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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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Murderers Row

Ohmigod, there's a guy named Hinckley pitching for Washington. Who came up with that one — Mark Russell?

C'mon boys, the game's at hand
We don't wanna say we lost her
Please tell our pitcher to concentrate
On the batter and not Jodie Foster

Topical, too.

Yes, pretend games are on the air. ESPN is covering this with three announcers and a sideline reporter, in the middle of the day, no less. And ya know why? Respect. Every exhibition should be covered to death.

Speaking of which, the Washington Nationals, with Hinckley on the mound, Booth behind the plate and three lone gunmen in the outfield, are, like the Junior League, in existence. Nineteen times a year they will be a federal pain in the ass.

Every time I think about the Expos in the abstract, I feel terrible that they're no longer among the living. Then I look at the team they've become, which is still very much the Murderer's Row from Montreal, plus a couple of hired guns, and I shudder. The Mets could never handle the Expos particularly well. The rest of the world saw a ragtag franchise that made one post-season trip in 36 years. We saw a team full of anonymous killers and we needed the 597th and final game of our all-time series with them to emerge victorious. Final score: Mets 299 Expos 298.

That's just silly.

Now imagine having to take them on without them being jetlagged. On the other hand, we won't have to go through customs to face them. Remember when Jeff Kent got nabbed for attempting to carry a firearm through the Montreal airport? He said he forgot he had it on him. Montreal was also where the vets nabbed Kent's street clothes and left him a clown suit that he refused to wear when he was a rookie, thus establishing himself as a Major League malcontent in record time. When is Bush appointing him ambassador to Quebec?

Phillips just drove in Beltran with Mientkiewicz moving up to second. Good for Jason Phillips, particularly that dynamic. Bought the Sporting News baseball yearbook the other day and he was listed as the projected first baseman for us. For the umpteenth year in a row, preseason baseball magazines are woefully out of date by the time they hit the stands. In this age of instantaneous information, they are almost useless. But buying a few every spring is yet another of those rituals I enjoy. So what if Jason Phillips is now a scrub hanging on by his slow fingertips and Mientkiewicz is our first baseman? Baseball magazines now litter the living room. Like they oughta be.

Who's the quintessential Expo-cum-National vis-à-vis the Mets? Endy Chavez. Endy Chavez was a Mets minor leaguer mindlessly dispatched by Steve Phillips while he was presumably eyeing Sheila in accounting. Endy Chavez is a lifetime .264 hitter against everybody, a lifetime .330 hitter against the Mets. Endy Chavez is my own private Vladimir.

Even on an afternoon when I want to look ahead, there's Steve Phillips yammering away on ESPN, pulling me back toward a half-decade's worth of resentments. I don't wanna talk about Steve Phillips, destroyer of worlds, today, but what a disingenuous bastard now posing as a sage. Earlier he was going on about how the Nationals won't beat themselves the way the Expos did because of an infusion of veteran leadership. Who? Jose Guillen? The guy bounced by the Angels for cause in the middle of a pennant race? Were the Expos beating themselves the last few years? Or were they just undermanned? And did Steve Phillips ever watch the team he general-managed into the ground get their heads handed to them by the allegedly In-Eptspos at least half the time?

Talk about your sinecures. I hope they give Steve Phillips his own show on ESPN. I hope they give him an office in Bristol. I hope they find him putting the moves on some poor administrative assistant who in reality is an undercover detective and she reports him for his favorite play, sexual harassment. And I hope she kicks him square in the nuts when nobody's looking.

But this is a day to look ahead. Who's pitching for us now? Aaron Heilman. So much for looking ahead. Aaron Heilman went to Notre Dame, you know. He reminds me of the legacy in Rudy, the guy who they have to keep on the Fighting Irish because his father went there but he really hates football after all his failures these last few years. Aaron Heilman is 26. He's gotta be older by now.

Ah, maybe he's a late bloomer.

Guillen has just shown some veteran leadership off of Heilman with a two-run homer. Bloom, Aaron — bloom already yet.

Endy Chavez fell down in center, allowing Kaz to double. Brad Wilkerson couldn't catch up to a ball hit by Jason Phillips. Maybe spring really is a season of renewal.

Either way, we're oh and oh when this thing is over.

1 comment to Murderers Row

  • Anonymous

    HInckley? With that name, I assumed the song lyrics you'd have put up would be:
    “Believe it or not, I'm walkin' on air
    I never thought i could feel so free
    Flyin' away on a wing and a prayer
    Who could it be?
    Believe it or not, it's just me.”
    From the episode “The 200-MPH Fastball” of “The Greatest American Hero.”
    Hey, from your writing, it sounds like we're close to the same 1967 birth year. Surely you remember having to choose between Ralph Hinkley on channel 7 vs. the beginning of a night game on WOR channel 9?