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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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Junior Achievers

You know what? There's something perfectly apt about the Marlins and Phillies having gone into tonight tied for second, making a hash of magic-number calculations for the moment. Because, really, who cares which team is 16.5 or 165 or 16,500 games behind us in second place? It's easier to just count down our own wins, and that'll get us to October soon enough.

Arrogant, I know, but it's hard to resist feeling that way after watching the Mets dismantle the Dodgers tonight. The Dodgers were much improved, nothing like the team in disarray we saw earlier this year, possibly a better team than the Cardinals now, and Brad Penny had won 15 games. Um, yeah, whatever. Penny got waxed, with the biggest blow a Jose Reyes inside-the-parker that left anyone watching it with a Reyes-sized smile on their faces. 15 seconds home to home, first inside-the-parker I've ever seen where the hitter not only never slowed down but could have scored standing up.

So, another supposedly frightening NL team come to town, another supposedly frightening NL team spat out in chunks. It doesn't guarantee anything come October, but we had our likely playoff lineup on the field and they looked awfully formidable.

After watching the highlights, it was time to check the New York-Penn League scores. This was the final day of the Brooklyn Cyclones' season, which has been marked by insanely hot and ridiculously cold streaks. The Cyclones had a shot at the playoffs, if everything broke just so: For Brooklyn to claim the wild card, the Aberdeen Ironbirds had to lose and the Cyclones had to beat the Vermont Lake Monsters.

I don't get worked up about the Cyclones — I only have so much karma to spend on baseball teams, and each year's Cyclones spring brand-new from the high-school and college ranks, making this truly rooting for laundry. But hey, who can resist a final day of the season like that? I hunted up the scores and found that the Lowell Spinners had beat Aberdeen — and the Cyclones and Vermont were tied at 3-3 in the 10th. Win or go home.

Some quick Web-surfing revealed that the Cyclones stream their broadcasts online — a moment later there was Warner Fuselle booming out from the laptop, competing with a Keyspan Park crowd and the Cyclones' sound effects (Brick screaming “Loud noises!” from “Anchorman” is startling on the radio). And whaddya know? In the bottom of the 12th Vermont's second baseman threw a ball away, giving the Cyclones a 4-3 win. They'll play the Staten Island Yankees Saturday night.

Baseball on a warm summer night, by TV and radio (via the laptop), leisurely and frenetic, routine and crucial. And it all came out OK. I could grow to like this game.

5 comments to Junior Achievers

  • Anonymous

    I've got to chuckle at all the “who would you rather play?” conversation we're chucking back and forth. I guess since we know we'll be playing in October, we've got to have some tension and suspense wherever we can find it.
    When a team makes it to the NCAA basketball championship game, they're guaranteed to be playing a team that's on at least a five game winning streak. Of course, they're also guaranteed to BE on at least a five game winning streak themselves.
    That'll probably be the case in the National League this year. Whichever team gets the wild card will be the team that has the most wins the last ten games of the season.
    Who do I want to play? Anyone but Atlanta, baby. Not because I fear them at all. Because I just can't stand them.

  • Anonymous

    Always happy to see the Cyclones extend their season, but how many St. Lucie and Binghamton Mets did they call down to reverse their rotten start? Leave that claptrap to the ragingly unpopular Staten Island Yankees.

  • Anonymous

    Not as many as you might think. Dustin Martin, arguably their MVP, has been there the majority (if not all of) the season. Then again, their closer, Joe Smith, got promoted to the B-Mets in mid-season. That is the obvious problem with running a short season Single A team in Brooklyn; it makes no sense. High-A? Maybe. Double-A? Now you're talking. Triple-A? Perfect. Has the Mets' brass not seen the beautiful synergy between Pawtucket and Boston? And Brooklyn is a way bigger market. I really don't understand. But I'll work with what I'm given, root like crazy for the Cyclones to beat the Baby Skanks.

  • Anonymous

    The Mets have long been reluctant to have blue chip type pitchers throw early in the season at Binghamton because of the weather. The hierarchy is now coming around to the thinking “well, if you won't let Humber pitch in that cold, why do you let anyone pitch in it?”
    The organization has a long running relationship / commitment with the city of Binghamton. But upstate New York seems a much more logical site for a short season New York Penn League team.
    And I think AA in Brooklyn is way cooler than AAA.
    It just makes a whole lot of sense.

  • Anonymous

    I hadn't considered the weather, but that is an excellent point. What better use of the short season than to avoid the cold? As to AA vs. AAA, I'm not sure. AA is cool, but with AAA your players would actually be called up right to Queens. I mean, they could essentially hop on the F train (I'm sure Heath Bell would be happy). And you'd also legitimately see your favorite injured Mets rehabbing regularly. Of course, the Mets have been known to successfully pluck players right out of AA as well. I don't know. Anything would make more sense than the current set-up. It seems incomprehensibly foolish to have such a nice stadium, with great attendance from real baseball fans in a real baseball town, and furthermore to send a lot of your better players there because losing isn't acceptable….in basically the lowest level of your farm system. Very foolish indeed.