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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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Spiteful Baseball Gods Can't Handle Great Broadcasting

I can’t get enough of Gary Cohen in the course of a game. Except for when I know he shouldn’t have just said what he just said.

Example one from Monday night: Oliver Perez is cruising along, as calm as the Ohio River. It’s the top of the fifth, game knotted at one. Ollie is being not just Good Ollie but, after some choppiness in the first couple of innings, Efficient Ollie. The only element that can disturb Ollie’s rhythm is explicitly acknowledging what an unusually low pitch count Ollie has registered thus far.

That’s exactly what Gary does as the fifth begins. So what happens? The baseball gods (who listen to Gary, too, because they know quality when they hear it) mess with Ollie and he goes to three-and-two before striking out Ramon Hernandez. OK, I think, it’s an out. A little more effort than I would have liked, but nobody’s on, and the pitcher, Mike Leake, is coming up.

Nine pitches later, the pitcher, Mike Leake, has walked. The fabulously economical pitch count that was languishing in the low 50s after four innings is now up on its feet and climbing. Where Ollie’s pitches climb, trouble is sure to follow. Granted, there wasn’t all that much immediate damage — just one pesky go-ahead run — but Ollie, after being lauded by Gary for not throwing too many pitches, had to labor through a 38-pitch fifth and was suddenly pushing 90 for the night.

I think we’d all agree that Oliver Perez doesn’t need much of a nudge to throw too many pitches. But he was nudged…which is why I cringed. “Don’t mention how well he’s doing! He’s going to stop doing well!”

And he did.

Fast-forward to the eleventh. Ollie, who left after six innings and (ahem) 108 pitches, gave way to excellent relief: Mejia to Nieve to Feliciano to keep matters tied at two. Sadly, the Reds’ pen has been just as ungenerous to Met hitters. That’s why we’re still playing. The new Met pitcher is Manny Acosta. One out in, Laynce Nix is up as a pinch-hitter. Not really the guy Dusty Baker would want up here, Gary asserts. Too bad, for Dusty, that he already used Jay Bruce in a similar situation and that he’s not still in the game.

Yes, too bad for Dusty. Except Dusty is jumping up and down not a minute later when Nix’s fly to right carries no more than two rows into the stands and the Mets have lost 3-2, seconds after I cried in anguish to the television, “NO, don’t say that about Laynce Nix!”

Let’s be clear: Gary Cohen is doing his job, a job he does better than anyone on the planet. But once or twice a game (some games, not all games) he identifies a situation or trend that appears, on the surface, legitimately positive for the Mets or negative for their opponents and I shudder because, on some intrinsic level, I know he has reversed it.

Gary Cohen has more power than even Laynce Nix when it comes to game-changing. I don’t think he’s aware of it. He’s reporting and analyzing. It’s what he’s supposed to do. It’s why there are cobwebs on my living room radio. Since Gary left WFAN for SNY in 2006, I stick to television on non-Fox, non-ESPN occasions as long as the remote is accessible. But once in a while, probably because the baseball gods are jealous that Gary’s better at what he does than they are at what they do, he is compelled to say something perfectly logical that will be proven inoperative in a matter of pitches. Ollie Perez will stop being efficient. Dusty Baker will not regret having already used Jay Bruce. The Mets will lose.

It’s not the announcer’s fault. It’s mine for noticing.

15 comments to Spiteful Baseball Gods Can’t Handle Great Broadcasting

  • The only thing I don’t like about Gary Cohen is that he took the greatest second baseman the Mets have ever had (and are likely to have for the next 10 years), and pronounced his name “Al-FAWWWWN-zo” instead of “Al-FON-zo.” That got on my nerves.

    But apparently, Cohen has been struck by The Curse of Kay: Whenever Michael Kay mentions a stat or a trend on a Yankee broadcast, inevitably, something immediately happens to contradict it. He’ll say that the current batter is hitting .143 lifetime against the current pitcher, with no RBIs, and the next thing you know said pitcher has whiplash from watching a home run sail into the right-field stands. So Cohen should take note of this Curse and try to avoid it from here on out.

  • […] Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing has a unique take on last night’s Mets loss. He blames spiteful baseball gods who can’t handle great broadcasting. Gary Cohen has more power than even Laynce Nix when it comes to game-changing. I don’t think […]

  • Paul

    Well said! I had the same thought both times I heard Gary’s comments. You’d think after almost 50 years as a fan, he’d know better.

  • CharlieH

    OK, first of all, Laynce Nix? Get the Y outta here and spell your first name correctly, for chrissakes.

    And second of all, Laynce Nix?

    Laynce FUCKING Nix?

    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

    LAYNCE (LuisAguayoWillieRandolphWillieHarris) NIX?

    Also, why the hell can’t we have a for-real bench, with names like Carter, Martinez, Evans or Tejada on it?

    GrrrrrrrrrVentVentVentVent…

  • Joe D.

    Don’t blame Gary Cohen, blame the schedule maker. Nix’s home run would have been nix had the game been played at Citi Field.

    • I wonder if we factor out all the balls that leave the newly built bandboxes and all the balls that stay inside our own canyon of zeroes if it all essentially would add up to as many runs that were scored during the era of sweet, sweet symmetry.

      • Joe D.

        Greg,

        Because our staff is made up more of fly ball pitchers I honestly believe Citi Field favors them much more than it hurts our hitters and that those bandboxes on the road hurts our pitching staff more than they favor our hitters.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Dan Resnick, AJ Whistler, Emily Babcock, Greg Prince and others. Greg Prince said: Spiteful baseball gods can't handle Gary Cohen's brilliance. #Mets http://wp.me/pKvXu-1q9 […]

  • March'62

    C’mon guys. The baseball gods are listening to Gary Cohen? That’s so ridiculous. But what is real is that there are obviously little gnomes that burrow under the turf at ballparks across the nation, lowering the batters box when Met batters are hitting with men on third base and less than two out, forcing them to pop the damn ball up in the damn infield. I mean why do scrubbs like Randy Winn hit game-winning 3-run home runs and Laynce Bonds, I mean Nix, hit walk off home runs and we can’t have our starting catcher hit a lazy fly ball to the freaking outfield when we really need it? I think we need a shutout tonight. Who’s on the hill? Oh crap!!!!

  • Chris

    I’ve definitely felt the same way when things go wrong right after Gary speaks.

    At the same time, though, I loved his “one swing of that bat” line before Beltran beat the Cardinals in that amazing regular season game.

    • A little prescience can be a good thing. My wife had gone to bed about one minute before that homer. I screamed and hollered and whooped it up in general, and then ran into the bedroom to report what had happened.

      “I heard,” she replied.