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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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Storylines, If Not Actual Stories

Toe? Toe? How are you, toe?

¿Cómo está, dedo?

It's hard to think of anything else, what with one tiny fraction of a pitcher playing the biggest role imaginable in a Met spring training since Doc Gooden's nose inhaled a repeat in 1987. This whole thing is beginning to sound like Trachsel's back a year ago and how it was going to require an extra day of rest, maybe two, and then he'd be throwing off a mound.

Say, why do pitchers throw “off” a mound? Not from a mound and not on a mound, but off a mound. That's a construction that dates back to Doc's days as well, specifically his rehab trail back from Smithers. I know what Pedro is (or isn't recovering) from is nothing like what Gooden contracted, but this whole toe business…well, let's just say it's mighty Dwight of him.

We need a distraction from our diversion. We need other stories, but we're not getting them (though, as you boldly forecast, Carlos Delgado is happy to be here. I suppose that's not so bad. Stories — real stories — in spring training tend to involve St. Lucie's law enforcement community and spare outfielders too impatient to find a loo. So there are no stories, but there are storylines.

Shoot, I recognize a malleable idea when I co-opt it.

Guy Whose Outstanding Work Last Year Suddenly Never Happened: Have you heard Juan Padilla's name enter the bullpen conversation at all? Wasn't this guy the New Reliable in the second half of last season? Did he do anything wrong at all? I seem to recall Bartolome Fortunato having the same fraternity Gaslight prank pulled on him in camp in '05. OK, so he got hurt, but he wasn't mentioned after a solid '04 just like Padilla isn't now. While we're diddling around with projects and rejects, I'm guessing the guy in the glasses has options left. That should be delightful (who among us wouldn't want options?), but it's really a predicament. Some dude who posts an 0.14 ERA or an .833 batting average in spring always seems to be getting screwed in favor of a John Hudek/Brian Rose type who just can't be lost to waivers. (Only here do we have not just John Hudek and Brian Rose, but John Hudek/Brian Rose types; seriously, sometimes I think we retain too much.)

Thing Most Everybody Else Is Clucking Over But I Can't Muster The Slightest Damn About: The World Baseball Classic is this year's steroids hearings. This has…what to do with the Mets? Yeah, I know, Pedro will get his shoe and trip over himself playing for the Dominican Republic trying to field a line drive off the bat of USA substitute third baseman David Wright…who will trip over himself on his way to first. It could happen. And lightning could strike Tom Glavine on the golf course (oh crap, now I've gone and done it). Putting aside the Pandora's Box aspect of baseball players playing baseball games and god knows what will occur next, what will all this prove? That guys with some sort of similar background thrown together for a couple of weeks can beat other guys with some other sort of similar background also thrown together for a couple of weeks? I'll still take my Metropolitan-Americans every time.

Mets Book I Have To Have As Soon As It Comes Out: Somebody wrote a book about the 2005 Mets? Really? 83 wins and a tie for third? Well, ya know what? Point me to the checkout counter. I've read an excerpt from Adam Rubin's upcoming Pedro, Carlos and Omar and am clearing space in my head to learn more Bad Stuff 'Bout The Mets. To make room, I'll try to forget trivia like how in 2004 the Mets were such laughingstocks they couldn't lure Henry Blanco or Craig Counsell to New York. Wait! That's what I learned from Rubin, the dependable Daily News beat writer, in his excerpt. He's got lots of fun minutia, to say nothing of a ton of bad memories from less than two years past, including the disastrous details that led to the Minayanizing of the Mets. Gads, I'd all but forgotten about Art Howe and had — no kidding — completely put out of my mind the way he was fired without being fired that September. It's like finding out last week's grocery list has been published by HarperCollins. But my appetite has been whetted. It's out in a week. Act now.

Petition Circulating In Order To Secure Mets Telecasts For All: I'd never heard of the Patriot Media cable company until recently, but you've heard the parable: First they came for Patriot Media and I did not speak out because I was not a Patriot Media subscriber… Well, Patriot Media, not unlike my very own Cablevision to whom I pay blood and Sopranos money every month, does not have a working arrangement yet with SportsNet New York, impending television home of the New York Mets. All who like to watch the Mets should sign on so all can watch Gary, Keith and Ronnie sign on next month.

Dirty Little Not-So-Secret I Feel Compelled To Disclose: I'm thisclose to being in SNY's pocket. They hosted me and four swell fellow fans with blogs and had us tape a segment for Mets Weekly, the successor to Fran Healy's scintillating New York Mets Inside Pitch (quite a legacy to live up to; it should take 'em about a second). It was a great deal of fun and I left imbued with confidence (if not cahn-fidence) that these people will put on a good show and be part of a fine network. That, besides the airing of Mets games, is why it needs to be on every cable system in the New York area and everywhere else for that matter. New York Mets, America's Team…New York Mets, World's Team…New York Mets, A Universal Point of Pride. Yeah, that's more like it. C'mon Snigh and Cablevision and Patriot Media and the rest of youse — get it together. (If you're wondering what it would take to get me all the way in their pocket, those SNY baseball caps look pretty snappy.)

