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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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In Search of a Crooked Number

Two games, two runs, two 1-0 results. Pitching! Defense (of which pitching is a key component)! No hitting! Almost literally, in one case!

Michael Wacha and bullpen outlasted Clayton Kershaw and bullpen in the afternoon, while Anibal Sanchez and bullpen totally edged Jon Lester and bullpen at night. It wasn’t exactly Marichal and Spahn going mano-a-mano for 16 innings (and all of 14 minutes longer than the Tigers and Red Sox), but it was certainly taut. The Tigers took a no-hitter into the ninth inning in Boston and settled for a five-man one-hitter. Three Dodgers gave up only two hits…but also the solitary run in their loss at St. Louis.

So much pitching. So little scoring. An absolute paucity of what baseball folk like to call crooked numbers. But if you require wayward numerals and the spirit that informs them, I suggest you and your electronic device get together with Matthew Callan.

Matthew lets it all hang out at his Scratchbomb blog, dissects games as they were first beamed on the Replacement Players podcast and occasionally chimes in on an array of Metsian matters at Amazin’ Avenue. He has cast an archivist’s light on 1988, injected welcome dollops of delicious texture into retelling 1999 and generally looks out for the Mets fan’s psyche’s best interest. And, because his imagination adheres to few boundaries, he’s written and released a positively Callanian novel, Hang A Crooked Number.

crooked-coverIt’s got baseball. It’s got espionage. It’s got a good deal more layered within. It’s got enough Mets references to keep somebody like me who tends to be fiction-averse from growing too terribly antsy. It’s got, as it must when you consider the genres it’s blending, the Moe Berg Society, a could-be consortium named for the legendary catcher who was a spy and whose last words were actually reported to be, “How did the Mets do today?”

Berg died on May 29, 1972. The Mets won that Memorial Day matinee, 7-6, on the strength of a Ken Boswell three-run homer that tied the Cardinals and a passed ball that topped them in the visitors’ ninth at Busch Stadium. Jerry Koosman — for whom a character in Matthew’s novel is named (but not necessarily just like in Growing Pains) — then came on to pitch relief and was awarded the win rather than the save since the nominal pitcher of record, Tug McGraw, had allowed three Redbirds runs in the bottom of the eighth on consecutive triples; this, apparently, was when they used to permit the hanging of crooked numbers in St. Louis. One of those three-baggers was surrendered to a pinch-hitting catcher, Jerry McNertney, who I don’t think was a spy but I’m pretty sure infiltrated every other pack of cards I bought in 1971 by going undercover as a coin.

Moe Berg was 70 when he reached his end, having been injured in a fall a little prior to that fateful Monday, so, no, the Mets managing to come back in such stunning fashion isn’t what killed him.

You can learn more about Hang A Crooked Number here, which will you enable you, if you so choose, to download it to whichever contraption you choose to read e-books. Matthew is also accommodating those who eschew tablets, Kindles and whatnot with ePub and PDF versions. Don’t let technological issues or a lack of hitting with runners in scoring position separate you from Matthew Callan’s talent.


A few other links I’ve been meaning to share between innings big and small:

Patrick Flood went pro a few years ago with his immense writing abilities. He remembers what it was like to blog the Mets with a credential dangling from his belt loop at

Another familiar name from the Metsosphere, Howard Megdal, goes deep at the same site, reflecting on his commitment to raise his daughter(s) the (W)right way.

Something as simple as delivering the mail around Citi Field turns out to be fascinating when its story is told by the Times’s Tim Rohan.

I had no idea what it meant to Tim Byrdak to extend his “long and meritorious service” as a Met in 2013, but ESPN’s Chris Jones explains it thoroughly.

And if you didn’t hear how the WFAN Mets era ended on Closing Day, give it the good listen its passing deserves.

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