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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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I Hum Allegiance to Jason Bay

Perhaps the cosmic forces could handle only so much suck for one Sunday. It was gloomy outside. It was gloomier on TV. The Mets were one out from being swept out of Citi Field by the last people you’d ever want to let near a broom. Jose Reyes was, for all we knew, playing phantom catch with David Wright, Ike Davis, Johan Santana, Taylor Buchholz, Chris Young, the ghost of Kelvim Escobar, the glute of R.A. Dickey and whoever at Amazon is responsible for not letting this blog be read on Kindle despite selling subscriptions to it. And our last hope was Jason Bay…or as I’ve come to know him across the past 15 months, no hope at all.

My default vision of Jason Bay was up to date clear through the bottom of the seventh when he effortlessly grounded into a 6-4-3 rally-dulling double play, or as baseball experts call it, “a Jason Bay”. Given most of Bay’s lack of output since he mistakenly wandered into the Caesars Club in January 2010 and was too polite to turn around before trying on a Mets jersey and boarding a plane to St. Lucie, my instinct was to totally and completely give up.

Technically, my instinct was to hurl some sort of venomous invective (is there any other kind?) at the screen as prelude to however Bay planned to make the final out versus Mariano Rivera, The Greatest Closer Who Ever Lived, and I think I even began to call him one four-letter word or another when I stopped myself midcurse. I reminded myself that Jason Bay hit a grand slam earlier this week. I also reminded myself that as much as I haven’t been able to stand Jason Bay’s results, I really have nothing against the guy — sort of like I have nothing against Jason Bay’s home and native land. Canada seems like a nice place, just as Bay seems like a nice guy. I don’t know that I’d trust my well-being to either in the clutch, but how do you get, let alone stay mad at either Canada or Jason Bay?

And since the two of them are intertwined in my mind, I did the only relatively positive thing I could do with any conviction as Bay represented our last hope: I hummed “O Canada”.

I hummed it without pause for the entirety of Bay’s ninth-inning at-bat versus The Greatest Closer Who Ever Lived. I hummed it starting with ball one and kept it up through foul strike one, ball two, ball three and swinging strike two. I’m sure I was off key and I may have invented a bridge that wasn’t there when Robert Stanley Weir massaged the original French lyrics into English 103 years ago. Perhaps because today is July 3, nestled between Canada Day and our own Independence Day, something about the humming of “O Canada” on Long Island for British Columbian Jason Bay in Queens connected with those cosmic forces whom had been so unkind to us all weekend long. As I reached the final “we stand on guard for thee!” Bay took ball four from Rivera.

Humming patriotically worked for Bay, so I couldn’t stop there. Lucas Duda was up. Lucas Duda’s a Californian, so “O Canada” gave way to “The Star Spangled Banner”. Of course it did. I kept humming, and so did the previously dormant Met offense. Duda singled on the second pitch he saw. Bay sprinted to third.

God bless America!

Actually, I went with “America the Beautiful”. I heard the Ray Charles version Saturday night. I didn’t let pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino being from the Dominican Republic get in the way of my humming. I don’t know the Dominican national anthem and, besides, Ronny’s been an American hero since the night they drove Bin Laden down. He’s Mr. Sunday Night, besides. Got five hits in Philadelphia two months ago on that Sunday night. This game was getting on toward evening, too. When it comes to Sunday nights, Ronny Paulino’s practically Ed Sullivan. I started humming “America the Beautiful,” and Ronny Paulino delivered a most beautiful base hit right here in America, bringing home Bay with the tying run, all off Rivera, The Greatest Closer Who Ever Lived.

Talk about a really big show.

Ruben Tejada was up next. He’s from Panama, as is Rivera. That’s a wash (though I wouldn’t recommend doing any wash near Rivera’s pool). Anyway, I think I was on to “Battle Hymn of the Republic” — only humming, not saying a word — when Ruben’s ground ball completely fooled the one Yankee shortstop we have the ability to confound. True, Ramiro Peña’s E-6 didn’t net us a run, but it felt very good. Better yet, we were en route to extra innings.

No humming while the Mets were in the field. When they returned to batting in the bottom of the tenth, I kept reaching for anything that fit the theme: “Pink Houses”; “American Pie”; “Stars and Stripes Forever”…whatever I could think of that was more or less in the U.S.A. ballpark (without resorting to Lee Greenwood). Finally, the order was turned and it was Jason Bay’s time to stand on guard again: bases loaded, two out, tie game.

