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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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There Is No Lesser Evil

In lieu of a pennant race, I've been taking this magic number thing pretty seriously. I was flipping madly between the Mets-Rockies and Phillies-Nationals games last night as if a lead, not a countdown, was in the balance. When Marlon Anderson dashed home for the winning run, I treated it as if it were 1973 or 1999, not 2006. (The Nationals treated it like any other day and traded Marlon to the Dodgers afterwards.)

So I'm looking in the paper to see who the Phillies are playing tonight, who becomes our second-favorite team for the weekend, who's going to help us roll toward our inevitable clinch.

The Phillies are being visited by the Braves.


Oh yeech! I don't wanna root for the Braves except maybe to fall down a hole. Which I suppose they have this year. Yes, I will favor a victory by them in Interleague play against one particular opponent, but that's an issue of moral clarity. This is expediency. But it's also icky as all get out.

The Braves are still mildly alive for the Wild Card, so I wouldn't want to endorse anything that would aid them for a single, solitary extra second in their fight to remain on life support. Pull the plug! Pull the plug! But I want to clinch this baby as soon as possible and, quite frankly, I don't care for the Phillies one little bit. We just saw them 10 times in August. I have no need to see them four to seven times in October. I plain don't like them.

But I hate the Braves. We all do. Yet to root for them to lose to the Phillies would be self-defeating. While we may be inevitable, math is math and our job is to encourage subtraction. Ernesto may make my dithering moot, but they'll have to play sometime. (After seeing what tropical storms can lead to a year ago, I won't make any flip remarks about hoping both teams are blown away. But, uh, you know…)

What to do? What to do?

7 comments to There Is No Lesser Evil

  • Anonymous

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend (see the rotating avatars of Metphistopheles' blog a few days back). BUT, in this case, I gotta go with you on this. I'd rather play any team in October except the Phillies right now.
    I will, however, be almost as excited when Los Bravos are mathemagically eliminated from the wild card than I will be when the Mets' magic number hits zero. I'm rooting for them both to occur on the same day – hopefully within seconds of each other.

  • Anonymous

    Greg – I just showed this column to my youngest son (the one you saw on the big screen in St. Louis last month). After reading it he said, “We know what to do.”
    I really didn't.
    He explained, “Root for a 27 inning game.”
    I'm doing something right with that kid ;)

  • Anonymous

    Or root for a quadruple header on Sunday, which is what the Phils and Braves are headed for.
    Since you can't play a quadruple header, I assume it'll become games that only get played if they matter. Which means any Phillies who survived those would be very tired Phillies….

  • Anonymous

    I'd rather face the Phillies in October than root for the Braves. I'd rather have bleeding hemorrhoids than root for Atlanta. Rooting for Atlanta does not compute… does not compute… does not compute… does not compute… does not compute…

  • Anonymous

    Let the Braves have a great weekend, helping to dwindle that magic number to single digits, let them roll into Shea on Monday with a little swagger and a smidge of hope for October. Then Willie's boys can rip the heart out of their chest and show it to them twitching it's final spasms with a 3 game sweep. Tell me that series sweep in Atlanta at the end of July wasn't sweeter because Giles & Francoeur shot off their mouths beforehand.

  • Anonymous

    This one is far too easy. Simply put, you're letting your Met fandom get in the way of your hatred of the Braves, Greg. This is one I suspect you will rethink come the morning, if it hasn't already kept you up all night.

  • Anonymous

    Just turned on their game to see Francoeur pulling into third with a triple. Nauseating. Then the score showed the Phillies were winning. Disappointing.
    My Brave hatred is a function of my Mets fandom, my Mets fandom demands Phillie failure but Phillie failure diminishes my Brave hatred which is a function of my Mets fandom…
    I still don't know what to do. But I do like the ripping out of twitching Atlanta hearts and displaying them.