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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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All Wrung Out

“Hey Greg.”

“Yeah?”

“Who's got the rings?”

“Huh?”

“The rings, baby? THE RINGS!”

“You mean like ringtones on a cell phone?”

“C'mon! You know what I mean.”

“I give up. What the hell are you talking about?”

“I'll give you a hint: 26!”

“26 what?”

“26 rings BABY!”

“I worked as a telemarketer in college and we were instructed to hang up after five rings.”

“That's not what I'm talking about and you know it!”

“Honestly, Yankee Hegemony, I'm busy doing other things and haven't the vaguest idea what you're talking about.”

“Damn Greg! I'm talking about World Series rings!”

“Oh.”

“That's right, 'oh,' as in 'oh, who's got THE RINGS, baby?'”

“The Cardinals, I guess.”

“No way!”

“Not yet, I suppose. I'm not crazy about it, but they're due to get them on Opening Day.”

“I'm not talking about the Cardinals!”

“Fine with me.”

“Think harder, baby. Who's got THE RINGS?”

“Well, the most recent recipients would be the White Sox. They won the World Series before the Cardinals did.”

“Stop it!”

“Stop what? You're the one who asked me, YH.”

“C'mon. I said 26 rings! And I'm not talking about the phone.”

“Uh…26…Kingman? Brogna? El Duque?”

“NOW you're getting warm.”

“What, El Duque? He wore 26 for the Mets last year. So?”

“Yeah…and who did El Duque win a WORLD SERIES RING with?”

“The White Sox. Pitched really well for them in 2005. Are we through?”

“DAMN! WHY WON'T YOU ACKNOWLEDGE ME?”

“I'm answering your questions as best I can, YH. I'm just not seeing your point.”

“You're playing with me.”

“I'm not playing with anybody. It's November. I'm looking forward to the Mets playing in April, but that's a long way off, so mostly I'm replaying the Mets' season in my head and thinking of the stuff that really mattered and the stuff that I've come to realize doesn't matter much at all.”

“HA!”

“What do you mean 'ha!'?”

“The Mets suck!”

“How do you figure?”

“Mets suck!”

“That's not an answer.”

“TWENTY-SIX RINGS BABY! METS SUCK!”

“I'm not following.”

“GREG!”

“Why are you yelling at me?”

“You're frustrating me!”

“How so?”

“Aw, you know why.”

“Seriously, I don't.”

“Man, you used to be easy for me to rile up. I'd go on about how great I was and how much the Mets sucked and it would preoccupy your thoughts for weeks. Months sometimes. Now I'm getting nothing out of you. Nothing!”

“I'm sorry, YH. It's just that after 2006, a visit from Yankee Hegemony is…how should I put this?”

“Overwhelming?”

“No…”

“Upsetting?”

“No…”

“Intimidating?”

“No, that's not it either.”

“Then what?”

“Oh, I know! Irrelevant.”

“IRRELEVANT? ME? HOW DARE YOU? I'M YANKEE HEGEMONY!”

“Look, I want to be polite…”

“Mets suck!”

“You can do that all you want…”

“METS SUCK!”

“…but you're not going to bother me.”

“Aw, why not?”

“Because you don't bother me anymore.”

“I don't?”

“No.”

“Not even a little bit?”

“Not in the least.”

“Why the hell not?”

“YH, have you taken a good look around lately?”

“Twenty-six-time WORLD CHAMPIONS!”

“Uh-huh. And when was the last time you got yourself one of those world championships?”

“Um…”

“I'll tell you. 2000.”

“Beat the Mets…who SUCK!”

“Yes, the Yankees beat the Mets in the 2000 World Series. A given. Congratulations.”

“HA!”

“But YH, do you know what season we're coming up on?”

“Um…”

“Don't strain yourself. It's about to be 2007. Subtract that from 2000 and you've got seven years.”

“So?”

“That's seven years since the Yankees' last world championship.”

“So?”

“So it means the Yankees…how can I break this to you? The Yankees don't matter.”

“TWEN…”

“Stop it. Give me something more recent.”

“Um…”

“I'll even help you. American…League…”

“CHAMPION!”

“Close. American…League…East…”

“CHAMPION!”

“Way to go. You're the American League East champion.”

“Yeah! And…hey, wait a minute! That's not that impressive-sounding.”

