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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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What Really Happens When Pitchers Report

“Welcome gentlemen to New York Mets spring training for pitchers and catchers. We have already checked in Lo Duca comma Paul, Castro comma Ramon and the many other catchers we are going to require so each of you pitchers can display to us what you are made of. Please form a line, single file, and step forward one at a time for your instructions. Start now…

“Last name?”

“Martinez.”

“First name?”

“Pedro.”

“All right, Martinez. Here's that shoe you wanted. Put it on and don't ever take it off. Start throwing and don't leave camp. You're a member of the New York Mets from this moment forward. This is your nationality, this is your flag. Don't hurt yourself and save your strength. We're gonna need you for the whole season, maybe longer. You're our man…next!

“Last name?”

“Glavine.”

“First name?”

“Tom.”

“Glavine, we're gonna need you to age as slowly as possible. Says here you did a good job of that the last few months of last season. See if you can keep it up. We'll do what we can to help you achieve your personal milestone, you do what you can to help the whole organization. Remember, if the team wins and you don't, it's still a win. Everybody here's trying for the same thing…next!

“Last name?”

“Zambrano.”

“First name?”

“Victor.”

“Zambrano, you can do some marvelous things and some not so marvelous things. We strongly recommend you concentrate on the former and forget about the latter. We like your talent. What we're not crazy about is the cut of your jib. Recut your jib this year. There are a lot of people counting on you. The sad part is there are going to be a lot of people counting on you to fail so they can feel better about themselves. Those are the people who didn't want you here in the first place, the people who it secretly pained to see you doing well for a while last year. Don't let them get to you. Do your best. And throw strikes…next!

“Last name?”

“Trachsel.”

“First name?”

“Steve.”

“Trachsel, you look familiar. Oh yeah, you've been here before. In fact, you've been here more than anybody else. You must've been doing something right to have lasted this long, though sometimes it's hard to remember. I'll tell you what I told Glavine, son. It's a team game. Don't sulk if things don't go well for you personally, we're all in this together. And take it easy on the back. We need you the whole year. Don't wanna have to go out and get another Ishii…next!

“Last name?”

“Heilman.”

“First name?”

“Aaron.”

“All right, Heilman. We're gonna send you over there with the starters. Think you can handle it? Your agent sure seemed to think so. Just keep doin' what you were doin' last year except more of it. This ain't no two good innings and out situation anymore. This is about length. Go stretch and good luck…next!

“Last name?”

“Lima.”

“First name?”

“Jose.”

“Lima…Lima…do we even have a file on you? Oh, here it is. What is this? Lima man, this thing is all over the place. You're good, you're bad, you're good, you're bad, you're an Astro, you're a Tiger, you're a Royal a couple of times, you're a Dodger, you're something called a Newark Bear. And you're a flake. A little personality is fine, Lima, but don't be a nut about it. See if you can be more like the Dodger you were than the Royal you've been. Maybe we can use you…next!

“Last name?”

“Iriki.”

“First name?”

“Yusaku.”

“Iriki, I don't know if you're going to understand a word I'm saying, but if you've got some funk, we like that sort of thing around here, provided it's good funk. You've got the power of the unknown going for you, not a bad thing for a pitcher. I won't lie to you, though. We haven't had much luck tapping the talent pool where you're from. May be a coincidence since we haven't had a lot of luck tapping a lot of talent pools. Go throw and maybe we'll come up with something…next!

“Last name?”

“Pelfrey.”

“First name?”

“Mike.”

“Pelfrey, it appears you're a blank slate. You won't be for long. A lot of folks who have never seen you and couldn't pick you out of a crowd are going to be pinning all kinds of hopes and dreams on you. I can hear the pencils sharpening. One wrong move by one of the older fellows and they're penciling you in. It's probably not going to be that easy. It rarely is. Listen carefully to the coaches here. Find out what they've told all the other prospects who have come before you and do the opposite. All of our other prospects suffered serious injuries listening to the coaches. Get advice from somewhere else. It has to be better. Have a good career, kid…next!

“Last name?”

“Bannister.”

“First name?”

“Brian.”

“Oh, a legacy. Hope your dad is well. You're not gonna make it here on your name, son. Just keep working hard and stay under the radar as long as you can. Get a little too well known, you'll either get hurt or get traded. Keep on pitching and you may get a chance…next!

“Last name?”

“Soler.”

“First name?”

“Alay.”

“Soler, you're overdue like a library book. Make sure your paperwork's in order before we worry about you pitching. I find it hard to believe you're actually here…next!

“Last name?”

“Maine.”

“First name?”

“John.”

“Maine, the main thing is you're a warm body. Your job is to become a hot body. Not like that sassy little number who ya got traded for — and ya know I'm not talkin' about her husband, heh-heh. Looks like you've got some stuff but you haven't really shown it. Well, here's your opportunity. You're young, Maine. Forget where you've been and show us where you're going. You may not figure in our plans right away, but our main, or should I say primary guys aren't getting any younger…next!

“Last name?”

“Julio.”

“First name?”

“Jorge.”

“Julio, you've got some problems besides having two first names. You've got experience but not much of it is good. Funny how everybody seems to know that about you. You've been compared to another guy who came here from Baltimore. Things didn't work out too good for him in the end, but I'll letcha in on a little secret. That fella pitched pretty well around here for a while before he imploded. What you've gotta do, Julio, is start fresh. When you hear 'New York,' remember you're on New York now. You're not pitching against some other outfit from New York anymore. We're gonna have your back here. I'll tell you what I told Zambrano: throw strikes and the rest'll take care of itself…next!

