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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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R.A. Dickey Is a Gunslinger

I got a story I really wanna tell
About R.A. Dickey at the O-K Corral
Now R.A. Dickey didn’t stand no mess
He wore a gun on his hip and a rose on his chest
R.A. Dickey’s a gunslinger (yeah, uh-huh, he must be)
R.A. Dickey’s a gunslinger (yeah, uh-huh, sho nuff)

Apologies to Bo Diddley, but too late: I repurposed that for our intrepid knuckleballer  weeks ago, and have since expanded it to include any Met or related figure who does something worthwhile, to the (waning) amusement of my son and the (waxing) annoyance of my wife. David Wright is a GUNSLINGER. Jose Reyes is a GUNSLINGER. Ike Davis is a GUNSLINGER. Gary Cohen is a GUNSLINGER. Mr. Met is a GUNSLINGER. It’s fun the first time you do it, stupid the next nine or 10 times, and then fun again after that, so straight on to infinity.

These are the kind of goofball things you do when you’re in one of those marvelous I’m happy/My team is playing well virtuous circles, bits of doggerel you use to punctuate good moments and stick with because they seem to be working and who knows, maybe your doing them is adding to the luck. (Jason Fry is a GUNSLINGER! Hey, why not?) After that brief hiccup against the vile Yankees, it’s been back to business against the Tigers, who have looked mildly befuddled, and perhaps not just because they’re busy wondering what on earth they have to do with the New York Mets. There was poor Jay Sborz last night, brought into a second-and-third-with-nobody-out situation that could make anyone short of breath, only it was his major-league debut and it was a disaster. There was Phil Coke tonight, looking very 70s porn star with his orange facial hair, baffling Ike Davis for two strikes but then throwing one that got too much plate, allowing Ike to extend his long arms and whip it into right-center for breathing room. There were the rest of the Tigers watching Jose Reyes cause trouble all over the bases. Gunslingers everywhere!

And there was Dickey, spotless except for whatever he did to be denied a shot at the complete game. (A knuckleballer can’t throw more than 97 pitches with a five-run lead? Really, Jerry?) Dickey has climbed the optimal curve for  journeyman acquisitions: He battled hard enough to get us to root for him, became a nice surprise, became a nicer surprise and got us intrigued, and now has us expecting good things from him as a matter of course. (Other Met hurlers to go 6-0 in their first seven starts? That would be nobody.) Now, it’s up to us to remember that not even the optimal journeyman curve proceeds in an unbroken arc to Cooperstown. Dickey will lose a game one of these days. (No! Really!) He’ll serve up knuckleballs that don’t knuckle, and they’ll get hit ungodly distances, and we’ll have to remember that baseball’s like that for everybody sometimes — and even more so for knuckleballers, who can only dispatch their pitches plateward and hope they wind up somewhere safe, like paratroopers leaping out into the night.

Those of us watching on TV instead of from the seats mostly missed whatever the Mets were doing to sort of but not really make fun of Lady Gaga, a promotion I’ll choose to call drily witty instead of kind of half-assed since we’re 11 games over .500. Instead we got Jerry Seinfeld spending the middle innings in the SNY booth with Gary and Keith. Seinfeld was genial and amusing, particularly while skewering the various commercials we’re all sick of, and gently but firmly steered the conversation away from his namesake show (save for Keith’s famous cameo) and back to the Mets whenever possible. His best line, in response to a jab from Keith for coming to about 30 games a year: “How often are you here?” He reminisced about Tommie Agee as the Mets’ Willie Mays (though points to Keith for risking sacrilege by observing that Agee must have had a bad read on his famous snow-cone catch), about Gil Hodges’s tip-toe walk from the dugout to the mound, about Endy Chavez’s catch, about how much he likes the 2010 team, and he got Keith and Gary to reveal their favorite Mets and favorite Mets moments. (Gary’s were Buddy Harrelson and Strawberry hitting the Busch Stadium clock in 1985.)

I’m always startled when celebrities turn out to be Mets fans. I assume they’re Yankee fans, which is probably a combination of seeing the entire Fox fall lineup scrunched into field level at Yankee Stadium every damn October in the late 1990s and some form of subconscious class envy. I don’t pay much attention to these things (because who gives a shit), but watching the Mets every night has taught me that there’s Seinfeld, and Chris Rock, and Matthew Broderick, and back in the day there was Glenn Close and Richard Nixon, which I found baffling not for political reasons but because he was from California and 49 when the Mets came into existence, and then there was Pearl Bailey on the old highlight tapes, who I wouldn’t know was a celebrity except I knew she was a Mets fan.

