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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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When I Find Myself in Times of Trouble, R.A. Dickey Comes to Me

When the Mets score eight to win by eight and give me my personal-record eighth victory in a row, you know what that means?

I don’t know. But it sure feels good. I’ll take serene eights over the crazy kind any day.

When last we saw the Phillies in New York, they were no help whatsoever, ich bin eining us against each other en route to shoving us into yet another November of discontent. And the last time we saw them in our neck of the woods, we were subject to those saddest of possible words: Bruntlett to Bruntlett to Bruntlett.

Feh on 2009. Everything sucked then. Everything’s great now. Great may sound like an overstatement for a team that just reached .500 for the first time in ten games, but I’m going with the feel, and there’s a feel in the air that it’s fun to be a Mets fan until it isn’t. That moment could come any second, so let’s just let it be.

Hey, has it really been only ten games since we owned as many wins as losses? Is that all? Seems like we were buried about a hundred below and a thousand out as recently as the last road trip, but you inject an R.A. Dickey into your life, everything looks better. The whole year looks better. Goodness knows the rotation has a certain spin only an effective knuckleballer can put on it.

This is no average knuckleballer, this R.A. Dickey. This guy is fearless. We know he’s ligamentless. We know he doesn’t mind sacrificing a non-pitching elbow as necessary, per Ryan Howard’s hot liner that never saw the outfield. That may be the best sacrifice executed under the auspices of Jerry Manuel since Spring Training.

Do we have problems? No, not tonight, not after a rousing 8-0 win when the weather was perfect, the Blue Point Toasted Lager was sublime and my wife made another unlikely Tuesday appearance at Citi Field (we were there along with dozens of her colleagues…best workplace outing ever). There were Phillies fans in attendance, but the Fightin’ was sapped out of them early and nobody sitting anywhere near us in red could even work up a good vomit.

And how about that Raul Valdes? Not to jump around, but that guy is to relieving what R.A. Dickey is to starting, which is to say excellent. Wayne Hagin mentioned something about 16 starts between John Maine and Oliver Perez and one win registered by the two of them. Well, nine innings Tuesday night between R.A. Dickey and Raul Valdes and the Phillies still haven’t scored. And I still haven’t lost, as a spectator, since the grim late afternoon reaping of Willie Harris. That seems longer than 6½ weeks ago.

Eight in a row. I’ve never been in on eight wins in a row in my life, a life which now spans 461 games and two home ballparks. I’ve gotten comfy at Citi Field. Maybe it’s the Blue Point Toasted Lager, available only from the Catch of the Day stand (all Met dingers, not that we seem to generate them all that often, need henceforth be known as Blue Point Blasts). Maybe it’s that Stephanie, who likes a good walk the way Oliver Perez can create a bad one, has room to roam. “You want me to get you that Blue Point?” she asked as she and one of her social worker friends got up to amble a middle inning away.

Why yes, I would like that very much.

Sure enough, my wife came back with the beer (a phrase I’ve never written, said or thought in my generally temperate life), I flagged down a pretzel vendor and the rest was a Met run here, a Met run there, the Phillies and their unwelcome battalion of would-be vomiters left scoreless and silent. Let ’em choke on our eight runs, our thirteen hits, our delicious Long Island microbrew and our pitchers nobody was counting on when the season began. Let the Mets continue to peck away in Build-A-Run Workshop fashion at opposing pitchers whose careers began when Reagan was president, the first Cuomo was governor, Koch was mayor and our first baseman wasn’t quite yet an embryo. Let Darryl Strawberry, who always hustled and never dogged it (ahem), preach the Strawberry Way anytime, anywhere, to any current Met he likes. Let Frankie Rodriguez remind Randy Niemann which ’86 Met did the least and celebrated the most. Let John Maine deny his pitching arm is a problem except when he tries to pitch.

The Mets have just taken three straight from last year’s World Series. The Mets have just given me eight consecutive in-person wins. The Mets have Blue Point Toasted Lager. The Mets have R.A. Dickey. The Mets have Raul Valdes. The Mets have it goin’ on at least until the next torrent of sniping, aching and whatever usually goes wrong with them.

Let it be.

20 comments to When I Find Myself in Times of Trouble, R.A. Dickey Comes to Me

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Greg Prince. Greg Prince said: When I find myself in times of trouble, R.A. Dickey comes to me. #Mets http://wp.me/pKvXu-1tf [...]

  • Andee

    This guy is fearless. We know he’s ligamentless.

    We have our very own Freak! Take that, Tim Lincecum!

    I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, Maine and Perez can sit ‘n’ spin eternally. I’ll take my chances with Dickey and Taks on the back end for now. At least Dickey is guaranteed to be a conversation piece.

    Also, this is a very, very soft division. Personally I think it’s wide open and anyone can take it, especially since the Phillies’ extraordinary good luck in avoiding serious injuries seems to have run out on them.

    I had to love the game-summary heading on The Good Phight, though: “Knuckle Sandwich.”

    But poor Figgy. Giving up an RBI double to Valdez? Do pitchers even bat for themselves in the Mexican Leagues?

  • NostraDennis

    David Cone had the Cone-Heads. I propose that all fans of R.A. be known as the Knuckle-Heads. The alternative would be, well, kind of smarmy.

  • Ken K.

    <>

    What usually goes wrong is they go back on the road……

  • Great article, true passion of a mets fan and a multiple references to Blue Point Toasted Lager is a double win in my book. Keep up the good work

  • Matt from Sunnyside

    There were Phillies fans in attendance, but the Fightin’ was sapped out of them early and nobody sitting anywhere near us in red could even work up a good vomit.

    A friend of mine from Baltimore e-mailed me that story and said “I would call this a new low point for Phillies fandom, but no one got killed.”

  • Inside Pitcher

    Brilliant title!

  • Lenny65

    During spring training I was screaming about how keeping Perez and Maine in the rotation was both stupid and futile. It’s been very, very well-established that those two have zero upside while someone…ANYONE…else might have a little. I mean what was there to lose? It’s not as if anyone else could possibly be any worse, so you lose nothing by taking the chance. Sure enough, it turns out that “anyone” is indeed a better option. Way better, in fact. Does Maine stay in the game after getting hit in the arm by a batted ball? Not bloody likely.

    It’s like trading in a rusty old ’74 Pinto for a slightly less rusty ’99 Escort. It’s not a huge upgrade, but the Escort is more likely to get you where you’re going, you know?

    Attention Omar & Jerry: it can apply to position players too. Note the breath of life Ike Davis breathed into this team when it was obvious Mike Jacobs was the equivalent of a life-sized cardboard cut-out of himself. Stocking the bench with a bunch of 35 year old guys making their last stop before pension-time may be Omar’s way but I prefer guys with some upside as opposed to guys who are clearly running on fumes. If given the choice, I’ll take a guy with plenty to prove over the guy who’s running out the clock, every time (lookin’ at you, GMJ & Fernando).

  • Joe D.

    “End of April: Rain-shortened game vs. Braves, first game of twinbill vs. Dodgers. Last time with 9-inning affairs: End of July 2009 vs. Rockies.

    Helpful information, courtesy of Mets PR.”

    Greg, assume you were at the game and missed Gary Cohen finish up the broadcast with that information before the P.R. people made the phone calls and got out the press releases.

  • CharlieH

    Howcum everytime I hear Takahashi’s name, I get this image of Pat Morita trying to teach Richie & Potsy judo at Arnold’s?

  • [...] Takahashi coming in a universal sense, but their shutouts over the Phillies on the last homestand, 8-0 and 5-0, respectively, felt pretty much in the bag all the way (dude). Though the final score was [...]