“Last name?”

“Bradford.”

“First name?”

“Chad.”

“Say, Bradford, you're that pitcher with the funny arm angle. I always get a kick out of that. I also read you're not too fond of big crowds. Well, we can use the arm angle but not the hangup about noise. People here like to hear themselves yell. But you've probably overcome a lot of that stuff. We don't necessarily have anybody to get lefties out, so if you can figure out a way to do that, you'll probably have yourself a role. I know how you bullpen guys like knowing your roles…next!

“Last name?”

“Schmoll.”

“First name?”

“Steve.”

“Another sidearmer, eh? Listen Schmoll, I'm not sure where you're gonna fit in around here, so you should probably try to make the most of spring training. You can open some eyes. This is no exhibition exercise where you're concerned. Every year we grab a couple of walk-ons and put 'em on the traveling squad. We had a fella last year, Roberto Hernandez, nobody thought they'd have much use for. He had himself a good year and got himself a nice contract in Pittsburgh. Maybe you've got something like that up your sidearmed sleeve…next!

“Last name?”

“Padilla.”

“First name?”

“Juan.”

“Padilla, I should just toss you a ball and say 'go get 'em' because you earned it. But things are never that simple in this camp. Look around here and you'll see we've brought in all kinds of competition for you. It's nothing personal, it's just business. Try and remember what helped you break through last year and just keep doing it. You'll be fine. But go see the eye doctor to make sure those specs are prescription…next!

“Last name?”

“Sanchez.”

“First name?”

“Duaner.”

“Sanchez, you've got a lot of promise. I like the way you filled in for that Gagne character in L.A. last year. I know a lot of people were upset we let go Seo to get you, but I wasn't one of them. You and I know what a difference the eighth inning can make in a ballgame. You've got filthy stuff, and though that sounds disgusting, we like filthy stuff. Stay focused and you'll be all right…next!

“Last name?”

“Bell.”

“First name?”

“Heath.”

“Bell, you're here again? Well, why wouldn't you be? Seems like we've seen you every year for about a decade but I guess it's only been a couple of years. Bell, you seem to have an unnatural number of supporters out there, folks who don't think you get enough of a shot to make it. I'm not sure I'm one of them, but spring is a good time to impress me and impress everybody. I know what you're thinking: 'I was great last spring and I didn't make the team.' Well, guess what, Bell? It's a new spring. Hasn't been the modern team that can't use another talented arm in relief. Careful with the rollerblades…next!

“Last name?

“Ring.”

“First name?”

“Royce.”

“First Bell, now Ring. What is this, some kind of gag? Apologies, Ring, if I've slurred you in any way. I see you're a lefty. Well, Ring, that's not a bad thing to be around here. You don't see many lefties, do ya? But Ring, you're gonna have learn some consistency. You had a clear field last season and you couldn't stick. We don't know what to expect from you anymore. But we didn't know what to expect from Heilman a year ago and now he's one of our big keys. Be a ring, Key. I mean a key, Ring. I mean…next!

“Last name?”

“Fortunato.”

“First name?”

“Bartolome.”

“Fortunato, says here you pitched pretty well for us in '04 but didn't throw a dadburn inning in '05. I'd prefer to think of you in '04 terms. Seems you made a pretty decent impression. But that was suddenly a long time ago. Work hard, kid, work hard. You never know…next!

“Last name?”

“Feliciano.”

“First name?”

“Pedro.”

“You again? Over there with the lefties…next!

“Last name?”

“Oliver.”

“First name?”

“Darren.”

“Oliver, you're not the Darren Oliver who's been around forever, are you? I guess you are. Good luck, old-timer…next!

“Last name?”

“Parra.”

“First name?”

“Jose.”

“You've been here before, you know the drill…next!

“Last name?”

“Santiago.”

“First name?”

“Jose.”

“You heard what I told Parra…next!

“Last name?”

“Koo.”

“First name?”

“Mister.”

“You're not pullin' that again, Koo. Frankly, I don't how you made it back here, but go grab a bat and make yourself useful…next!

“Last name?

“Perisho.”

“First name?”

“Matt.”

“Over there, lefty…next!

“Last name?”

“Gonzalez.”

“First name?”

“Jeremi.”

“Sigh, must be February…next!

“Last name?”

“Humber.”

“First name?”

“Philip.”

“You must have something in your contract, because otherwise you don't belong here, at least not yet…next!

“Last name?”

“Wagner.”

“First name?”

“Billy.”

“I see you're the last pitcher here, Wagner. I guess that's appropriate. You're the closer, so we're not going to need you until things get late, though they do have a tendency to get late early around here, so stay alert. I know you're going to represent our country in the World Baseball Classic and that's a very nice thing, but so help me if you strain one ligament, you're not going to hear the end of it. Obviously Wagner, you've been a pro's pro, a star's star in this man's league a mighty long time, so there isn't much I can tell you. I'd like to tell you nobody's expecting you to be perfect, but really, they are. You and I know you won't be. Just minimize the damage when you aren't and move on. You don't have to worry about following in the footsteps of the old closer. He didn't leave any footsteps behind. Watch those guys on your old team. There's a bunch of 'em our relievers never could get out in a tight spot. Otherwise, relax, have fun and did I mention throw strikes?”

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