating emphatically the highlights. He's not wearing a Mets uniform, but he is a Met. He's Francisco Rodriguez.

The guy who ends the spot is a relief pitcher, chosen to represent all relief pitchers…chosen to represent all closers…chosen to represent what it means to wind down a game successfully and definitively. And that relief pitcher, that closer, is a New York Met.

He's dressed as an Angel, but that's a mere technicality. We, the home office of bullpen apoplexy, now model excellence in the field. We have K-Rod. It is exciting to consider. We have J.J., for that matter. I find that exciting as I consider it. I am hoping for a couple more exciting arms in their department so my tentative (if not exactly contemporary) nickname for this presumably rehabilitated crew, Frankie & The Knockouts, can become operational, sweetheart.

The implication is they will be relievers who knock out the opposition, not relief pitchers who are knocked out by the opposition. We tried that formula a lot in the latter stages of 2008. It didn't work.

I've never been enthused in advance about a Mets bullpen. We've had some good ones gel, but those came together by happenstance and sampling. I wasn't sitting and ruminating ten years ago about how I couldn't wait for Dennis Cook and Turk Wendell to hand the ball to Armando Benitez so he could set it up for John Franco even if that turned out to be a darn good pen. Maybe it's because the Mets have, to date, done nothing to improve anything else about their flawed team that I'm anxious to get to the ends of the games and see these stress-tested late-inning guys do their highly compensated thing.

In Mets garb, naturally.

5 comments to Hey, That's Our Guy

  • Anonymous

    Not to be missed: The New York Times' article about J.J. Putz's introduction, which is also the best NYT parody I've read in years.
    There's its for-the-hypothetical-reader-in-Borneo explanation of the problem (“putz” is vulgar Yiddish slang for “penis,” donchaknow — I found the “vulgar” particularly helpful); the academic trotted out to make sense of it (Yiddish words lose their power in English — thanks Doc!); the soberly presented numbers (NY has most of the country's Yiddish speakers, compared to like nobody in Washington State — that's from the US census, in case you couldn't take it on simple faith); the just-arrived-in-flying-saucer revelation that OTHER NY PAPERS USE PUNS IN HEADLINES; the soupcon of outdated local politics (D'Amato used the term a while back, that rascal); and the unintentionally hilarious stab at media criticism, with quotes from the Daily News and Post delivered after a typically stentorian introduction. (“That debate has risen again in some quarters, and is sure to grow as the baseball season approaches.”)
    Putz himself gets off the best line, happily unadorned with demographics about Yiddish speakers in his native Michigan: “Dude, I was bigger than everybody in high school.”
    Not included in article: Photo of sports editors at the Daily News and Post rolling their eyes that the NYT is on the phone wanting to talk about penises.

  • Anonymous

    Frankie & the Knockouts! Nice.
    I was thinking the “controversy” over whether Putz stays in No. 40 or goes to his customary 20 really doesn't matter to the Mets in that nobody's going to go buy a jersey that says PUTZ on it anyhow.

  • Anonymous

    “Sticks and stones” could be set back twenty years by the presence of Putz in New York.

  • Anonymous

    I don't know about that. I told my husband that the next time he makes me angry, I'm buying him a Putz shirt and making him wear it. :)

  • Anonymous

    We found the guy in our neighborhood wearing the “Wang” jersey pretty hilarious. Bad enough you buy a Yankee jersey with a name on it… you pick that one?