Idiotic Exercise In Projecting By Idiots: On the heels of Eddie Coleman's report that nothing whatsoever was going on down south, the afternoon hosts of the Mets' flagship radio station gave three minutes of spontaneous thought to the Mets. Between them, they dithered over how many wins Pedro and Glavine would have to have for the Mets to have a good season. Then they dithered over how many starts they'd have to combine for. “65, 66,” said one. “62,” said the other, definitively. Yeah, that's the fortune cookie right there. Good job, boys. Come back after commercial break with your figure skating analysis. It's almost as useful.

Sad Sign For The National Pastime: USA Today Sports Weekly, which used to be known as USA Today Baseball Weekly until it added football coverage, now includes NASCAR stories. It's a sad sign for all of us, really, but coming in February, when you'd think baseball could handle its own newspaper, it's especially harsh. And NASCAR? It's just fumes, dust and a lot of crashes. I'll bet Rubin has plenty of that in his recounting of the Art Howe years.

Unprecedented Endorsement Of A Baseball Team Blog Outside The Family: Referring you to great new Mets-oriented blogs like Lone Star Met or Metphistopheles is something we do proudly and not infrequently so you the Met-oriented reader can benefit. This, however, could be a first — why don'tcha give a click to Cubs Curmudgeon? Yeah, I know, the Cubs, but it's well done, one of its two bloggers is a reader of ours and, it turns out, a co-worker-in-law of mine, twice removed. That is to say he is employed by the company that now owns the magazine for which I used to work but not for the same magazine, and I haven't worked there in some time, certainly not since the company he works for bought it. (Got that?) Or as another Cubs fan who stumbled upon us the other day remarked, “Shawon Dunston…87th best Met ever? I think that's hilarious.” Of course our pal Shawon made the list and a lasting impression for his role in securing one of the greatest postseason wins ever, an accomplishment with which Cubs fans under the age of a hundred and eight may be unfamiliar. (My, but that turned ugly quickly.)

Just-Discovered Startling Detail Regarding A Possible Met Who Wasn't A Met: I was in a discussion regarding the upcoming release of the 1986 World Series on DVD with a friend who suggested it would be a hoot-and-a-half if the '69 Fall Classic got the same lavish treatment. Absolutely, I agreed. He, in turn, wondered whether such a splendid set would include that footage of, oh you know, the bit in To Mets With Love when Ralph Kiner interviews a celebratory Jim Bibby. This stopped me cold. Jim Bibby? Jim Bibby the tall Mets farmhand who never played for the Mets, was traded to the Cardinals with Art Shamsky and others for Jim Beauchamp, Harry Parker and others and won 19 games and lost 19 games in the same season for the Rangers? That Jim Bibby? Henry Bibby's brother Jim Bibby? Yes, I was told, Jim Bibby was in a Mets uniform in the champagne-soaked, division-clinching clubhouse on September 24, 1969, identified by name, by Ralph. This strongly implies Jim Bibby is one of the non-Mets Mets, part of the Gerry Moses, Terrel Hansen, Mac Suzuki, Justin Speier cabal of guys placed on the active roster but never inserted into a game. Maybe he was the first. I haven't seen To Mets With Love in more than a quarter-century, and I can only hope the new network unearths it or that it shows up on a future DVD. What I do know is that in 1969, the Mets came from way behind to storm past the Cubs and win the East. But you already knew that.

Guy Who Should Stick To Managing And Nothing Else: Willie Randolph, regardless of batting order, facial hair policy or contempt for the ladies and gentlemen of the press. I caught a glimpse of yet another from-hunger Subway commercial in which he and Joe Torre are apparently lounging on some sort of Caribbean honeymoon while bickering over a sandwich. Get a room, you two. And give up the act. Vaudeville is dead. Every ad you film is another sale for Quiznos.

6 comments to Storylines, If Not Actual Stories

  • Anonymous

    FYI, Patriot Media used top be RCN Cable, but the became Patriot in late '03.
    I signed the petition for an odd reason: I used to be a Patriot Media hostag…err…subscriber when we lived in Bernardsville. 2 years ago, we moved one town over (Basking Ridge) and lo & behold, it was Cablevision country…
    Never thought I'd be able to say I was happy to have Cablevision, ratherthan Patriot.

  • Anonymous

    You know what's great about this time of year…? It's like the commercials they show before the movie starts. Not the previews. But the commercials before the previews. The lights are down. There's stuff on the screen, and you're looking at it. But you're not paying it any attention. Because it's Coke…and it's Blockbuster…and it's stuff that you already know all about, and isn't going to affect anything you consciously do, ever. But it's there, and your eyes are drawn to it because it beats the daylights out of the deathly half-darkened still slides it has replaced (“MI2 Star: T_m Cru_se”).
    This is confirmation that the movie you paid for is unequivocally in your reasonably not-so-distant future, and you still have plenty of time to tend to the family's basic needs. There is a buzz. Full blown anticipation is only just around the corner…

  • Anonymous

    “You've just seen The Twenty, with 'The Toe,' 'The Two Carloses' and 'Kazuo's Last Chance'….”

  • Anonymous

    Patriot Media? What about Dish Network – to which I do subscribe? Does anyone know if I'll be able to get any of the SportsNetNY games on dish?

  • Anonymous

    I signed the petition. After living in NJ for 10 1/2 years, this is the first time that I'm thankful to be a Comcast subscriber.
    Power to the People!

  • Anonymous

    So, if we criticize Patriot Media, do the terrorists win?