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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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Done

So that's that. A win, but no miracle.

The game? Well, the moment the Astros won it felt like it'd been played a month ago, but while I nearly woke Emily and Joshua with a gleeful yell when Bobby Abreu struck out, it did feel like a microcosm of the season. The pitching, defense and hitting all yo-yo'ed between frustratingly inept and thrillingly clutch, with the Mets looking as baffled about which personality would show up next as we all were at home. (And seeing the one-two punch of Victor Zambrano and Kaz Ishii left me muttering about long-ago decisions about the starting rotation, though Kaz did just fine. Victor, on the other hand, was Victor.)

I was surprised how sad I was when word came from St. Louis, finding myself staring at the radio for a long, long moment before perspective arrived. A few years ago, I arrived at what I hope would last me as the definition of a successful season: I want my team to play games that matter in the final week of the season. Well, we did that this year. Mathematically meaningful games, at least.

More importantly, this 9-2 run against the Braves, Marlins, Nationals and Phillies has at least washed away some of the bad taste from the 2-8 road trip that killed us (and the Nats' sweep at Shea that followed it). We do run the risk of getting too excited: Beyond the fact that it's garbage time, the Braves were on cruise control, the Nats sent out the JV, the Marlins are disintegrating in a truly ugly way, and the Phillies are playing tight, which I'm sure is somehow still Larry Bowa's fault.

But we've gotten some good things to file away for the future, too: Heilman closing games with swing-and-miss stuff and Jacobs having solid at-bats again are the biggest ones in my book. Besides, wins are wins. We could finish in third place (and even dream of second). We should finish over .500 — though it would be just like this schizoid team to tank against the Rockies. We certainly didn't quit in September the way previous editions of this team did.

And we're now down to the know-it-by-heart part of the schedule during which wins and losses become secondary to the fact that games are games. There are only five left. Whether those games are exhilirating or deadly dull, crisp or sloppy, they're infinitely better than anything that'll be on TV until next spring. Cherish 'em.

5 comments to Done

  • Anonymous

    Not to quibble, Jason, but to allude to a 2-8 road trip when they were in contention followed by a 9-2 run once hopelessly out of it and then to state that this team didn't quit in September is really looking at things through blue and orange glasses.
    There are reasons for hope going forward and I feel this season was a net positive, but you can't gloss over the fact that this team absolutely spit the bit in September during the “meaningful games” portion of the month.
    And it's nice to see no hint of the disintegration we're seeing in Florida and Phillie.

  • Anonymous

    I politely disagree with the “blue and orange glasses” suggestion. Like it or not, the 2005 team is a work in progress. There are obvious holes in the lineup and on the staff.
    A 2-8 road trip would be unforgivable for a Yankees-caliber club. But for one that's been a .500 club all season long—with struggles on the road all season long—it's not out of the realm. The fact that they rebounded, started winning again, and pulled out several hard-fought contests—like Monday's—says a lot. They didn't just mail it in in September like last year's squad seemed to.
    Realistically, if the Mets wound up with the Wild Card, I'd have been happy, but would've also thought we overachieved. With holes at 1B, 2B, and for half the season in RF—plus a disappointing bullpen, a poor closer, and an average starting staff—a winning season is something for the Wrights and Reyeses and Beltrans to build on.
    Whoa. These glasses are kinda trippy….. :)

  • Anonymous

    Well, sure — and I keep nattering on about it being garbage time. But I don't think this team quit in Florida, Atlanta and St. Louis and then against Washington. I think they pressed, made the wrong moves, let Braden Looper pitch and sometimes just got beat, but I don't think they quit, when they easily could have after that
    Spitting the bit certainly isn't good, but it's better than standing morosely in the stall refusing to even take the bit, which is what I thought some recent squads did. And which Roberto Alomar did all the time, while I'm grumbling about the past.
    Agree with you on Florida. I think the Phillies are just playing tight — another thing that falls into the category of bad but doesn't cross over into unpardonable — but the Marlins are coming apart in really ugly, infuriating fashion. This embarrassing finish could be the end of the franchise in South Florida, in fact.

  • Anonymous

    I guess the main nit that I was picking was that “not quitting” is not really much of a compliment or achievement. Isn't it sort of a given that they should continue to try hard?
    I also gave the little shout and fist-pump when Abreu waved at that last pitch from Heilman. I am enjoying this little run (heck, I'm even going to “Show up at Shea” Thursday night.)
    The fact that we're not the '02, '03, '04 Mets or the '05 Marlins is all well and good.
    Just doesn't exactly make this a “September to Remember.”
    (And I know you never said it was)

  • Anonymous

    If the Mets had decided, after their first 9-2 run, that “we'll take it easy over the next 18 games and win only 9 then get back to business,” they could be tied with the Astros right now. Just go 9-9 instead of 3-15, one win per series (SF, Philly, Fla, Atl., St. L, Wash.) during the stretch in which they collapsed. Then throw in my earlier sugggestion that they could have won just one more game apiece in series in Oakland, Seattle, Colorado, Houston, San Diego and Los Angeles (I had suggested SF and St. L. too but those are covered by the latter 18 games), and you're talking about a team that's in the playoffs and probably winning the division.
    I know the Mets love to lose in Turner Field. This plan would have allowed them to do almost as much of that as they had been doing. I know they love to lose to the Yankees in excruciating fashion, and those three losses could've stayed on the books. They could've even kept that horrible Friday night in Pittsburgh. I don't want to cramp their style. All they had to do was win one extra game (again, winnable games) in the series I mentioned and they'd be on their way to great things.
    But no, they got greedy and had to lose often.