“It's all right. I mean you beat out the Blue Jays. That's something to be proud of.”

“No it isn't. That sucks!”

“Suit yourself. I thought you guys had a pretty good year.”

“Yeah, we did! BEST LINEUP IN BASEBALL HISTORY!”

“If you say so. How did that best lineup in baseball history do in the postseason?”

“Um…”

“You guys are always going on about how important the postseason is, how nothing matters but…what were you talking about when you came in?”

“The rings.”

“Yeah, that was it. Did that best lineup in baseball history get you any rings?”

“Um…yes?”

“YH…”

“No?”

“No, you guys lost to the Tigers.”

“THE TIGERS SUCK!”

“They do?”

“They don't?”

“Well, they beat you.”

“Oh.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Greg?”

“Yeah, YH?”

“Can I ask you something else?”

“Sure.”

“Why aren't you more excited?”

“Whaddaya mean?”

“Well, the Yankees lost.”

“Yeah, I know. I just told you that.”

“That's a big deal.”

“It's OK.”

“What do you mean, OK? You live for that!”

“I used to.”

“You USED to?”

“Oh, don't get me wrong. I still enjoy it. But it's not the be-all, end-all of baseball for me anymore.”

“Why not?”

“Well, for one thing, you guys haven't won in so long, the novelty of your losing has worn off.”

“But the Yankees are the Yankees!”

“Yes, but the Mets are the Mets.”

“The Mets su…”

“Let me stop you there. The Mets don't suck. The Mets won 97 games and the National League Eastern Division title.”

“Hey, that's no more than the Yankees!”

“Yeah, but we don't beat ourselves up over such things.”

“No?”

“No. Also, we won our first-round series against the Dodgers, the same one you lost to the Tigers.”

“You did?”

“Yeah. Got a whole lot closer to the World Series, too.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. So you can see I've got better things to think about than you.”

“But you still hate us, right?”

“Oh, that'll never change.”

“It's because we're so great!”

“No, I just dislike the fact that you exist, but I've always felt that way, even when the Mets were far better.”

“That's never happened!”

“You don't think so?”

“The Yankees are the greatest team ever and win every year…except for last year.”

“And the year before that.”

“And that one.”

“And 2004.”

“Ouch.”

“And 2003.”

“Stop.”

“And 2002.”

“Cut it out!”

“And 2001.”

“AAUUGGHH!”

“Sorry. I forgot how sensitive you can be.”

“But the Mets have always been second to the Yankees.”

“YH, you know that's not true.”

“It's not?”

“No, of course not. The Mets have enjoyed long stretches of being more popular and better than the Yankees.”

“LIES! LIES!”

“You can look it up. The Mets outdrew the Yankees as a matter of course in the '60s and the first half of the '70s and most of the '80s and into the early '90s.”

“They didn't say that on YES.”

“They don't say everything on YES.”

“Yeah, but you're talking about a long time ago! The Yankees have owned New York since 1996!”

“I won't argue the distant past with you. 1996 was a big year for you guys and, yes, you had the upper hand for quite a while.”

“HA!”

“But that's changing.”

“IS NOT!”

“No, it is.”

“IS NOT!”

“Seriously, it is.”

“It is?”

“Yeah.”

“How do you know?”

“Oh, the little things. You guys have deep pockets and can sign all kinds of free agents…”

“Yeah! We're gonna get the Japanese pitcher!”

“Probably not.”

“And Zito! And Soriano! And…”

“Maybe you will.”

“HA!”

“But let me ask you this, YH: What difference will it make?”

“Huh?”

“Every winter, the Yankees grab some superhyped free agent and you just get further and further from winning the World Series.”

“That doesn't make any sense.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But I've watched Mussina, Giambi, Matsui, Sheffield, Rodriguez, Johnson and Damon come in, and nothing changes.”

“No, I suppose it doesn't. But we have Jeter!”

“Uh-huh.”

“What do you mean, 'uh-huh'? He's JETER!”

“Yeah?”

“He's awesome!”

“If you say so.”

“Of course I do! HE'S JETER! Haven't you seen his ten-part Yankeeography?”

“I missed it, but I did see something interesting a few weeks ago.”

“What? There's an eleventh part?”

“No, it was a discussion on another channel about this whole tired Jeter-Rodriguez thing…”

“A-Rod kind of sucks, actually.”

