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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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When You Put It That Way

“Why so glum, Greg?”

“Isn’t it obvious? The Mets have lost two of three to the Cardinals.”

“We did that lots. Lost two out of three to a whole bunch of teams.”

“I don’t think you understand, 2003.”

“What don’t I understand? Your Mets are losing and you’re depressed. I know how you get.”

“This is different.”

“How?”

“Well, we’re getting lousy starting pitching.”

“Yeah? Who took the loss last night?”

“Trachsel.”

“I had him.”

“We’re not hitting.”

“I know that feeling.”

“Injuries…Floyd’s Achilles, for example.”

“He’s still not over that?”

“2003, it’s not the same thing.”

“It’s not?”

“No! Do you have any idea who we’re pitching tonight?”

“Jason Roach?”

“No.”

“Jeremy Griffiths?”

“No.”

“Who?”

“Oliver Perez.”

“Who?”

“Exactly.”

“That’s tough, Greg. Doesn’t sound like your 2006 Mets are doing very well. What a shame that they haven’t come very far in three years.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that.”

“What is it — the middle of June? You’re 15, 18 games behind the Braves? Expos coming to town next? Fran Healy doing the game?”

“It’s not like that at all, 2003. We’re in the playoffs.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No, really.”

“So they expanded the Wild Card to include everybody?”

“No. In fact, we won the division.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“I am not. Here, look at the standings.”

“Holy crap! The Mets won 97 games!”

“Yeah. Looked like it was going to be more than a hundred, but September didn’t go so well and…”

“Holy crap! The Mets won 97 games!”

“Uh-huh. I was trying to say that it could have been more, except…”

“Holy crap! The Mets won 97 games!”

“You keep saying that.”

“Greg, we won 66 games in 2003.”

“I remember.”

“You do? Do you really?”

“Of course. It was only three years ago.”

“Then why are you acting like such a ungrateful bastard?”

“Hey, I resent that. I’m constantly writing nice things about the Mets on my blog.”

“Listen, I don’t know what that is, but I can hear it in your voice that you have no idea how good you’ve got it.”

“We’re down in the National League Championship Series and if we lose tonight, we’re one game from elimination.”

“Greg, get ahold of yourself. In 2003, we weren’t anywhere near the National League Championship Series.”

“I guess.”

“You GUESS? Are you out of your mind? We won 66 fucking games! We were out of it by the end of April!”

“That was a long time ago, 2003.”

“No, it wasn’t. It was three years. We were hopelessly lousy three years ago and you’re in the playoffs three years later and you’re muttering about the Cardinals and one-game deficits and unproven starting pitchers?”

“Expectations change, 2003. It’s a different perspective when you’re here.”

“Look Greg, I haven’t been around in a while, so maybe I better ask you a few more questions.”

“OK.”

“Where are the Braves?”

“Home.”

“Where are the Yankees?”

“Home.”

“Where are the Mets?”

“In the NLCS.”

“Isn’t this what you waited for?”

“Yes.”

“Let me ask you something else: What were you doing in late August three years ago?”

“Uh…”

“Don’t screw with me. Tell me what you were doing.”

“I was looking at the standings…”

“And?”

“And I was figuring out if there was any way we could make a run at the Wild Card. You saw that?”

“Greg, there wasn’t much else for me to do. We sucked! But I remember you sitting there with the paper, us finally having had a couple of decent weeks in late summer…”

“We were only 10-1/2 back! If we could get on a roll…”

“See?”

“See what?”

“You would have KILLED to have been in the spot you and the Mets are now. You would have run through the rain in nothing but your Jason Phillips t-shirt to be down one game in a best-of-seven series.”

“I suppose.”

“You suppose right.”

“None of that really helps right now.”

“Well, let me ask you about the 2006 team. Is it good?”

“I thought we were. After we swept the Dodgers in the NLDS…”

“Wait. The Mets swept the Dodgers?”

“Yeah.”

“In the first round?”

“Yeah.”

“So now you’re panicking because it’s the second round and they’re down 2-1?”

“Um, when you put it that way…”

“Geez. Tell me about this team. Did Reyes ever recover from the hamstring problems?”

“Oh he’s fine. Led the league in steals and triples the last two years. Hit 19 homers, too.”

“I’m so happy to hear that!”

“He even has his own song when he comes to bat. I mean everybody sings it.”

“You’re kidding. The only thing we had like that was ‘Hold On’ by Wilson Phillips for Wilson and Phillips. And nobody sung along.”

