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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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This Post Has No Title, Because There Are No Words

Something looked wrong with that play from the first tentative step Luis Castillo took back and to his left. Something was awry with his footwork, with the way he was staring into the night sky, with the set of his shoulders … I don't know, but something looked wrong from the start.

Granted, a properly paranoid fan (which is to say every fan) always holds his or her breath on a game-ending pop-up that stays up there long enough for horrible thoughts to creep into the brain. But 999 out of 1,000 times, those horrible thoughts evaporate when the ball is squeezed, the held breath is released and the game is safe. But … I don't know. Something told me this might just be that 1,000th time, and it was.

Did Castillo lose it in the lights? Did he hear Ryan Church's footsteps? Did he … oh, whatever. It hit him right in the pocket of the fucking glove, the one his other hand was nowhere near. That's whatever.

The rest of a messy but fairly entertaining game now goes right down the memory hole, alas. The Mets were patient (and corporeal) when Joba Chamberlain and his annoying straight-billed hat kept throwing pitches around the plate and into Met bodies. Gary Sheffield blasted a from-the-heels home run that was decidedly satisfying; David Wright came back from what looked like a fishing expedition of a failed at-bat against Mariano Rivera to rifle a ball up the gap and score Carlos Beltran. Shawn Green and Pedro Feliciano offered bullpen hope, even if newcomer Jon Switzer made an instantly persuasive case that he is not the answer to the search for that other lefty in the pen. Livan Hernandez pitched ably enough on a night when you knew the two teams involved were going to trade broadsides for the duration and lost leads were the stuff of concern, not disaster.

No, disaster is hit about 200 feet in the air and a lousy 140 feet from home plate.

Well, I do at least have my hatred back. This week I learned a valuable lesson: Don't confess to anything less than a desire to see every Phillie and every Phillies fan left destitute and living in a refrigerator box on an active railway. The line to batter your correspondent was long: Faith and Fear readers, other blogs' readers, my wife, my co-blogger. Duly noted. Settling in for tonight's game, I knew there would be no such issue. Just the sight of Derek Jeter sticking his hand out behind him at the plate was enough to make me grit my teeth. Ditto for the first glimpse of A-Rod's oversized Mickey Mouse batting gloves, Joe Girardi and his annoying, presumptuous uniform number, and the sound of those awful post-Yankee-homer bells. It wasn't until the seventh inning when my jaw unclenched. (A temporary condition. Thanks, Luis.) Sometimes people who don't know me very well try to plumb the depths of my hatred for the Yankees, and I explain that seeing that the Yankees have won a spring-training game pisses me off, at least for a moment. When we're in a zero-sum affair, every pitch to a Yankee that's a ball is a bruise, every Yankee hit is a wound, every Yankee run is a near-death experience.

And every Yankee victory that comes with two outs in the ninth on a dropped pop-up by a fat, overpaid second baseman you've spent the year trying reluctantly to accept? I'm kind of amazed I can type. Shock is a powerful thing, I suppose.

I haven't seen enough of the new Yankee Stadium to form an impression of it, but it's definitely true — as Gary, Keith and Ron noted — that the place was oddly quiet. The score can't be an explanation, so what gives? In April Citi Field seemed oddly quiet itself, but it hasn't felt that way in a while, now that the weather has warmed and people have stopped touring the ballpark. Curious. I have no idea about the interior because I was too annoyed at Kevin Burkhardt being gosh-and-golly about the Museum of Pinstriped Fascism. (Memo to Kevin: This is a bad place for bad people. You should be a somber, reluctant guide, like you're showing us around an exhibit of war crimes.) Beyond that, the right-field stands gobbled their share of Yankee baseballs, but only Jeter's wouldn't have been out last year.

Just heard Howie Rose's call of the fatal play. Excuse me while I projectile-vomit.

Where do we go from here? I don't know, man. Ruinous loss against the Phillies. Another ruinous loss against the Phillies. A jaw-dropper of a disaster against the Legions of the Vertical Swastika.

Baseball, man. It'll fucking kill you sometimes. And now I'm off to stare at the ceiling and replay that one in my head. I'll do that with this play several thousand times in my lifetime. May as well get started.

