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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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Mama Told Me There Wouldn't Usually Be Days Like These

Even fans of juggernauts endure a fair number of four-run deficits in the eighth, as games that haven’t felt particularly close trudge to a merciful conclusion. Being a baseball fan means putting up with God knows how many such affairs — lousy, irritating games that you stick with because bad baseball is ever so slightly better than the absence of baseball, after which you forget them as quickly as possible.

Most of last night’s game followed this dreary template: Jonathon Niese was wild and thoroughly unimpressive, beginning his night by serving up a meatball to Adam Dunn and ending it by watching Manny Acosta further drive up his ERA. The Met hitters, for their part, were specializing in hitting into double plays. Occasionally they looked frustrated or peeved; most of the time they looked as listless as the sparse, chilly crowd muttering amid the sea of forest-green seats.

If you were at the game and stayed, I applaud you. If you were at the game and left, I don’t blame you. I heard the whole thing, but I’m not patting myself on the back too heartily: I spent most of the second half sitting at my desk writing, ever so often registering via Howie and Wayne that the Mets had done something else that would have annoyed me thoroughly had I still been in front of the TV, a level of commitment the Mets clearly didn’t deserve.

But then there were interested voices behind me. It was late, but Scott Olsen was out of the game, and the Mets were showing fitful signs of life.

Now, I feel it’s my duty to make something very clear for any newly minted Mets fans who’s happened by these parts.

Most of the time, teams that fall behind 3-0 and then deepen that hole to 6-1 don’t come back.

Most of the time, ekeing your way back to 6-2 is as close as you come to a moral victory. Which isn’t very close.

Most of the time, deciding to change the channel or turn off the TV isn’t punished.

Wishing for it to be otherwise is the sign of a good heart, and believing it will be otherwise reflects admirable loyalty. But most of the time, these praiseworthy traits yield no reward — unless you count watching hours and hours and hours of dull, dispiriting baseball as a reward. (In the middle of the winter you’ll think it would totally count. This only proves that the middle of the winter is no time for perspective.)

But every once in a while, something different happens. One hit turns into another, there are walks and errors and goofiness and the world turned upside down.

Every once in a while Jason Bay singles and David Wright doubles and Ike Davis is safe on an error and there’s an out but no big deal because Rod Barajas doubles and you laugh at Josh Willingham’s imitation of a left fielder and realize you’re within one somehow and turn on the lousy little TV by the treadmill but then think there’s luck in the radio and scurry back to your desk to not screw up that luck and then Alex Cora bunts but it’s a single so Cora is brilliant and the TV is about five seconds behind the radio so you have time to hear that something good has happened and rush to the TV and then Chris Carter is up for his Mets debut and now it’s like you have springs in your behind because you’re so eager to rush to the TV for another highlight and the Animal equals five weeks of the jettisoned Frank Catalanotto with one swing and holy cow we’re up by one and there’s a pitching change and Jose Reyes is walked and Jason Bay walks for an insurance run and there’s another out and then Ike Davis HITS A FUCKING GRAND SLAM rats hits a really deep foul ball and then flies out but oh my goodness it’s Mets 8, Nationals 6.

And then, if you’re really lucky, Ike will end a 1-2-3 ninth inning with his third Spider-Man catch over the dugout rail, capping just about the best night a rookie can have while going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position, and Frankie Rodriguez will laugh and the Mets will high-five and you’ll imagine that you all might actually be able to walk on water right now. (Just in case, don’t try it.)

When that every once in a while comes around, it’s pretty fun. You’ll flip around for the highlights and listen to the entire postgame show and the normally insipid callers and periodically giggle and high-five imaginary people.

And then the memory of that game will keep you watching for the next 160 to 180 hours of baseball in which every once in a while doesn’t happen.

17 comments to Mama Told Me There Wouldn’t Usually Be Days Like These

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Gotta Believe!, Jason Fry. Jason Fry said: I blame this #Mets comeback for the next 50 blowouts I'll watch with no reward. Faith and Fear in Flushing. […]

  • Manny

    All true Mets fans(such as myself) know that yes these things don’t usually happen to us,but when they do,it’s oh,so enjoyable!

  • Daktari

    Dude… nice writing.

  • charlie

    almost turned off the radio twice glad I stuck with it real nice comeback I smiled all the way to bed

  • CharlieH

    I must admit, I bailed when Bay flied out with the bases loaded in the 5th.

    Oh me of little faith…

    I hope Greg & Stephanie had a good time.

