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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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Antarctica's Finest

Tom Glavine and Jamie Moyer had never faced each other despite having 85 years, 543 wins and 7518.2 innings pitched between them. Seems incredible, but it isn't really — Moyer came up with the Cubs but only overlapped Glavine for a year and change before relocating to the AL, where he stayed until late last year. (Of course, as Jayson Stark will surely note, Glavine and Moyer are now scheduled to oppose each other in their next starts. Isn't that always the way baseball works?)
You get older, you admire different things. Brains over brawl. Guile over flash. Finesse over bull-in-the-china-shop. Tonight seemed like it would be a pitching clinic and a celebration of all of the above: Two smart old lefties who changes speeds, outthink hitters and would die on the mound before giving in.
Instead, it was kind of a mess, with the cold playing havoc with location and rhythm, leaving two smart old lefties trying to MacGyver their way out of a corner. Glavine looked like a dead man walking early, wreathed in his own breath when he wasn't scattering it with uncharacteristic shows of anger; according to the man himself, he realized he was rushing and managed to slow things down. (Can you blame him for wanting to hurry up and get the hell back in the dugout on a night better suited for yeti?) Moyer almost managed to make a win out of duct tape and toilet-paper rolls and Jimmy Rollins home runs, but was undone by his defense, his teammates' slumbering bats and the buzzsaw that is Jose Reyes 2.0.
So in the end, what you got was a study in perseverance. Which, in a way, was a lot cooler. Anyone can ooh and ahh about 96 on the black and 12-to-6 curves. An old guy finding a way to win and another old guy keeping his team in the game on a night neither would describe themselves as anywhere close to masterful? That's to be appreciated on a different level, but it ought to be appreciated nonetheless.
As for Jimmy Rollins, I tip my cap. I was proud of the Opening Day crowd for giving him both barrels (as I was proud of tonight's sparse crowd of diehards for applauding Lastings Milledge's last AB for a while), but he recovered from an enormous public humiliation to play two pretty fine games in enemy territory. By now it's well-known that the Mets and Phillies are neighbors who've barely noticed each other over 40-odd years. But it shouldn't be that way. There should be rivalry and respect and rancor between these franchises and cities and fan bases, and Rollins may have finally helped it into being. I mean, why not Philadelphia? They took Chicago and St. Louis away from us, leaving us with Atlanta. But Atlanta's too far away and their fans don't show up for playoff games. Where's the fun in that?
Of course, if Rollins continues to be the only one who comes ready to play, there won't be much point.

9 comments to Antarctica's Finest

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, ya gotta hand it to the guy. He finally put his money where his mouth was and stepped up. If we hadn't pulled it out in the end, I would have begrudged him that (I know myself), but after all the abuse he took this week, I can't. I consider the matter closed.
    But the Phillies still suck, and I will boo Pat Burrell and Co. as long as there is breath in my body. Nothing personal, Jimmy. Not anymore.

  • Anonymous

    “Jose Reyes 2.0”
    May this catch on with the mainstream press–what an apt description.

  • Anonymous

    Jose Reyes is second in the NL in RBIs. And his OPS is over 1.000. That is bananas.
    Much respect for Jimmy Rollins the player. He can back up his talk, but his teammates can't back him up. Our old friend Pat the Bat hit two deep balls that might have been out of there on a less frigid night.

  • Anonymous

    You also have to hand it to Rollins for the comments he made after the opener. Rather than whine or duck questions about the fans, he stood his ground and then said,
    “”The crowd was great,” he said with a laugh. “They are fans, they're supposed to get on the other players, and try to get under your skin. I like that, I really do.”
    Damn it, Jimmy. You're being NICE to us. We hate that! Tip o' the hat though and we'll see you a few more times at Shea. We'll be warming up the leather in our lungs for ya, just to make you feel at home.

  • Anonymous

    This may come as a surprise to those not from the Philly area, but there already is a Philly/Met rivalry. Thing is, it's as one-sided as the Met/Brave rivalry of the prior 12 or so years. We barely notice Philadelphia, but their fans hate us, our team, our city. It's almost entirely second-city envy (mixed in with some legitimate Flyers and Eagles bad blood) but it's there. Nice to see it bubbling to the fore. We could do with a rancorous divisional rival like the 80s Cards.
    Props to Rollins, he certainly did his part. Good thing for us that beyond him, Howard and Utley, there ain't mush else there to fear.

  • Anonymous

    We are four games ahead of the Phils. If the difference is still four games come September (and our respective positionings aren't far behind the Braves, Marlins or Nationals and/or two other second-place teams), there will be a rivalry.
    There was once a Mets-Pirates rivalry that weighed more heavily on one fan base than the other. They jammed into Three Rivers in June 1988 (40,000+ three nights, a record for a series by the confluence of the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio) and the fans there were vicious toward HoJo and Dykstra in particular. Except for wanting to beat the Buccos when they were the main competition, can you ever recall resounding anti-Pittsburgh sentiment at Shea?
    Sometimes that NY on the cap really gets to people.

  • Anonymous

    Pittsburgh is actually pretty far away too. And I would know, having left the All-Star game to drive back to New York and goto work on Wednesday.
    I feel like a lot of Mets fans don't actually hate Rollins for his comments, in fact we understand it was to motivate his team. Our giving him flak was our way of supporting our team and trying to disprove his statements. I see it more as a friendly booing then a hateful one.(Clemens, Rocker..etc)
    I still think the Mets are going to win the division by a decent margin, but I can see a bit of a rivalry being born. I did get an email from the Flushing Flash encouraging me to buy tickets to the Phillies games in Philadelphia next week and invade the place. I'd consider it if i wasn't going to be in Florida for that week.(And going to see an oh so exciting Marlins v. Nationals game)
    As for Reyes, He just never seems to disappoint. I think Gary said it best last night. Pitchers would throw him curves in the dirt, and he had learned to stop swinging at them. The Pitchers would then look towards the dugout as if to say “I thought he was supposed to swing at that? wasn't that the scouting report? What do i do now?” How often does the #1 hitter get walked? When he came up with runners in scoring position the first time and made out I thought “Well, he can't get them home every time”. When he came up again the next at-bat I thought “No way they're getting him twice.” And sure enough, 2 more rbi's.

  • Anonymous

    If anything, I recall a decidedly pro-Pittsburgh atmosphere at Shea from the mid-70's to the mid-'80's — owing, no doubt, to a reverence for Roberto Clemente among the customers.

  • Anonymous

    I agree — Game 1 was taunting like it oughta be. Rollins talked big, then crumbled in the spotlight, and the fans showed him — at considerable volume — that they knew what was going on, and what had just happened. And then he earned our respect by not backing away, giving as good as he got, and playing pretty good ball the next two games. No hatred whatsoever!