I’m pretty much an anti-magnet when it comes to New York celebrity sightings, but the two that stick in mind do so because they were celebrity Mets fans. Not long after the 2000 World Series, I was walking on 18th Street and passed by a dour-looking Tim Robbins, striding along with his head down. I resisted the urge to thank him for being a Mets fan, which I like to think would have at least been novel as such street encounters go. Then there was the day, when Joshua was one or two, when a man walking towards us down around the West Village tugged slightly at the bill of his cap and gave us a small smile. I realized after a puzzled moment that it was Jon Stewart, and figured the cap tug and smile was his way of acknowledging fans and short-circuiting potential conversations so he could get on with his life. That struck me as clever but also slightly calculating: After all, he’d done it before I’d noticed who he was.

Then I realized that wasn’t it at all, and felt like an asshole. Stewart was wearing a Mets cap. I was wearing a Mets cap. Joshua was wearing a (rather small) Mets cap. He’d saluted us as comrades in an underdog endeavor. Ever since that encounter, the Daily Show host can do no wrong in my book. Because (wait for it) Jon Stewart is a GUNSLINGER.

29 comments to R.A. Dickey Is a Gunslinger

  • vertigone

    I’m not gay but I love Dickey! (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

  • Also noted: The Mets have won 11 straight with Greg Prince in the stands. Because Greg Prince is a GUNSLINGER!

    • It’s true. They have. And I am. Aren’t we all?

      • Jacobs27

        Speaking of which, Greg, I think I glimpsed you last night at the game, but you were a bit too far away to say hi. It was after the game and I caught a fragment of your conversation: you were saying “…this is probably the only game in baseball history in which 3 pitchers…”–and that was all I heard.

        Do you remember what you were saying? I’d be keen to hear the rest. It was my own Mets fan celebrity sighting for the evening.

        Keep up the good streak work!

        • March'62

          It might have been: “this is probably the only game in baseball history in which 3 pitchers of beer were consumed before the ball reached home plate”.

        • Jake,

          Good antennae! I saw a NI jersey on a Tigers fan and recalled that the night before must have been the only game in which their three pitchers whose last names began with “Ni”: Ni, Niese and Nieve.

          But I haven’t proven that.

          Sorry I missed you. Glad we both got a win.

        • Jacobs27

          Ah, interesting. Definitely would not have guessed that, hehe.

          At the Cyclones game tonight there was a pitcher named Burt Reynolds, and late in the messy blow-out (‘Clones won 16-5) they put the much more familiar Burt Reynolds’ picture up while he batted. It was amusing.

          And then No. 45 Pedro Martinez pitched the ninth and I’ll be damned if there wasn’t quite a resemblance. Pretty good hook, too. (Though no portrait substitution of the youngster with the old goat, disappointingly).

          Also, the Renegades lead-off hitter was named Diogenes Luis. Yes, a Greek philosopher and a first name for a last name. Clearly, he’s had some dealings with Mets second basemen–either he just stole Castillo’s name or he straight-up traded with Anderson Hernandez, which would explain how the latter came to be deprived of a first name entirely.

          But no part of Diogenes’ name is entirely original for a baseball player. The Pawtucket Pawsox used to have a guy called Arquimedez Pozo. Only in the Minors, I suppose…

          But now that you mention names beginning in ‘Ni’, did not know that about Nixon. Surprising, indeed.

      • Inside Pitcher

        I was SO worried about somehow breaking your streak last night – I was more relieved about that than about the win per se :)

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe! and Jason Fry, Adult Movie Net. Adult Movie Net said: R.A. Dickey Is a Gunslinger « Faith and Fear in Flushing http://bit.ly/cZ9ObS […]

  • Phils Troll

    I was switching to MLB network during Phils commercials and found myself laughing along with Keith and being very pleasantly surprised with both the sincerity of Jerry’s fandom and his baseball knowledge in general (both perfectly represented with aw-man-that-sucks delivery on the failed throwout call: “aw, he just lost the handle on it…”)

    And at the risk of losing my Phils phan-card, I very much enjoy your TV crew, both the calling and the baseball knowledge.
    In Philly we love our radio guys, but the TV crew has flat-out sucked since Harry died.

    • When those two pennants and that world championship are just fading memories, you’ll still be stuck with Tom McCarthy. You’re welcome, Philadelphia.

      • Jacobs27

        Unfortunately for us, when Bob Murphy died, we were helped with the fallout by the one of the best broadcast duos every to grace the radio.

        It’s been since the advent of the entirely praiseworthy SNY team that our radio has suffered. Glad Mr. McCarthy is back with the Phils, but Wayne Hagin, for a broadcaster, is…well, I won’t say any more because Hagin has already used our unnecessary word quota for the century.

  • CharlieH

    Hey! I wanna be a GUNSLINGER, too!

    Is it me, or has the sun been shining a little bit brighter lately?

    And on the celebrity front, Jackie, John-John & Ari made at least 1 appearance at the 1969 World Series…

  • Daviault

    In honor of our gunslinging gang I hearby make CitiField (between the lines) exempt from my opposition to “open carry.” R.A. Dickey reminds me of one of my favorite gunslingers of the ’80s, Terry Leach. Different delivery, same results. Yeeeeeeeehaw!

