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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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Ohmigod, Wasn't That Not Awful?

Wednesday they rode the bus. Thursday they broke the Bucs. This weekend?

First place or bust!

Let's get a little giddy for the giddy-up the Mets showed after falling behind 5-0, shedding Tim Redding, shredding almost their entire roster and blowing a ninth-inning lead that seemed fated to be converted into the regulation loss to end all regulation losses. It was a Wes Westrum kind of day developing in Pittsburgh, one from which you're left muttering into the mirror, “Ohmigod, wasn't that awful?”

But it didn't develop as such. It was a cliffdweller, all right, but this time the Mets merely teetered on the edge instead of plummeting deep into the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela. Somehow they formed the mighty Ohio of comebacks — twice.

Next stop: Philadelphia, where our temporarily unreeling N.L. East contender challenges the sputtering defending champion, with two other mediocre teams futzing around in there somewhere with us. The Mets, the Phils, the Fish, the Braves…four clubs separated by two games, they'll all meet again on their long journey to the middle. Until then, we've won two one-run demi-thrillers in a row after feeling the cold hand Tuesday night and wondering if we'd ever see the sun.

It rained in Pittsburgh. It rained Pittsburgh baserunners, some of whom, as is Pirate custom, you'd never heard of before. Who's Garrett Jones? He's who Nyjer Morgan was last month. He's who Steven Pearce was last year. He's Humberto Cota and Tike Redman and everybody else who's taken a black and gold bite out of our blue and orange ass these last few seasons. The Buccos haven't had a winning record since 1992 because they're constantly bringing up Garrett Jones and Steven Pearce and Nyjer Morgan and Humberto Cota and Tike Redman. Why won't someone tell our parade of Tim Reddings that this is not what they mean by Lumber and Lightning?

Well, Redding lasted not long and my attention was diverted by the things that keep day games going on in no more than one ear. But then I heard weird sounds like Murphy driving in two and Evans driving in two more and Tatis doing that thing that isn't grounding into a double play. And Church…he was all over the place. Timmy! was gone and the Misches and the Dessenses and the Stokeses had morphed from mopping up to setting up and all it was going to take was the one credibly great pitcher called on all day to end it.

And he very nearly did, damn it.

Frankie Rodriguez finally had his Bradmando Fragner moment. He legitimately blew one in Baltimore, but that seemed inevitable enough so as to be excused as, if you'll pardon the expression, popping his Met closer cherry. This one was rotten tomatoes and they just kept coming. Freddy Sanchez dives into first, the stupidest play in baseball, and he's safe. Adam LaRoche, who told Carlos Beltran to stuff it a month ago, turned his indignation on Rodriguez. OK, score tied, joke's over. Get them out now, Francisco. But K-Rod couldn't stop with the funny business. He gets two outs, but then he allows two hits. Winning run is on third, Brandon Moss lines a rising bullet toward right…but it's not a hit! Luis Castillo not only catches it but does a little “look what I found” with the ball (cocky bastard, ain't he?).

Next chapter, the Pirates are the Pirates: their closer du jour hits Tatis. Tatis is in such pain he steals second. Church singles and Tatis is showing signs of dead duckery, but McCutchen doesn't so much airmail the throw home as send it on the space shuttle. Mets strangely lead 9-8. Even stranger, Frankie comes out for the tenth after throwing what must have been a hundred pitches in the ninth. The choice facing Jerry Manuel was Rodriguez's right arm falling off or Bobby Parnell's right arm being used. These days you'll take your chances with the former.

And it worked. The Mets won a game they didn't deserve to lose nearly as much as the Pirates did. They're all big juicy W's in the standings, however, so what a game! Back on the bus and off to Philadelphia for a most improbable roll to maybe the top of the division.

On a steel horse we ride…

The Mets experience two definitively happy endings and lots of semi-enjoyable middles in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.

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