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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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Instant Classic

Even with just one eye on the set at work, it was clear that Opening Day 2007 was the next Mets Classic. This one had everything: pomp and circumstance, sudden reversals, mild controversy, tension, comedy and a boatload of karma.
It's very, very late and I can barely see, so I'll just let memory be my guide through the highlights. There was Ryan Howard knocking poor Abraham Nunez for a loop after the Phillie infielders chased Cole Hamels out from under Jose Reyes' pop-up, after which Howard looked at his fallen third baseman and threw his hands up like a man who's just whacked into a display of wine glasses at the mall and is very, very sorry — a play that nearly became a 75-foot triple. There was Ambiorix Burgos winning the kind of epic pitcher-batter battle against Chase Utley that Met pitchers never seem to win — only to have all his good work unravel on a single splitter that young Mr. Howard nearly hit into Citi Field. There was the meltdown of Geoff Geary, who seemed strangely and a bit disturbingly unmanned by the situation and his surroundings, and the grim mop-up work of John Leiber, who may have Aaron Heilman beat as most disgruntled bullpen draftee. There was Carlos Delgado's sneaky bunt (clever and satisfying, though it eliminated all possibility of a double up the gap — cue a debate at least as old as Ted Williams vs. Cleveland) and his sneakier slide home by way of the pitcher's mound, a mildly controversial call that the ump got right. (As the umps did on Wright's little dunker that at first looked like a trap.) There was Pat the Bat spitting out chunks of chaw after the end and Charlie Manuel sitting by his lonesome in the dugout long afterwards, like Pedro Martinez all those years ago when he was on the wrong team.
But most of all there was karma. Earlier this week, asked for what must have been the 9,000th time about Jimmy Rollins and his description of the Phillies as the team to beat in the NL East, Paul Lo Duca noted that “in this game, talking usually comes back to bite you.”
A veteran fan could tell you that as surely as a veteran: The baseball gods do not generally approve of woofing and predictions, even if they're made to shake up a team with a long history of not being able to get out of its own way. That said, the baseball gods usually don't bring the karmic hammer down quite so obviously or as forcibly as they did today. First Rollins grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. Then he booted the ball that let the Mets tie the game. Then, the floodgates having opened, he stood there while 56,000 taunted him. In a movie, the studio would have sent that back to the writers as too ham-handed a comeuppance. Hell, if Rollins had looked down in the eighth and found himself playing in nothing but his jock he might actually have been relieved. Oh man, this is just a terrible dream. Whew! Think I'll pinch myself and wake up now.
Nope. Sorry Jimmy — it was all too real.

2 comments to Instant Classic

  • Anonymous

    Hey now — Mr. Rollins said the Phils were the team to beat, and beat 'em we did, in convincing style. Somebody buy him a beer.

  • Anonymous

    I actually kind of like Jimmy Rollins. He didn't duck what he said, he took the fans' pounding like a man, and he was just trying to motivate a clubhouse that seems allergic to caring over the course of a full baseball season. I'd buy him a beer.
    And hey, doesn't it make all this a lot more fun?