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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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Pocket-Sized Classic

Over the years I’ve had the honor — and the anxiety — of introducing a few people to their first baseball game. While I’m sincere in my belief that baseball is the highest art form yet to spring from the human mind, not all baseball games are created equal. For someone’s first three hours of baseball, what you most want is a barnburner — ideally, a 6-5 affair with several lead changes, a few highwire acts, a great play or two, a managerial rhubarb, an odd play that has to be explained and a certain amount of bad blood and/or bitter history.

What you don’t want is a 4-1 or 3-0 yawnfest where you can’t decide if the starters are doing well in an underwhelming way or the hitters spent too much time out on the town and are playing like they’re underwater. For all its pleasures, baseball offers a fair number of games like that — if a season is an epic Russian novel, those are the parts where you skip over a lot of very long names and wait for something else to happen.

If you’re not going to get a barnburner, though, the next best thing would be a taut, well-played little affair — a game exactly like tonight’s.

Consider:

  • It had great pitching from Chris Capuano and Shaun Marcum, not to mention a trio of beleaguered Mets relievers.
  • Speaking of Capuano, how about that very fine stand-and-deliver moment against Ryan Braun with Rickie Weeks on second in the bottom of the fifth? Braun looked like he expected Capuano to pitch carefully to him, spotting corners, but Capuano came right after him, dismantling him on five pitches.
  • It had superb defense from Jose Reyes, Ruben Tejada and most especially Carlos Gomez, whose Spider-Man catch denied Carlos Beltran what was either going to be a home run or a run-scoring double.
  • It had a little history between Capuano’s return to Miller Park (he was warmly received) and former Met Go-Go greyhounding it out there in center field, to the dismay of his old mates.
  • It had Prince Fielder hitting one to the moon and Jose off to the races.
  • It had missed opportunities to mourn, and that added to the tension. Jose inexplicably came home standing and was tagged out, followed in short order by Gomez’s catch off Beltran. Yell at Jose to slide and kick Beltran’s line drive a foot higher and it would have been 5-1 Mets with the possibility of more to come.

Still, all ended very nicely. The Replace-Mets have won three straight and crept back to two games below .500, and if they keep playing like this pretty soon we’ll get excited and make fools of ourselves. But even if you’re not inclined to spin unlikely scenarios (let’s see — Wright and Ike return and are healthy, Bay regresses to the mean with a vengeance, Johan rides to the rescue, David Einhorn says how happy he is that his first appearance as new minority owner coincides with Jose Reyes’s extension, and Brandon Nimmo rises through the system to….), little gems like tonight’s are to be savored even in troubled seasons.

And somewhere out there, some foreign exchange student or visiting academic or overseas tourist in a bar was seeing baseball for the first time.

I bet she liked it.

8 comments to Pocket-Sized Classic

  • BlackCountryMet

    Sound like a cracker,look forward to seeing the highlights later. Always been more of a fan of a tight one or two run ballgame, than a 9-7 etc. Seems like Caps is continuing to be a bright spot on the pitching staff, if the PelfMeister and RA can start getting back to their best…we could get to over .500 AND stay there!! I’m trying not run before walking LOL.

  • Hang in there and good things will happen..Old school win…

    LGM

    RichP

  • J

    Haha. Snort. “Replace-Mets”

    Thanks for the smile.

  • 9th string catcher

    Actually, this is probably how a bunch of us got hooked on the Mets in the first place. Watching some gutty player like Grote or Stearns mixed in with stars like Seaver or Carter and never quite knowing what was going to happen. So, in other words, you’ve sentenced this poor kid to the lifelong torturefest that is being a Mets fan.

    On the plus side, I don’t know if Wright coming back is such a great thing. Every replacemet is hitting over .300 and playing clutch – who would you want to sit at this point? Any chance Wright could play LF?

  • vertigone

    Apropos of nothing here, the infallible Derek Jeter is now just 12 infield hits away from 3,000. May he get them quickly and feebly, for there to be no chance of this occurring at Citifield.

    I would say that he’s on schedule for it to happen before that series, but a little slump coupled with a nagging day-to-day-to-day injury and, well…

    • 9th string catcher

      Maybe someone can hit him in the kneecap..

    • dmg

      oh, great. like wilpon giving mariano rivera the rubber.
      there’s a joke in there somewhere, but i don’t have the interest in teasing it out.

  • […] started winning some games of late, including a neat 2-1 affair against the Brewers last week. Jason Fry of Faith and Fear in Flushing thinks it would be a fan’s ideal first game, calling it a “pocket-sized […]