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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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Ain't it always this way? Garbage Time is upon us, and so we're playing some stone-cold thrillers.

But still…take THAT, Marlins! Take that for every time we got our hearts torn out by cat-faced killer Juan Encarnacion, or by some absurd Juan Pierre bounder, or even by Ryan McGuire. Take that for Carlos Delgado and his look-at-me agent. (“WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME ABOUT BEING THREE GAMES BACK IN THE WILD CARD! CAN YOU NOT HEAR I AM AT THE JOE COCKER CONCERT! HE IS SPASMING HIS WAY THROUGH 'FEELIN' ALRIGHT' AND YOU ARE INTERRUPTING ME!”) Take that for Armando Benitez's one flawless season — and for Antonio Alfonseca while we're at it. Take that for Miguel Cabrera driving the air out of our season's lungs when we were already gasping and clawing at our throats. Take that for the bags of Soilmaster and for your incompetent grounds crew and for Jeffrey Loria and for employing Jeff Torborg.

Take that!

This was a marvelous game through and through, from Carlos Beltran's trio of terrific catches (shame on the clueless for booing him in the 12th — he came back from 0-2 to 3-2 and got under a pitch, which ain't no sin in my book) to Cliff Floyd gunning down Jeff Conine, to Willie keeping Braden Looper the hell away from the game, to Roberto Hernandez standing tall and Aaron Heilman standing taller, and so all the way down the line until Mike Jacobs sent us home happy.

And it was a fun game too — the Marlins are battered and almost pulled one out despite playing with a supremely mismatched set of players. I mean, goodness: Luis Castillo can't run, Alex Gonzalez can't throw, Paul LoDuca looks like he can't walk (though as Kris Benson found out, he can trot) and Josh Wilson looks like he can't shave. A couple of weeks ago Mike Mordecai was managing the Jamestown Jammers, for Pete's sake. (Hey, the Marlins can have Miguel Cairo if they ask nice.) Extra-inning games have their own odd rhythm: You're sure they're going to go on forever, then can't quite believe it when they collapse into one outcome or the other. But that rhythm is odder in September, with the whole 40-man roster joining the band — by the time the 11th or 12th comes around, it's improvisational baseball, and you never know who's going to get the solo.

Three at-bats were particularly fun. I love at-bats where you can challenge the person next to you — your seatmate, significant other, child, friend, random work pal, whoever you got watching from the stands or the sofa — to think along with the batter or pitcher. You wait until a fateful pitch needs to be delivered, then throw out the innocent question: So whatcha gonna throw/look for here? and wait for the lip to get bit. Here were my three:

1. Floyd in the 7th: Burnett came back from 2-0 with two absolutely deadly curve balls, leaving Cliff looking at 2-2. So, a third straight curve or the heater? Whatcha gonna throw here, A.J.? Cliff was guessing fastball, got it, and banged it off the fence to tie the game.

2. Cabrera in the 12th. Heilman had great stuff tonight — lots of slithery movement, good location, not afraid of contact. But he got lucky to get to 0-2 on Cabrera, particularly with an 0-1 fastball that was too fat and too straight. So…whatcha gonna throw here, Aaron? The obvious call was a changeup off the outside corner, and that's what Cabrera was looking for. Nuh-uh — fastball, on the corner. G'night, Miguel!

3. Jacobs in the 12th. Moehler fell a bit too in love with that inside corner, particularly after Jacobs was overeager on the 2-0 pitch and swung at an inside pitch he could do nothing with. Which made Laz Diaz's gift strike on the next pitch (the ball was clearly and obviously inside) a blessing in disguise. 2-2 — whatcha gonna look for here, Jake? He figured Moehler would try to put the ball in that spot again, and that's indeed what Moehler tried — only this time the ball was a bit higher. Bang! Ballgame.

2 comments to Spoilmasters!

  • Anonymous

    I hope that we can stick in the throats of Marlins fans for a while. I hope they have to sit around for years to come and say, “Remember 2005? D@mn that Mike Jacobs! D@mn that Cliff Floyd! D@mn that Aaron Heilman!”
    Let's ruin the wild-card hopes off ALL our division rivals.

  • Anonymous

    yes, really, there's plenty of room down here in the muck.