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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 Summer Game

One of the biggest sins of realignment is that it separated us from the Cubs, for years one of our best rivals. One of the biggest virtues of baseball is that every summer brings a game like today's — a tense, back-and-forth Wrigley Field affair under blazing skies before a packed house. Sometimes they end badly, whether it's Sammy Sosa beating John Franco or a Paul Wilson gem turning into a cubic zirconia or Derrek Lee victimizing Heath Bell. (Not all summer affairs played in sunny weather, but you get the idea.) But sometimes they don't. Sometimes you get a hugely entertaining, walk-on-air win that leaves you with absolutely no doubt about why Ernie Banks wanted to play two.

I'm not sure a lot of us expected to get a win out of this game, particularly not the way Carlos Zambrano was throwing. But El Duque was just as good — the eephus pitch he dropped on old friend Cliff Floyd was a treasure, and I enjoyed his long-legged origami exit over the dugout railing after one inning. (Duque! You're like 52 years old! Use the stairs!) After Ramon's stand-up-and-shout bolt into the left-field seats (Is Lo Duca hearing thunderous footsteps yet?), somehow I knew we were going to win. The boys looked like they'd dialed up the intensity for Zambrano, and they kept it up after his departure, working counts and finding the pitches they needed. (Incidentally, I don't mind Zambrano's histrionics, as long as he saves his roars and fist pumps for the close of innings.)

I loved the shot of Billy Wagner's cooler-than-cool reaction to Delgado's double scything down the line past him; I loved the shot of Wright scoring and pumping his fist more. Though the ensuing two-out peppering of Ryan Dempster was nice, too, interspersed with shots of Lou Piniella telekinetically setting things on fire in the Cub dugout. And then the fatal double play hit into by Jacque Jones — is there anything crueller in baseball than watching the enemy shortstop slicing across the second-base bag, ball in hand, and knowing your chance has gone? Cruel when it's your team's hopes being snuffed out, of course — when you're on the shortstop's side, well … let's play two!

P.S. From the Schadenfreude Department, it was hard to beat this sentence from yesterday: Clemens was booed off the mound after he allowed eight runs and nine hits in 1 2-3 innings. I mean, read that again and see if you don't start to drift off to a happy place. I'm only surprised the sound didn't transform him into a cloud of sulphurous steam that then dissipated wanly, Sauron-style, over the rooftops of the Bronx.

Oh, and this Dugout is the best summation of Yankee fans I've ever read. My goodness I love baseball.

7 comments to The Summer Game

  • Anonymous

    I needed a cigarette after reading that Clemens headline, IF ya know what I mean (yuk, yuk).
    PS: JACQUE Jones. >:-(

  • Anonymous

    Actually, it was Saruman who dissipated steamily. We never found out exactly how Sauron went away. (Unless you're talking about the movie. Can't recall what might've happened in the movie. I was too busy being annoyed that they cut the Scouring of the Shire.)
    Clemens always struck me as more of a Saruman type, in any case. The way he kept people busy guessing what side he was on fit the bill perfectly.

  • Anonymous

    While Clemens' evil seems on par with the Dark Lord himself, his behavior does align him more with Saruman, you're right. The Witchking kind of dissipates steamily too, but he's too cool for Clemens.
    Also, it depends on which death of Sauron you're talking about. Movie-wise, he kind of blows up the first time around and later I guess he pretty much goes down in the seismic cataclysm that swallows Mordor, for some reason, when the Ring is destroyed. It's one of the many things that doesn't sit right with me about the end(s) of that hallowed trilogy. Although, considering how long the end drags out, I can see why the Scouring of the Shire was cut. Like Tom Bombadil, it's cool, but I can live without it.
    In the extended edition, the wrong is somewhat righted by the inclusion of “The Voice of Saruman” scene, albeit in diminished form. At least it gives a little closure to Saruman's character. Nature of his death notwithstanding.
    Clemens' performance also reminds me a little of Saruman's apparent helplessness to defend Isengard from its Ent invaders, but Saruman wasn't getting paid $28 million, so…
    What can I say? It's all about the Rings, baby.

  • Anonymous

    I'm still waiting on Pedro the White to show up.
    You know, until his task is done.

  • Anonymous

    Gotta protect the dignity of my Twins peeps… ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Geez, Jace… I only just noticed the reference to The Paul Wilson Game. MUST YOU?!