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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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Just For Mets Targets The Red

Keep plenty of Pepto-Bismol on hand for the opening series of the year. You'll want the dark pink kind to combat that queasy feeling you'll get from seeing too much red.
On Sunday night, according to Paul Lukas' Uni Watch, the Cardinals will swaddle themselves in commemorative patches and gold trim to honor their 2006 World Championship. On Tuesday night, they'll be handing out rings to everybody who enters Busch Stadium — everybody but the Mets. And the night after, each of their fans gets a replica World Champions banner that measures three feet by five feet.
FEET!
That's a big ol' keepsake they're giving away to everybody. You could fit a lot of treasured but tiny 8″X6″ TD Waterhouse 2000 National League Champions flags on that kind of square footage. That's on top of the mounted rings that go to all fans and the replica World Series celebration locker room cap for kids. Except that this stuff says Cardinals, it's a pretty awesome haul.
If my team showered me in such treasures, maybe I'd smile a lot and behave like a Best Fan In Baseball, too. If we'd won, you know the most we'd be getting would be a ceremonial wipe of the seat from a commemorative usher, redeemable only with the exchange of the first two George Washington photographs out of your wallet.
But if we'd won, we wouldn't care, because we'd have won.
Sigh.
Anyway, the Cardinals are doing it up right, which is their prerogative, but one component of their Salute To Themselves is a bit much:
The team will also honor its 1967 and 1982 World Championship teams in recognition of their 40th and 25th anniversaries, respectively, with such standouts as Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Whitey Herzog, Keith Hernandez and Bruce Sutter scheduled to attend.
Which of those Cards is not like the other? Right. There's a Cardinal in there who became a Met on June 15, 1983 and we're not giving him back. I know it's just for an evening, for festivities' sake, for milestone purposes (and who wallows in a good milestone anniversary more than me?). I know we're not swapping him out retroactively for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. I know The Baseball Encyclopedia doesn't come with disappearing ink for everything he accomplished once his paychecks weren't signed in Bud.
But no sir, I don't like it. I don't like that Keith would forgive the Cardinals when a measly quarter-century has yet to pass. I don't like the way Keith yammers on a little too fondly about his Cardinal days during Mets telecasts. I'm a little worn by his yammering on about his Met days during Mets telecasts, actually, because I could use a touch more yammer about these Met days during Mets telecasts, no matter what kind of hammer Atlee Hammaker dropped on him for strike three when the world was young, but that's another story.
Keith the Cardinal was outstanding. Keith the Met remains iconic.
Keith the Cardinal won a World Series. Keith the Met won the World Series.
Keith was a Most Valuable Cardinal. Keith was The Indispensable Met.
Keith was their star. Keith was our Captain.
If Keith were entering the Hall of Fame (if only petitioning made it so), then which cap do you think he'd be wearing? Which cap do you think he should be wearing?
Keith is Ours as few have been even if we keep issuing 17 to every Dae-Sung and Lima that comes down the pike (pending massively wonderful revelations to the contrary, David Newhan ain't worthy either). The Redbirds renounced their Keith rights when Ratzog discarded him not eight months beyond that '82 championship they're suddenly intent on marking. St. Louis turned on Mex. Mex turned on New York and we were totally plugged into Mex. For all his Keithfoolery on the air, it doesn't take much to close one's eyes and picture in his prime the Second-Greatest Met of the First Forty Years — fielding, hitting, leading…always leading. Leading us in '84 and '85 and '86 as he targeted the gray at Shea and replaced it with sunny bursts of blue and orange. Those colors, like Keith, were Just For Mets.
Keith Hernandez invited back by the Cardinals? On one of his myriad days off from the booth, I wouldn't blink because I understand the concept of completism and squaring circles and players honoring their pasts because they are the fans' pasts, too (Ozzie Guillen would scoff at such sentimentality, but when doesn't Ozzie Guillen scoff?). That he's throwing out the first ball for our Home Opener makes me feel somewhat less queasy, but trotting out Keith Hernandez as their own on the night they raise their flag in our face after having secured it at the expense of us…pass the Pepto.

52 comments to Just For Mets Targets The Red

  • Anonymous

    In approximately 10^23 years, the universe will die of heat death. Entropy will be total, and all matter in the universe will be undifferentiated, uncharged particles floating around at absolute zero.
    Yet this post must somehow be saved so that future universes will truly understand the importance of Keith Hernandez.
    I'm going to start working on it now. It would be nice to save the text of Hamlet too, but this comes first.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed, if anything the '87 team was the best possible demonstration that Gloating is Bad Juju. I don't care about all the opening-night tchotchkes, really. I'm actually glad they're doing it, it'll up the ante for other teams. And with half the '06 Cards missing, how else are fans gonna be reminded of what transpired? Plus, they did wait longer than we have (so far).
    That still doesn't let Keef off the hook, though. Unless he has some nutty idea that his doing this is gong to jinx the Cards…