  • Joe D.

    “Richard Nixon, which I found baffling not for political reasons but because he was from California and 49 when the Mets came into existence,”

    Hi Jason,

    That’s an easy one to figure out. By 1962 both the Mets and Nixon were established losers. The only difference being the Mets were lovable while Nixon was…., well, let’s just say I don’t want to comment on the shortcomings of a fellow Mets fan.

    • CharlieH

      He was living in Jersey for the last 15 years of his life, IIRC…

    • March'62

      In fact, he was often misquoted. What he actually said was “I am not Dennis Cook!”

      • Joe D.

        He said that himself only because he didn’t have Spiro Agnew to be his mouthpiece at that point.

        He sent greetings to the fans attending the 1973 All Star game in Kansas City which was greeted by a resounding chorus of boos when flashed on the message board. He learned his lesson – no such message was sent to the fans in Cincinnati a year later (one month before he resigned).

  • Rob D.

    Ich bin ein gunslinger.

  • mikeinbrooklyn

    Don’t forget Kevin James.

    • CharlieH

      LET’S goMets! (with violent head twist)

      • He recorded a new one Tuesday night. Much better, dramatic buildup, no screwy cadence, no “Chuck ‘n’ Larry cap, includes a reference to “put down the Shakeburger.”

        It’s like these people actually come to games.

  • Phils Troll

    Seriously, Wheels has always sucked (despite an admittedly solid amount of baseball knowledge), but T-Mac is not only a bad play-by-play guy stylistically, he makes a minimum of 15 stupid-arse mistakes per game. We drink every time he says, “excuse me,” followed by a correction. Added to the shots we already take every time Wheels describes something as “funky” and/or says “no-doubles defense,” PLUS the shots when Sarge says “Cadillac Time” and/or makes a painfully obvious double entendre & we’re going to start passing out drunk by the 7th (I tee’d that one up nicely for you guys… Swing away).

    Your guys in the booth are up there with only the Indians & Dodgers as opposing crews I thoroughly enjoy & have for a few years, now. X-Box’s video marketplace has an MLB.com listing that lets you download the “game of the week.” in ’08, one of those games was a late-inning comeback at Shea (So Taguchi playing the hero, hilariously enough), and they posted the SNY feed.

    Although I’d have loved it to have been the Kabletown feed with Harry’s calls, I found your guys to be insightful, knowledgeable and overall entertaining. Been a fan of them ever since.

    As to our ‘fading’ glory… Heh, had to throw a dig in, eh Greg? Fair enough, I’m an intruder here. Still, be careful… That cart’s pulling ahead of the pony, buddy.None of us Phaithful are worried.

    I will say this, though-

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised with your boys’ sudden lack of suck. I said it in 06: This rivalry is at it’s best when both teams are good & we haven’t had that… Well, really EVER… with a few 2-or-3-year spans here and there.

    The unassisted Triple Play & Pedro mathematically eliminating you (both of which I was fortunate enough to witness in person) just weren’t as sweet because the fan base had already checked out.But now… Moyer working a walk from Johan, followed by a Victorino salami? Your suddenly-solid rotation flat-out molesting our slumping lineup to the tune of 0 runs in 3 games (ugh, that STILL stings…)? Entire sections-worth of fans of both teams trading bus trips up/down 95 for each (meaningful!) series? THIS is how all of our series should be. THIS is what regional baseball is all about.

    So don’t collapse too early, okay? Bravos fans suck and are no fun whatsoever.

    ;p

    • You were planning on perpetual renewal of those pennants perhaps? Nice confidence. And if you can pull it off, congratulations in advance, I’ll study soccer more closely so I have something to look forward to besides maybe competing for the Wild Card. I just meant. assuming McCarthy’s safe in his post, that you’re going to be stuck with one of the world’s worst announcers someday when the baseball won’t be scintillating enough to forgive his utter lameness. Even Fran Healy sounded marginally tolerable in 1986. By 1991, he was less so.

      As for rivalries, we’ll root against whoever presents an obstacle to our happiness. Usually that describes the Mets, but for them we make an exception.

  • Phils Troll

    Ha! Believe me, I know all too well that ‘abused-spouse’ feeling that only the team you love the most can give you.

    We Phils fans do love this squad, obviously, but we’re sincerely trying to not to be Boston about it.

    I mean, we’ll still give visiting Amazins’ fans guff (good-natured, though… If a rare fight occurs, it was due to douchebaggery on both ends… That crap is absurd and unnecessary), but we used to bust balls on the traveling fans of division rivals back when we sucked, too! (and good Christ did we suck for a long while…) Can’t change the gameplan now that we get to leave games happy!

    I hear you how it’s all about beating who you’re playing that day. But for my money, there’s just nothing better than late-in-the-season, well-played games in a a hard-fought division race between teams with loyal, loud and passionate fan bases.
    Cheers, guys. Can’t wish you luck, but I do wish ya well.

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