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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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Mission Accomplished

You tell me to come back with fourth place, I come back with fourth place.

Not saying that you didn't warn me, but man is RFK a dump. It looks like a domed stadium with the dome missing. It looks like the Vet on downers. There's the seasick undulation of the upper-deck seats, the strange coloring/intensity/angle/something of the lights and that monolithic expanse of green wall behind the outfield fence. Then throw in the general shabbiness: Half the seats in the upper deck have their paint flaking, the outfield grass looks like nobody's watered it in an age, and the corridors have all the charm of a Russian sub.

I spent four happy years living in the D.C. area, and I'm thrilled that there's a team there again — it's ludicrous that the nation's capital didn't have a team for more than three decades. I'm even more thrilled that the tragedy-decayed-into-farce that was the Expos (BRAAAAP! Youppi! Puerto Rico! No September call-ups!) finally ended. But things can't stop here. The Nationals have a home; now they desperately need a decent home. And an owner.

As for the visit, it was a tale of two ballgames, both enjoyable, both of which came out right. On Saturday night my pal Cooper and I arrived late, approached the stadium across the oddly deserted, oddly hilly space surrounding it (if not for the sight of the Metro tracks I might have thought I was way out in the burbs somewhere), then somehow managed to enter RFK through a back entrance that deposited us somewhere behind that expanse of green wall. It was a good three minutes before we saw anyone other than stadium workers. We arrived in baseball civilization for the top of the second to find out it was 5-0; a disgruntled Nats patron allowed that a Met had hit a grand slam but didn't remember which Met had done the honors. RFK's scoreboards repeatedly reminded me of each Met's birthdate and weight, but didn't see fit to recap previous at-bats, leaving me to peer at the season RBI totals and finally guess that David Wright had been the slugger, something I couldn't confirm until reading the next day's Post. (On Sunday the scoreboard did include what players had done in previous at-bats, apparently to make me doubt my sanity.) Anyway, Cooper and I passed a convivial couple of hours in field-level seats, drinking beer, laughing about the fact that we'd apparently missed the game's entire display of offense, and trying to estimate what percentage of the crowd were Met fans. (25% to 30%, I'd say, accounting for ungarbed rooters like me.)

Sunday my pal Megan and I sat in the upper deck (much better seats than the corresponding ones at Shea), drinking beer, trying to estimate Met-fan percentages and watching a near-constant display of offense. (As well as an offensive lack of defense from Diaz and Cairo.) Given RFK's absurd dimensions (380' to the alleys!), our four-homer attack was even more impressive — and in fairness to Cairo, he hit a ball that would've been gone anywhere else. (Oh, the hunt for that 17th RBI.) I must admit I didn't do much for Northeast Corridor good-fellowship by taking it upon myself to educate some overexcited Nats fans nearby about the basics: “Look at the outfielders, people — not the ball,” I'd exhort them as they rose to cheer balls that Met outfielders were coming in on. (Granted, not an uncommon phenomenon at Shea, either.) They got some practice: The last three dingers we hit were no-doubters; I called Piazza's second as it cleared the infield, as the velocity with which it left the bat told you all you needed to know even before you saw Preston Wilson turn with his shoulders slumped.

Dare I note Mike's now at 396? What the heck, I suppose I do so dare. Mike's at 396. .500, fourth place and 400 home runs for Mike Piazza might not have seemed like great 2005 parting gifts at, say, 7:04 p.m. on August 31, but I'd sure take them now.

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