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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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So We Meet Again

Gary Cohen is a sharp guy. When the Mets visited Phoenix in 2000, Todd Pratt came to bat in front of Diamondbacks fans for the first time since October 9, 1999. Reaction was muted, to say the least. How, Gary asked Ed Coleman, can these fans not be booing the man who put them out of the playoffs ten months ago?

Yesterday, he inverted the question as Pratt caught the day game after the night game for the Braves. Tank, he noted, got less than a hero's welcome Monday when he stepped in to pinch-hit in the ninth. How, he asked Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, can these fans boo the man who is rightly remembered for knocking that home run over the wall?

I love the romantic notion that Todd Pratt should be above reproach, but Pratt's a Brave now and, more importantly, someone who attempted to stand in the way of a key victory (he struck out to end Pedro's 200th). He's been slipping in and out of town since the summer of 2001, usually getting a start or an at-bat in one 8-2 Mets-Phillies game after another. He'd always received a hand because there was no harm in having him up.

It was different the day after Turk Wendell was traded to the Phillies from the Mets in the middle of a series between the two. He came into a tight spot at Shea against his old team with the outcome of that particular game hanging in the palm of his right hand. His old fans, the people who thrilled to every slam of Turk's rosin bag, understood this and he generated an ambivalent response; it's one thing to applaud an “enemy” hitter in the top of the second, it's another to celebrate the other guys' pitcher in the ninth if the score is tied. When Robin Ventura ended his and the Phillies' day with a walkoff wallop, I remember the cheering felt much more intense than if he had hit it off the likes of Rheal Cormier.

Turk hadn't done anything wrong in July of '01 except get traded and go to work. Tank didn't do anything wrong this week except continue his career by associating with a most unsavory cast of characters. Yet we as Mets fans can't have that when we're trying to make magic. Who are these players who dare spoil the trick? Traitors! Even if we calm down and realize they're just professionals pursuing their craft, we can't look at them and any longer see guys who are paid to help us win ballgames and, if we may dream, championships.

Which brings us to the cleanup batter for the other team tonight.

In a matter of minutes, I'll turn on SNY and see Mike Piazza in a Mets game for the first time since August 21, 1997 wearing something other than a Mets uniform. It's not an unprecedented happenstance but we're out of practice at witnessing it, so it'll be weird.

But I have the feeling it won't be that weird. I'm surprised at how little I've thought of Mike Piazza lately. If the Padres weren't on the schedule, he would have faded even further from contemporary consciousness. When he does occur to me, he shows up as a hero, all right, but a hero from the last century, maybe the very beginning of this one. He's as relevant to where my Mets head is right now as Duffy Dyer — good guy, he helped, what's next?

He would have to charge the mound to make me dislike him and I know he never would and I never could. I'll be happy to get a look at him. I wish him well. But Mike will be out there trying to beat us. He's one of the Thems now. I've got my mind set on Us.

7 comments to So We Meet Again

  • Anonymous

    Sure enough: First time up, hard grounder to third, 5-4-3 DP, and I found myself reflexively pumping the “yer out” fist as I would for any Padre even if it wasn't just any Padre.
    And, oh, welcome back, Kaz.

  • Anonymous

    I mean REALLY welcome back Kaz!
    Everybody can go back to resenting his presence now that he's scored.

  • Anonymous

    C'mon Greg, you wouldn't be excited to see Piazza hit his 400th, as he has an outside chance of doing in this series? I certainly would. Welcome back, Kaz indeed. I almost saw him play yesterday. I was at Norfolk's game against the Rochester Red Wings but Kaz had just been called up. No problem, I got to see Milledge. Whew, batting over .400 and a rocket assist at the plate. I'm a little gleeful because I stuck around after the game and was rewarded for my persistence with our top prospect's scrawl on my baseball. Lastings Milledge! (or LSMG as it appears he signed). I saw him, talked to him. Asked him when we'd see him at Shea. He rolled his eyes and smiled….significantly, perhaps, Milledge also wears the lofty #27….
    Even as we usher in the new, we should not forget the old, Greg. It's Piazza, I mean, PIAZZA. Let's give hommage where it's due. If we lived only in the moment (the Team, the Time, the Mets?) this blog would kind of superfluous, wouldn't it?

  • Anonymous

    I'd be down with that in theory. I wouldn't begrudge Mr. Piazza his 400th homer against us but I wouldn't exactly be thrilled if it came off Mr. Wagner in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied. If this were happening in a year like 2003, I'd probably cheer such an occurrence. But, thankfully, it's 2006 and there are variables.
    I'm not asking Mike be beaned or anything. I'd just prefer he save his damage for other N.L. East teams.
    OK, we've covered the past; we've covered the present. Regarding the future, can you arrange to kidnap young Lastings and ship him to San Diego so we don't wind up tangled in a web of Chavez and Valentin before the night is out? We're already halfway there.

  • Anonymous

    Anybody else have the Kaz-Franco-Chavez trifecta for the first four RBI?

  • Anonymous

    once again, a GREAT one played in a difficult time zone. HUGE moments — even for mid-April, moments to recall well after this season is in the books.
    kaz's i-t-p homer; his nice turn of the 7-inning dp after wright threw low and inside to him (assist to the helpful 1st base ump); franco's seeing-eye, game-changing home run (after i'd just said yesterday that he's too old to stay with major league pitching); of course, a vintage delgado blast; even valentin's first hit.
    such reward for those of us with sleep issues.

  • Anonymous

    oh yes, and endy's sweet drag bunt rbi. sorry i neglected to mention. not sure whether that or franco's hr got the bigger smile out of stoneface willie.