  • LarryDC

    Jason — The watch/listen/ignore dilemma was even more pronounced in the DC area, where Mets coverage via was blacked out, leaving only the Nats coverage as the TV option. And that means the uber-homer Rob Dibble, who is as obnoxious, arrogant and anti-Met behind the mic as he was on the mound. I turned on the TV, and the volume (sometimes it’s one but not the other during Mets-Nats) once “we” (to use Dibble’s favored pronoun when talking about “his” nats) took the lead. Dibble’s immediate reaction to Davis’s massive bomb? Not how razor-close it was to a grand slam, but how he couldn’t believe a kid with two weeks under his belt would show up an umpire by kneeling down in disbelief at the call. (Dibble, I’m sure, was totally respectful and calm toward umps during his time on the mound.) And Dibble’s immediate reaction to Davis’s game-ending catch? “Look at K-Rod … doesn’t even come over and shake the hand of the guy who made that catch.” Er, right, Rob, because K-Rod was on the mound and Davis was IN THE FRIGGIN’ DUGOUT.

    I’d love to know how many other DC-area fans, whether Nats fans or not, can’t stand to listen to Dibble. Of course, measuring that would be difficult because, as the Wash Post pointed out last year, on any given night about, oh, 12 households are tuned into Nats games.

    I wonder why …

  • JoAnn

    Best run-on sentence in the history of blogging.

  • oogieball

    You know, baseball players these days don’t have enough old-timey nicknames. I’m thinking “Dugout” Davis.

  • BlackCountryMet

    WOW!! These are the games that (sort of) make up for games like Sunday!! On a late shift at work so woke up early and started watching from bottom of 6th. NOT overjoyed to see the score at that point but continued to kill time before going. Started getting minorly interested after 7th and ecstatic by end of 8th ;-) Even then, I was concerned that we would give it straight back(SOOO like the Mets) but K-Rod came through. Ike just keeps doing well, Murph can kiss that spot goodbye

  • March'62

    This game was Steve Henderson homering into the right field bullpen all over again. You have to watch/listen to entire games because unlike other sports, time doesn’t expire and you keep hitting till they make you stop. And every 20 years or so you get a game like last night.

    I’m still not impressed with the middle of the lineup. Bay and Wright both went 3-for-4 and yet both left 3 men on base. I would flip flop Reyes and Pagan, move Wright down in the lineup until he starts driving in runs again, move Rod Bad-Ass into the 5 hole, and trade Beltran for a solid #3 man in the rotation.

    • CharlieH

      You had me up to that “trade Beltran” thing.

      You’re not trading Beltran right now for anything that’s even REMOTELY valuable — you wouldn’t get a number 8 starter for him, much less a number 3 — until he proves he can play.

      And even then, it’s a contract that pretty much only you-know-who or you-know-who-else would be able to swallow.

      If you’ll pardon the pun, you’re hamstrung…

      • March'62

        Not to sound too oblique (okay, maybe we can start a whole new language based on Met injuries), but the Mets should be willing to pay half of Beltran’s contract to let him go play in some obscure middle America ballpark somewhere in which the pressure won’t get to him. In exchange, there must be a minor league team (read – KC or Pittsburgh) that has a pitcher that will be making 7 figures in the next 5 years or so that they have to unload already. There are always teams, like Oakland, that will take a risk to get a potential superstar (okay, we know he’s not but they don’t)on the cheap.

  • Mike

    You absolutely captured the spectrum of last night’s viewing emotions. Why am I watching another disheartening and momentum stopping loss? Because this was one of those rare occasions when a little “magic” was back.

  • dmg

    i had given up after the mets failed to score in the first and left a bunch of runners on in the early innings. the night was rife with vintage flushing aggravation.
    but between other tasks and noodlings around the house, i would flip back — and caught the game from the start of the bottom of the eighth. sweet. felt like i got away with something.

    i was at the game saturday, the blanco walkoff. if they can keep producing enough moments like these, then they’ll surprise a lot of folks — not least themselves. very glad davis and now carter (how about that double for a debut?) are up — they make the lineup feel fresh. this could be quite a season.

  • Dak442

    Proud to say we stuck out the whole game. Granted, we did kill the middle innings gobbling down Blue Smoke ribs and ale behind the scoreboard, but still – great night!

  • March'62

    Bad news!!!! Because of the potential threat of terrorist attacks in NYC, all games against the Phillies will be played in Philadelphia this year.

  • Rob D.

    I watched the whole game (thank God I only “watched” the game today via gamecast) yesterday with my older son and wife and after the 8th said “what just happened here?” Then when Ike did his patented catch and dismount I screamed “Holy shit, he did it again!” and woke up my younger son. Oh well. Last night was a fun one.