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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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George Carlin Would've Liked Today's Johan Game

Johan games are different from any other Mets games, very different. For instance, in most Mets games, the other team scores earned runs; in Johan games, the other team earns nothing. In most Mets games the ball is put in play by the offensive team after it is pitched by a Met; in Johan games the offensive team barely puts the ball in play, and only Johan's catcher seems to touch the ball. In fact, in Johan games, if an offensive player hits the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.

Also: in Mets games pitched by Pelfrey, Perez, Maine and all other Mets pitchers, the other team scores. In Johan games, the pitcher prevents you from scoring.

In most Mets games, the manager makes trips to the mound, maybe several. In Johan games, the manager plants himself in the dugout and watches Johan.

Now I've mentioned other Mets games. Johan games and other Mets games are the two most popular spectator sports in this city. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.

I enjoy comparing Johan games and other Mets games:

Other Mets games can be messy and uncertain.

Johan games are things of beauty.

Other Mets games tempt you to wander through a park. The baseball park!

Johan games keep you sitting in your seat or occasionally standing in front of it.

Other Mets games begin 0-0 and can go in any direction from there.

Johan games begin 0-0 and stay very close to that figure for most of the day.

In other Mets games, you wear an expression of doubt.

In Johan games, you wear a smile.

Other Mets games are concerned with down — I hope we don't go down too easily.

Johan games are concerned with up and down — when the other team comes up, they will be going down very quickly.

In other Mets games, you receive agita.

In Johan games, Johan makes it easy on your digestive system.

In other Mets games, specialists come in to attempt to register crucial outs.

In Johan games, Johan stays in and retires everybody.

Other Mets games have strategy, anxiety, worry, angst and a faint hope that maybe things will work out all right.

Johan games have Johan.

Other Mets games are played with opposing batters reaching base and with opposing runners crossing the plate.

In Johan games, nobody on the other team gets to go out and play for very long.

Other Mets games have the seventh-inning stretch.

Johan games have seven strong innings from Johan.

Other Mets games have no time limit: we don't when they're gonna end — might have four hours.

Johan games seem rigidly timed, and they will end in far fewer than three hours.

In other Mets games, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a contemplative feeling; you think about Citi Field, whether you like it, whether you don't like it, but there's always something interesting to think about.

In Johan games, during the game, in the stands, you can be sure that all you want is the Mets to score one run and Putz and Rodriguez to finish another job extremely well done.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In other Mets games the object is for the Mets, also known as aggravating, to figure out a way to win, to overcome their miscues, to cover up their flaws, to generate multiple tallies, to conduct themselves with more competence than they usually muster, to catch and throw with skill and to outhit their own pitching lest they surrender another early lead and blow another winnable game and fall further behind the surging Marlins.

In Johan games, the object is to go home! And to be victorious! I know we'll be victorious once we go home from watching Johan pitch!

(Thanks George.)

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8 comments to George Carlin Would've Liked Today's Johan Game

  • Anonymous

    I feel like I'm at a Passover seder.

  • Anonymous

    Rabbi Carlin always conducted a good one.

  • Anonymous

    Likewise, the K-Rod part of the game, but there the ultimate object doesn't seem to be to Go Home! but to Go To Second! (Good thing that was a called third strike, too, as otherwise I would have been saying at least Seven Words You Can't Say On Many Blogs.)
    As for that other sport George spoke of, where the field general, aiming to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting with deadly accuracy, with short bullets and long bombs, marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing his aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line?
    That was the OTHER game played in New York this afternoon.
    (Let me know about next weekend ifn you can. I'm contracting a serious case of Johan itch.)

  • Anonymous

    In other Mets games you hope your starting pitcher isn't beaten by the opposing team.
    In Johan games you hope your starting pitcher isn't beaten by his own team.

  • Anonymous

    Man, how awesome is that guy! Got to give a what what to Putz and Rodriguez, too. Putz was lethal, and then I barely had time to get slightly worried in the 9th before it was suddenly over.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    One point about Johann games you overlooked – they can be so terriably frustrating. He's pitched three gems this season, allowing just a single earned run, yet the Mets have scored a total of just four runs to support him (and were lucky to get that lone run for him yesterday).
    Just like it was with The Franchise, when Johann's on the mound, one sits in awe and admiration of a genius doing his work while at the same time recallling the haunting lyrics of “Vincent” penned by Don McLean.

  • Anonymous

    Plus the Mets gave him all of two runs to work with that magical Saturday afternoon against the Marlins last September. He's either drawn some fine pitching competition four straight outings (Nolasco, Harang, Johnson, Gallardo — none of them a slouch) or the Mets don't think they need to bother scoring for him.

  • Anonymous

    And that game we all knew Johann had to go nine for it was a given the bullpen would blow it.
    With KRod and Putz this year we can feel relieved in the 8th and 9th along with Johann and his fellow starters.