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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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Rando's Commandoes

Those first five dispiriting losses didn't count, right? Just glorified exhibitions, right? The season started when Pedro outlasted Smoltz, right?

At this point, 4-5 doesn't feel too bad. Yeah, Houston appeared dysfunctional and this series was the essence of catching them at the right time (the same thing happened last August: we took two of three from them just before they took off), but that's the way she bounces sometimes. You may have noticed that the Reds benefited from Mets malaise a week or so ago.

Not that I'm terribly concerned with them now that they've packed their old kitbags, but for all the misfiring the erstwhile Colt 45s did, they were in nailbiters for three consecutive dates. Why didn't they win any of them? Maybe because Phil Garner kept Brad Lidge caged in the bullpen the whole series? As inane as it is for a manager to automatically go to a closer because it's the ninth and he has a lead, it's about as stupid to not use your most effective weapon when he can do you some good in the eighth. Instead, he managed to tap John Franco three straight games. How well did that work?

I blame Clemens. Just out of habit.

On the happy side of the field, how about that bench? Anderson, Cairo, Castro and Woodward have been nothing but good news for us, especially in the face of the aches and pains facing Willie's best laid plans. I can't think of much that any of them has done wrong. Though none of them is an obvious home run threat off the bench (that was supposed to be Diaz, but he can go straight to being a star), they are a finely honed unit of sharpshooters that needs a nickname. Rando's Commandoes? Willie's Whipsaws? Desperation Dynamos? We're taking nominations.

And how about that Zambrano? If the score hadn't been mentioned from time to time, I would've assumed he put us in an 8-1 hole. But either his middle name is Houdini or the Astros are royal putzes. Really loved it when he threw the wild pitch that tempted Lane to score from second only to set a trap and tag him out at home (and nearly injure his elbow again but never mind that).

Don't lose hope over Heilman despite all evidence that indicates you should. I mean for tonight. I went to a game last September when Heilman faced off against another 2003 post-season hero, Mark Prior. It seemed hopeless, and it was for almost nine innings, but it stayed close thanks to Aaron's gumption (and the Cubs' simmering case of the vapors). That was — I can't believe I've found yet another excuse to reference this — the afternoon Victor Diaz and Craig Brazell made everything beautiful.

Not that I'd bet against Beckett, mind you.

From around the Majors: ENOUGH ALREADY with the Skanks and the Sox. Both of them. They're tiresome. The whole bit. Yes, we love the Red Sox. Yes, they thrilled us last October. Yes, we continue to thank them for their slaying of the beast in the most satisfying manner of all-time. But go away, both of you. You're sucking up too much oxygen. As for the guy in the stands who may or may not have slapped at Sheffield, watch the replay again. The dude was three sheets or more to the wind. That whole front row had beers lined up on the top of the fence. And baseball wonders why these things happen.

I had hoped for a glimpse of the Natspos' home opener on the telly. I know ESPN was sending Skanks-Sox out to most of the country (which has to be just as bored with it by now), but the Northeast would get an alternate feed. It would have to be the return of the American national sport to the American national capital, right? Even that bloviating sack Chris Matthews taped Hardball from RFK.

So what did ESPN go with? The White Sox at the Indians. All due respect to displaced South Siders and Clevelanders, but where exactly is the constituency in Skanks-Sox blackout territory for that game? How the did two relatively anonymous Midwestern teams in the second week of the season trump Washington's first baseball game in 34 years? Who makes these decisions — the DiamondVision guy?

Which reminds me: On Opening Day, one of those between-innings pop culture quizzes asked some poor sap what year “Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins was a hit. The three choices on the board were 1985, 1989 and 1990. Honestly, I couldn't hear the answer he gave, but the PA blasted, “Sorry, the answer is 1990.” Well, not really. It came out in late '89 and was in fact the final song to hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 in the 1980s. It then lingered on the chart into early 1990. Who constructs a quiz like this? Who makes two of the three prospective answers for an allegedly fun time-filler more or less right but then declares only one of them correct? Why on earth even use this dismal downer of a song on what's supposed an annual day of renewal? And since the contestant wins the worthless prize whether he says 1989, 1990 or the year 2525, can't they just let us sit there in peace and wait for the batter's eye to break down again?

Having found (despite a four-game winning streak) yet another thing to bug me about Shea, I'll be back there tomorrow for Pedro and Al. I plan to greet each of them warmly, one more warmly than the other.

3 comments to Rando's Commandoes

  • Anonymous

    You think you've seen enough Yanks-Red Sox news now? Wait until this latest “A-Rod Saves 8 Year Old Boston Boy From Getting Hit By Truck” story hits the masses. Although it might get ignored in Boston since the kid's apparently a Yankee fan (if he wasn't before, he is now!).

  • Anonymous

    It was on the front page of Newsday today. Funny, I've many a time saved people from walking in front of a car by warning them or throwing my arm in front of them. I never made the front page for it.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like you'll be alone in your principles when it comes to warmly greeting Senator Al. Cripes. These people are neanderthals. Not for the first time this season, I'm kind of grateful to Cablevision to denying Time Warner the right to show the Mets. I'm glad I didn't have to see Al's face when he was mercilessly booed for no reason during his tribute video. But since when do the Pavlov's dogs at Shea need a real reason to boo? You breathe, you get booed.