“Whatever. Anyway, it was three sportswriters and a broadcaster and they were blaming Jeter for not drawing Rodriguez out of his shell or something and one of the panelists said he watched Jose Reyes fire up his teammates during the playoffs and they all agreed Reyes seemed to be the better teammate.”

“But Derek Jeter's Derek Jeter!”

“I don't doubt that's true. But when the conventional wisdom begins to seep away, bit by bit, when the media starts to turn away from its old truths and finally discovers new ones, I think it means things are changing.”

“What's changing?”

“We're gonna enter next year with two New York baseball teams on at least equal footing.”

“Yankees and Mets?”

“Actually, I'm thinking Mets and Yankees. More than it's been since before 1996, people are going to be saying it that way.”

“Is that allowed?”

“YH, I think it is.”

“No kidding?”

“No kidding. The Mets will be getting at least half the attention. Probably more.”

“Really?”

“I'm only basing it on recent success, present appeal and future promise.”

“And the Mets have all that going for them?”

“Appears so.”

“Is it guaranteed?”

“Nothing's guaranteed. Things could go terribly wrong for the Mets and go very well for the Yankees and I'll be back to sulking and schadenfreude.”

“Told ya!”

“But really, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The Mets have the two shiningest stars in New York, maybe in all of baseball.”

“Who?”

“Reyes and Wright.”

“We got Jeter!”

“Old news. You watch. The ass-kissing will ease at last.”

“But I count on that ass-kissing to inflate my self-esteem.”

“I know. You've still got John Sterling, though.”

“Y'know, Greg, it's not like the Yankees suck, I mean really suck like the Devil Rays.”

“No, not at all. You guys are going to have your following and get your wins. I acknowledge that.”

“And that doesn't bother you?”

“Every time the Yankees score a run, it annoys me, but they're so far down my list of baseball priorities that I don't give them much thought.”

“Are you sure? You got pretty worked up during the last Subway Series.”

“Those are rivalry games. I'm sure Michigan and Ohio State get all hot and bothered against each other even when one or the other isn't doing all that well. So, yeah, for six days next season I will hate the Yankees with all the passion I can muster.”

“I knew it!”

“I'll also hate the Phillies 19 times and the Braves 19 times and so on.”

“But we're the Yankees!”

“Thing is I used to look around and see people wearing your stuff — which I don't see as much anymore, by the way — and it used to get on my nerves.”

“Yeah!”

“Since the playoffs, however, it doesn't really.”

“No?”

“I see a Yankee cap and it's just, 'oh, another team.' For that matter, I see a Mets cap and it doesn't feel unusual the way it did even in '99 and 2000 when we were the lost tribe in our city despite how much we were accomplishing.”

“Good times.”

“Now I'm pretty sure we're here to stay.”

“Yeah, well…how many RINGS you got?”

“I don't want to go around in circles — or rings — about this. Let's just say you're not bringing anything of substance to the table at this point.”

“I'm not?”

“You're supposed to be Yankee Hegemony, but you don't win the World Series anymore, your so-called superstars are either not as good as they used to be or were never that great to begin with and you pose no credible threat to my happiness. You're just hard to take seriously now.”

“You don't care about me at all?”

“I don't like you, but you're not really worth my time anymore. My team got right near the top in 2006 and I want to see them get all the way up there in 2007. I'm going to be concentrating on that for a while. A lot of us are. For quite a while.”

“That's it?”

“Yeah. You can go now. You're through.”

“Greg, do you think for old time's sake, that maybe you could…”

“YH…”

“Please? It makes me feel like the big deal I used to be.”

“Very well. Ready?”

“Ready!”

“OK, here goes: Yankees suck.”

“YEAH BABY!”

Up next from 2006: Touching home.

3 comments to All Wrung Out

  • Anonymous

    Right now, at this moment, we are the 1995 version of them.
    In my opinion, anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Minus the formidable starting rotation, that is.
    In my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Greg, for the heartiest chuckle I've had since mid-October.
    I apologize in advance for the following visual image, but…
    When you see an old man in a Speedo in a cold, cold swimming pool, do you delight in the fact of his shrinkage as the weather gets colder? Do you get angry?
    No, not even if he's boasting about how big he is. Then, you just shake your head, smile weakly, and say, “Poor, silly, deluded man. Someone wrap a towel around the old fool.”