METSTOCK: 3 Hours of Pizza and Baseball is coming to Manhattan on Thursday, June 18, 7:00 PM. Meet the authors of A Magic Summer, Mets By The Numbers and Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, talk baseball with us, watch the Mets beat the Orioles just as they did in '69 with us and not discuss FUCKING LUIS CASTILLO AND HIS FUCKING APPARENT LACK OF A FUCKING OPPOSABLE THUMB. Details here.

Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook. NOTE: FACEBOOK IS EASIER TO USE IF YOU HAVE A FUCKING OPPOSABLE THUMB, APPARENTLY UNLIKE LUIS FUCKING CASTILLO.

11 comments to This Post Has No Title, Because There Are No Words

  • Anonymous

    Lu!$ fucking (@$ti!!o

  • Anonymous

    It's been a while since I've been this pissed at the Mets. I was more sad than angry after the last two seasons. But after an hour of laying in bed seeing that play in my mind over and over, it is time for some bourbon and venting. Thanks to you and Greg for the opportunity, and no thanks to Matt Cerrone, who can stick his posting audition process.
    Jerry: a year of your disastrous decision-making can no longer be excused by your folksy aphorisms. Switzer? Seriously? Was anyone in the ballpark remotely surprised with that outcome? Not that this is all his fault.
    Omar: you have the biggest payroll in the NL, and this is what we have to show for it?
    Luis: you must be hungry. Why not hang out for another hour or so, and then call an unlicensed livery cab and go looking for Dominican food? And hey, seatbelts are for pansies!
    Lots of upside on the horizon. Who the hell is this guy pitching tomorrow? And what's the over/under on HRs Johan gives up in this bandbox Sunday, 5-1/2? The next asshat who tries to catch a fly one-handed needs to be pulled from the game, Hodges-style.
    My faith is waning. Fury and Fear in Flushing. We'll be 12 out by the break.

  • Anonymous

    fuck em.
    they make millions and don't care about you.

  • Anonymous

    Man, that was just terrible. Worse, I saw that final play when I stopped in a bar that happened to be full of Yankees fans. Me and like four other guys yelled “Yes!” when A-Roid hit that infield fly, and then all unholy soul-crushing bedlam broke loose when Castillo dropped it. I need a shower.
    But, after that last loss to the Nationals, before this rivalry week, I posted that if the Mets played around .500 for the next month, I sincerely believed they'd be OK for the season. Still true.
    I won't lie, though, I didn't expect these games this week to be this close. I expected weak-sauce, and instead they've been nail-biters. The diminished Mets are playing pretty well, and I'd rather see a blindingly awful game-losing error like that in June than in September. Karma evens out, man. It won't happen in September this year. They're still just 3 games out.

  • Anonymous

    You know what I think about Karma? We used up all our positive Karma and went way into hock on October 25, 1986. We'll still be working that off in 2086.

  • Anonymous

    I'll have a murderous hangover by morning.
    If they sh*tcan Castillo – who the heck plays second ?

  • Anonymous

    I drank a bottle of wine and that play still has me sober.
    Tonight gave me that Craig Counsell 2002 feel of, “that's it, seasons over.” Alas, dare I say it? Should we fall one game short again…

  • Anonymous

    Ha! I'm into my third huge glass of hooch. I hoped it would relax me and instead I'm even more aggravated and fired up. Look what this team is doing to us!! Jerry Manuel, I hold you responsible for my future liver problems!

  • Anonymous

    I just hope Luis Castillo redeems himself real soon.
    You know, in that Donnie Moore kind of way.

  • Anonymous

    >I realize this is a digression about football from thirty years ago, and >more Mets fans are Jets fans than Giants fans,
    Hate to pick a nit, but this is very much no longer the case as more Jet/Giant fans are growing up in a time where the Jets have never played a single game in New York State. Come to think of it, at this point the Jets have played more years in Giants Stadium/Meadowlands than they actually did at Shea. Plus I'm sure the Met/Giant fan base grew during the 1980s when they were both winning championships in October of '86 and January of '87 respectively. Well, that was around the time a 9 year old me would anyway.
    Conversely, the same time frame has seen a rise in the Yankee/Jet fan base, if you notice the Jet fan base in the last 20 odd years has skewered much younger than the Giant one has, or it could be that the teen-40s year old Jet fans are more vocal as a whole than that demo for the Giants, but be that as it may, there you see a strong concentration of Jet fans who are also Yankee fans.