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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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Suddenly Smitten

I'm reading a pretty good book called A Great Day in Cooperstown about how the Hall of Fame came to be and the festive occasion its opening was. All the immortals who were still alive in 1939 — Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Tris Speaker, a recently retired Babe Ruth — came to Upstate New York and caused quite the commotion. I wondered what it must have been like to have witnessed modern baseball in its formative years, to have seen these players create the game as we know it, to possibly bump into one of them on Main Street when they showed up to get enshrined.

It must have been tremendous, I decided, but it's all right that I wasn't there then because if I had been, I wouldn't be around now. And if I weren't around now, I wouldn't be seeing Lastings Milledge in his formative years recreating the game we will know in the 21st century.

That's how far gone I am over this kid who's been a Met for a week and change. I had held it in check until last night, but by this morning, as I savored the back page of the late edition of the Daily News which documented his ARM & HAMMER…well, WOO! as the scoreboard often says. I'm head over heels for Lastings Milledge.

Yes, he's to be mentioned with the residents of Pantheon Row. Of course I'm searching my mental database for whether we've ever had anybody like him (we haven't) or whether we've produced and employed a trio of homegrowners like Reyes, Wright and him simultaneously (we also haven't). I've skipped over the ifs in record time, slid around the ands, and slammed the buts over the leftfield wall. No ifs, ands or buts, Lastings Milledge is as awesome a Met as I could imagine.

Xavier Nady? Swell fella. I hope Willie finds him some at-bats.

I've flipped through all the obvious precedents. He's not Ron Swoboda. He's not Mike Vail. He's not Alex Ochoa. He's not Benny Agbayani. He's not Victor Diaz or Craig Brazell or Mike Jacobs even. I have no evidence, only intuition, and I'm likin' what I'm feelin'. He's not Darryl Strawberry, either, though after watching him do everything right last night, I no longer mean that in the “don't compare him to a superstar yet,” but rather “Darryl was no Lastings, not at this stage of his career”…career meaning, if I'm not mistaken, eight games to date.

It's not much of a sample, but what sample it is makes me want to order the complete set right now. Lastings Milledge has filled up my senses like a night in the forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain.

Holy Honus Wagner! He's hitting, he's running, he's throwing, he's got me channeling John Denver.

I'm gone, baby. Waaaaaaaay gone.

8 comments to Suddenly Smitten

  • Anonymous

    I love that if I were to tell someone, “I was at the game where Lastings made that amazing throw to nail some fool trying to take an extra base”, it's already at the point where they'd ask me “which one?” The future is now, and I'm enjoying every second of it.

  • Anonymous

    Good thing he wasn't traded for some warmed-over plate of baked
    Zito when the whole pitching crisis flared up, huh?
    Course, I shouldn't speak too soon, there's still time before the
    trade deadline for Omar to get a bright idea. But I hope it's obvious
    what a great advantage it is to grow your own — we didn't have to
    give up anything to get Lastings Milledge.

  • Anonymous

    His throw in the Pedro game was pretty awesome. I saw him nail somebody at the plate with the Tides when I got his autograph a couple months ago (sorry, I'm gonna keep bringing that up. It makes me so giddy), and I'm ecstatic he's just kept right on gunning them down. He's really doing it all, already another double tonight. Stay hot. Hey, Jessica, are you in college? Where do you go?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I recently finished my sophomore year at NYU (which is a great school, despite the lack of SNY in the campus cable service).

  • Anonymous

    Milledge is a five tooler with that sixth intangible tool. The drive to win.
    L.A. fans were making fun of his given name at St Lucie this spring. He sent them home with a huge game winning hit in the ninth.
    Wiki has an article on the five tool followed by examples past and present. The prototype was Willie Mays. Milledge is linked with a Wiki article.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-tool_player

  • Anonymous

    What a gross oversight.

  • Anonymous

    At least I can comfort myself with the fact that some other New York team's channel isn't part of Campus Cable either, and we have excellent radio announcers where they have total buffoons in that department. God bless Howie Rose/Ed Coleman/Tom McCarthy. And we do get 4 different ESPN channels, plus TBS so I can boo Larry & Co. a few times a week.

  • Anonymous

    At our office we get SNY, but with no sound. (I'm watching it there now. On a Saturday night. Christ I'm old.) But we don't get YES at all. Very strange.