“This isn’t like that.”

“Anybody else from those kids in 2003? What about Aaron Heilman? We gave him a bunch of starts then.”

“He’s a reliever now. Pretty good one. Sets up Billy Wagner.”

“So Aaron was traded to Houston?”

“No, he sets up Billy Wagner for us.”

“We have Billy Wagner?”

“Yeah. Signed him around the same time we got Carlos Delgado.”

“WE HAVE CARLOS DELGADO? The slugger from the Blue Jays?”

“Sure.”

“Wow. No wonder you’re in the playoffs. I know you said there isn’t much pitching, but with the kind of talent you’re describing, there must be enough. Kazmir really blossomed, huh?”

“In a manner of speaking. The key was going out and getting Pedro Martinez.”

“PEDRO MARTINEZ IS ON THE METS?”

“Yeah. Free agent a couple of winters ago.”

“Wow. I didn’t know Jim Duquette had it in him. That’s pretty bold. And you don’t have enough pitching?”

“He’s hurt is the problem.”

“I see. But surely the Duke replaced Tom Glavine with somebody young and reliable by now.”

“Glavine’s still here.”

“My condolences.”

“No, 2003. Glavine stuck it out and turned it around and he’s pitching great, just like he was supposed to.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Boy, Greg, you and the 2006 Mets are on quite a roll.”

“Could be better, though. Wright hasn’t hit with much power since he was in the All-Star Game.”

“Who?”

“Wright. David Wright.”

“The kid in Single-A three years ago?”

“That’s right.”

“The third baseman?”

“Uh-huh.”

“He actually made the big leagues and became an All-Star?”

“Sure.”

“What do you mean ‘sure’? Met third base prospects never do that!”

“This one did.”

“So what did they do with Ty Wigginton? Convert him to a centerfielder?”

“No, Wiggy was traded a while go. And Carlos Beltran plays center.”

“CARLOS BELTRAN? That stud from the Royals?”

“Yeah. We signed him right after Pedro Martinez.”

“Greg, you have to stop complaining at once. Do you realize what a team you’ve got there?”

“I get it, 2003. I get that this is way more successful than I could have hoped three short years ago, but to come this close and maybe not win would be so disappointing.”

“More disappointing than 66-95? More disappointing than Orber Moreno and Mike Glavine and Jason Middlebrook and Jay Bell and Jeff Duncan and Jorge Velandia? More disappointing than Al Leiter and John Franco lobbying a broken down David Cone into the rotation? More disappointing than Mo Vaughn on the DL and collecting huge checks? More disappointing than Rey Sanchez giving Armando Benitez a haircut during a game? More disappointing than Roger Cedeño chasing fly balls from left to right even though he was in center? More disappointing than shoving Mike Piazza to first base…say, is Mike still there?”

“No, he moved on. Lo Duca’s the catcher now.”

“Paul Lo Duca? From the Dodgers?”

“Yup.”

“That’s not a bad replacement.”

“No, it’s not.”

“The point is, Greg, three years ago you never would have dreamed you’d have a team like this or get even this far. I know you want to go as far as you can, as far as Art Howe can manage…”

“Uh, 2003…”

“What?”

“Art Howe’s not the manager anymore.”

“What are you talking about? He signed a four-year deal four years ago, and I know the Wilpons wouldn’t just pay him not to manage.”

“They did. They got rid of him after 2004.”

“No kidding?”

“No kidding.”

“Who’s the manager?”

“Willie Randolph.”

“No kidding?”

“No kidding.”

“He any good?”

“He’s not Art Howe.”

“Well, there ya go! You’ve got it goin’ on, you and the Mets. You couldn’t have been much lower in 2003 and now you’re near the top of the world. So, c’mon! Buck up! If you guys could win 97 games, a division title, sweep a division series and be in the NLCS, then surely you gotta believe you can do a little more.”

“You know what, 2003? Talking to you has really cheered me up. You’ve given me some much-needed perspective. If we can go from last to first in three years, from laughingstock to pennant finalist, from hopeless to oh so close, then why not feel good today?”

“Why not indeed, Greg. I may not be completely up to date, but I’m 2003 and I know what I know. So keep believing.”

“I will.”

“Things can always be worse.”

“I understand.”

“After all, we may have won only 66 games, but think about those poor Detroit Tigers. They went 43-119 three years ago. I’ll bet they’re not playing in any League Championship Series tonight!”

“Right again, 2003. Right again.”

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