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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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More Fun Than a Barrel of Pandas

In Annie Hall, Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) are asked — on a split screen, by their respective therapists — to describe the frequency of their, shall we say, adult interactions with one another.

“Hardly ever,” says Alvy. “Maybe three times a week.”

“Constantly,” says Annie. “I’d say three times a week.”

In that vein, I could imagine somebody else taking in the second game of the 2012 World Series and labeling it “boring — there were only two runs scored the whole night,” while I would avow at the exact same instant that it was “fantastic — only two runs scored the whole night!”

A lack of offense is by no means a guarantee of fun, not even when filtered through one’s old-school, purist, National League instincts, but if a game ever benefited from a lack of what others might call “action,” Game Two was it. The Giants scored twice, but not until the seventh and without the benefit of a run-scoring hit. The Tigers didn’t score at all. And that’s…fun?

Totally! Are you kidding? Of course it’s fun! A single, a walk, a bunt hit…and a DP grounder! That’s all the Giants needed to take a seventh-inning lead. And then in the eighth: a walk, a strikeout, a steal, an intentional walk, an unintentional walk and a fly ball. Bam — insurance!

John McGraw would have been tickled. I know I was.

Nothing wrong with one player hitting three home runs in one game, as Pablo Sandoval did in Game One, but slugfests (especially one-sided slugfests) are their most effective when they fall out of the sky. I remember the offensive onslaughts of the latter 1990s. The more common they became, the number I grew. But a game so close that Prince Fielder, who it turns out does not move well for a big man, is sent from first to home — or almost home — on a second-inning double with nobody out because who knows when another Tiger will have another chance?

That’s real entertainment. That’s defense to go with pitching, of which there was plenty between Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister. Bumgarner gave up only two hits in seven innings while striking out eight. But Fister — four hits in six innings — kept pitching despite taking a ball off the head, for crissake. So I’d call that a pitching duel.

Maybe the Tigers are just cold. Maybe they’ll heat up in Detroit. That would be fine. My N.L. roots are showing and I find myself leaning San Francisco’s way, but I’m willing to risk Giant fans’ happiness in quest of a World Series that goes as long as possible. We had one blowout that was moderately enjoyable if just for the novelty of the Panda going so deep so often and all the joy Phone Company Park radiates when things are going extremely well for the home team. But then we had Bumgarner and Fister starring, and the hitters scuffling to make something happen, and the result was tense beauty — or perhaps beautiful tension.

The remaining games don’t all have to unfold as mysteriously and gorgeously like Game Two, but I tell ya, it’s not a bad blueprint.

6 comments to More Fun Than a Barrel of Pandas

  • I got to go to tonight’s game, and it was pretty much as you described it. And the crowd around me and my buddy were into it. Loudest it’s been at the park when I was there this year.

    Plus, the 8th inning sing-along of “Lights” was led by Steve Perry. Awesome.

  • Scott M.

    Great article, as usual, Greg. It’s been fun getting behind the Giants -partially because of all of their do or die wins in the NLCS (and NLDS for that matter) but more because of the enthusiasm/exuberance of the fans. I really hope we can duplicate that energy and emotion one day at Citi. However, one fan is irking me – anyone know what the deal is with the guy in the Marlins jersey sitting off to the left of home plate?

  • Kevin From Flushing

    CANNOT believe the Tigers turned the DP instead of coming home. Giving up the lead with 6 outs to spare against that bullpen? And with Delmon Young having made the last out in the 7th? Maybe you take the 2 outs in the regular season, but that’s just foolish in a World Series, IMO.

  • BlackCountryMet

    Spot On. I much prefer a pitching duel than a “bats on fire” slugfest. And this was a classic