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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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The Worm Has Turned

OK, so it was Joe Torre who said that once. Big deal. We took his coach, we can take his quote.

Besides, suddenly it's like we've switched places anyway. I'm not talking about anything so common as won-loss records; seeing how we can barely stay above .500, now's not the time to get too cocky about that. (Rest assured that should cockiness be called for, I'm willing to supply my share and then some.) Rather, it's the tone in the mighty Gotham media that's changed. Proclamations of doom, snide asides, death watches, clucking over bad luck, pitiless examinations of past mistakes? Why, I must be reading about the Yankees. Soliloquies about guys pulling together and picking each other up, different heroes each day, and masterful motivation from the manager's chair? It's a Mets story. (Can you imagine the jokes last year if 47,000 of our giveaway caps were stolen?) When the British got whipped at Yorktown, the band played “The World Turned Upside Down” at the surrender ceremony. They meant it as a slight, but it was true anyway. So, perhaps, is it today.

Even without the omnipresent question of what might be going on in the Bronx, this was a pretty good game. Call it some successful psychological maneuvering by Willie Randolph if you want, or the salutary effects of a Doug Mientkiewicz pick-me-up on the bench, but it was nice to see Mike Piazza being Ye Olde Feared Mike Piazza for a day. (And in a day game that followed a night game, no less!) Kris Benson was marvelous in his return, Mike Cameron was impressive at the plate if not in the field and Minky was terrific afield and showed signs of coming out of his offensive doldrums.

But my favorite stories of the day were written by Wright and Heilman. I love watching Wright play baseball, but it was good to see him play it a bit ticked — too much sugar in the blood isn't necessarily helpful, to paraphrase that wise sage Darryl Strawberry. David can shatter a few more bats if it makes him feel better, and even skip apologizing: Moving a few steps away from being Dale Murphy doesn't automatically make you Gregg Jefferies. It was better, of course, to see him come up in the exact same situation two innings later and rifle one to the wall for a two-run double. Yes, Virginia, this here's a game of redemption.

And Heilman, our prodigal prospect. In a way, his relief stint was more impressive than either of his two strong starts, because there was actually less pressure than in his starting assignments. He'd have gotten a mulligan if he'd pitched poorly, seeing how he was being thrown into a relief role and had to come in to clean up a rather serious mess left by Benson. In a situation where failure would have been at least somewhat forgiveable, he was lights-out instead. And there are even mutterings that Victor Zambrano may be in line for a Trachselian tour of the International League. Be still my beating heart. (And hey, what about Glavine? Would Richmond have his number too?)

Speaking of the whole game-of-redemption thing, if it was spooky seeing Wright come up in the same situation two innings apart, it was downright scary having Looper face Pat Burrell with the game on the line again. You could practically hear all the writers hitting RETURN at the top of their stories to clear space for their Pat the Bat ledes.

And then he struck out. Again. Pat Burrell! Fire up the fife and drum!

If buttercups buzz'd after the bee,

If boats were on land, churches on sea,

If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,

And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse,

If the mamas sold their babies

To the gypsies for half a crown;

If summer were spring and the other way round,

Then all the world would be upside down.

1 comment to The Worm Has Turned

  • Anonymous

    Is it true that the Mets have a coach at Norfolk who can fix Zambrano in *nine* minutes…?