I don’t attend hockey games and have yet to see the Blue Jays at Citi Field, thus I haven’t had opportunity to rise and remove my cap for “O Canada” since October 3, 2004, the last time the Montreal Expos came to Shea Stadium (or anywhere). I’ll always associate that anthem with that franchise…but now I have someone else and something else with whom to share it. For wherever North Americans keep ninth and tenth innings humming along glorious and free until unwanted invaders can be vanquished and dispatched with timely base hits — none more timely than Bay’s single to center that scored Scott Hairston with the winning run in the final match of this most recent Subway Series — that is where “O Canada” will stand eternally for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Or something like that.

Jason Bay got a game-winning hit in the tenth inning. Reyes got an undiscouraging diagnosis in the morning. Dickey got to use words like “enlighten,” “community” and “rejoice” for reporters and probably won’t miss any time. The Yankees and their minions got of our sight. Interleague play got off our schedule finally. And we got back to .500.

May your Fourth of July hum as happily I did on the Third.

17 comments to I Hum Allegiance to Jason Bay

  • Ray

    On this Canada Day weekend, eh?, let’s noot furget that Steve Phillips, the former GM of oor organ-eye-sation traded Jason Bay away because he didn’t think Canadians made good baseball players.

    And I hereby transfer the Curse of Castillo to Number 42.

  • Will in Central NJ

    Sometime this upcoming winter, as snowflakes swirl and the wind chill factor makes us shudder, we will savor the re-broadcast of this “Ulti-Met Classic” on SNY-TV.

  • SteamedBeef

    What a great win! Certainly felt good to see the Mets, down to their final strike, rally to tie the game and eventually win it. Against Mo Rivera no less!

    All the credit goes to J Bay! Here’s hoping his timely hitting and rally-starting continue.

  • Lenny65

    Did anyone else see Bay get a pie in the face during the post-game interview? Didn’t see who pie-d him but it was pretty funny.

  • Andee

    Good thing I didn’t watch. That sucked, watching Rivera mow down the Mets like it was nothing.

    Oh, wait…

    (Hey, I got an idea for a Jason Bay rally song: Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” It’s even got an “O Canada” in it.)

  • Inside Pitcher

    Jason Bay – Canadian-American Hero!

  • oldtimebaseball

    I’m sure, in these more worldly days, that no priest urged his parishioners to “Go Home and Pray for Jason Bay”, but somehow Bay’s travails remind me of Gil Hodges’ long slump in 1952/3. I hope his grand slam of last week and this walk-off single help him out of his long funk, even without the prayers of the “Flatbush Faithful.”

  • maryanne

    Great read! Thank you.

  • mikeL

    what a joyous 9th and 10th yesterday!
    so glad bay got to be the hero at home and shake a couple more of the so-many monkeys off his back.
    and today your great recap Greg, thanks!

  • 9th string catcher

    I was thankfully in Little Falls taking my 8 year old to her first baseball game – NJ Jackals, with an 18-0 win – when the announcement came over that the Mets won in 10 3-2. Cue enthusiastic response from the sparse Jackals crowd. Best way to watch the Mets these days…

  • dmg

    picked a faint signal out of the airwaves of new hampshire and massachusetts as i drove back to new york yesterday — a radio play-by-play savored all the more for the static i had to filter out.

    briefly switched to wcbs just in time to hear sterling say, and the yankees take two of three from the mets. for once, i didn’t mind the putz. it was that good a win.

  • Danny K

    Great recap. As a Canadian and more importantly, a Mets fan, I’m glad to see some signs of life from Jason Bay. But I have to disagree with your questioning of Canada in the clutch. I think over the years we have proven to be a great late inning country.

  • BlackCountryMet

    What an incredible finish to my weekend in NYC!! Started with a late arrival on Friday(17 00)so had to leave cases at JFK and go straight to game. Saturday, I though we were poor and never in the game. Was therefore very pissed off and convinced we would lose again on Sunday, thus meaning i would be 0 and 6 in Mets games I’ve attended. Caught the water taxi to Sundays game and was told by the Aussie girl sat opposite me we would win as it was the 1st game she was going to. I’ve been to a few big sporting events for soccer teams I follow, but when we got that game ending run to win, was one of the happiest I’ve been at a sporting event for quite some time. Thanks you Mets, thank you Jason Bay!! WOO HOO!

    • BCM, thought of you throughout the weekend and was horrified you’d come all the way here for this. Congrats for salvaging the best win of the lot.

  • BlackCountryMet

    Cheers Greg, couldn’t get wi fi workin so did not know if you had got a ticket and we could meet. Next time eh? Saturday night I was suicidal, really couldn’t believe i’d been to 5 games and not seen us win one!! But Sunday more than made up for it, what a way to see the 1st victory!!! Not sure I want to go to another Subway Series though, seemed to surrounded by lots of smug arrogant Yankee fans. Enjoyed stuffing it up em at last