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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Mike Was Here (The Other One)

If we're up like 11-3 and he can't hurt us, I wouldn't mind seeing Marlon Anderson hit one out this weekend in Washington.

Only kidding.

Those dispensations are rare. I liked Marlon a whole bunch when he was here, but I liked a lot of Mets a whole bunch when they were here. Yet you can count on perhaps one finger those who are permitted to re-enter Shea Stadium hit two home runs off of Pedro Martinez in the same game and then take a bow for it…though I don't think Mike Piazza technically has to ask our permission for anything. He has a lifetime pass to do what he wants to us.*

*Void in the seventh inning or later; may require additional verification in close contests; not valid in postseason; trade to National League East or intracity rival cancels offer; check local blogs for further conditions and restrictions.

Anyway, Mike Piazza has left us again. As has Mike Cameron.

Hey, remember him?

I know ya do. I know we all do. His situation this week reminded me of the crack a teammate made about Ron Cey after Steve Garvey — who departed the Dodgers in the same offseason — took out a full-page ad in the L.A. Times to thank all his fans. “Ron,” said the teammate, “is taking out an ad in the weekly shopper to thank his fan.”

If Cameron wanted to be the center of attention in Queens this year, he should have gotten himself traded to the Rockies or the Cardinals and returned later this month. He would have bathed in a singular spotlight. As was, he got a warm greeting, but after what happened 364 days ago, he deserved a genuine homecoming salute.

Eerie we were playing San Diego on this Thursday afternoon just like last year. Eerier still that I was taking the same train ride into Grand Central from essentially the same meeting for exactly the same project that I was in Westchester for at exactly this time last year. The difference is that this year what I heard as I listened to the game via the exact same radio on the southbound Metro-North was that Cameron, like Piazza, was on the bench for Bruce Bochy; not hurt, just not playing. What I heard last year, of course, was the call of the gruesome collision between Cameron and Beltran in the Petco outfield. A lot less pain this year for Mets outfielders. A lot less angst for Mets fans, too.

Mike Cameron's Met career ended that afternoon but it was also sanctified. Before that you could argue his value as a power hitter — 30 HRs the year before — versus all the strikeouts, his natural flash in center versus his reluctant brilliance in right. But everybody always said nice things about him even before we all said the same thing: God, I hope he recovers.

He has. He's the centerfielder for the Padres now. He's playing ball which, if you think back 364 days, is as amazing and miraculous as anything Piazza did at Shea in the past 72 hours. (Carlos Beltran, who probably never let on to the severity of his own case of smashmouth from August 11, 2005, has also come all the way back and then some.)

Cameron's Met credentials are sound for posterity and I wouldn't have minded him maybe ripping into one as long as we were theoretically looking the other way and letting certain Padres jump the turnstile. You know, if we were up by a lot or something.

This Mike went 1-for-6 with a couple of walks. No curtain calls. Just hearing his name announced as being in the game most nights is probably reward enough.

Nice having such stellar reps of our Mike alumni association drop by for a spell. Surely they've stayed classy in San Diego. But given that our team just finished sweeping their team, I'm quite content making due with everybody we've got, even our latest Michael, previously written off as damaged goods. Watching the Mets outman the Padres at every turn reminded me that a team is more than one or two swell fellas with whom you're on a first-name basis.

1 comment to Mike Was Here (The Other One)

  • Anonymous

    Cameron also had the best line of this whole Piazza circus: something like, “Man, look at all these signs — 'welcome back Mike,' 'we miss you Mike…' they must have really loved me here!”